Design and creation is more than what I do for work, it is what I do for fun in my free time. And, on the occasions I have actually have free time, these are some of ways I use it.
Fueled by a desire to save money for both a house and traveling, my wife and I began an exploration of simpler living. We looked at tiny houses, ADUs, shed conversions, RVs, bus conversions, camper vans, floating homes, boats, communal living, and micro apartments. At the end of the comparison, camper vans seemed the most appealing for upfront cost, cost of living, quality of location and ease of adventure. We chose to fix up a Vanagon because of their ridiculous resale value. After we spent more money, took more time, and replaced more parts than expected, we completed rebuilding our new home. Complimented with a 24 hour access heated storage unit and memberships at a good gym, we began the next chapter in our life.
The goal was a minimum of one year living in a van and two years if we particularly liked it. In truth, it was wonderful. At the end of each day there was no going home, we were home. If we wanted to go climbing in the morning we would park near the gym. If we wanted to stay late at a friends house we would, and then simply go to sleep when tired. If we wanted to go the beach we would just go. There was never any packing. It was simple and remarkably trouble free. At the end of one year the van began to show some signs of frequent use. At that point we decided to sell it in order to recoup our investment. It had been fun but it was time to move on.
Cycling is one of the joys of my life. A number of years ago I desired to design my own full suspension mountain bike. As a starting point, I sought for a book to give me a head start on understanding the physics of bicycle suspension. Such a book does not exist, which left me with the need to do the math myself. With the math complete and a bicycle drawn up I was left with a new task. Write the book and share what I learned. To make it more interesting, I felt it should be useful to all mechanically minded people, not just those with engineering degrees. Currently I am halfway thourgh creating the fully illustrated guide to bicycle suspension design. The images you are seeing here are from the "Mechanical Engineering 101" section.
If you were to look though my resume you might notice a gap in employment shortly after moving back to the States. This presented a problem. With Christmas approaching gifts would be needed, my accounts were low, and solid income has not yet been identified. However, I had a pile of old bike parts and time. Problem solved. My bicycle lamps were successful enough that I sold them each Christmas for the next few years.
While in graduate school, a popular bicycle design web page hosted a design competition for the ideal commuter cycle. It was a topic that had interested me for some time, so I entered. My concept was a fully enclosed, front wheel drive, rear wheel steered commuter tricycle. Competing proved fun, but the project also let me play with higher detailed renderings for the first time, and afforded me the mindspace to design a dynamically stable rear wheel steered vehicle. The design was noted as honourable mention.
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