Recognizing that most science graduate students have little or no formal training in machine tools or mechanical design, Boston University has initiated the Student Training Center, which is a resource for graduate students and others within the Boston University Scientific Instrument Facility. In order to investigate new avenues of research, as a scientist you will often need specialized equipment, which will not be available off the shelf. You will have to design it, and either have it built, or build it yourself. You will need to know something about design, and about the function of a modern CNC machine shop, to do this effectively.

We offer a 54 hour course, (MWF 10-12, for 9 weeks), as an introduction to the basics of drafting, computer design, and the hands on use of machine tools, including Bridgeport milling machines and the metal lathe. The course runs once per semester, and once during the summer, and consists of:

  • 1 week of intensive drafting
  • 2 weeks of safety and training on individual machines, including the mill and the lathe
  • 1 week introduction to Solidworks, parametric design software
  • 1 week designing a project using Solidworks
  • 1 more week on the mill and lathe
  • 3 weeks building the project designed in Solidworks.

We meet MWF 10-12.  The course was designed primarily for graduate students, but is also open to staff and/or basically anyone with a BU e-mail address. There is no cost for the course, and no credit given.

At the completion of the course, the student will be competent in basic manual machining and will have a much better understanding of how to design a project in such a way that it can be built for a reasonable amount of time and money.

The design sense that we intend to convey is as important as the hands on machining training.  Graduates of the course will be able to use the shop, by appointment, when necessary for small modifications to their own scientific projects.