I have always enjoyed building and creating things, and now I can continue this with a useful and meaningful purpose. Engineering is one of the things I look forward to each day, because I am able to continue working on things that I design. Our school's engineering program does not follow the standard woodshop approach. Our goal is to develop and experiment with skills that are in use in the field. North Kitsap shares a lazer cutter and a 3D printer with the other high school in our district (Kingston High School). These two tools have become integral parts of our curriculum, far more than the band saw or the lathe. Our mechanical C.A.D. class' semester project is to design and print (on the 3D printer) a fully functional U-joint. Most of the projects in that class are individual design based, and all of the projects allow the students to create and develop their own interests within the constraints of the project parameters.

Engineering 1


My first year of engineering I took the introductory class. This class was not meant as a simple introduction to the idea of engineering, it was meant to introduce the students to design. We were all expected to be able to think for ourselves and design a product that would be useable (or at least theoretically useable) in the real world. The above image is of a laser cut CO2 car that we were all supposed to make. I decided to not make mine look like an actual car, and instead to try my hand at creating a full three dimensional object. This was the predecessor to some of the 2D to 3D sculpture that I would be creating in my senior year.


One of our later projects was to design an object that solves a problem using LEDs. This was intended to mimic the look of a volcano, and to serve as a base for an action figure. It has now been dismantled and is being used as a decorative sham for a pencil holder, but you get the idea. The LEDs were on the inside and lit up when the character was placed on top.

Engineering 2


The Engineering 2 class is a broad overview of all aspects of engineering. We had projects with structural engineering, mechanical engineering, programming, robotics, electrical engineering, and even a little bit of chemical engineering. One of my personal favorite projects from this class was the motor project. The above picture is of the entire housing, while below is the complete armature. I was able to work around the size constraint and scale down all of my parts to create a pretty good self starting motor. The spindle was made from a paperclip cutting, a nut was epoxied on, and six small bolts wrapped in magnet wire completed the armature. Working at this size was challenging and required patience and a steady hand. Trying to weld commutator plates that are only a quarter of a square inch was not an easy task, especially when they kept melting off of the rest of the armature.


The culminating project for this class was an ROV that had to work underwater. Three of us in the class felt that a simple ROV was too easy, so we decided to make an Autonomous vehicle. The local navy base (Keyport Naval Undersea Warfare Center) lent us some old Propellor chips that we could use, and we used the parts from the ROV kits to make the frame.


This project took us nearly a month of non-stop work, mostly because our team had to learn SPIN code from scratch. There were many times that little tiny problems held us back for days at a time. At one point we tried using relays to activate the motors (the breadboard didn't have enough power to run more than one motor at a time). Unfortunately we didn't realize that the relays had almost no resistance. We burned out two or three chips before we realized what the problem was. Once we committed to serious problem analysis we were able to overcome most of the roadblocks we faced.

AOV in water

Engineering 4


This year I am taking Engineering 4. This class is structured to allow for each individual student to investigate his or her own personal interests in engineering. I am currently working on designing and creating a guitar completely from scratch. I am currently trying to create the electronic and metal parts for my guitar. Above is the coil for the pickup that I made. The bushing is lazer cut wood and a CD case, and I wound it using the winder I created (see below).


I made the winder using Fisher Teknik parts and a 12v motor. I tried using the motors that came with the Fisher Teknik set, but they wouldn't gear down enough for me to use. I lazer cut the black part on the end to mesh between the pickup and the gear on the end of the motor. The outcropping section on the black part passes inbetween an LED and a photocell every turn, and the program counts these dark patches until I've done the correct number of windings. This coil currently has 5000 winds, which was far easier to complete using a mechanical winder that could count accuratedly at eighty winds per minute.


This is my current design for the body of my guitar. I hope to make it out of maple, with a black polyurithaine coat. I will be making all of the parts, so I can make them any size that I require to fit with my design. My next steps in the construction process include creating the neck and fretboard for the guitar.


One of my personal talents is CAD work. I placed 5th at the TSA national conference for CAD with Animation, and I have competed at state 2 years in a row and taken first and third. This is a small example of one of my more recent projects.

Copyright 2011 | Sam Zimmerman |

CSS Template By RamblingSoul