Precision Machining

Equipped with both conventional and computer-controlled machines, Aerospace Engineering shop staff members produce precision pieces for research and instruction. Some of the equipment and sample pieces include:

Wire EDM

Sodick wire-EDM

Sodick wire-EDM

A Sodick wire-EDM is used to cut intricate parts out of any electrically conducting material, regardless of material hardness. The acrynom EDM stands for electrical-discharge machining. The shop also has a Hansvedt plunge-type EDM.

Some example projects follow ...

Cutting  a disk

Cutting a disk

A 400 mm (16-in.) diameter disk is being cut from a 25 mm (1 in.) thick 4340 steel plate in the wire EDM. Pieces up to 200 mm (8 in.) thick can be cut by a fine brass wire, through which a current is passed to ablate the material with minimal kerf.

EDM cut material

EDM cut material

This intricate piece for a wind tunnel was fabricated from a single piece of stock using the AE Machine Shop’s wire EDM.

CNC Mills

The AE Machine Shop has several computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling machines, including this Southwestern Industries TRAK 3-axis (XYZ) model with an 1800 mm (72-in.) table.

Some example projects follow ...

Boring and shaping operations are straightforward with the 3-axis CNC, even on large pieces, such as this pullbar for a large tension load cell.

O-ring grooves were cut in this 1000 mm (40-in.) diameter steel washer using the 3-axis CNC mill.

CNC lathe

A Southwestern Industries TRAK CNC lathe in the AE Machine Shop allows intricate turned pieces, such as this spherical-seat swivel washer.

Conventional lathes

A Clausing-Colchester lathe capable of taking stock up to 2 m (6 ft) long is available for turning large pieces, such as this tensile specimen for an undergraduate class demonstration. Several smaller, high-precision Hardinge, Clausing, and Colchester lathes are also available for fine work.

Other equipment

The AE Machine Shop also has a large radial drill press (shown here), other drill presses, Marvel and DoAll bandsaws, a horizontal mill, a surface grinder, a sheet metal shear, dividing heads, and many other pieces of specialized tooling and equipment for general machining and fabrication.