Device and Materials Testing and Impact

Advanced Machining

To output more durable parts and prototypes than what can be achieved with 3D Printers, advanced machining is necessary.

STAR’s Haas UMC-750 is a 5-axis 40-taper vertical machining center with 762 x 508 x 508 mm travels that can be used to shape various materials (metals, woods, plastics). The UMC-750 builds on the existing capabilities of the Machine Shop (EME 0220) for one-off or small-batch part fabrication. Other equipment ranges from a laser micromachining system to a water jet machining center, which can cut materials up to several inches thick.

STAR has added a new Baileigh Industrial CNC Routing Table (4’ x 8’) to the Wood Shop, which houses wood processing equipment such as saws and sanders. The router table can be used for engraving (at a maximum speed of nearly 800 inches per minute) and fabricating wood products such as furniture and doors.

  • Actual Working Area 98″ x 51″
  • Rpm 0-24000
  • Z Axis Stroke 7.5″
  • Maximum Moving Speed (Inches Per Minute) 787
  • Maximum Engraving Speed (Inches Per Minute) 787
  • Repostion Accuracy 0.0015
  • Tool Diameters 1/8″, 1/4″, & 1/2″
  • Power 220V Single Phase
  • Width 75″
  • Height 45″
  • Weight (lbs) 2500
  • Table Style PVC


Many prototypes include computer technologies for control, sensing, user interface, or web integrated functionality. This requires equipment for fabricating, assembling and analyzing circuit boards.

Facilities at UBC’s Okanagan campus include the Applied Micro and Nanosystems Facility (AMNF) or “Micro Fab” facility, which is a class-100 micro/nanofabrication facility. The facility has microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication capabilities for thin-film deposition, photolithography, chemical processing, electronic prototyping and (in the Machine Shop) laser micromilling.

Other electronics labs support research on radio frequency (RF) power amplifiers and RF power sources, as well as ultrawideband positioning and high sensitivity GPS. New STAR equipment in DSC_0004these labs includes an N9010A EXA Signal Analyzer which can be used to analyze signals in the 10 Hz to 32 GHz frequency range. A harmonic mixer extends the frequency range for millimeter-wave applications in the 50 to 75 GHz range. Applications include signal measurements for cellular communication, wireless connectivity, digital video, aerospace, and defense.

The FLIR T650sc is a 640×480 thermal camera with features such as built-in digital camera (to provide visual imagery that can be matched to the “heat” image), voice annotation, laser target locator, and GPS. A close-up IR lens allows inspection of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB’s) and small electronic components to find hot spots that can lead to failures. Applications of thermal cameras are wide-ranging: security (detection of intruders at night); firefighting (location of victims in smoke); building inspection (finding insulation losses); maritime (night time navigation); and oil & gas (detection of gas leaks).

Another novel sensor available through STAR is a handheld, ultra-wideband (UWB) radar device developed by Iceni Labs. The 100 mW, 0.45 – 10.6 GHz radar has a range of up to 50 m, with range-dependent resolution (0.5 cm at 5 m, 2 cm at 10 m, and 10 cm at 20 m). UWB radar can penetrate ground and walls, and it has potential applications ranging from improvised explosive device (IED) detection to medical monitoring (e.g., heart monitoring).

Flow Modelling and Measurement

The ability to model and measure air and fluid flows is relevant to all sorts of applications, from aerospace design to optimizing fabrication processes for new plastic and glass materials.

STAR has a suite of ANSYS software for general-purpose computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling (CFX, Fluent) as well as specialized injection-molding simulation software (Polyflow) for simulation of plastic forming, blow molding, extrusion, fiber drawing, and concrete shaping. Simulation of fluid dynamics has expanded from traditional applications such as auto and aircraft aerodynamics to sports (development of Olympic swimsuits, for example) and leading-edge medical therapies (design of implantable medical devices).

Actual flow measurements can be done using techniques such as Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), a non-intrusive laser optical measurement technique. STAR has supported the purchase of a Dantec Stereoscopic Time-Resolved PIV System, which provides 3D flow measurements at high speeds (typically 1 to 2 kHz). PIV applications include research and diagnostics into flow, turbulence, microfluidics, spray atomization and combustion processes. A MicroPIV add-on enables flow studies in micro-channels in lab-on-a-chip devices.