Selection of Course Projects

The following projects are highlights from classwork at Duke and MIT. When available, links are included to provide more technical information about the project. Please contact me via my Linkedin if you would like to discuss my work in more detail.

Precision Desktop Lathe - Design and Construction

[Design of Machine Elements Project (2.72); MIT]

Task Completed: Designed and manufactured a precision desktop lathe able to cut with a <50-micron repeatability. It further passed three "death tests": dropping the machine from waist height, hitting the spindle with a sledgehammer (where the workpiece is held) to ensure the first failure point was an easy-to-replace bearing, and standing on the cross-slide of the lathe while actuating its motion in both horizontal directions.

Application: Advances in industries such as medicine and electronics often require precise components with low tolerances.

Skills Obtained: Design of machine elements, considering stiffness, flexure design for precision movement (using Jon Hopkins' FACT method), experiment and modeling, functional requirements.

More Information: Project description and cutting demonstrations.

Interchangeable RC Car Design

[Manufacturing Course Project (2.810); MIT]

Overall goal: Develop a series of RC cars to interface with a single interchangeable control box, and race using one car body per lap.

Skills Obtained: Component design (SolidWorks) and integration, manufacturing including injection molding, thermoforming, waterjetting, machining, and assembly, collaboration on a team for a large project.

Result: 1st place in the race!

More Information: Project report.

Motorized Robotic Vessel with Camera

[Engineering Design Capstone (ME424); Duke University]

Overall goal: Developed a robotic vehicle to remotely survey fish populations at the Duke Marine Lab.

Application: To assist in research of marine populations and by automating processes and data collection.

Skills Obtained: Machine design with customer interaction, manufacturing, watertight construction, testing buoyancy and stability, modeling (SolidWorks), collaboration on a team for a large project.

More Information: Final presentation, and poster with description of mechanical components.

Pinewood Derby Racecar

[Dynamics Course Project (EGR123); Duke University]

Overall goal: Use insights from solving dynamics equations to design and make a winning racecar propelled only by gravity on a set track. (We won second place!)


Established theoretical description of motion of pinewood derby car on a track of set slope and dimensions

Created MATLAB time-marching Euler simulation to predict race time based on input parameters of vehicle weight, position of the center of mass, and dimensions. Predictions matched measured race times within 0.05 seconds

Examined theoretical results to design and construct a Pinewood Derby car that finished in the top cars of our class section and advanced to the Final Race between class sections

More Information: Link to project report.

Magnetic Levitation Device

[Control Systems Course Project (ECE283L); Duke University]

Overall goal: Develop a control system with an electromagnet to levitate a magnetic sphere inside a frame.

Outcome: A negative-feedback PID controller achieved position control for static height locations and for moving the ball along sinusoidal and square waves.

Skills Obtained: Electromechanical control systems, PID control, Simulink.

More Information: Link to project report.

Hacking a Kitchen Scale Load Cell

[Mechatronics Project (2.737); MIT]

Overall goal: Wire a load cell to a stabilizing circuit and LabVIEW control with modulation/demodulation and FPGA to accurately measure weights.

Skills Obtained: LabVIEW and myRio, electrical measurements with oscilloscopes, circuit design, analysis of measurement linearity and drift over time.

More Information: Coming soon.