My kisses are sort of limited to...well, female human things. -Claudio
Question #90711 posted on 01/09/2018 6:32 a.m.


I was wondering if in all your omniscient powers you might be able to help me. I’m starting to study engineering and I want to be better at building things by hand by myself. (Un)Fortunately on group projects so far that have required the use of the project lab, the men in my group valiantly took on the burden of using all the power tools themselves, lest my weak female self wouldn’t be able to handle the task. ????
I would like more experience and practice working with as learning about the machines in the project lab, so I’m asking to see if any of you know about a class that teaches students how to use these machines for projects.

-The Artist Engineer

If you feel so inclined, perhaps you could tell me about other fun classes that involve more hands on design projects, even if it’s not necessarily something that would require the extensive use of the projects lab...


Dear you,

Sorry, I've been the one who held this over 968 hours, 868 of which were superfluous.

I got in contact with my friend who studied Industrial Design. Here's what she said in response to your question.

The TEE (Technology and Engineering Education) and INDES (Industrial Design) majors have several lower tier open enrollment and professor admitted prototyping classes which specialize in minor fabrication. There is also the "Intro to 3D sculpture for non-majors" (I can't remember which actual department it is in) which covers everything from wood, ceramic, and stone, to hardcore metalworking in light digestible doses—which introduces a myriad of tools. Handheld power tools to industrial shop tools in a safe setting. I would highly recommend them.
Also, see if they are aware of the Industrial Design program, an "Artist Engineer" would be right at home.
I poked around a little bit, and Art 104: Introduction to Sculpture for Non-Majors seems to match the 3D sculpture class she described.

If you want to get in touch with more industrial designers (expediently, of course) email me at and I can help you connect with people.

--Ardilla Feroz
P.S. The Art 104 class currently has 63 people in the waitlist, but the waitlist will disappear entirely in a couple of days, meaning you likely stand an excellent chance of just adding the class on the last day or two of class registration as a couple of people drop out of the class for different reasons... and no one replaces them. See a little bit more about how to pull off this class registration-sniping technique in Board Question #89912. Will it work? Maybe not... but maybe. 

Dear Really Cool Person,

I was talking to a friend about this and she said that she had very good experiences with the student projects lab in the Clyde Building Basement. She didn't know how to use a tool so she asked the lab supervisor and he showed her how to use it. The lab is open from 8am-5pm weekdays, and you can schedule specific tools, and even TA's! (Here's the scheduling link) You don't have to just take my word for it. Here's a quote right off the lab website:

"The TA’s in the CB 150 Projects Lab stand ready to help you build your class, club, capstone, research, and personal projects. Nick Hawkins, lab supervisor, wields awesome experience in assisting with the most complex projects."

So head on over to the student project lab room 150 in the Clyde Building. They'd be happy to help. Hope this helps, and happy machining!




Dear Artist Engineer,

One great way to get some lab experience while also getting to do some fun projects is to take the ME 191 seminar. Back in the day, before I found the true field of engineering (known as civil engineering), I was considering mechanical engineering and took this seminar (admittedly, this was some time ago, so I'm not sure if the curriculum is the same). A large part of this class was learning how to use the projects lab, and required students to make a pen out of a tube of metal. We also had a group project where we had to make a useful item out of card stock and tape. My group made a fully functional backpack.

The CE 101 seminar also has a few hands on design projects, such as building a balsa-wood bridge.

Of course, if you are already starting in engineering, there's a good chance you've taken these classes. If not, they're both 0.5-1 credit hour classes that give some great experience.

As a side-note, may I just take this time to apologize on behalf of all male engineers who dominate lab projects when female engineers are involved? I'm always so impressed by the women in my field. We need more of you!