My At-home Lab

I had access to everything at MIT: table saws, metal cutters, soldering stations, and every tool you can imagine. At home I have…well…I have a table and a hand drill?

As someone who loves tinkering, it has been especially hard to transition home without the usual resources I have on campus. Sure, I have to worry about not being with my friends, having to now do chores, and, of course, worry about the possible pneumonia and life-threatening conditions I can get from COVID-19. But where am I going to 3D print my motor mount?

Luckily for me, I’m a hoarder. Ever since my first hackathon, I’ve been collecting microcontrollers, sensors, perfboards, motors, sheet metal, and multiple sets of screwdrivers. I have essentially brought my entire lab home! And I want to give you a tour of it so you know just how much of a hoarder I am, and to take a chance to “ooo” and “ahh” at my multiple unfinished projects.

I’m an aerospace engineer, so it’s safe to assume I love drones. I have a pre-built airplane that I fly at the park down the street from my house, and I am currently making a quadcopter drone! The only problem is 3D printing the parts I need; thankfully, I can do so online!

Above: The pre-built airplane

Above is the 3D model for the quadcopter using SolidWorks

 

I’ve also been working on a few RC cars. I found five of them in a garbage can and couldn’t resist but to take them home, clean them up, and re-wire them. I have re-built three of them and the two others need 3D printed parts; the ultimate goal is for them to communicate with each other using Bluetooth so that you can control all of them with just one controller. To test them, and for some fun, my family and I set up a course in our basement made of PVC pipes!

 

Above: Two of the five RC cars, ready to go!

Above: The race track

 

And those are the large projects I’m working on. Classes start soon and while I can say I have thoroughly enjoyed my weeks off settling down at home and working on fun projects, I have to say I’m excited to be doing some coursework. Don’t get me wrong though, in a few days I will be right back at my workbench, tinkering with more electronics. For now, I have a drone to build! Stay safe & squeaky clean!

Active Aeroelastic Aircraft Testbed (A3TB)

I spent my sophomore year summer in Israel through the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative (MISTI). I knew that during my time at MIT I wanted to travel the world, especially if it’s free!

I grew up in a moderately religious household and went to religious classes, so I knew about the biblical Israel: the land of Abraham and King Solomon. But I knew Israel was more than that, so I wanted to travel there. I also knew there was a lot of cutting-edge aerospace research in Israel, which would be perfect for me to see.

After getting accepted into the program, I matched with a research group at Technion University’s Aerospace Faculty. I was told many times that Technion was the MIT of Israel, and once I heard that MIT was the Technion of the US.

The faculty was incredibly welcoming, and I felt right at home as soon as I arrived on campus. My lab was researching active flutter suppression and was ready to build and fly a drone that would serve as a test bed for aeroelasticity. I was eager to help as I have built many drones before with the Design / Build / Fly team at MIT.

I spent my first few weeks on the CAD model of the three-meter wingspan drone.

The drone was 3D printed from ABS plastic covered with Monokote and with a carbon spar at the quarter chord. I helped with the mechanical integration.

In July, we had our flight test! Unfortunately the plane didn’t exactly fly…

In the second half of my summer, I took the lead designing and preparing for a ground vibration test of the aircraft. We used motion capture software from OptiTrack to find the step and frequency responses of clamped wing sections with the help of some MATLAB.

In between workdays, I traveled a lot in Israel. I explored Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and many more places, which included tasting the best food in the region.

And in just a few weeks, the summer was over. While I can’t say I’ll miss the Middle Eastern sun, I will say that my time in Israel, both in lab and touring the entire country, is one I’ll never forget.

The step response of a clamped section of the test bed.

The step response and frequency



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