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Engineering Research Machine Shop

The Engineering Research Machine Shop in JHE-115 offers a large range of services to the McMaster community.

About Us

The Engineering Research Machine Shop in JHE-115 offers a large range of services to the McMaster community.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Engineering Research Machine Shop is divided in to two distinct areas, one of which is the main shop which operates on a cost recovery basis and the other part is the Student Machine Shop.

The main machine shop provides design consultation, precision machining, welding, fitting and assembly, mainly on prototypes, custom-designed parts and repair or modification of existing equipment. We work with a broad range of metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, tool steel, lead, copper and custom alloys as well as various other materials such as Teflon, Delrin, graphite, acrylic and polycarbonate. Our strength is our many years of experience in a jobbing shop environment both here at the university and also out in industry that enables us to provide quality machining as well as recommendations for design changes as needed during a project.

Work within the shop is done on a cost-recovery basis of time plus materials with our main customers being the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Science and the McMaster Nuclear Reactor; however we provide our services university-wide as well as to the McMaster Childrens Hospital, Innovation Park and CanMet.

The Student Machine Shop is open to all McMaster students who have taken the mandatory orientation session and is set up to assist them in projects related to their school work.

Full Machine Shop Services:

  • Repair and fabricate complex instruments
  • Perform standard machine shop functions (turning, milling, grinding and cutting material as well as CNC machining)


  • Electric stick welding (frames, strands, tables)
  • Tig welding (aluminum, stainless steel)
  • Vacuum welding
  • Gas welding (brazing, silver solder, soft solder)
  • Computerized orbital welding can be arranged in conjunction with the MNR 
  • Formal mechanical drawings are not required. We can work from sketches and instruction from the customer.

We also offer consultation on the design and construction of mechanical devices.

Our stores area offers a wide range of materials including: steel, aluminum, stainless steel, plastic and fasteners.

Equipment & Capability

Most of the work we do is of a prototype nature with much of the work being done from rough sketches therefore it is best suited for manual machining, however we do have one large CNC machine for more cost effective machining of repetitive parts and also complex machining procedures.

  • Two Hardinage precision toolmaker lathes
  • Colchester Student-1800 lathe
  • Dean-Smith lathe with tracer attachment
  • Large Mazak-24 lathe
  • Small Hardinge milling machine
  • Small Deckel milling machine
  • Elliot Bridgeport style milling machine
  • SuperMax milling machine with vertical & horizontal spindles
  • Maba Horizontal bandsaw
  • Trinco Shotblast machine
  • Elliot surface grinder
  • DoALL Tool & Cutter grinder
  • Brown Boggs power shear
  • Fadal CNC machining center
  • DoALL vertical bandsaw 

In addition to being licensed machinists, the personnel in the shop are also certified for welding.

  • Electric stick welding (frames, strands, tables)
  • Tig welding (aluminum, stainless steel)
  • Vacuum welding
  • Gas welding (brazing, silver solder, soft solder)
  • Computerized orbital welding

Student Machine Shop

The Student Shop is setup to assist students with simple machining and design projects. There are some limitations on the materials and/or machining procedures permitted for health & safety, as well as practical reasons, and is at the discretion of the supervisor.

  • Busy Bee lathe
  • Logan collet lathe
  • Small South Bend lathe
  • Ryder milling machine
  • Clausing positional drilling machine
  • Brown Boggs manual shear
  • Sheet metal brake presses
  • DoALL vertical bandsaw

Students must complete an orientation session in order to be able to use the shop.    Please visit the shop to sign up for a session.

For more information please contact:

Jim Cleaver

  1. Students must sign in and check with the supervisor prior to using the shop.
  2. Everyone using the shop, including helpers, must attend an orientation session.
  3. Students shall consult with the supervisor for the proper size and type of tool for the work.
  4. Machines and tools shall be cleaned after each use and all tools shall be returned to the appropriate storage area clean and in good condition.
  5. Damaged tools or equipment should be reported to the supervisor and taken out of service immediately.
  6. Floors shall be kept clear of scrap and excessive litter.
  7. Spills are a slipping hazard and shall be covered with an absorbent and then cleaned up.
  8. Work shall be mounted in a vise, clamp or holder whenever possible – consult with the supervisor for procedure on various materials and/or sizes.
  9. Edged tools shall be handled carefully and reported to the supervisor when damaged or dull so that they can be taken out of use and replaced or sharpened as needed.
  10. Machines must be fully stopped before taking measurements.
  11. Report to the supervisor any machines that need blade or tool changes.
  12. Cuttings and chips shall be removed by brushes or pliers, NOT by bare hands.
  13. Machine users shall not wear jewellery that may get caught in machines including but not limited to rings, chains, necklaces etc., etc.
  14. Long hair shall be tied up, long sleeves rolled up and no loose scarves, head coverings or gloves may be worn when operating machinery.
  15. Hearing protection is available upon request and may be worn when noisy machines are operating.
  16. Eye protection must be worn by all persons entering the work area – please use the safety glasses provided and return them to the box by the door when leaving.
  17. Contact lenses may not be worn in the shop – there is a serious health hazard regarding the use of them in the shop environment.
  18. Shorts should not be worn in the work area – some exceptions may be made by supervisor.
  19. The minimum required foot protection is a shoe that fully encloses the foot such as a running shoe or athletic shoe. No open toed shoes, open backed sandals or high heels are permissible.
  20. Compressed air shall not be used to clean tools, machines or persons, except when authorized by the supervisor.
  21. Persons shall not engage in horseplay or cause distractions to other shop users.
  22. All injuries and “near misses” shall be reported immediately to the supervisor.
  23. The supervisor shall have final authority over access to tools and equipment.