“I am a Hyperian. I am independent yet collaborative. I am fearless yet calculated. I seek to teach humanity new bounds of possible.”

Shuffling into TFRB on an early Sunday morning starting dead week, introductions were made. A safety briefing was conducted and forming a line, a slip of paper was handed to each person. Utilizing the principles from HYPER’s “Learn One, Do One, Teach One,” mantra, the first person learned how to measure the part on their slip of paper. After they measured their part, they went on to teach the next person to measure the part on their slip. Down the line went learning, doing, and teaching. The cycle repeated from measuring to cutting, tapping, cleaning, and finally, assembling. As the process came full circle, the last person taught me each step. The only correction was in measuring technique. Tic mark placement mattered for saw blade alignment and importance of standardization was addressed to the team. As everyone put their first part into the assembly, a new slip of paper was handed out and the process started again. But, instead of having to repeat the learning and teaching, they just had to “do.”

When the first half of the workbench was complete the team gathered for a retrospective. There was review of personal value brought by the event, what was comfortable, and what was uncomfortable. Collaboration felt natural but learning skills for the first time and teaching was the toughest. Metrics were discussed with thirteen parts produced in two hours. Passing along newly learned skills took the longest which was to be expected. Losing a piece of cut strut was the only deficit; of all the possibilities for error, that was least expected, but it was easy to re-insert the part drawing into the rotation.

Moving into the second half; Measure- Cut- Tap- Clean- Assemble- Repeat.

Everyone pulling their part seamlessly and synchronously transitioning, from one station to the next; newfound confidence established flow. It got quiet when everyone focused, but the cadence was set as the cold saw and mill simultaneously started and stopped in timed intervals. The second half velocity was reduced to one and a half hours and there were no additional deficits. The final touch was added when everyone signed their name.

There were two more workshops to produce three workbenches in total with 11 other Hyperians in attendance. When requesting feedback, two primary points were noted. First, pausing at the same station before the retrospective caused a significant bottleneck. A change was implemented to reduce the wait time by having each person stop at their individual station. Second request was to show how to set up the mill which was preset initially in order to reduce errors in the process. Walking into the manufacturing space, the mill will likely not be set. Understanding how to do that would be helpful for future use. Going forward, each team was walked through how to set up the mill at the end of the workshop.

It all started with the statement, “we need three new workbenches,” with NO REQUIREMENTS as to what they should look like or how to implement. Initially, my reflex was to build all of them in a week and be done. But, what kind of service opportunity would that provide for my current and future colleagues, and for the longevity of the lab?  The need for new workbenches allowed all of us to experiment and try, with a sense of playfulness, an all too obvious alternative in teaching, doing. Trust, performance, validation, and insight enabled all to discover the value of Lean principles: compatibility that comes from uniform machine practices, group camaraderie achieving an assembly line flow, and confidence that comes from teaching anything you just learned. While HYPER relocates to a new lab space, it becomes the ideal time to mold a new way of thinking. Momentum persists as a line of workshops, including more workbenches, cryogenic plumbing manifold, and multi-layer insulation shield, form.

3 New Workbenches Complete


My prior experience as an instructor was for skydiving. Before you can even think about taking a student up in an airplane for a skydive, you have to be confident that they have learned the necessary skills in order to complete a jump successfully. All learning objectives must be taught up front in a sport with significant consequences. Learning as you go is not an option. Deviating from this way of instructing was the biggest obstacle as the workshop developed. This was not skydiving. Little, minimal in fact, context for the workshop was given in advance. In order to cater towards different learning styles, a handout was also given to show how to use each piece of machinery. But it was still to a minimum, and trust had to be established by everyone in order to believe that the process would work. As HYPER has physically transitioned into a new space, the mindset of Hyperians have clearly transitioned in parallel.


Oh and by the way…

HomeMade Jig for Butcherblock