ENGGEN 299, A Review a.k.a “Cool Scars on my Hands”

Kia Ora! Hope you achieved whatever you wanted to achieve in the midsem! Personally, I went back to Wellington and chilled with the fam. It always feels good to not cook and clean and be productive for a few days (or weeks, no one’s judging).

But that was in the second week, what about the first week you ask?

Let me tell you about a lil’ course called


My babies look shiny af, apart from the welds but I mean you’re burning metal together it ain’t pretty.

It’s a mandatory course all Part 2 students take and introduces us to basic workshop systems and practices (which is handy considering the upcoming internships (which I haven’t found (which I’m a bit worried about (but we’ll be fine) …right?)Right?)RIGHT?)

tl;dr I really enjoyed this course! It’s very hands-on (hence I got some nice scars and callouses to show the ladies at Shadz), and throws you right into the thick of machining and tolerancing. A lot of the concepts I learnt in 235 shone here, and I felt quite at home in that AUT workshop!

So, what do you do in 299? Since I did a block course, I could do everything required in the three-and-a-bit days it takes to complete it. I would highly recommend this rather than the weekly hassle of going to AUT or MIT and then cleaning the machines each time!

DAY 1: Files and Cabinets

This part of the course was basic bench-work and involved machining metal parts to high tolerances. There’s a lot of filing here – very metal, very rad yo – to make your parts clean and finished.


A lot of people don’t know how to file properly and efficiently, and there were quite a few complaints of dead arms the day after. Watch some pros do it on YouTube so you know the technique – it will make filing your gauges much quicker and you will be less tired!

DAY 2: Milly-Rock 

In this part, you get a milling machine! This is an old-school CNC (which is like the opposite of a 3D printer – a CNC cuts into materials to make parts rather than creating them from scratch) and is actually kinda fun. The machine does a lot of the work, and you just have to orient and move the part the right way to cut it.


Have a play-around with the three axes of control you can move the part, and know which direction moves the object each way! A lot of mistakes on the ol’ mill can be avoided by knowing this #relatable.

DAY 3: Lathing Hurts Me Emotionally

Look, I get it. A lathe is a powerful tool. It can do a lot of things. But honestly,

Look how many controls it has! In the right hands, it must be really powerful 🙁

nah fam I’m good.

I didn’t enjoy this one because it’s really hard man. There’s a lot of spinny-things going on, and there are so many controls, and you can screw your part up very easily. The instructor had one look at my machined part and said


“Throw it away mate, take the one I made aye.”

It was understandable, but yeah, be wary and cautious of this one. If done right, it’s clean as! Needless to say, I didn’t do it right.

PRO TIP:  I’m not a pro don’t listen to me.

DAY 3.5 AND 4: cALl mE TOnY stArk

This was the most fun I’ve ever had. Welding baby! This is the one most people are understandably apprehensible about at first, but ends up being the one that is so! much! fun!

Think about it, you are harnessing electricity to physically fuse two metals together with your bare hands (gloves are for noobs). And you get a helmet! And you get to do the cool quenching thing where you put hotel metal into cold water and let it sizzle mmm. It’s good fun.


Arc welding requires a certain touch – too much pressure and you make an un-clean weld which sticks the electrode to the part. Too little and your electrode loses energy and you have to strike it up again. It took many tries to get the hang of it, but once you do welding becomes a breeze! So don’t worry if it doesn’t work the first few times, keep trying and you’ll surf that melting pool soon.

Special Mentions: 


I don’t know about MIT, but the AUT workshop has the best soap you will ever use. It’s got exfoliating beads, smells amazing, and somehow moisturises as it whips grease off your hand? In all honesty, washing our hands was like going to the spa. It actually feels so nice, and I contemplated bringing in a plastic bottle and filling it up with this stuff. Don’t knock it till ya try it.


We UoA chads love to bag on AUT Uni. I get it, it’s a nice easy joke to make. But I hung around the place a lot over the week, and I have to say…It was actually…nice? It has some cool buildings, furniture, and study spaces. And the students there seemed happy? That was certainly new! All I’m saying is, AUT might not deserve the reputation it has with UoA.