'Ready to cut metal': Baja SAE students get experience in machine shop

February 22, 2018

Students work with John Miller in Taylor Hall machine shop to create a wax prototype for a brake pedal.

“There’s a cohort of students who are very interested in manufacturing,” says Chris Muir, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Count Marial Gutierrez  ’19 and Gilead Biggie ’18 among them. The two mechanical engineering students are also team leaders for, respectively, usability design and drivetrain for the student Baja SAE organization – in which students design and build an off-road vehicle to compete against other universities.

 They appreciated the opportunity recently to work with John Miller, senior laboratory engineer who directs the machine shop in Taylor Hall. Under Miller’s supervision, they used a numerical control cutting machine to create this wax prototype of a brake pedal  – designed by Gutierrez and programmed by Biggie -- for this year’s off-road vehicle. 

The wax prototype allows students to be sure that the finished aluminum piece will properly fit on the vehicle, and that the program for cutting it “does what it is supposed to,” notes Muir, who is faculty advisor for Baja SAE.

“Now we can cut metal.”

The team, which recently moved into new quarters in Taylor Hall, is hoping to raise enough funding to compete in three competitions this spring. Learn more here.

The wax prototype for the brake pedal.