Scroll down to listen to the podcast with Rick Rickerson.
Rick Rickerson is in charge of the machining lab at Purdue’s Northwest Indiana campus in Hammond. In today’s podcast he talks about why he loves his job. “It’s all about students” he says. His passion for teaching beams throughout the interview.
Rick has been doing this job for 14 years. His department has a half-dozen South Bend lathes (now made in Utah), but the students gravitate to the Haas VF-2 vertical machining centers.
The part of his duties that really gets the students’ juices going is the Purdue Northwest racing team. Every year students all over the country build a Baja-type racing buggy with the same Briggs and Stratton engine. They build it from scratch and are responsible for every nut, bolt and weld. Thousands of hours go into the preparation for two races in the spring presided over by SME judges. The preparation is strenuous, and the races are exhausting for the students and Rick, but he loves it. The judges grill the student builders and racers about the vehicles. Once they get on a track the buggies invariably break down, and the kids have to rebuild them on the spot. It’s a fantastic learning experience.
Question: Is building a Baja-type racing buggy from scratch a good way to learn machining?