Although my bigger projects take up most of my time and effort, working on other smaller endeavors in between allows me to vary the type of work I do.
A parametric slew bearing design inspired by a video from Christoper Laimer. A slew bearing is more ideal for 3D printing than a ball bearing because the cylindrical rolling surfaces are easier to print smoothly.
After making that design, I started design work on a parametric ball bearing. This was the first design that I really had to think through how to make every sketch dimension parameter dependent.
While working at Airwolf3D, I was tasked with designing a car wheel. In order to make the design more robust, I studied the parameters normally associated with wheels in the automotive industry and designed the wheel around those. The wheel was printed on the enormous AX-40 printer. CEO Eric Wolf took a look at the fit with me.
Near the end of my time at polySpectra, I designed this parametric vial holder. Commercial vial holders don't come in a large variety of sizes and as a result, they end up crowding the chemical glove boxes.
Using these parametric vial holders, we could optimize the amount of space available in the glovebox - no more or less than needed and for any vial size.
I've also worked on a few different parametric gear types - spur, helical, and bevel. These types of components are perfect for parametric design, but I also integrate the ideas from this type of modeling into all of my CAD work to make my designs more robust.
3D Printed Materials Testing
One of my projects at Airwolf3D was to design a hook to lift a car. This project spun off into an analysis of the many materials which Airwolf3D has to offer.
Above is an article I wrote on the first iteration of the hook, which is the hook that was eventually tested. I performed Fusion 360 static stress simulations to help determine my predictive order for the hook performance. After studying hooks a bit more and performing a shape optimization study, I ended up with this design:
Eventually, the car-lifting aspect of the project was ditched for the tensile test, which eventually spawned the brief video series below:
.This project was the ambitious idea of UAVs@Berkeley President, Trey Fortmuller. The concept is that a quadcopter lands on a flying hexacopter, where its battery is swapped out for a fresh one. The initial idea was to use a conveyer belt system to push out the un-fastened battery case (the screw holding it to the quadcopter is loosened first) and push the new battery in from a battery magazine. The landing would be assisted mechanically (with guiding cones) and electronically with computer vision assistance. In hindsight, this is more of a graduate-level control systems project - nevertheless, we gave it a go.
We quickly realized several issues with the design. First, the conveyer belt was going to be very difficult to fabricate to our specifications (proper roughness, elasticity, strength) and it was going to be difficult to drive with the load of a battery on it. Second, the computer vision algorithms necessary to assist landing were beyond our paygrade. Unfortunately, this is where I left the project to intern with polySpectra.
The team eventually called the project finished after another semester and a half. They were able to accomplish a landing and other aspects of the project are detailed here. It was humbling to work on a project that was so challenging and difficult. It was a great outlet to work on my engineering design and prototyping skills.
Left: A rendering of the Hotswap platform at the time that I left it. The main components were the conveyer belt, the magazine and battery disposal, and the battery case. Right: The project display by the Hotswap team at the end of the project.
3D Printing Sustainability
As a freshman, I was anxious to get involved in 3D printing on campus and found research on the sustainability of 3D printing by Mickey Clemon in the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability. After reaching out, I was able to get involved in the project. The goal was to evaluate the potential environmental impact of 3D printing.
One aspect was printed plastic waste collection and categorization from an on-campus makerspace. I was tasked with reviewing and executing the waste collection procedure (below) and leading the material classification. The purpose of classifying failed prints was to determine the most frequent problems causing failed prints.
By the end of the semester, we had accumulated enough data to create the report graphic below - this research eventually culminated into this paper. Additional research revolved around the recycling of 3D printed plastic - a process involving printing, making pellets from printed material, re-extruding into filament, and testing. The comparison was intended to see how once-recycled and twice-recycled filament stacked up against fresh material. Although the research was unable to be finished before Mickey graduated from Berkeley with a Ph.D, the ramifications of reusing PLA material for 3D printing could be huge.