Instrument Shop

Mechanician operating milling machineThe Instrument Shop builds, modifies, and repairs custom scientific instrumentation for faculty and students at The University of Alabama. 

The facility uses standard machine tools such as lathes, milling machines, drill presses, saws, hydraulic shears, and press brakes. They also have a state-of-the-art CNC mill and mini mill, H2O water jet, and some wood cutting machines.


The shop stocks a number of raw materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, oxygen free copper, brass, and many other specialty metals and plastics.


Custom Design

The shop works closely with researchers to design and build custom components. If a customer has an idea but no blueprint, shop staff can assist with the design and materials selection.

The shop uses the CAD program SolidWorks and the Master CAM program to integrate designed parts into 3-axis milling


The shop can perform manual and computer-assisted milling via the following equipment:

  • CNC Haas VF5 Mill
  • CNC Super Mini Mill 2
  • Bridgeport mills (3)
  • Drill presses (2)
  • Tapping machine

drill pressEngine Lathes

  • CNC Haas TL3 turning lathe
  • Monarch lathes (2)
  • Romi metric lathe

Sheet Metal Fabrication

  • Shears
  • Brakes
  • Roller
  • Sandblaster machine
  • Marvel horizontal saw

Welding and Brazing

  • Ultra-high vacuum
  • TIG
  • MIG
  • Oxygen-Acetylene

More Information

For more information, contact David Key, Chief Mechanician, at (205) 348-3778 or