Michael’s Project Portfolio

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Michael giving a presentation at MakerFaire PDX 2018

This is a special page I’ve created to provide specific examples of projects I’ve worked on. This includes photos of my professional work at HP (2016-present), Palmer Manufacturing (2014-2015), Accutek Testing Lab (2011-2014), as well as personal projects.

Michael’s Bio, Strengths, & Career Goals:

I am currently seeking a longer term stable employment situation in the Portland Oregon Metro area for the stability it would bring to my family. (I’m married with one child.)

I seek technical roles where I can enjoy a variety of challenges and continue pursuing technical mastery of my craft. I can manage small technical teams, though I want to remain technical and would not want a managerial role.

I do not have a preference on company size.  I’ve owned many small projects by myself and have also worked as part of small and large teams. Though in all cases I do best when allowed an appropriate degree of autonomy.

It seems to me that my career field in today’s world has seen some skill-sets become commodified. Being able to use a given CAD program is not necessarily a special skill any more. For this reason I list my top strengths as the following soft skills, rather than knowledge of some specific software or tool. >I live and breathe the “can do” attitude and pride myself on my creativity, eagerness to learn, strong work ethic, attention to detail, & experience with a variety of engineering disciplines (Mechanical, Electrical, & Programming).<

What I do best is produce creative, reliable, engineered solutions to novel mechanical problems. The things I know best are 3D modeling (PTC Creo, Solidworks), prototyping & testing methodology, part design & fabrication of plastic, sheet metal, & machined hardware with GD&T, data acquisition, internal & external customer service, and even custom project quotations.

On a personal level, I’m the guy who attends every lunch & learn & training type of event offered and I do whatever it takes to get to a job done right & on time. I can sit at a computer all day when necessary, but I have a talent for working with my hands as well. I always show up early or time, with a positive attitude, and a passion for what I do every day.

CAREER & PERSONAL PROJECT GALLERY:

When I reflect on my career, I realize how lucky I am to have had such a wide variety of experiences. I’ve worked independently, and as part of teams both small and large.  I’ve worked for successful well-managed companies small and large. And I’m familiar with the other kind too…and painful as that can be I still feel better off for having had the opportunity to learn from it.

HP (Jan2016-Nov2018)

HP_MJF_340

HP Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF) 300/500 Series 3D Printer (the exact model pictured). The entirety of 2016-2018 was spent developing a variety of printer hardware including one of 10 major subsystems with a small team.  I was fortunate to join the team at an early stage and stay until production release. This product was designed for Medium/High volume manufacturing, and I spent my time identifying problems and developing hardware solutions from idea to prototype through tooling & production. This includes dozens of injection molded plastics, lasercut & formed sheet metal frames, die cut seals, thermoformed cover parts, FFC & Discreete electric cables, and production MJF parts.

I took advantage of the unique opportunity to work for a great company like HP by letting the management know I was always hungry for more exposure & for challenging problems. As a result I was able to work on some pretty interesting stuff and interact with multiple mechanical teams, testing technicians, and electrical & firmware engineers.  I was also able to travel overseas two times to support the assembly line by troubleshooting, training, & developing work instructions.

Simply by virtue of this being a new technology I can say that there are not many folks as well versed in the intricacies of MJF part design as myself. I took full advantage of MJF’s capabilities to design creative solutions to a variety of design problems. This included things like live hinges, breakaway features, very odd geometries, and I even figured out a clever way to sidestep our part numbering process by literally chaining together multi-part assemblies into “one-part”. Challenges included balancing the long term cost of injection molded plastics vs MJF, and designing for MJF’s specific manufacturability criteria.

Since much of this technology is proprietary the best images I can share here are some generic MJF display parts and a few selections of subsystems I touched from the product manual. Some examples:

 

 

 

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Accutek Testing Laboratory (2011-2014)  (They are now owned by Element)

Accutek laboratory was a small independent mechanical testing lab. We performed materials inspections and destructive testing using a wide variety of in house equipment.  My role was to interface with customers to help design and perform custom mechanical testing, create test reports, and to develop new in house equipment. Our team was ambitious and the story with much of the Accutek equipment here is that if we thought we could design a solution cheaper than a commercially available one we did).

Accutek Custom Extensometer & Calibrator

Accutek Custom Extensometer & Calibration jig: Hard to see but those aluminum rectangles in the photo would have cost up to $10,000 were you to buy them new! They are strain gage based extensometers capable of repeatable measurements of .0001″ that I custom designed to measure strain on special tensile test specimens. The red fixture is used to calibrate it.

Accutek Custom Bearing Testing Fixture

Accutek Custom Bearing Testing Machine. (Not intended to look pretty, just carry out a difficult test!) Designed to dynamically load aircraft bearings radially AND axially WHILE spinning them. Assembly used 2 servo hydraulic pistons and 1 servo motor for control. Precision controlled using RMC motion control software.

 

Accutek Custom Temp Probe Testing Fixture

Accutek Custom Temperature Probe Testing Fixture. The machine is a two axis gantry designed to repeatedly dip test specimens into two separate very extreme temperature controlled oil baths.  Controlled with DasyLab (similar to Labview) software.

Accutek Custom Test Oven

Accutek Custom Test Oven (large). This type of equipment is usually very expensive so designing our own version gave us the capability to run tensile tests at elevated temperatures at a fraction of the cost.

Accutek Custom Test Oven Mini

Accutek Custom Test Oven (small). Designed to fit a smaller testing machine.

Accutek Custom Strap Tester

Accutek Custom ‘Strap Snubber’ Testing Fixture. Many of my projects at Accutek called for custom mechanical jigs for loading random objects in specific ways. These grips were designed for holding and tensile testing toeing straps normally used for cargo trailers.

Accutek Custom Hydraulic Wedge Grips

Accutek Custom Hydraulic Wedge Grips. Designed to grip tensile test specimens at high loads without applying a preload to the specimens. This design was based on a professional set I reverse engineered and shrunk down to suit our needs. The cost difference to make vs buy was ~$10k.

Accutek Custom Sterling Freezer

Accutek Custom Sterling Freezer: I took apart a portable “Ultra-Low” Brand stirling freezer and remounted & housed it in cooler so that we could run tests at cryogenic temperatures without the use of liquid nitrogen thus saving an expensive consumable for long duration low temperature tests.

Accutek Custom High Disp Test Machine

Accutek Custom High Displacement Test Machine: We had a need for a super high displacement test machine but didn’t have the budget for one. So I retrofitted our drop-testing machine with ball screws, a servo motor, and old spare parts.

Accutek Custom Torsion Low Temp Test

Accutek Custom Torsion Low Temp Test: Similar to the high displacement machine, this adjustable torsion tester was built by retrofitting various existing equipment. Used here to twist a rubber bellow specimen while a PID controlled liquid nitrogen line is inserted inside to cool it off to the specified testing temperature.

Accutek Custom Vibration tester

Accutek Custom Vibration Tester: Designed an adjustable height fixture to suit any size high frequency vibration shaker machine.

Accutek Custom Chain Test Machine

Accutek Custom Chain Testing Machine: This machine can dynamically test up to 4 roller chains at once. Each station has independent load control using a pressure transducer and a pneumatic cylinder. All chains are driven simultaneously and the speed is measured using an encoder.

Accutek Custom 3 Axis Load Cells

Accutek Custom 3 Axis Load Cells: Each device consists of three custom designed load-cells used for ergonomics testing. They clamp onto the handles of medical carts so scientists can measure the forces imparted on Nurses arms in 3 axes throughout the day.

Accutek Medical Device testing Fixture

Accutek Medical Device Testing Fixture: For ‘subsidence’ and ‘expulsion’ testing on spinal implants. Much of Accutek’s business was based on medical device testing and I worked on many tiny custom load fixtures of this nature.

 

Accutek Custom Servo Fatigue Machine: Adjustable tabletop static & dynamic test machine using a ball screw & servo motor. (Shown as 3D model because I left before this machine was completely assembled). I also laid out & wired the control cabinet for the set of 3 machines. I designed, sourced, ordered, and build this whole cabinet.

Accutek Mechanical Test

Accutek Weird Mechanical Test: This is an example of a custom test fixture used to apply a proof tensile load in a very specific orientation on aircraft components.

Accutek Custom Pump Testing Fixture

Accutek Custom Pump Testing Fixture. Designed to safely test Semi-truck water pumps under various conditions.

Accutek Custom Clevis

Accutek Custom Clevis: This is a fun example of my personal pursuit of improvement of a work process. I was slightly obsessed with figuring out how to design a single adjustable clevis that could be used for the majority of tensile tests. I came up with an even better design later you can read about here.

 

Palmer Manufacturing (2014-2015)

Palmer

Palmer Sand Heaterpalmer sand mixer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palmer manufacturing designs & builds custom machinery to serve the no-bake sand casting industry. Their customers are foundries large and small that need “bullet proof” industrial sand preparation equipment.

Much of my work at Palmer consisted of updating large out of date & inaccurate legacy BOMs & CAD, and making technical customizations to them to accommodate new customer’s specific requirements.

Above Left: Palmer Manufacturing Sand Heater: This is a machine used to heat sand so that it is the right temperature for the chemical reactions needed in mixing. I typically made modifications to basic dimensions to accommodate various heating loads, voltages, and sand volumes.

Above Right: Palmer Manufacturing Sand Mixer: This is a portable sand mixing assembly based on various pieces of existing designs. It takes in sand and mixes with chemicals to create a composite that hardens into the casting mold.

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College Senior Project (2010-2011)

SIUE Solar Car Chassis College Solar Car Steering

College Solar Car Chassis Senior Design Project designed, sourced, & built from scratch in 12 months.  This included the frame, front & rear suspension, & steering. A few years later I created an online ‘instructable’ to detail the design decisions & share tips about designing 3 wheeled vehicles here.

College Solar Car Suspension  College Solar Car Suspension

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Internship with Illinois EPA (Summer of 2010 & 2011)

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has an interesting summer internship program that employed me full time over two separate summers. I was trained how to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption & waste production in industrial facilities.  I applied these skills in a high-volume sheet metal stamping business, as well as a train car maintenance business. The result of the program was my presenting the company presidents a report of my findings on how they could save an estimated $55,000 annually through investments in energy use reduction. This included energy efficient lighting upgrades, smart thermostats, a paint rinse water filtering process upgrade, improvements in compressed air management, and simple HVAC heating/cooling upgrades.  Obviously I didn’t expect them to carry out all of my recommendations, but many of my observations and calculations showed an ROI of less than one year for the lowest hanging fruit. Often the case was that the facility was old & dilapidated and the existing lighting, heating fixtures, or compressed air plumbing was out of date. By buying new equipment or drawing attention to what needed repair the company could save money on electricity costs and the IL EPA could declare a win by effectively reducing energy consumption of Illinois businesses.

 

Personal Projects:

I have a passion for engineering design and I constantly develop my skills through personal projects. The intent behind sharing these here is to show that I am a highly motivated person and a recognized innovator in the areas of 3D printing and electric vehicles. My work has been featured on the front page of websites including Instructables.comHackaDay.com3Dprinting.com3DPrintingIndustry.com, and more.

MugOMatic-Tiny_CNC_Collection.

Above: My original collection of open source 3d printable robots for teaching STEM.

Electric Motorcycle

Above: I converted an old motorcycle to an electric vehicle, then I wrote a set of directions for how others can do it and I also wrote an article about the things I learned from the experience.

Smoke Detector Disconnector   TestrBot Main photo

Above Left: My invention for preventing house fires.

Above Right: I designed and built a DIY tension/compression test machine so I could run tests on 3D printed objects. (TestrBot)

Bicycle BoosterPack KitBoosterPack Mid Drive Configuration

Above: The Bicycle BoosterPack. A reconfigurable & near universal kit that gives adult bikes an ultralight portable electric power assist.

I share many of my original designs online for free on Thingiverse here.

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dc7ba5e6f896c07d5d3341f563293a34_preview_featured  6588e651f2718cfce2e63bce457b45fd_preview_featured

Here are a couple of videos of the side projects I am most proud of! (Check out the rest of my YouTube channel here.)

 

And finally, during my unemployed time from Nov 2019-April 2019 I focused on developing custom Home Goods, Novelties, and Light up Cosplay Accessories to sell in my online store which can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RadiantArtifacts

 

 

Update May2019: Beyond the artistic endeavors shown just above I have also utilized my recent free time to develop another new business venture. I have identified a market opportunity and an innovation that will given me a competitive edge. I am developing a CNC lathe plotter for the purpose of creating artistically customized cups. I plan to sell these cups on-demand online and eventually offer the full machine for sale as a kit.  (Note to employers that I specifically design my side businesses such that I can support them in my leisure time without disruption to my full time employment.)

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