Students pursue self-led hands-on practice as a precursor to being involved in more significant activities. Photo by The Onion Studio.

Tinkering is the first step in the experiential learning continuum. Students pursue self-led, hands-on practice as a precursor to being involved in more significant activities.

Completing tinkering projects is a great way to build a foundation for future engineering endeavors.  

Design Studio

416 Bonner Hall

The Design Studio comprises a Reverse Engineering lab and the Innovation Annex.  The studio consists of a variety of tools, measurement devices and materials to support tinkering via product teardown, ideation and modification. Concepts can be implemented through the complementary tinkering spaces.

Reverse Engineering

A great way to start tinkering is with a reverse engineering project. Come to the Design Studio, work with your peers to teardown a product, and gain a better understanding of how engineering brings together innovative thinking and analysis to solve problems.

Reverse engineering will help you to build some fundamental engineering skills and inspire you to create – evolving the product to improve some aspect (e.g., change a component to improve performance or reduce cost) or radical modification (e.g., integrate a Raspberry Pi to make an Internet of Things device). 

To get started with reverse engineering and gain access to the lab, apply here. After you apply, schedule a meeting with  Dr. Olewnik  to review your proposal and get lab access.

We also suggest that you review the Reverse Engineering Getting Started Guide. To build the additional skills you and your team will need, consider the tinkering resources below.

Engineering Machine Shop

105 Jarvis Hall | Hours: Monday-Friday from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

111 Jarvis Hall | Extended Hours: Monday-Friday from 4:00 pm - 10:30 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

The SEAS Engineering Machine Shop is a great place to get started with Tinkering and the Experiential Learning Program Continuum. You will be using the Machine Shop throughout your four years at UB, so there is no better time to get accustomed to it than right now!

In general, the SEAS Engineering Machine Shop supports experimental research, student clubs and course requirements. Highly skilled staff provide technical support for faculty, staff and students.

However, before you can enter the machine shop, you must complete and pass the safety certification. More information regarding this orientation/certification can be found here.

The Engineering Machine Shop is the largest and most comprehensive shop on UB’s campus. The shop has recently been cleaned, painted and reorganized. It boasts a brand new CNC lathe and CNC milling machine, three new engine lathes with digital readouts, a TIG welder, a 3D printer, as well as a modern conference room. 

Tinkering Resources

Computer Aided Design (CAD) for Mechanical Engineering and Product Design

  • Autodesk AutoCAD  (2D and 3D CAD and drafting package)
  • Autodesk Inventor  (3D CAD environment)
  • Autodesk Fusion 360 (Complete engineering platform supporting CAD/CAE/CAM)
  • PTC Creo  (Paremetric modeling software)
  • SolidWorks  (Parametric modeling software used by many small to medium size design and manufacturing firms)
    NOTE: You will need to log in to access this software.

CAD for Structural Design and Civil Infrastructure

  • Autodesk Civil 3D (Civil engineering design and documentation solution that supports Building Information Modeling workflows
  • Autodesk Revit (Building information modeling software used by architects, structural engineers and MEP engineers)

CAD for PCB and Analog Circuit Design and Simulation

  • DipTrace (PCB design software for Windows)
  • EAGLE (Circuit design and schematic creation)
  • KiCad (PCD design, schematic capture, 3D Viewer)
  • idealCircuit (Analog circuit design and simulation)
  • Pad2Pad (PCB design software)

Embedded Systems and Microcontroller Prototyping Platforms

  • Arduino (buy online at Amazon, etc. OR come try one in the Design Studio)
  • Raspberry Pi (buy online at Amazon, etc. OR come try one in the Design Studio)

Software Engineering

There are numerous books and websites to help you get started coding with the languages below. We've linked to getting started resources…but do some research to find others to advance understanding.

How to Videos from Engineering Student Clubs

Soldering 101 with UB IEEE

Soldering 102 with UB IEEE

Welding 101 with UB ASCE