Past Work: Large-Scale Mirror Actuation

When I was an undergrad at Georgia Tech, I worked on a research project for a year. I worked part of the time while still in school and continued after I graduated. I didn’t really have a senior design project and most undergrads didn’t do actual “research”. So, I felt pretty lucky to be involved in a real research project, especially given the level of my involvement. I worked with Dr. Harvey Lipkin and his grad student Russell Marzette Jr. Russell and Dr. Lipkin had developed a new way to actuate (bend and position) really large telescope mirrors and it was my job to develop software to model and test this technique. I wrote some MATLAB and ANSYS code to automate all of my tests. What was really cool (and unknown to me prior) was that I could use ANSYS from the command line and write scripts which match a normal GUI work flow in the 3D environment. I could create structures, apply loads, mesh structures, and run simulations all from scripts. This allowed me to create a MATLAB GUI to set parameters (or sets of parameters), create and execute custom ANSYS scripts, and format ANSYS-generated image and text results. I could set a span of parameters and run an entire batch of ANSYS simulations back-to-back.
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Slot Car Track Layout Editor

When I was a kid I was gifted a vintage slot car track. Its was an early 70’s Riggen brand 1/32 scale set : two cars, two controllers, and a decent amount of track. I still have it and I occasionally pull it out and play with it. Last weekend the weather was pretty nasty outside so I decided to have some fun with it. I thought it would be cool to make a little MATLAB app that would let me create and edit track layouts before I put everything together.

riggen pro-am

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Seedling Grow Light

I really enjoy cooking with fresh herbs or making the occasional side salad. However, I hate going to the grocery store and buying a huge container of field greens or basil, only to have half of it rot in the refrigerator before I get to eat it. I thought a much better solution would be to grow my own herbs and greens and then pick them as I need them. This way I would always have the very freshest ingredients, without any waste or extra trips to the grocery store.

shelf grow setup
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Backstop Rapid Prototyping

On my single speed bike, I run front and rear brakes. However the frame doesn’t have cable routing bosses on the top tube. Right now I just have the cable housing zip-tied to the frame. This isn’t a very elegant solution and I wanted to improve it.

Problem Solvers makes a nice clamp that will route two cables. Unfortunately they don’t make them to fit my 1.0 inch top tube. Carnegie Mellon has a 3D printer and I had always wanted to experiment with rapid prototyping parts. It is very easy to design a part in Solidworks and then export it to the 3D printer. I thought I could design and fabricate something to fit my need.

backstop_small
Versions 1 through 5, left to right.
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Past Work: Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access

I never got around to posting about my time at Georgia Tech’s Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA), where I was a researcher and shop manager. CATEA designs and tests all sorts of technology to help disabled people. The entire lab is a sort of skunk works operation; imagine Myth Busters “what crazy thing do you want to try today”. I was responsible for bringing to life the ideas and inventions of several Georgia Tech professors and their grad students. I had an entire shop at my disposal and best of all a Georgia Tech VISA card!

mill

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