COE Machine Shop Makeover


Thursday, April 20, 2023


COE machine shop superintendent, Marty Ramirez (left), sets up a new CNC lathe, while semi-retired superintendent Andy Weinberg pauses beside a new CNC milling machine.

Thanks to donor support, the College of Engineering (COE) Machine Shop, a source of valuable support to labs, faculty, and students, is undergoing a major renovation that will transform it into a modern design center.

Long the first stop for COE faculty and students needing something built for a lab or an experiment, the shop is also where teams of undergraduate students in mechanical engineering work on their senior capstone projects, making it a critical component of their success both at UCSB and as they prepare to enter the job market.

“The newer technology and the other elements of this important renovation will aid students greatly in their capstone projects, allow them to work better as teams in a safe and productive manner, and enhance the College of Engineering’s competitiveness with other top institutions,” said shop superintendent, Marty Ramirez.

The project, which will increase usable space by 35 percent, is being conducted in phases as funds become available, making it a particularly valuable place for donors to direct their philanthropic efforts. Initial gifts, including one from longtime major UCSB contributor Virgil Elings, are funding the fi rst phase. The goal is to raise enough funds eventually to establish an endowment to maintain the facility far into the future.

Phase I, which got started last spring, includes the removal of old equipment and the installation of eleven new CNC (computer numerical control) machine tools, 3D printers, a laser cutter, electronics fabrication and testing, pneumatics and hydraulics fabrication and testing, and bench and storage space. Phase II will include enclosing the space with glass garage doors and installing keyless entry for students to access the bench workspace and provide security during extended hours, especially at night.

Such a modern design center, says Tyler Susko, the Mechanical Engineering Capstone Instructor, “will introduce students to CNC machining in their freshman year and augment their understanding of those tools in subsequent classes before engaging in the year-long capstone project. We always have safety on our mind, of course, and the new CNC tools are fully enclosed, removing the danger of exposed spinning cutters. I’m looking forward to seeing the growth of our students as they get comfortable with the new tools, which will enable them to create things that were unfeasible in previous years.”

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