Assistant Director David McMillan

The Bechtel center is a dynamic and exciting place. Keeping it safe, staffed, equipped, ready, and running smoothly is critical.

“The Bechtel center should be a place that encourages or awakens curiosity and creativity in Purdue students.”

As assistant director of the Bechtel innovation design center, Mr. McMillan oversees operations, maintenance, and safe use of the center. Engaging with students and vesting responsibility with them is a key part of the center’s success.

David has worked as a designer and builder of scientific apparatus for 15 years. He started in Neurobiology at Stanford university apprenticing under a master machinist and attending De Anza Community College for a degree in R&D Machining. Upon receipt of his degree he was offered a job at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the main machine shop. He has made parts that are in LHC and other large instruments. He moved on to Penn State and a small consulting engineering firm, KCF Technologies, generating prototypes and demonstrations for SBIR engineering projects. He was hired as the lead Laboratory technician for the Paul Weiss Lab and relocated the lab from Penn State to UCLA, supervised the renovations at UCLA and worked for 4 years there in Ultra High Vacuum nanoscale instrumentation. At Bio Medical Engineering at Purdue for 4 years, he opened the shop to graduate and undergraduate students mentoring the senior design students and building apparatus or training grad students on the same.

He has skills in several domains. Manual and rapid prototyping machining. Materials and methods. CNC Machining. Catalogue collections and proficient in several rapid prototyping frameworks such as 80-20, super strut, and optical breadboard.

He is constantly working on design, innovation and exploration projects related to fundamental mechanisms such as pendulums, and clock works.

He also reads and collects books in fields such as history of machines, super precisions, and human machine systems design issues.


Phone: +1 765 494 2032
Bechtel Innovation Design Center
1090 3rd Street
West Lafayette, IN