Machine Tool Access

Mechanical Mentors Program

Since its inception lab64 has understood that building prototype systems necessitates occasional access to machine tools. To provide access to machine tools and machining expertise lab64 cultivated a relationship with the Stanford Physics Machine Shop (

HINT: The really impressive thing about the Physics Machine Shop isn't the gear, it's the machinists!

In order to facilitate access to machine tools, we started the Mechanical Mentor Program. Here's how it works:

  • The Physics Machine Shop offers, from time to time, classes in machine shop practice.
  • The classes are designed to teach enough expertise that one will be able to work in the student shop when the machinists are present.
  • After gaining enough experience that the machinists are comfortable letting you work independently you may be granted unlimited access to the student shop.
  • lab64 has provided funding for several students to attend the shop classes.
  • In return for tuition support, these students agreed to help other folks from lab64 with both mechanical design and machining expertise as long as they are at Stanford.

Folks that have been trained in this manner and can be asked to assist with machining projects are called MECHANICAL MENTORS.


  • Marion Lepert <>
  • Christina (Tina) Li <>
  • Matthew Trost <>
  • Nathan Staffa <>
  • Brett Harvey <>
  • Logan Herrera <>
  • Kirill Safin <>
  • Aman Sinha <>
  • Rebecca Wong <>
  • Charmaine Chia <>
  • Hye Ryoung Lee <>
  • Ifueko Igbinedion is now at MIT

How does this actually work?

  • There is a lab64 slack channel cleverly called mechanical_mentors and this is one way that you can request help with your project.
  • If you are not able to connect with a MECHANICAL MENTOR then you should contact Steve Clark (
  • EXAMPLE: I need a tapped hole in my thing-a-ma-jig!
    1. Make sure you know what you think you want. (For example, I want a M6x1.0 hole tapped through 0.396" from the end.)
    2. Make a sketch.
    3. Get on slack and ask for help.
    4. Connect with one of the MECHANICAL MENTORS and go to the shop.
    5. Serve as a "BUDDY" while the MECHANICAL MENTOR does your evil bidding.
    6. Smile as you admire your new tapped hole (OOH! AHH!)
    7. Say "THANK YOU!"

Does your job fit?

Some machining jobs won't fit our machine shop access model. Our goal is to facilitate rapid system prototyping, NOT train machinists.

    • If your job requires spending up to a few (no, really, a few) hours in the machine shop, then your job is a good match for our program and facilities.
    • If your job requires a significant amount of shop time (i.e., more than eight {8} hours) then we will help you solicit quotations for your job and find a shop the will provide your parts in a timely and cost effective manner.
    • We will pay for up to 24 hours of student shop time for your projects during any given quarter.
    • If you have access to PRL ( and you want to do your work there, no problem!