Fabrication and Machining

In the summer of 2017, I interned at Bray, the machine shop on campus. Over the course of two and a half months I saw my skills in design, sketching, and fabrication come to fruition to create fun and amazing projects. Interning at Bray helped me find my love of fabrication and machining. Being an engineer is not just coming up with a solution, but actually acquiring the skills to make your ideas into reality. Below you will find the projects that I worked on during using those skills that I honed while my time in Bray.

Whole Heart Decellulization Chamber

A friend had asked me to help him design a box that would track and record the heart decellularization process over the course of several days. For context, hearts become white when all the red blood cells are removed and the purpose of the chamber was to house the process from light and use image processing to carefully track how much red blood cells remained throughout the process. It controls cardiac decellularization with optical and barometric feedback in order to reduce component less and maintain decelling consistency. The decellularized hearts are then used for cardiac tissue regeneration research.

There are various components to the chamber. On the back is the camera mount where the camera can slide along the wall in order to capture the process over time. LEDs are placed along the roof of the chamber in order to keep the light constant and provide ample lighting for the camera to process.

To the right showcases the entirety of the chamber from the outside. The LED panel really brightens up the inside. The top photo shows the inside of the chamber during the actual decellularization process. As you can see the camera mount is on the back side constantly tracking.

Peristaltic Pump:

One of the future configuration of the chamber would have a pump feedback system. Conventionally in labs, normal water pumps can't be used due to constantly needing to be sterilized.

So my partners and I designed our own peristaltic pump that would be able to pump the liquid with just a motor controlled by an Arduino microprocessor.

Preliminary prototype of the pump, Most of the fabrication is done with laser cut acrylic and 3D printed ABS. We hope to keep the fidget spinner design for future iterations.

Fire Piston Starter: The Bringer of Light

The Red Zone in the shop of Bray Labs requires the making of a fire piston starter as a training protocol for the lathe. The lathe is an amazing fabrication tool to learn and teaches patience, attention to detail, and precision. Working with brass and aluminum pieces of stock the formation of the fire piston starter was a long but rewarding process.

The starting process is getting to know your tools well. Each tool has different uses and precision so it is always important to take your time with fabrication.
After the training was done I was able to finish the piston fire starter to great results. I particularly love the design I came up with and ended up using the knurling tool which I think, adds great aesthetic to an already awesome piece.

3-D Printed Clamp Reinforced with Fiberglass

A problem that we realized was very prevalent in the Shop was that many of the smaller clamps that we used were constantly being broken. Over the course of a couple week, I had to find what was the problem, create a couple of prototypes of the solution and make a replacement that could be easily mass produced for future needs.

Here is the original that was cracked and the modeled prototypes made out of PLA plastic from a basic 3D printer. The initial prototypes were just as prone to breaking so I needed to find a better material to work with.
The second iteration of the prototypes were made using Nylon. The material proved to be better at resisting cracking and breaking but was more prone to warping and bending.
The final iteration, used a combination of Nylon and Fiberglass to make an unbreakable and rigid clamp piece that worked incredibly well. I decided to go with fiberglass instead of carbon fiber due to being a lower cost for comparable performance.