Interactive 360-degree Lab Tour
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Material Removal and Forming Processing Lab
In the Material Removal and Forming Processing Lab students exercise the fundamentals of metal cutting. Students in Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering, as well as Plastics Engineering, Engineering Technology, Technology Education and Industrial Design, have classes in the lab.
You'll receive hands-on training, learning the elements of sheet metal to design and build machinery parts, and to become effective, well-rounded engineers. The main machines used in the lab are engine lathes and vertical mills. You'll also use hand tools to practice metal cutting and design.
Welding Processes Lab
UW-Stout's Welding Processes lab provides hands-on training for students in the Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Technology or Technical Education degrees.
"The best way to learn is hands-on,” said Chase Kirby, a Mechanical Engineering major. "You can only learn so much in the classroom. We're taught the basics in the classroom, then we have demos in the lab and try out our skills. To know how a thing is put together gives you a better understanding of it as a whole."
Beginning with safety practices, you'll learn to set up the machines and the welding processes each machine is capable of producing. These include GMAW, SMAW, and TIG welding. Skills necessary in multiple settings, from manufacturing shops to farm-equipment repair, are practiced and mastered in the Welding Processes Lab. You'll also learn about design considerations and the process of building.
Foundry & Metal Casting Lab
The Foundry and Metal Casting lab provides you with access to the most common tools and techniques used in the foundry industry. Students in several programs, including Manufacturing Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Engineering Technology experience first-hand the topics of casting design, molding, melting and pouring of liquid metal, and testing mechanical properties of metals.
The lab houses an induction furnace for melting metals, and two sand mullers to mix sand, clay, and water. You'll have access to a collection of patterns for castings, flasks (metal containers for molding sand), and a wide variety of small hand tools for molding and pattern design.
Materials Testing and Metallurgy Lab
The Materials Testing and Metallurgy Lab is one of the busiest classrooms in Fryklund Hall, hosting hundreds of students every day of the week. Its unique configuration makes the transition between lectures and hands-on activities seamless. Engineering courses held in the lab are Metallurgy, Introduction to Engineering Materials, Manufacturing Process Engineering, Mechanics of Materials, and Joining and Casting Methods.
Engineering students in these courses gain hands-on experiences with equipment including hardness testing equipment for metals and tensile, compression, and torsion testing machine for metals, polymers, and ceramics. Students also practice preparation of metallurgical samples and use heat treatment furnaces and quench tanks of metals. The lab has light optical microscopy with computerized image analysis, metrology equipment including a coordinate measurement machine and an optical comparator, and impact testing machines for metals and plastics.
Ceramics and Powder Metallurgy Lab
The Ceramics and Powder Metallurgy lab offers engineering students the opportunity to learn first-hand how to make objects from metallic and ceramic powders. The lab is used mostly by three classes: Metallurgy, Introduction to Engineering Materials, and Manufacturing Process Engineering.
You'll prepare samples using the powder metallurgy and composite manufacturing techniques. A fine metal powder is compacted with a hydraulic press into a flat cylindrical sample. You'll learn how variables, such as compaction pressure and sintering temperature, affect the strength of the object.
“This lab helps me understand how metals react under certain conditions," said Paula Garcia, a Mechanical Engineering major. “When I design a product, I’ll know the properties of the materials I’m using and how I can make it better.”
The lab has many machines including three hydraulic presses for compaction and a tube-type resistance furnace for sintering. There is a high-precision digital scale for accurate mass measurements of samples, a dilatometer for measurement of thermal expansion of materials, and an extruder for rectangular ceramic samples. There is a mixing chamber for powders, a micro-sieve analyzer for fine powder, a low-speed diamond saw, and a microhardness tester.
Computer Assisted Design Lab
The Computer Assisted Design Lab provides hands-on CADD instruction necessary to be successful in the world of mechanical design. You'll learn how to model objects in 3D space using SOLIDWORKS and CAD (computer-aided drafting software).
“We get weekly assignments that specify different design methods," said Baylee Furrer, a Packaging junior, currently in the course. "We also are given a semester project where we each get to choose an assembly ourselves and design it in SOLIDWORKS. We measure, model, and create an animation of our assembly. Right now, I’m building a 1/4-gallon caulk gun."
This lab contains some of the most powerful computer workstations on campus, which are appropriate for the mechanical design tasks students accomplish. Working with these powerful computers allows students to work more efficiently than on their laptops. Tutors are available in the afternoons and evenings.
"I've become aware of how complex all three-dimensional things in our world are," Anna Gray, a Packaging junior, said. "I've learned a lot about how to visualize 3D objects in my mind to properly model them with the SOLIDWORKS software. It is a great place to work on projects and homework for engineering graphics classes."
The Robotics Lab is where students in the Mechanical Engineering program complete their Capstone Projects. You'll write and execute automated programs to learn the intricacies of how robots function. The lab houses DNSO and FANUC robots. You'll have the opportunity to practice your programming skills in automated assembly.
"Seniors in their Capstone demonstrate their hands-on experience to the public during tours for prospective engineering students," explained Lab Assistants Moud Almatrafi and Yousif Buhlaiqah. "They instruct on the functions of the laser engraver and visitors may then create a keepsake by engraving their name on a pen or keychain."
Phillips Medisize donated several machines in the Robotics Lab, including a laser engraver. Open lab time is available through sign-up when students may practice their programming and assignments. A lab assistant or instructor is always available.
Apparel Production Lab
The Apparel Production Lab is home to all Apparel Design and Development first-year construction courses.
"A lot of creativity happens here," said freshman Jordan Carpenter. "Both our classes and labs are held in this one space. In class, we learn the different ways to sew; how to hem, make buttonholes, and learn the terminology. In the lab, we get to put it all to practice. We start by making items based on patterns provided and follow specific guidelines. We've made tote bags, pants, skirts, and button-up shirts."
One recent project by Stout apparel students was to produce therapeutic weighted vests designed for special needs students at one Minnesota school district. Apparel students researched and designed the vests, consulting with the school district’s occupational therapist. Fifty weighted vests, which have a calming effect for people with anxiety, were donated to the school district, saving them thousands of dollars. The fashionable yet functional vests were produced in multiple sizes and were made so children wearing them could move and participate in school activities. The Apparel Production Lab truly benefits the communities around Stout and is invaluable to apparel students.
Controls & Instrumentation Lab
The Controls and Instrumentation Lab at UW-Stout is used by junior and senior engineering students in all disciplines. Controls and Instrumentation, and Fluid Mechanics are major courses that utilize the lab. Students learn industrial control systems starting with basic wiring and schematic reading to understand the underlying logic of a machine programming process, then move on to industrial sensors along with fluid power principles. Students finish with a Programmable Logic Control (PLC) course where they program a machine operation on their own and have the opportunity to wire it on trainers to see how the program runs in real life.
Students work on different equipment in the lab, including an operator training station. The station has a Rockwell Automation platform of programmable logic controllers and human-machine interfaces. Students also have access to industrial sensors, temperature control trainers, safety device trainers, servo motion trainers, stepper motor trainers, variable frequency drive trainers, along with fluid power trainers, and electro-mechanical trainers. UW-Stout is always improving the space with the creation of new lab trainers or new equipment.
"This space gives students a fully immersed learning experience with the use of the flipped classroom," said Professor Paul Craig. "Scheduled class time is composed of mostly lab work and very little in-person lecture. This space gives the students hands-on learning experience."
Ian Hall and Jordan Roessler, seniors in the Mechanical Engineering program, agreed the Controls and Instrumentation Lab has been invaluable to their studies. “We benefit from the space because we are able to see all aspects of a lab or project," Hall and Roessler said. "This lab offers the ultimate way to perform hands-on learning, and is a very open and collaborative environment."