Keeping LA running for 25 years

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By Tris DeRoma


Whether it’s requests to fix a broken lawn mower handle or to create a facsimile of a nuclear warhead accurate enough to calibrate warhead inspection machines with, Robert Hand’s business, Hand Precision Machining, has been quietly doing it’s part to keep Los Alamos, and the world, running for 25 years. 

If one happens to visit his shop at 127 Eastgate Drive, he might give a tour of the place, if he has time. Some of his other clients include the Los Alamos National Laboratory and UbiQD, a startup company that specializes in using light technology for security and agricultural purposes. 

Monday, Hand and his wife Linda greeted friends and customers dropping by to congratulate them, and to offer them cake and cookies. 

When asked about what he does for the laboratory, he just laughed and gave a knowing smile that basically said there was no way he was going to talk about that.

His shop has even machined special doors for an underground science equipment calibration laboratory in Canada.

But, he was more than happy to talk about his other clients and services, which are just about everybody in town.

“We do everything from sharpening ice skates, knives, engraving to making development prototype kind of things,” Hand said. 

Lately, he has helped UbiQD by making testing equipment and other things for the company. 

UbiQD CEO Hunter McDaniel said Hand Precision Machining has been an invaluable asset. 

”We are always impressed by the speed and quality of their service. HPM also helps us out with their forklift because we get big things delivered, and frequently the delivery companies can’t unload the items,” McDaniel said. “They are truly the best neighbors for a company like UbiQD, and we wish them continued success.”

Through their work with Los Alamos National Laboratory, they’ve worked with subcontractors and other national laboratories. The company has done a lot of work that’s kept Los Alamos National Laboratory’s waste cleanup and testing programs running.

Often, companies that come to do testing and cleanup work for LANL are hundreds of miles away from their home base, so when a drill bit or another piece of equipment breaks, they often rely on Hand Precision Machining for help. 

Hand said all the projects that have come through his doors, large and small, have been challenging and fun. Working with metal is all Hand, and his brother David, ever did growing up. They learned the business from their father, Joe Hand. If their last names sound familiar, it’s because Joe and Nancy Hand started Jona Machining at 264 DP Road in 1985. 

David later took over the business, and it’s now called Jona Manufacturing Services. 

According to Robert Hand, working with metal and having a machine shop was all he wanted to do.

“Everyday is different, every job is different. It’s not a production job, or where I have to go to work and do the same job over and over,” Hand said. “Everything’s a challenge. I like making things. Everyday, I can go home and say ‘Wow, look what I made, look what I completed.’”