Though I posted photographs taken in UC Berkeley’s machine shop before, I keep coming back to its complicated-but-calming tools and machines. The sense of decades-old purpose and function in this lathe sprouts from every scratch and dent.
Berkeley’s machine shop really is one of my favorite places–so much so that I keep posting on it. It’s so unlike the world of modern consumer technology, and simultaneously so integral to accomplishing much of my scientific work, that I can’t help but feel an attachment.
Today’s shot features one of the enormous lathes that take up the majority of the space in the shop. Every control is manual, mechanical, and enormously satisfying to actuate. Once it’s up and running, the amount of kinetic energy is pretty intimidating.
UC Berkeley’s student machine shop has a truly fascinating collection of old machines that are still fantastically useful. (I’ve posted on it before.) This particular photograph is of a lathe’s controls–both those for moving the tool bit relative to the metal as well as those for the automatic feeds.
When everything I work with in the laser lab is computer-controlled, it’s refreshing to work with a machine that works entirely from a clever design of gears and cogs. There’s a solidity and strength in a device that is completely independent of interference from microprocessors.