Working with Plastics and Metal

The guys down at Deezmaker began to trust me more on my second week (third senior project week.) They began giving me more important duties such as assembling the various kits included in each purchased printer. The company doesn’t just ship out printers, it ships out the components in a DIY style to allow customers to construct it themselves. A smart practice, as the assembly process equips the customer with a good base of knowledge about the inner workings of the printer before they even use it. Therefore customers are far more likely to be able to identify their own problems when they arise and not clog up the phone lines with questions. Anyway in the beginning of this week I was entrusted with assembling these kits as well as soldering some of the circuit boards that control the x,y, and z axis movements of the printer’s extruder. I’d never really soldered before so starting on company property was mildly unnerving, but I got the hang of it. The most challenging part was getting the solder to go through the board at certain points called contact pins. There was a certain type of finesse required to melt it through but I ended up doing over 70 pins. Woo.

The last couple days of the week I came in I was taught how to use the industrial laser cutter Deezmaker uses to cut their acrylic, material used in various shapes as components of the printers. My instructor is named Metal (listed on the website too, I have no idea what his real name is, he’s a cool guy) and he walked me up to the printer and said “Okay so it’s easy all you have to do is set the origin point using the z axis controller and by hitting return three times, then just hit datum and set the magnet on the acrylic, DO NOT FORGET THAT, then hover over stop and allow bonding contact, go into the program and position the cuts appropriately, you may need to perform some rotal adjustments for efficiency but that’s not super important, then just hit test to outline your area, scroll down twice on the control to ensure you’ve selected the latest file, then hit escape to deselect and slam start then you’re cutting away. I’m gonna be outside talking to a customer, I’ll check in later, holler if you need me!” This was all said in the space of 20 seconds and the visual cues didn’t really help. He left and I spent about 3 minutes staring at the display visibly sweating before the CEO and owner walked in, glanced over and said hey, then double took and ran over before warning me about using the machine unsupervised and informing me that if it broke the business was screwed, then he immediately excused himself to talk to a client. After a couple more minutes of sweating Spencer (God bless) came over and broke down the process for me in a long lesson. So now I can use laser cutters. Ayo.

A New Dimension

Working at the 3D printing business Deezmaker has been a blast so far. Over the course of the last week I’ve been assembling various components and doodads and learning bits and pieces about each as I go. Along with that, I’ve garnered the very valuable skill of bubble wrapping as they’ve entrusted me to wrapping their printers before they get sent off. There are constant calls with all kinds of requests that the design artists there are working all day to create, such as detailed model cars or chess pieces. The possibilities of the industry are endless, I even recently heard a story of a girl who lost her arm and 3D prints her prosthetics. This allows her to cheaply and easily create an array of strong prosthetics with interesting design patterns and jewelry to her preference. I learn more every day about the potential and ways of thinking in the field.

The Great Shift

I forgot to post a second time last week so I’m going to post last week’s and this week’s as a double post separated by a line of little ~s:

After it became quickly apparent at the mechanic that I was working at that I wouldn’t be able to do mechanic work, I decided to begin searching for a change of project. Over memorial day weekend I got a new contact at an up and coming 3D printing business called Deezmaker from my dad. Following a little bit of back and forth correspondence, I was set to come in on Wednesday to meet the team and begin interning there. They’re a laid back but still hardworking company of people who’re passionate about the up and coming industry, and recently they had a kick starter fundraiser for one of their printers that yielded around $130,000 or 3x their goal! They sounded like the kind of place that both needed my help and would love teaching me about their industry My final day at Ron Ross I swept the driveway, watered the plants, finished my screw sorting to ensure that they were truly beautifully organized, and bid Ron and his partner Beatrice adieu.
I ironed out details with my boss Diego and began working at Deezmaker on Wednesday. They’re a really nice group of people: Diego has a striking similarity to David Spade and is an all around nice guy. There’s an employee named Spencer who’s been there from the beginning with a super dry sense of humor which I dig. Another employee nicknamed Metal (I don’t know his real name haha) was my main mentor on Wednesday, he’s a tattooed up drummer from Indiana with a heart of gold. There’s a couple more but all really enjoyable people. My first day I was put in charge of assembling “extruders,” which were the component of the machine that actually lays down the material used to print. It was a little high pressure cause it’s one of the most important components of the machine and screwing any up could potentially ruin that batch of printers, but they taught me carefully and comprehensively and afterwards Spencer was pleased with the results. It’s a fun time here, and I’m stoked to continue!

I Dream Of Screws

This’ll be more of a retrospective post seeing as it’s my first, yet I’m writing it on a Friday. So I pursued an internship at a fairly local mom and pop Redondo Beach mechanic. They’re friendly people who Jenny’s mom has a part time job for and, although my name was forgotten a few times throughout the process, they eventually they agreed to take me in and shed a little light on the life of being a mechanic for me. Immediately on day one I realized there were a few flaws with my project. First off, being a mom and pop style operation they have only one mechanic under their employment: Carlos (homie.) This puts the business in a position that isn’t necessarily intern friendly. Because while there is ample mechanic work happening insofar as I can tell, the situation is completely goldilocksian in a bad way. By that I mean there is too much business and thus not enough down time for Carlos to explain the basics of mechanics to me and help me ground my feet, while at the same time there’s not enough business to merit hiring two mechanics which would allow me to catch one with some down time. The business is at that just right point of only needing one overworked, no-time-for-my-bs-questions mechanic. No one’s fault, simply that the model doesn’t work that well with my goals as an intern. I feel as if they’re always scrambling to have something for me to do, and it’s never actually mechanically involved.

For the last 5 days my duties have consisted mainly of sweeping (the broom kind,) watering plants, and organizing screws (the big time.) I’ve sorted screws for probably 8 hours cumulatively. I’m beginning to see screws in my dreams. I eat Wee man’s Chronic Tacos a lot but the majority of my days are spent sitting in a chair in the shade of the building separating machine drilled screws and hand drilled screws while appreciating Carlos’s musical tastes from the radio around the corner. He’s big on Jack FM. Typically after work I go home and independently study mechanics online. My most pulse pounding moment was probably when my boss made a joke about me having two last names on day one and asked me if people ever commented on that and I said no, which gave birth to an awkward tension that ended in him kind of shuffling away while I gave one of those breathy fake laughs. I think I might transfer.