Research Machine Shopbead plate

"If only we could make a stand to mount our coring tool onto our raft…"

"If only we could make a platform to load a specific number of beads into each of these vials, we could save hundreds of hours…"

"How can we transport our new big plasma TV to workshops without damaging it?"

(See the solutions)

coring toolThese and many other questions have found their answers at the Research Machine Shop, tucked away on North Campus. Instrument Maker/Designer Greg Florian can make virtually anything out of metal, plastic, or wood, and is often able to make it better than you first envisioned, and for much less money—25 to 80 percent less than to have it done elsewhere. According to Chris Baldi, assistant professor of biology, this kind of research support service was a pleasant surprise at a campus of NAU’s size.

While Greg’s favorite projects typically require design skills and allow him to use all of his cool equipment—and perhaps even a little math—he is also very happy to do simple projects that can make a big difference to a research program or lab. During the 14 or so years that Greg has worked in the shop, he’s made things as simple as plastic gel boxes for DNA research and plastic “Y” mazes for animal behavior research, to more complex items like foot measuring devices used in gait and shoe design research, a custom stand for NAU’s 20” telescope and digital camera, leg and arm ergometers, and lake coring tools. His simple, elegant designs are the product of his depth of knowledge and design experience, coupled with his interest in how the end product will function. As Regent’s Professor Tom McPoil said, “Every project Greg takes on is like his own project. He wants to know how it works and how to make it better.”

TV cabinetbulkheadYou’ll also see Greg’s handiwork across campus in unexpected places. Greg designed and built the pool bulkhead at the Wall Aquatic Center. The center needed 25-yard lanes for certain events, but the pool was not originally designed with them. The bulkhead Greg designed has a sturdy walkway along the top, allowing coaches to walk out to talk to athletes in the pool.

Prices vary, but Greg is great at working within a budget, and frequently reuses/recycles high-quality materials to keep prices down. You can e-mail him at, call him at 523-7167, or stop by the Research Machine Shop, in building 24 (behind the Adel Math Sciences Building).

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