Procedures & Policies
Guidelines for users of the EOAS/Oceanography Shop Facility
I. What The Shop Does
The shop is equipped primarily as a machine shop. Shop personnel can work with most metals and those plastics with good machining properties (e.g. acrylic). There is some capability for welding, sheet metal work, and woodworking. Within these limitations, the staff tries to build almost anything. Some examples include, air samplers, water samplers, sediment samplers, incubation chambers, and laboratory filter holders.
Because the faculty’s need for work usually exceeds the ability of the shop to provide it in a timely manner, the Shop Committee has decided that we must decline to construct objects that are available commercially. One exception to this rule in the past has been when a case could be made that a large amount (many hundreds of dollars) of money could be saved by having the shop build an article. If there is a disagreement between a faculty member and the shop supervisor about the appropriateness of a job, the matter will be referred to the Shop Committee for a decision.
II. What the Shop Does Not Do
The oceanography machine shop personnel can perform technical engineering or design work, however you may need to have a professional shop create “blue-print” drawings of some items. However, they can evaluate the suitability of proposed jobs and make suggestions about ways to improve designs for manufacturing purposes.
The machine shop does not manufacture large numbers of identical items. However, the machine shop supervisor can evaluate these jobs and suggest alternate sources for accomplishing that type of work.
The shop does not have the tools or the expertise to repair most types of scientific instruments, but feel free to ask. If we think we can do it, we will be happy to put you in the queue. The shop is not equipped to do electronics work. The staff can do some simple wiring. Ask if you are unsure.
Only the University’s maintenance department can make structural changes to the building.
The shop staff do not constitute a labor crew. The university has people hired to move things, and the departmental secretary will help you arrange for them to come.
III. Who We Work For
All projects done by the shop must be sponsored by a faculty member in the Department or by the Department itself. The list of sponsorships is reported each year to the department chair and is available from the Shop Committee chair. Among other things, this policy means that any work done for graduate students is “charged” to their major professor.
Since the machine shop’s function is to meet the needs of the department faculty, only rarely will jobs be accepted from outside the department. However, outside-unit job requests that will be considered must originate only from persons within Florida State University. This restriction is a consequence of State of Florida laws regulating personnel comp-time and outside employment rules. The Shop Committee will evaluate outside-unit job proposals.
IV. What It Costs
Shop personnel are on state lines, so there are no hourly charges for their time. The department contributes money each year to cover expendables and larger amounts from time to time when something large wears out. Faculty members are expected to ORDER AND PAY FOR THE MATERIALS used in the project and to cover the costs of expendables (e.g., saw blades, drill bits) that 2
are substantially used up in the course of the work. Clients should always buy more than the bare minimum of materials, because there needs to be some leeway for the occasional mistake in design or execution. Lack of materials can cause major delays. Also, buying extra creates stocks in the shop. If a special tool is necessary for your work or would substantially decrease the time required to do your work, the Shop Committee’s policy is that the faculty member should buy it.
V. How To Use The Shop
The basic policy is to take small- and medium-sized jobs (see below for definitions) in the order in which they enter the queue. Large jobs present special difficulties. The Shop Committee has decided that no more than one staff member may work on a large job if there is other work to be done. As a consequence, large jobs require very long (years) lead times and great forbearance on the part of all parties. Faculty need to keep this constraint in mind when writing proposals.
Project control: To submit a job or to begin discussions that will eventually lead to the submission of a job, speak to the shop supervisor. Only the shop supervisor can accept a job; he controls what work gets done and when. When a job is accepted, the shop supervisor will want to know to which faculty member it is to be credited and any deadlines for completion of the job. Feel free to come and talk about design issues anytime. If the staff is struggling to meet a deadline, we will ask you to come back.
Design stage: The shop staff will be glad to help with designing your project. This help can be as comprehensive as you need. If you can produce mechanical drawings, fine. If all you have is a sketch, that is fine too. The staff can advise on materials, ways to make your device work better, and ways that it can be done cheaper or faster. As soon as you can, give the shop supervisor a piece of paper with your request in its final form on it. However, you are still not in the queue.
Ordering materials: The staff will help you locate suppliers if you need it and work with you on specifications, however ordering materials is primarily the responsibility of the faculty member. When your materials arrive, you enter the queue. The shop supervisor keeps a list of work in progress. It is a public document.
Fabrication stage: Demand for shop services varies from busy to unbelievably busy. As a consequence, work must be scheduled in advance. Scheduling priorities are a bit of a balancing act. We may not be able to predict with accuracy when the work ahead of yours will be done.
If you have a deadline, you should start negotiations as soon as possible. Bring the shop into the planning process when the proposal is being written, and keep the shop informed as things progress.
If we made it and it is wrong or breaks because we made a mistake, we will repair or replace it as a priority item. The correction work may not start immediately if your need is less than the need of the client whose work is in progress. After a device is built, and you realize that you made a mistake or simply have come up with a better idea, you revert to the end of the queue.
If you think that your work is needed sooner than someone ahead of you on the schedule, feel free to talk it over with them. The shop supervisor will not alter the schedule unilaterally. If you can arrange a shift in order, that is fine, but the shop supervisor will require a written note from the party who is agreeing to change places with you. Note you are not simply getting in front of the person; you and they are changing places in the schedule. 3
Scheduling unhappiness that can not be sorted out between the shop supervisor and the client will be referred to the Shop Committee for a final decision.
VI. Other Services
The shop lends small tools on an overnight basis. Check with one of the staff and sign the tool out. If you lose or damage the tool, you will be expected to supply a replacement.
We may be able to repair broken furniture.
We service vacuum pumps.
VII. Emergencies (That Is, Fast Responses.)
Research projects, cruises, classes, airline reservations, etc. are planned and scheduled in advance. Failing to make arrangements well in advance for equipment fabrication is bad planning. Include the shop in your planning, and you will probably get what you need. If you created the emergency, we will try to help, but may not be able to. If the shop caused the emergency, we will do everything that we can to remedy the situation.
Bad luck (and Murphy’s Laws) will not enable your job to bypass the queue and prevent someone else from getting what they have been promised and are planning on. The shop has a small staff and may not be able to provide fast responses or immediate service.
VIII. Job-Size Definitions
“s” Small Job. A small job can be done by one staff member in one day or less.
“m” Medium Job. A medium job can be done by one staff member in one week or less.
“l” Large Job. Any job requiring more than one staff-week.
IX. Job Categories
“f” Facility (something for the building)