BATTLE BOTS: Learning Fusion 360 in my Intro to Engineering course altered the trajectory of my high school senior year experience. As a senior, I was accepted into the robotics team, Wildstang, and found myself in a group of football players and a friend from my physics class. The football players still had an active season, so they weren’t able to help with the project for weeks. I saw the opportunity that was presented, and took on as much responsibility as I could to develop my own skills and implement my ideas. By the time the football players were involved, I had already designed a complete model on Fusion 360 and had the approval from the teacher to start the fabrication process. I needed to distribute the information to everybody, delegate tasks catered to their strengths and get them working as soon as possible to stay on track. In the end, we placed 7th out of 53 robots.
LICHTENBERG: Scavenged from an old microwave, I decided to repurpose the transformer to create Lichtenberg figures on slabs of wood with the help of baking soda and water. It's far from the safest way of making art, but with a different wire configuration, it could also be used to spot weld sheets of metal or watch nails glow bright red until they melt.
MacBook Engraving: With all the shows, artists, and games I enjoy, I decided to design a template combining over 100 icons referencing my favorite media. The design was then laser engraved onto my MacBook by removing the coat of anodized aluminum.
Custom Necklace: After loosing a necklace at TSA I decided to create my own. I went though multiple iterations in CAD and made use of my 3D printer for prototypes. The final model was created using powder bed 3D printing at Protolabs. I settled on a cobalt chrome alloy for it's corrosion resistance, yield strength, toughness, color, and scratch resistance. I had it electropolished but found that hand sanding and polishing compound resulted in a more reflective finish. I'll be sure to never loose this one at TSA!
FURNITURE: I started manufacturing furniture when our family removed the old table from the basement and I needed a surface for my things. My conclusion was a set of industrial-styled stools. Those wood and rebar stools might not be the prettiest pieces I've fabricated, but they are still standing strong today. Since then I've had a few orders that had far better welds and more sophisticated designs. The Fusion 360 software was also helpful when showing clients different styles before I committed to anything physical. Please email me if interested in a custom order.
1st Place Class Project: In my engineering design analysis corse at UIUC we had to create a structure to protect a 10cm cube from a compressive force. Balsa wood and adhesive were the only allowed materials. It could weigh a maximum of 150 grams and we would be graded based on the strength to weight ratio of the structure. I got first place in the class of 60 students. My structure was able to support over 4000x it's own weight and failed due to torsional buckling.
KNIVES: I admit, knife making isn't the safest hobby in the world, but it's been an entertaining way to pass the time. It's also nice to see my progression through the years as I've learned more about the craft. From exotic wood handles to premium steels, I've started to play around with the details. I began to dabble with hardening and tempering the blades in my forge to create more durable and higher-quality knives. I’m still learning more about the material science behind the craft, but I have already seen a substantial improvement in toughness since I started using the heat-treating process. One day I'd also like to make my own folding knife.
INGOTS: Back in 2015, a friend of mine and I would melt soda cans to make miniature ingots. We made a propane furnace out of some heat-resistant plaster, a metal bucket and some U-bolts. The crucibles were made from the bottom half of fire extinguishers. The fire extinguishers weren’t permanent, but they worked well enough to make a cast from a styrofoam mold. Eventually, we started melting thicker scraps of aluminum that were more efficient than the can-by-can method we had in place. We were satisfied with what we accomplished in our youth and stopped making ingots when the last fire extinguisher broke.
CONVENIENT HACKS: The first hack is a phone mount — the only phone mount I trust on my motorcycle. The phone case I used at the time doubled as my wallet and even the biggest advertised phone mounts couldn't accommodate the extra thickness. The only conclusion was to make my own. The second hack was when I tried to play video games on my iPad. After some time, the gaming apps would slow down because of the thermal throttling. “Unacceptable!” I thought. I grabbed some scrap wood, staples and cardboard to make a case that held ice packs. I could easily replace the ice packs when they thawed, and my games no longer suffered.
CAUSE WHY NOT?: Introducing my miscellaneous projects, which include a steel safe, a resin shelf, a steam engine model, a salmon ladder and a Tic-Tac-Toe board. After purchasing a Bowley 543 padlock, I needed an item to lock, thus the creation of the steel safe. Needless to say, the safe isn't as fancy as the padlock, but it's tough enough to match. To learn the ins and outs of epoxy tables, I worked on a smaller-scale shelf to understand the properties of epoxy and test different approaches. I would like to make a full-sized epoxy table in the future, but would prefer more experience before committing to such a large project. The CAD model of a steam engine was made out of pure curiosity; I had some time with the software and decided to see if I could design one. If I was able to fabricate it out of brass, I'm confident I could've had it running. If you enjoy American Ninja Warrior, then you might like my salmon ladder. It's my first and biggest welding project to this day. If you're tired of the age-old argument of Apple vs Android, let’s let a game of Tic-Tac-Toe decide. Since my sister is a fan of jellyfish I decided to make her a small jellyfish lamp.
BONES: I bought a guitar that I felt was in need of an upgrade. I called her bones because I thought she had all the foundations of a working guitar. I replaced the plastic pickguard with an aluminum replica and applied a fresh coat of pain after sanding down the deep scratches and dents. After it was all said and done she played just as well as before and had the style to match her sound.
COVID Barrier Project: My SE 101 class had instructed us to try and create solutions that would mitigate the spread of COVID 19 in K-12 schools. Our group had come up with the idea of buildable barriers. These barriers could be adapted to fit almost any size table and could be constructed together like building blocks. We also thought that each student should have access to tissues and have an air filtration device present. I was in charge of modeling the entire project using CAD software.