University/research machinists? Was "fishy fixture"

How many here are university research machinists/instrument makers? I
have been at Purdue University for 23 years. I'm curious about your
likes/dislikes, etc.
Randy
Reply to
Randy Replogle
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I interviewed for that type position. Didn't get the job. S'ok, I make more now, more challenging work and better machines than they had there.
They had nice benefits, though. Your kids get a scholarship, attractive wimmen around, etc.
Reply to
ff
Yeah, but on the first date, you gotta show up w/ a recent blood test, resume, portfolio/financials, BCI check, oh, and a transcript that better show a GPA > 3.5--or Mensa membership.. Oh yeah, and a proven track record of support of wimminsis rights.
Here in Yonkers, or in Brooklyn, to be a highly eligible bachelor, all's you gotta be is un-incarcerated.... yo.
I got so bored w/ Mensa, I started my own group. The IQ requirement is substantially higher than that for Mensa, and is geared more toward brite cranky people, w/ headaches, cramps, and generally poor dispositions. It's called Menses. -- Mr. P.V.'d formerly Droll Troll
Reply to
Proctologically Violated©®
I have thirty plus years at University of MI - Flint (Computer Science, Engineering Science, Physics Dept.). I have occasional academic duties, as needed (I hold a Master's degree in Physics), but mostly I'm Lab Supervisor and Shop Supervisor. As senior "Professional Staff" I make more than most junior (non-tenure-track) faculty, so there's not a lot of incentive to teach (unless I feel like it).
The pay is terrible by industry standards. The fringe benefits, however, are decent (good retirement, decent medical benefits, stable work environment, five weeks paid vacation, flexible hours, usually nice and/or interesting colleagues, interesting work with LOTS of variation, less 'pressure' than an industrial environemnt, etc.). Plus, working with the students is often very rewarding (and occasionally a 'pain'!).
The job requires self discipline and reasonable incentive, as you largely manage yourself. I have certain duties that I must perform in an established schedule ... how I do them, when I do each thing, relative priorities, etc., are largely mine to decide. It's good duty if making a lot of money is NOT your main goal.
Dan Mitchell ============
Reply to
Daniel A. Mitchell
You too? I found it tiresome to hang with a group of people who had, as the only thing in common, that they did well on a test.
I'm in.
Oh wait, I'm out. That group visits my home periodically and always leaves the place a mess.
Reply to
Dave Hinz
When I was close to graduating from college, an uncle asked me what I would like to do. I told him I thought the most interesting job would be working as a machinest in the engineering dept. of a univerisity. It was a short conversation. He was a stock broker.
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
I was talking with one of the machinists at UCI (University of California, Irvine) and he was telling me that one of the most interesting projects he ever worked on was a xylophone for elephants. It was to test their ability to learn or something. It turns out that you can't use low quality tubing with seams or it just breaks.
I think it wopuld be a fun place to work, with all sorts of different stuff comming through the door.
Reply to
jpolaski
Randy Replogle wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
I run (am) the "Scientific Instrumentation" shop for the Science Division at Macalester College in St Paul MN. I support the six departments in the division: Physics/Astonomy, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Math/Computer Sci, and Psychology/Neural Biology. Machine metal, sheet metal, welding, wood, plastic, electronics, lab glass, and some equipment repairs. (All computers , a mix of Macs and PCs, are handled by IT people...YES!) I'm 60, and have been doing this for 5 years. I can't think of any other job I'd rather be doing. Heck, they pay me to play! It stretches me every day, and I don't think I could do it without the internet and these newsgroups/forums. My "only" dislike would be "mass production" jobs, like making 75 identical 18"x24"x3" baltic birch rock trays for Geology. This sounds like a good student worker project? ;)
Reply to
Ken Moffett
In the college I worked at many years ago there was so much interesting research going on that today is being used in everyday life. I worked in the ee lab and was involved with a number of projects. The major one was the development of the plating processes that became the basis of making integrated circuits. Another project was the analysis of the failure of fuses. That one made a lot of noise when you pump a couple of thousand amps through a #36 fuse wire. The other project was developing the gallium arsinide diode, the led, We had the efficiency up to almost 3 percent, wow, we made them by hand. lapping in the gallium arsenide and mounting the chip in a 1N21 microwave diode housing with a cut in the side. The Chem lab was doing research on nuclear magnetic resonance and developed the basics of what is now your NMR.
The physics lab was working with plasma fusion, trying to get the temps up to start a fusion reaction.
The pay was bad but you weren't ever hassled. You were exposed to the leading edge technology of the time. We had a 40,000 dollar laser to play with. We made laser holograms and other interesting projects. The neatest thing was when you made a hologram and the actual object you made the hologram from was in place with the hologram turned on. You would remove the object but the image of the thing would stay in place. It gave you a feeling that something weird was going on because you knew you were moving the object but the image stayed in place.
Sometimes I wish I stayed there longer, in the early sixties.
John
Reply to
John
You mean, I believe, "what is now our *MRI*". They woulda kept NMR, but thought medically it would scare people. Medical marketing, donchaknow. More specifically, proton NMR. There's also C13 NMR, P sumpn NMR, mebbe even a cupla others. Altho not used as yet medically, afaik.
The low-pressure/low temp physicists and optics peeple had most of the machinig work, fwir. Vacuums used stainless, optics used aluminum. Some of the guys in the shop would fix my Satiday night specials for me--kept fukn jammin.... I tried to get'em to slug out subway tokens for me (it's a simple die, dudes.... c'mon.....), but they balked.
Yeah, University Life. Sorta a steep pyramid, perty good life for those at the top. But, like everywhere else, shit rolls down hill. God help you iffin you got a fukn hump as a dept. chairman. -- Mr. P.V.'d formerly Droll Troll
Reply to
Proctologically Violated©®
Wow, how do you keep up with all of that? Another guy and I just do Chemistry and we have plenty of work. I used to be a t the "central" machine shop on campus ( there are probably half a dozen shops) where there were/are six machinists and a weldor or two. They get work from the general campus and occasionally from various departments whose shops can't ge to it (everyone's in a hurry) or if it's beyond their capabilities.
Pay is average at best. Medical insurance is ok. The optional dental plan wasn't worth enrolling in. Vision plan is good. Retirement...yet to be seen. Overtime is rare. Raises are about 2% yearly. True merit raises are rare unless you get a/another degree or get a better job offer.
The work is usually interesting. I get to play with Autodesk Inventor, Mastercam, and CNC. I don't get much hassle but that sometimes borders on being ignored until there's a crisis. People are usually good to work with, however.
Randy
Reply to
Randy Replogle
Randy Replogle wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
Randy,
I'm at a small (1900 students), private, expensive ($39,000/year), college (no graduate school). The staff and faculty are very aware of the limitations of a one-man shop, and respect my attempts to balance the load of all six departments. If I can't do something for what ever reason (time or talent), I can farm it out. I periodicly send jobs to the Physics Machine shop, the Chemistry Glass shop or the campus sheetmetal shop at the University of Minnesota. I even have time to spend with students on personal (non-academic) projects. The people I work for feel that this gives these students an experience like no other college.
Ken
Reply to
Ken Moffett
The profs. knew that they were at our mercy. Almost all of them had no common sense as to how to set up the project. If they gave us a lot of crap they were on their own. Some of them were pretty good and we worked with them as much as we could. They were scared of me. I had a cart with a car battery on the bottom and a jacobs ladder type spark generator on the top. We had a lot of idle time. I also made an am radio with no chassis hanging from a string, just parts soldered together. I was also making only two dollars an hour.
John
Reply to
John
D%&$! Wish we had a few fellas like you guys around here. Unfortunately the colleges around me are full of pre-law and English majors. :-(
Reply to
Glenn Ashmore
32 years now here at St. Andrews. Dislikes: production runs/copies of original apparatus. One-offs are much more fun. Likes: (and this is the main thing that's kept me here all these years) Variety. Practically every week I come into work I'm doing something different - painting, plumbing, woodwork, metalwork, machining, electronics, programming... I've sure never been bored working here! Cheers, Pete.
Reply to
Pete Wilcox
Where is St. Andrews? I don't have that much variety, just Cad/Cam, manual and CNC machining, soldering and tig welding, consulting, and the day to day operation of the shop . The Chemistry dept. has it's own support group including glassblowing, electronics, IT, and machine shop. Randy
Reply to
Randy Replogle
Heh. Fife, Scotland. Where we invented golf. BTW, fergot to mention the odd welding job, glassworking, ceramics... variety is indeed the spice of life! Cheers, Pete.
Reply to
Pete Wilcox
Pete Wilcox wrote in news:Pine.GSO.4.60.0602151335130.25497@squire:
Yup, it's the varity that keeps you goin'. Yesterday I was gluing 1.3 billion year old sea-bottom rippled sandstone back together (Yes, I was fixing rocks!). Today I was making mounts to fasten a 20 foot pterosaurus wing (that's one wing) to a display wall. Tomorrow, I have to figure out how to stabilize a translation table mounted cryostat in a research laser system. I know for some people it's becoming the best welder or machinist or programmer or whatever they can. And, I count on them being out there for some of my jobs. But, I "need" new kinds of challanges to get me up in the morning.
Reply to
Ken Moffett
Reminds me to get some super glue......I noticed a bone fell off my Stegosaurus .
Regards Daveb
Reply to
Anonymous
snip------
I know for some people it's becoming the best welder or machinist
When you work in the trade, as I did, the only challenge left once you've mastered the functions you're assigned is to get good--------better than everyone around you, really. I specialized in getting it right, and fast. Without that challenge, I'm not sure I could have faced the machines for as many years as I did. I reveled in the day when I had someone working opposite me that thought they could outwork me. It brings the best out of anyone with pride, and often surprises you how good the "opponent" is. Mind you, I'm talking about running manual machines only.
Harold
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos

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