About the Engineering Machine Shop

The Engineering Machine Shop contains lathes, mills, band saws, and many hand tools with which to work many types of materials, including plastics, fiberglass, and metals. EMS works with students, faculty, and staff in the College of Engineering as well as people across the UI campus providing concept development, project design, and prototyping services. Students are taught how to use the equipment safely and then use the machines for class projects.

EMS Mission

To provide students, faculty, and staff a safe and innovative development and production machining facility that promotes, supports, and enhance the mission of the College of Engineering.

EMS Brochure

This is a PDF version of the 3-fold EMS brochure that briefly describes EMS duties, equipment, and staff. Paper copies are available in EMS, G450 SC.

Q&A with the Machine Shop

Why do students come to the shop?
They come to work on senior design projects or other design projects; usually the course professor sends students to the shop.

What sort of help do students ask for?
They ask for input on their designs or about the capabilities and equipment in the shop.

What should students be doing in the shop that they are not?
Students should know that it exists and where it is before their senior design project; most students aren’t aware of the shop’s existence before then.

What services does the shop provide that might be of interest to students?
Rapid prototyping (3D printing), mills, Electric Discharge Machine (EDM- burns shapes into metal), 3D scanner.  For a full list, please see the equipment page.

How do students get trained to use the equipment in the shop?
Currently the staff in the shop is working on creating a process by which students can get trained and certified to use the equipment in the shop. Because there are many types of machines available, training will have to be developed for each machine.

Are there student design projects visible in the Seamans Center?
Yes, the Baja car is displayed in the John Deere Plaza annually.

Why do faculty or staff come to the shop?
Faculty and staff come to the shop to have parts made for a particular lab and also to get help and advice on designs.

What projects has the EMS done for engineering faculty or staff?
Keri Hornbuckle had EMS create an air sampler to attach to the back of a motor home that drove around different areas of Chicago to test air quality.

What departments on campus use the shop?
Many, including dentistry, hydraulics, and physics.

Give an example of an EMS project for a department on campus.
We made a specimen former that creates model bones for class use.

Describe an interesting project completed for someone outside the college.
Palmer Chiropractic College in Davenport, IA, college does spine testing on cadavers. EMS built a special table/board that the cadaver is attached to during testing.

What projects have used the 3D laser?
The 3D laser is currently being used to scan pieces of sandstone rock for a Cedar Rapids company.  The scans are sent back to the company so they can create some sort of technology to fit inside, and then a false rock (based on the original scan) will be constructed around the technology.

What departments have used the prototyping machine? Is there an average job? If so, how long does an average job run? How long for a long-running job?
DFM, chemistry, bio-chemistry, and geology.  There is no average job, but the job currently running is expected to take 15 hours.

The machine is used to make models of bones for the giant sloth in the Natural History Museum.  The University Hospital scans the bones and sends the CT scans to the machine shop for the prototype to be made.  The model bones are on display at the museum rather than the originals.

How do people find out about EMS?
Most student do not find out about the machine shop until a professor tells them to go there for an assignment.