Five faculty members are working together to pursue funding for a robotic system capable of precisely milling three-dimensional forms at a large-scale.  In recent years, designers, engineers, and artists have begun to use robotic milling systems in their workflow in a variety of industries.  Acquiring this system for our university would enhance faculty research, present unique pedagogical opportunities for our students, and serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary collaboration.

To offer just a few examples, students and faculty would use this system to:

  • Create streamlined vehicle bodies that would enable engineering students to test aerodynamics
  • Produce complex sculptural forms that would be inconceivable with traditional art-making techniques
  • Fabricate product prototypes that would be used by marketing students to better understand consumer preferences
  • Build lightweight stage props and scenery elements for theater productions

This robotic milling system would also serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary and cross-college collaboration. Students and faculty from Engineering, Art & Art History, Theatre & Dance, and The School of Management would converge to utilize the milling system for vastly different purposes, which would create a dynamic environment of intellectual exchange.  For example, an engineering student could: learn about aesthetics by working with artists, consider the market viability of their own project in a new light after interacting with a student studying product design, or directly observe how the principles they’re learning about in their engineering courses are being practically applied in theater stage design. We believe that this milling system would bring together educational silos and act as an extraordinary platform for interdisciplinary education.

The group pursuing funding for this equipment consists of: Nathan Siegel from the Mechanical Engineering Department, Seth Orsborn from the School of Management, Heath Hansum from Theatre & Dance, Steven Shooter from the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Joe Meiser from Art & Art History.