Engineering & Design Projects
Here is a sampling of the bigger engineering design projects I've completed. For design intent, please download my portfolio.
Synapse Product Development

I joined Synapse as a mechanical engineering intern in August. What a great experience! I've engineered components and systems for internal and external engineering projects, including a chemical dosing system to be used in a third-world sanitation device. I designed, administered, and reported multivariable experiments to validate engineering designs about magnetic attraction, pressure resistance, and more. I contributed to dozens of brain storming and ideation sessions across several project lines, and liaised with vendors, requested quotes, and researched and purchased off-the-shelf solutions. I also took the lead in facilitating a culture of inclusion for other interns and new employees. Illustrated examples will be available soon, as NDAs permit.

Formula SAE Brake Pedal

I engineered this brake pedal assembly for use on the 2012 University of Washington Formula Motorsports race car. After interviewing the team’s drivers and brake engineer for their preferences, I wrote a multi-hundred line-long MATLAB script to analyze resultant force vectors and to optimize the pedal’s geometry. Using ANSYS Workbench, I developed and built two iterations of a safe and lightweight design that could withstand 450lb of force with a minimum factor of safety of 2.0. The race-ready second iteration was constructed using water jet-cut 6061-T6 aluminum and machined brass and 7050-T4571 aluminum. With military-grade fasteners, it weighs just 1.13lb.

Formula SAE Throttle Pedal

This throttle pedal assembly was engineered for use on University of Washington Formula Motorsports’ 2012 race car. For safety, the pedal connects to the engine throttle via two (rather than one) bicycle shifter cables. With military-grade fasteners, it weighs less than a pound.

Fishing Vessel Evacuation Device

Our team’s senior capstone project sponsor asked us to investigate if life rafts used by the fishing industry could be improved. After extensive interviews with rescue swimmers, fishing captains, survival trainers, and others, we found that what was actually needed is a device to prevent evacuees from being swept away by wind, waves, and currents as they swim from distressed vessels to their life rafts. As the team manager, I led our team through the quarter-long design process. After my “claw” design won an internal design competition, I machined a proof-of-concept device that we tested in a diving pool.

How it works: Before entering the water, evacuees insert the painter line (a rope connecting the distressed vessel to the life raft) into the claw device. During the jump, evacuees use one hand to secure the seat between their legs. A webbed safety lanyard connects the claw to the seat and limits deceleration shock. Upon surfacing, the evacuee discards the seat and uses the claw to traverse the painter line to the life raft.

Solar Hot Dog Cooker

Lying awake one night, I committed myself to designing a collapsible solar hot dog cooker. In the morning I started with some sketches. Later on I wrote a 350-line JavaScript program that spat out dimensions, angles, and solar power concentration for different geometric configurations. I gleaned insights from paper-and-tape prototypes, made lots of changes, and then ordered 22 reflectors to be laser-cut. I delighted in the work, neglecting food and sleep for hours at a time. Shortly after completing the project I enrolled in mechanical engineering courses.

Balsa Car

What a fun project! Could a team of engineering design students create a balsa car chassis that would protect an imaginary family from a crushing force? Most teams strove to build the strongest frame possible. Our team took a different approach: barely fulfilling the requirements through a series of clever cheats. Our quarter-pound chassis withstood 285 lbs. of force, saving our make-believe occupants and producing a class-leading 995:1 strength-to-weight ratio.

Click to the halfway point of this video to watch the car chassis getting crushed.