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
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
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
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

CNC milling
CNC milling

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.

Contact Us

4 Talbot Lab
104 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
+1 (217) 333-3515

Shop Hours:
8:00am to 4:00pm

Gregory S. Milner
Instrument Maker

Robert Park
Laboratory Mechanic

Dustin Taylor Burns 
AE Shop Supervisor