Another School “Real Shop” Example

Learn about a manufacturing education program that functions as a student-run machining business.


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

The NCMM offers students real-world experience in the business of operating a machine shop.
(Photo courtesy of NMCC.)

Most readers of this blog are familiar with Cardinal Manufacturing, the Wisconsin high school manufacturing program that functions as a student-run machining and fabrication business. Recently, I learned about a similar operation in Presque Isle, Maine.

Dean Duplessis is the manufacturing instructor for the Precision Metals program at Northern Maine Community College (NMCC). Like Cardinal, the NMCC program instructs would-be machinists by having them make real parts for real customers just like any job shop would. Dean says the program is non-revenue generating. Its customers pay for materials, tooling, shipping and the like. Its volumes vary from 250 to 1,000 pieces, and there’s a good deal of repeat work. All jobs have travelers, setup instructions, inspection instructions and so on, so students are fully accountable for all work.

NMCC doubles as a Haas Technical Education Center. Learn more about the program in this article found in Haas’s CNC Machining magazine.


  • 5 Things New CNC Operators Must Know

    These subjects are the building blocks of training newcomers on a specific CNC machine tool.

  • The Knob Problem

    The retention knob is an unmistakably critical component of the machining process. However, the tightening of the knob itself can lead to the toolholder not seating securely in the machine. You may be losing tool life to knob tightness without even knowing it.

  • Does This School Have the Formula for Mfg Education?

    A high school in Wisconsin runs its manufacturing vocational program as a business. Students make parts for paying customers. The program is thriving, cash flow is strong, and local manufacturers can now hire recent graduates who already have experience in meeting customer demands.