The Professor's Thoughts

How do CNC Machine Tools Move?

Only 3 possible motions… There are really only three ways a standard CNC machine tool moves today: linear motion, arc motion, and what is called rapid motion. To understand these types of motion we should talk a little bit about how machines are made and how they are program. To do this we will first

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What’s the cost of changing a lightbulb

I went to school with a lot of people that were good at math. Walking home to my apartment one afternoon of my senior year I noticed a for sale sign in front of a house. It was a three family house like almost all of the others in the neighborhood. Very similar, in fact,

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My 6th year as an undergrad made me who I am today.

A couple of years ago I attended a graduation party for one of the most amazing students I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. He was wearing a t-shirt that said: “College – the best 7 years of my life!” I kidded him about it because I knew that he had not finished in

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Everything You Need to Know About 3d Printing But Don’t Know How to Ask

They say that the best way to learn about something is to write a book about it. So that’s what I’m setting out to do now.      People have been asking me about 3d printing, rapid prototyping, and additive manufacturing for years and I’ve always had answers. But honestly the answers haven’t really satisfied me. 

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From Troubled Youth to Well Paid Professional

How do you go from troubled youth with jail time to Cadillac driving skilled  professional with 8 weeks of training? The trick is to get the right training.  You can see more of  Noel’s story at: http://www.cox7.com/launchpoint/shifting-gears      In the Shifting Gears Episode of Launch Point we told Noel’s story. Noel had been headed down

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manufacturing the future of the world

It takes a village to raise a child. What does it take to raise village? It takes people coming together sharing resources to meet common needs. This is where manufacturing started. It started with the caveman, who was good at making stone tools and not so good at hunting, making tools and trading them to

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no skills gap?

I won’t say there is no skills gap. In Massachusetts alone right now there are about 250,000 unemployed people and at the same time about 130,000 unfilled jobs with the employers reporting that they cannot find skilled workers. No I won’t say there’s is no gap. There is obviously a gap. The other thing that’s obvious,

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why do we engineer?

Why do we engineer?  We engineer to enable manufacturing! Why do we manufacture?  We manufacture to enable society! Our entire society is based on manufacturing,  this process of taking raw materials and turning them into useful goods.  The things we use the things we surround ourselves with even most of the food we eat has

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Can we make learning videos instead of teaching videos?

I can’t say I’m part of the ME Generation, and with that said, or rather not said, I can say that when I want to know something, unless I’m standing next to someone I’m pretty sure knows the answer, the first thing I do is Google it.  Then I look for a video (preferred) or

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Do engineers really need to know anything?

I’m not sure how frequently something needs to be repeated before it becomes cliché but there is a saying that I’ve heard so many times and that I’ve even used in class that I think fits, at least in the limited circles I travel in. They say: “Engineers don’t need to know anything; they just need to know what book to

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best and worst of the labs

This week I asked the students a few questions.  I had a few objectives: Evaluate lab instructors (based on student’s comfort level coming into the Lab Final) Evaluate students comfort level coming into the Lab Final Evaluate the the perceived value of individual lab exercises based on student feedback. Students were asked to answer the

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Not Your Dad’s Manufacturing

Over the summer we had a summer camp for 7th and 8th graders.  The idea was to see if we could get younger kids excited about the technology of manufacturing so when they are making choices later in life they might consider training and careers in manufacturing. I wrote an article about it for the

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Eliminate a Lecture

For several years now I’ve been using surveys of the class for various reasons but mainly to get some feedback from the class but also to better understand if some teaching techniques were working or not without holding the student’s grades hostage while I try new things.   This term I’ve added a twist by

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first lecture of the term

Thanks for today if you were in class.  I love the beginning of the school year.  I’m excited, and the students are excited. Discussion forum I just finished reviewing the discussion board and answering questions. The link to the safety quiz is fixed There was question about the Haas Mill Safety manual, the correct link

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Watch Do Teach, a practical approach to lab instruction

I read somewhere that lazy people make the best inventors.  I’ve also heard that necessity is the mother of all invention. Well, my mother raised a lazy inventor!  I’m always looking for an easier way to do things and have in the past spent at least a day automating a data entry system when it

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Can you train a Machinist on a CNC machine tool?

They say that a Swiss machinist apprentice starts with a piece of steel, a file, and a micrometer and are told to make a cube.  I don’t know the truth of this assertion but it has a sort of elegance.   It can give the apprentice insight into measurement and metal removal.  It also lets them

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Grading the blogs

I must admit that I assigned the blogging assignment without really thinking through the fact that if I want the blogs to have any value to you (the students) or us (the instructors) someone needs to read the postings. I’ve been reading blog postings for the last hour and a half, and I’m about half

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Worst Lecture Ever

The title may be exsessive, but that was how I felt as i walked away from the classroom. I think part of the problem was high expectations. I spent a good part of the weekend thinking about the lecture and preparing figures. The first time you use any figure you notice the mistakes… The pen

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Perfect is the enemy of good enough

I have to admit that this first blog posting has been a little bit hard to start.  It is the first one after all it seems that it needs to be exceptional to set the tone for the class and the site.  You know the exceptional tone that I think it should have. I sat

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