(WACO, Texas) – As the boundaries are pushed in manufacturing, it is critical to do so in a way that is mindful of the environment. Texas State Technical College’s Precision Machining Technology program continues to look for sustainable ways to teach students.
The program at the Waco campus has been working to be more sustainable for the last five years.
“For us, reusing and recycling materials helps save money,” said Jeremy Bailey, lead instructor in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program at the Waco campus. “The program has to buy all of these materials and tools, and saving that money means we can put it into things other than material items.”
Bailey said the program reuses aluminum, brass and wax. The program’s steel is sent off for recycling. The program’s lab space in Waco has four shelving units filled with spare parts for students to experiment with.
Students save scrap aluminum in buckets. Eventually they will don thermal gloves, protective aprons and helmets to melt down the aluminum in a furnace as part of a class project.
Brass is the most expensive material that the program uses, Bailey said.
Students use wax to learn the process of making parts.
“Wax is easier on the tools,” Bailey said. “They learn how to use it, and it builds their confidence.”
The Precision Machining Technology program at TSTC’s East Williamson County campus began its sustainability efforts last fall.
Students reduce the amount of scrap materials by using SOLIDWORKS and Mastercam computer-aided design software to create prototypes for specific parts on a 3D printer. Students learn how to use both software programs while at TSTC.
Apolinar Ruiz, lead instructor in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program at the East Williamson County campus, said students use plastic stock donated by an area company to test designed parts.
“Measure twice, cut once,” he said.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology, certificates of completion in Machining and Precision Machining Technology, and an occupational skills achievement award in Basic Machining. The program is available at the East Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.
Registration continues for the fall semester at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu.