The University of Colorado Boulder Physics Department has one of the most well established, nationally recognized and popular teaching facilities available, for learning machining and welding skills. These skills and understanding of manufacturing procedures, limitations and possibilities have proven to be much sought after by a wide range of participants, from physics students, to engineering students and even recently, the university facilities maintenance group and related personnel.

The facility was re-organized and developed as a premier teaching lab in 1994, by the now retired Sid Gustafson. Sid's perspective of safety, theory and most effectively, very "hands-on" lesson plans served as a solid foundation for the development of similar facilities in universities like M.I.T and Georgia Tech.

We continue to hold those standards high, with a well-equipped facility and skilled, experienced and supportive directorship.

Trades Teaching Lab History

In 1999 Sid expanded the shop one more time, building a welding area. The welding classes are still very popular both with on campus students and with many people from the local area.

Sid Gustafson retired from teaching and directorship of the PTTL in 2013.

Between 2011 until Sid retired, Craig Joy joined as a second instructor in the Trades Teaching Lab, splitting his time between teaching students in the Physics Trades Teaching Lab and building scientific instruments for the Physics Precision Instrument Shop directly across the hallway.

Craig became an instrument maker for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies (CIRES) at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. He helped faculty and graduate students to design and build instruments to accomplish their research goals.

He also enjoyed teaching faculty and graduate students the basics of machining on the lathe and milling machine set aside for their use, however a decision was made to shut down the student shop area. In 2011 Craig moved across campus to build instruments for the Physics Precision Instrument Shop and teach faculty and students in the Physics Trades Teaching Lab, assuming directorship of the PTTL when Sid retired in 2013.

Craig retired at the end of May 2021 after 10 years in the PTTL, leaving students with fondest memories of his patience and knowledge and purpose. The current shop director is Paul Wingrove who took over from Craig in June 2021. Paul was a machinist in the Precision Instrument Shop also, spending 7 years there before taking over from Craig.

Paul is tasked with modernizing the facility to prepare graduates for the fast evolving world of science and engineering. Emphasis will begin to be directed towards learning newer technologies like 3D printing, multiple axes CNC machines and more exotic materials for space focused endeavors.