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jawhitak
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I've been pretty upset since day-one here at State about having limited/no access to hands-on projects, or even shops (EB3, Leazar, Arts Center) where I could do personal projects in my free time.

Well State recently opened up a new section on Moodle titled "Engineering: Student Information" where engineering students can post questions and comments. The section description even implies that that this can be viewed by the higher-ups, all the way to the Dean of Engineering.

Apparently I'm not the only engineering major concerned with our lack of hands-on access, because there have been a few others posting here regarding the same issues. If anyone else is frustrated from expecting more actual engineering out of our school, I urge you to add your own posts or comments.

Link to Moodle's Engineering section (with most of the posts in the "Everything you need to know about Engineering" subsection):

http://moodle.wolfware.ncsu.edu/course/view.php?id=17721

They may blow this off and continue blocking access to the machine shops, but it's at least worth speaking out and knowing that you aren't the only one frustrated.

9/15/2011 1:37:52 PM

simonn
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you're off on about every level possible.

firstly, no one on this site is still in undergrad.
secondly, no one reads study hall, and even if they did this isn't the appropriate board for this post.
thirdly, working in a machine shop is not "actual engineering".
fourthly, there is absolutely no way that the university is going to give undergrads access to machine shops to work on "personal projects in their free time". it's expensive to run, expensive to maintain, expensive to staff and most importantly an absolutely monstrous liability. even if you did get it open for personal use, w/in the first three months someone would lose a finger and it'd be closed off again.

9/15/2011 1:51:14 PM

Dr Pepper
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Quote :
"you're off on about every level possible.

firstly, no one on this site is still in undergrad.
secondly, no one reads study hall, and even if they did this isn't the appropriate board for this post.
thirdly, working in a machine shop is not "actual engineering".
fourthly, there is absolutely no way that the university is going to give undergrads access to machine shops to work on "personal projects in their free time". it's expensive to run, expensive to maintain, expensive to staff and most importantly an absolutely monstrous liability. even if you did get it open for personal use, w/in the first three months someone would lose a finger and it'd be closed off again.

"



BSME, 12/07

9/15/2011 2:02:22 PM

catalyst
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Quote :
"HAIR

IN

LATHE"

9/15/2011 2:23:50 PM

2009ncsu
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Man, simonn is an asshole correct

There's probably a class you can take to do this kind of thing but there's no way you'd get a lab with a bunch of equipment you can use for free. Everyone would have to go through safety training and there would also have to be some sort of lab manager. $$$$

Do undergraduate research if you want some "hands on" engineering.

[Edited on September 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM. Reason : ***]

9/15/2011 4:12:14 PM

jawhitak
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noted simonn. i'll go back to mindlessly cramming equations without ever being shown how anything physically works.

9/15/2011 4:17:17 PM

Dr Pepper
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dude seriously, you're there to learn the math/science behind how all that shit works. If not, you'd either be in a tech school or an apprenticeship... or actually working full time in a machine shop somewhere. The stuff on campus is for lab/research/club shit anyway.

If you're just out to work on your cool car, why not make friends somewhere at a shop? You could call up the guys at Crest Road Fabrication and talk to them.

9/15/2011 4:43:38 PM

darkone
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http://design.ncsu.edu/facilities-resources/materials-lab

Talk to the people who run http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/machineshop/ for information about potential training and access.

The Crafts Center also has some workshop space. http://www.ncsu.edu/crafts/index.html

There used to be TED courses where they taught you to do machining and forging and that sort of think but I can't find them in the current course catalog.

If you're wanting hands of experience, talk to the faculty in your department and see if they have any opportunities available.

9/15/2011 4:58:24 PM

ThePeter
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you want hands on engineering work? and REAL engineering?

Engineering Entrepreneurs Program

http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/eep/

Couple friends of mine as seniors led a design a multidisciplinary team that invented and constructed a bench-scale process for converting trap grease (burnt, absolutely lowest tier shitty grease from McDonald's grills and such) into biodiesel...then made biodiesel. They won a considerable amount of money for it and had the opportunity to initiate a start-up.

Freshmen up to Seniors can participate. Freshmen as workers for the "company", seniors as...well, senior personnel. I almost did it for my liquid body armor program but decided to keep it in-house.

You want to dick around in a machine shop spinning your wheels, go for it. There are, however, actual programs if you want to do some real work.

Not to mention the plethora of undergrad research in engineering opportunities available to anyone who walks into a professor's office and says "hey, I want to do some research".

Quote :
"i'll go back to mindlessly cramming equations without ever being shown how anything physically works."


The school isn't here to hold your hand. You have to get out there and expand your own horizon.

Time and time again, people need to realize or be told that your college career at NC State is what you make of it.

[Edited on September 15, 2011 at 10:50 PM. Reason : btw the actual school-sponsored hands-held project is "Senior Design"]

9/15/2011 10:49:33 PM

darkone
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^ +1

9/15/2011 11:36:50 PM

simonn
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Quote :
"noted simonn. i'll go back to mindlessly cramming equations without ever being shown how anything physically works."

if you want to spend your undergrad doing it completely and totally wrong, then by all means go ahead.

Quote :
"Not to mention the plethora of undergrad research in engineering opportunities available to anyone who walks into a professor's office and says "hey, I want to do some research"."

this is really true. professors are horribly under- and improperly-utilized by most undergrads. every professor in every engineering department is an expert in something, and chances are it's not getting a job at a local engineering firm. go learn something that you can't learn on your own instead of bitching about machine shop time.

[Edited on September 16, 2011 at 12:14 AM. Reason : .]

9/15/2011 11:46:27 PM

Wraith
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Sounds to me like you wanna be a technician, not an engineer. Most engineers don't actual do hands on stuff.

9/16/2011 8:42:35 AM

S
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ATTN: Entitlement Students

9/16/2011 12:53:05 PM

The Coz
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^^I want to be both.

9/16/2011 7:57:21 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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the OP will hate most real "engineering" jobs after school

[Edited on September 16, 2011 at 7:58 PM. Reason : ds]

9/16/2011 7:57:29 PM

lewisje
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Quote :
"noted simonn. i'll go back to mindlessly cramming equations without ever being shown how anything physically works."
lol if you "mindlessly" work with the equations you're setting yourself up for epic failure later on when you somehow forget such things as the domain of applicability of the equations or when you have to deal with edge cases, corner cases, and non-invertible steps

9/16/2011 8:49:30 PM

ThePeter
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To be fair I've actually learned and done a lot of machine work with my job...but fairly mundane techniques that took me about 5 minutes to learn how to do. Making fixtures for experimental coatings in R&D and such with a small company, but it is definitely not your typical engineering job.

9/16/2011 8:53:49 PM

Roflpack
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http://www.wolframalpha.com

Go to it.

9/16/2011 10:46:16 PM

simonn
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Quote :
"you're setting yourself up for epic failure later on when you somehow forget such things as the domain of applicability of the equations or when you have to deal with edge cases, corner cases, and non-invertible steps"

you stick out like a sore thumb in an engineering crowd. no offense meant whatsoever.

9/17/2011 4:47:17 AM

lewisje
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I have a bachelor's degree in mathematics

this must be why I care about that shit

9/17/2011 5:54:03 AM

PaulISdead
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in CHE they still never let me hydrocrack my own gasoline

9/17/2011 8:56:40 AM

ComputerGuy
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I think Durham has a place you can pay and go use their shit.

It costs a monthly fee...but it's worth it.

9/17/2011 9:24:39 AM

simonn
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Quote :
"I have a bachelor's degree in mathematics

this must be why I care about that shit"

i just meant your terminology. i can deduce what you mean by edge cases and corner cases, but fuck me if i've ever heard an engineer say that.

9/17/2011 3:41:10 PM

lewisje
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I picked up that shit in the CS classes I took

but those terms are def. used in engineering

9/17/2011 10:25:38 PM

Stein
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http://opendesignlab.net/

Quote :
"The goal of the OpenDesign Lab is to provide an environment for undergraduate students where individuals or groups can design, build, and test their ideas. There are no required courses, degrees of study, or other academic requirements besides being enrolled. We have basic equipment that any lab member can use. For example, oscilloscopes, variable power soldering iron, GSM capable function generator (for those phone projects...), and two IBM servers that are ready to be used. "

9/18/2011 9:06:28 AM

Krallum
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Not trying to flame OP like everyone else in here was, but I do projects on my own all the time. If you want to do extra, ask a professor if you can do undergrad research for them. You will be doing bitch work but odds are you will get access to a lab that you can use to do shit on your own.

and LOL at this forum

Quote :
"Line 10 should be at Gorman/Aileen Dr 11:07am according to the time table, but it never show up today! I wait from 11:00am to 11:20am. This is not the first time."

then walk fat ass

I'm Krallum and i approved this message.

9/19/2011 9:18:55 AM

BEAVERCHEESE
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Do they still offer MAE 495M? That was a pretty interesting class with a lab.

For the OP, have you considered taking some classes over at Wake Tech to get some machining experience?

If you think its bad at State, the VT grads I work with said they didn't even build their senior design projects, they just did it in CAD.

9/21/2011 11:21:43 AM

wdprice3
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^as did my class.

we couldn't really investigate, design, test, redesign, and construct a $20 million dollar project in 3 months.

9/21/2011 1:54:41 PM

simonn
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i don't think he was talking about civil engineering dude.

9/22/2011 3:15:00 PM

jtw208
 
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+1 on MAE495. i took it last year and there was lots of lab time

if you play your cards right you could TA for that class and have access to the shop whenever

but you might have to put up with J Tu

9/22/2011 4:09:15 PM

eleusis
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so you went into engineering expecting to learn how to do this shit I hire a high school / tech school graduate to do?

9/23/2011 7:38:21 PM

The Coz
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I don't think they should be mutually exclusive. I think the engineering thought process is even more effective with a technical / practical base.

9/25/2011 7:26:15 PM

ThePeter
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In my experiences at a job where we need metals machined and parts fabricated every day, I've never seen where knowing how to make a necessary piece of equipment improves my work. I just draw it out and give it to the tech.

About the only time where it becomes useful is when the tech is busy and I can do it myself...but at the same time, us research engineers are discouraged from doing this type of manual work since it costs more money for us to do it than the techs.

9/25/2011 7:57:48 PM

The Coz
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Not really. Aren't you salaried? I hate waiting on somebody to do something I could do twice as fast. What I'm getting at is more when it comes to designing for minimum cost or troubleshooting technical problems. You don't have to know how to run the machine shop, but if you understand the principles of machining, you can design things for minimum machining effort and cost.

9/25/2011 8:26:59 PM

CalledToArms
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agreed^

Knowing how stuff gets manufactured is very important when you are designing or specifying things that are going to be manufactured/fabricated. It doesn't necessarily even mean you need to know how to work the equipment, but understanding the general process can be very important.

9/25/2011 9:12:32 PM

Dr Pepper
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this is pertinent discussion (as I am an engineer by career and a fabricating sonofabitch just about every other waking hour - and it ULTIMATELY pays off as I am the most desired liason between the design department & our shop when it comes to knowing machinery limitations and our preferred fabrication methods)

However I think the jist of the thread is OP wants sommers to work on his own car/projects... which yes that's the best way to learn, however the thread seemed to veer off into "My university dont want to let me do my learnin, what good is this place for im spose to have a mickey-cannical engineerin' dagree"


or somethign like that

9/26/2011 8:16:31 AM

The Coz
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Haha. Interesting perspective.

9/26/2011 9:17:05 PM

ThePeter
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I bill hourly as a contractor. Thus if I spend two hours fabricating a part it bills our contract more than the tech to sppend two hours on it...assuming I can do it as fast as them (not likely).

Additionally, that's two hours I could spend doing actual engineering work - work that is actuallly worth engineer pay as opposed to paying me to do tech work. This isn't just my point of view either, its what we're told to keep in mind. Doesn't mean that I am not allowed to do it, just that it isn't an efficient use of billing hours. We are also a tiny company so there aren't a lot of people to go around.

Yes, knowing how to fabricate parts is great for designing parts, however if you're in there all the time after you are aware enough to design parts correctly AND you're confident in your fab shop being able to make pparts correctly, it isn't going to be an efficient use of time.

Likewise, sure, you can hire and pay an army of process engineers to man a manufacturing process, flipping switches and generally being system operators. However, the company could save so much more money and hire and train high school grads to do the same thing and have an engineer or two on duty to fix problems as they come up.

[Edited on September 27, 2011 at 12:14 AM. Reason : i think we are all saying the same thing lol]

9/27/2011 12:13:04 AM

BEAVERCHEESE
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Quote :
"In my experiences at a job where we need metals machined and parts fabricated every day, I've never seen where knowing how to make a necessary piece of equipment improves my work. I just draw it out and give it to the tech.

About the only time where it becomes useful is when the tech is busy and I can do it myself...but at the same time, us research engineers are discouraged from doing this type of manual work since it costs more money for us to do it than the techs.

"


IMO, I think engineers should know basic machining operations. I'm not saying you should be an expert, but at least know the basics. You can do a lot of shit in CAD that just simply cannot be machined. I think its important as engineers to know what you are asking that artisan to do.

9/27/2011 11:49:04 AM

Wolfmarsh
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Quote :
"IMO, I think engineers should know basic machining operations. I'm not saying you should be an expert, but at least know the basics. You can do a lot of shit in CAD that just simply cannot be machined. I think its important as engineers to know what you are asking that artisan to do."


I completely agree.

9/28/2011 12:30:56 PM

simonn
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you may or may not be aware that that's pretty different from what the OP wants to petition for.

9/28/2011 7:32:37 PM

factotum
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The October 13th Meeting of the Triangle Linux Users Group might be of interest. FabLab has all sorts of tools useful for making robotics parts: laser cutters, shopbot, PCB router, etc.

Topic: FabLab
Presenter: Drew Nelson
When: Thursday, October 13th, 7pm
Where: Red Hat HQ, NCSU Centennial Campus
Map: http://www.redhat.com/about/contact/ww/americas/raleigh.html
Permalink: http://trilug.org/2011-10-13/fablab

Drew will take us through the challenges and rewards of using Open
Source software at FabLab.

Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They
began as an outreach project from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms
(CBA). Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar
and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data
networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare,
custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.

10/1/2011 11:24:00 AM

d2fx
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Quote :
"
firstly, no one on this site is still in undergrad."


1. You're annoying.

2. I'm an undergrad.

10/7/2011 12:47:25 AM

mrfrog

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dude, your thread on the moodle (lol) site has 2 replies, and one of them was just this:

Quote :
""

10/7/2011 12:49:24 AM

paerabol
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Quote :
"Crest Road Fabrication"


10/18/2011 2:54:34 PM

Dr Pepper
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^

10/18/2011 5:23:01 PM

mfizzle
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<3 simonn and his logic. Also: undergrad here. Internet access is not limited to post-graduates.

Sweet logic though bro o/

10/19/2011 2:16:35 AM

simonn
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\o <3 u

10/19/2011 10:44:24 PM

wizzkidd
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jawhitak first off... welcome to Tdub, second... how the fuck are you a senior in ME and haven't done real work in the lab? I had more fucking machine shop time then I ever wanted my senior year. I ended up allergic to half the chemicals in Broughton Hall!

Also, woot for the new folks talking trash in Study hall... let's move this thread to Chit Chat where people will read it.

[Edited on October 20, 2011 at 10:32 PM. Reason : GFY]

10/20/2011 10:29:45 PM

NCStatePride
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We don't have "one fabrication shop" any more than we have "one computing center" (which we use to.... I have a punch-card from it sitting on my desk at work). The building across from Broughton and Cox had a water saw when I was doing my senior design project in aerospace. There are several goodies in Riddick Hall. The psych and education schools' building (the name escapes me) has a 3D (AKA, 'rapid prototype') printer.

There is a lot of stuff on campus, but if you're expecting a university of 33K students to have one machine shop where any of those 33K can just waltz in and use the building, that's simply impractical.

With regards to "you need to know those hands on lessons", let me tell you what project I just got off of. I was on a rapid prototyping project for a developmental system for the Navy. Everyone there was a fairly young college graduate in ABET-certified engineering (one of us had a masters in Systems Engineering from ODU), except for one guy. He had received a non-certified engineering degree (Mechanical Design and Engineering or something like that from Rochester Institute of Technology) but brought a ton of experience in welding. Welding definitely sits in that category of "you have to do it before you are any good at it". Despite all of his experience, we fabricated a custom-designed and custom-fabricated system with NO significant prior experience in a machine shop and that guy from RIT with all his experience was so incapable, he didn't even understand enough about our system to even know what metal to bend.

Knowing how to bend metal is 110% useless unless you know where the bend needs to be, how big it needs to be, what stresses it needs to take, what it is going to cause throughout the rest of the system, and what other pieces of metal will also need to be bent. That only comes as a result of all those calculations you cram in your brain.

[Edited on October 21, 2011 at 2:30 PM. Reason : Typical engineer... my spelling sucks.]

10/21/2011 2:29:50 PM

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