Internships at TXRX are different. Here interns are free to align their passions and interests with the opportunities available in a makerspace. So although interns are assigned challenging tasks like other internships, at TXRX they learn advanced maker skills such as CAD, 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, and CNC machining that give the intern skills to build a personalized project. We want to know how interns would like to activate change in their home, at their school, or around their community. If the intern is an avid mountain biker frustrated by trails getting flooded out, let's design a low-cost bicycle bridge and talk about ways to fund the project. If the bayou behind their house has a strange smell on certain days, let's design water quality sensors that track levels of dissolved solids and find the source of the smell. If their school needs signs with their new logo, let's design them and cut them on the laser cutter.
Ali Saunders, our do-everything Art Director and Social Media Manager recently sat down with Seth, who just completed a week long mini-internship at TXRX, to speak with him about his experience.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I am a freshman at Awty International School. I play guitar and video games and math is my strongest subject. I would like to study engineering in college.
What sort of projects have you worked on in the past and how did you use those skills at TXRX?
I am in a computer science class, so I have worked with a few different CAD programs. This allowed me to help Joe (TXRX Education Director) with the 3D printed selfie project for the after-school program at TXRX. I fixed the meshes from 3D scans so that they were solid and had a flat bottom. I then saved the meshes as STLs, scaled them using Slic3r, saved the gcode, and set them up for 3D printing.
I was then able to use my CAD and 3D printing skills to design and fabricate a mounting bracket for a 3D printer extruder. It took a lot of versions before I got the mounting holes for the screws properly placed. Chris (TXRX Mechanical Engineer and Instructor) taught me about tolerances for holes and how to look up hardware in the McMaster catalog to find specifications for the screws.
What was your favorite part of this internship?
I really liked working with Chris because we designed a template for a guitar together that we attempted to cut on the CNC router. We broke a router bit and made some mistakes, but the template did get cut out eventually. Chris taught me to never give up!
On the final day I also got to play video games with Ronnie, who is a world-class video game player. We took apart a video game controller and talked about how to make modifications with higher quality electronic components for better response time and performance.
Have you learned anything that you will take with you and use in the future?
Yes. The possibilities of a makerspace are endless. But specifically I learned about prototyping with CAD and 3D printers and how this can be used to improve products using the design process.
What sort of projects do you have in mind for the future?
I want to continue working on the 3D printer extruder project, designing an extruder holder so it's easy to switch out extruder tips. Then the printer can be used easily to extrude different widths of filament, different plastics, and even different materials like clay, silicone, and cake frosting.
What could we do to improve this experience for future interns?
I wish it could have been longer. By the last day I was too popular to have time to do everything - I didn't have time to work with Joyce in the woodshop, finish the guitar project with Chris, or fix the makerbot clone with Roland.
TXRX Labs is offering open enrollment for summer internships. The internships are customizable, so students can choose duration, hours per day, days per week, and most importantly the skills they want to learn and their projects. If you or someone you know is interested in an internship at TXRX, please submit a resume and a cover letter in the body of the email explaining goals for the summer to Joseph Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org.