OM-compatible job at Cornell: MAE Teaching Support Specialist II

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Paul D. Fernhout

Jul 23, 2010, 3:39:48 PM7/23/10
to Open Manufacturing
Here is a vaguely open manufacturing "compatible" job item I just saw:
"Teaching Support Specialist II- Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering-12873"
The Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) is one of
the largest undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering. MAE has an
extensive experiential learning curriculum that includes 15 labs in 10
specialized instructional facilities. Over 500 students per year enroll in
the lab courses. Working with faculty and the instructional support team,
this position will provide technical and instructional support with
responsibilities including, but not limited to:
� Design, set up, maintain, repair and implement lab experiments in solid
mechanics, fluid mechanics, dynamics, controls, materials, electrical
circuits, and electronics.
� Supervise students and TAs in lab sections
� Provide direct instruction to students in lab sections
� Supervise and train faculty, students and staff on the safe and proper use
of lab equipment.
� Provide secondary support in the Emerson Manufacturing and Teaching Lab,
including, assisting in instructional support, training users (students,
staff, faculty, visitors) on the safe use of equipment in the lab,
conducting training sessions on the use of machine tools when needed. Help
maintain lab equipment and space in good working condition. Help supervise
student and temporary workers in the lab.
� Advise students, staff and faculty on projects and research-related
experiments, including consultation on the design and fabrication of equipment.
� Assist in design and fabrication of lab experiments and setups for the
instructional lab program.
� Evaluate software and hardware for inclusion in instructional facilities.
� Perform administrative duties related to the above.
Will occasionally be required to work evenings and/or weekends.
Bachelor's degree or equivalent in Engineering (Mechanical preferred). 3 to
5 years work experience. Previous experience in general machining. Must be
able to work with students and faculty in a positive, constructive manner,
be able to think creatively, work without substantial supervision and
determine priorities. Experience in an academic teaching environment and/or
demonstrated experience providing hands-on instruction. Excellent
communication skills and a desire to work with faculty and undergraduate and
graduate students are essential. Knowledge of advanced prototyping
techniques. Experience in the design and fabrication of experiments.
Knowledge of LabView, Matlab, Solidworks (and/or other CAD software).
Familiarity with EPA and OSHA regulations.

For any open manufacturing types, this is a way to keep your skills up and
help others learn how to make things and maybe encourage them on a path of
righteous licensing. :-)

I'd probably enjoy a job like that (kind of like when I ran the robot lab at
Princeton or a a computer lab at SUNY SB or even showed off some old tools
to people at a recent historical society event). I really like hands on
training and discussions. But I haven't touched a milling machine in years,
and even then, I don't have the kind of years of machining experience that
would really make someone a great match for this position, spending so much
time doing programming or electronics. So I doubt I'd get it in a down
economy with many machinists out of work -- nor should I, there are much
better matches out there to do do that work, who could walk in the door as
experts. I can think of someone like Ted Griffiths who ran the Physics
department machine shop at Princeton who formally taught me how to do
machining. Or my father, or my high school and junior high shop teachers, or
other people I have met, who are to me in machining and mechanical design as
I am in programming and software design to someone who only knows how to
"code" in HTML. :-)

While I'd have the people side of that job (years of consulting, and I do
like helping people succeed at making stuff and demonstrating stuff), I'd
have a lot to learn on the machining side and MAE side -- which of course,
is another reason why I would find it interesting as a day-job. :-) One of
life's ironies -- the people most interested in many jobs often aren't the
best qualified for them. :-)

No doubt part of the problem in filling a job like this is that you want
both a skilled educator/communicator and a skilled machinist. The gruff
machinist is such a stereotype, but not always wrong. :-) Although then
there are people like in demonstrating skills in this video:
"MIT Machine shop 1: Machining Skills for Prototype Development"

No doubt there might be some hands-on people on this list could be a great
fit for this job in terms of both people skills and machining skills. It
might possibly be a nice little niche from which to do various open
manufacturing things now and then while also having a big influence on the
next generation of engineers, while perhaps even contributing to some sort
of open engineering curriculum development?

Anyway, just passing this job along in case anyone wants a "compatible" job
in the general field of hands-on engineering education.

And no, Smari, I don't mean you, even if I'm sure you would be great at this
kind of job. Iceland needs you. :-)

I can guess there might be similar jobs now and then at other universities.
A while back I had posted another one from Cornell related to their
architecture department and 3D printing.

Back to dreaming about building a Red Dwarf scutter to sort LEGO and pick up
toys. :-)
Of course, mostly I want to program it, not build it (even though building
it would be fun, although it will cost real money and take tools I don't
have around, like lathes and mills and 3D printers, unless I send that stuff
out to emachineshop or 100K garages or wherever). Maybe I should start with
a cardboard model first, just to get a feel for what it could do and maybe
drum up some local interest? Someone is working towards a paper model of a
scutter and has put together three views, so that is a place to start:
They've made some impressive paper models of other Red Dwarf items, too:

See, that is the kind of project that I'd "sneak" in if I was running a MAE
lab facility like the one above at Cornell. :-) Teaching people how to use
tools by making each part of the Scutter "Space Mining Robot" would provide
a great cover story (or flimsy excuse :-) for liberating university
resources towards open manufacturing ends, and if it was funny enough and
non-commercial, I could hope most people in that department might not mind
too much about it? And it would provide material for a nice blog on the
project with open designs (although immediately one runs afoul of university
copyright and patent policy, so best to try to get an agreement up front on
that -- like all educational stuff made is open source?). So much of MAE
involves embedded processing these days that even the electronics and
software parts would fall under that idea too.

Anyway, just another example of my kind of win/win nefarious scheming. :-)

--Paul Fernhout
The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies of
abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity.

Paul D. Fernhout

Jul 23, 2010, 8:41:45 PM7/23/10
Paul D. Fernhout wrote:
> Here is a vaguely open manufacturing "compatible" job item I just saw:
> "Teaching Support Specialist II- Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering-12873"

I went to check that job description again and it looks like it is suddenly
not available through the system anymore, and after just one day up, too,
though I still had some pages on it open in my browser: :-)
Requisition ID 12873-

Teaching Support Specialist II- Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Organization-Mechanical & Aerospace Engr
Schedule-Full-time Level E
Work Locations
Job Posting:07/22/2010

Guess they found someone. :-)

It's not like there is any shortage of people with plenty of hands-on
manufacturing know-how in the USA looking for work :-( as reported in the
NYTimes last year, quoted here:
"And for those who like their meat fresh, there�s the option of urban
hunting. In Racine, Wis., a 51-year-old laid-off mechanic told me he�s
supplementing his diet by �shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them
stewed, baked and grilled.� In Detroit, where the wildlife population has
mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver is doing a
brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with
vinegar and spices."

BTW, here again are some answers I put together to the economic questions
posed by that article as well as posed by the impressive and continuing
success of all the advanced MAE robotics projects out there: :-)

Even without that staff job, Cornell still has an interesting department
from a robotics and open manufacturing perspective for students, between
some general robotics projects as well as the origination of Fab@Home and
continuing work on rapid prototyping (I'm not sure exactly where the
physical home of Fab@Home is anymore though?):

On an interwoven theme, anyone know any good YouTube Red Dwarf clips with
the scutters doing stuff? :-) I haven't been able to find any in casual
searching. The main Red Dwarf site has links to lots of video clips, but
none have images of scutters in the image for the clip that I noticed, and
it seems like I'd have to watch through each clip in hopes of seeing one.
Not something I would mind doing, except for time. :-)

"Robots, our new friends electric? EU plan for first machines with

What makes the scutters especially interesting to most people without a huge
amount of LEGO to sort or toys to pick up is their personalities. :-)

BTW, this is some rather funny text that I came across because it mentions
"STAR TREK (the next generation) MEETS RED DWARF"
(even with a probably accidentally repeated chunk of text in the middle.)

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