A block of metal with the words Machining Aluminum etched into it. Reid Drum

Machining Aluminum


Start Date





Collins Collins Basement (G-1)

End Date


Meeting Day




 Machining processes are traditionally used to create metal parts that require a high degree of precision. Our technological civilization could not have developed without them. This class introduces the student to the basic principles of machining in order for them to begin to create artworks that may require precise mechanical connections, objects that incorporate movement, or constructions that have the potential to be interchangeable with other machined components in order to generate unexpected, unintended meaning. 

Manual milling of aluminum on a Bridgeport and manual turning of it on a South Bend Heavy 10 lathe will introduce the student to machining principles which can then be put to use to create files that can be run on the CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) Mini-Mill and the CNC Slant 15 lathe. CNC machining often allows the beginning student to achieve a higher level of precision. 

A machining project that incorporates the use of the manual and/or CNC mill as well as the manual and/or CNC lathe is required in order to complete the course. This project can incorporate welded and cast aluminum components along with the machined element in order to demonstrate the ability of machining processes to seamlessly integrate various components of an artwork. 



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Reid Drum is Studio Manager for sculpture at MassArt, where he earned his MFA. He also holds a BFA from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.