The way I measure success as intern is by how much I've learned and what I have accomplished with that knowledge. My work was split up during internship under two different projects - the Nichrome Wire Foam Cutter and the Freezer Project (for lack of a better term). I ended up applying a lot of my computer knowledge to the freezer project, and this varies from QR Codes to store data, to using Photoshop to put comprehensive guides together for making the QR Codes.

The general process for that was getting the color of the gray squares and then clearing the content that was already in them and then adding in the blue text to make our "stuff" stand out.

The Nichrome Wire Cutter project was foreign to me in a bunch of ways. For example, I've never designed and created my own circuit. I've made a computer chip before at a hacking convention, but it wasn't anything compared to what I did during internship. I had an end result that I wanted (cutting foam for prototype airfoils) and I had to build a circuit from the ground up. Right off the bat, I googled "Nichrome Wire Foam Cutter" and I found a bunch of great resources. I still had to a bit of work to do on the size gauge I want on the nichrome wire, and the length of the wire I wanted.

This means I would need to calculate the voltage, amperage and resistance of the circuit. I ended up going with a 22 gauge wire. I calculated the resistance of the entire 6ft length wire using a constant from matweb.com.

The constant for Nichrome Wire is:

0.000118 ohm-cm

Then, you find the cross sectional area of the Nichrome Wire and you get the resistance of the wire.

In centimeters, we have 0.0644cm as the diameter. Half it and you have 0.0322cm for the radius

Cross sectional area is the wire is 0.00325cm^2. Divide the length of the wire by the cross sectional area and multiply by the constant, and you get around 6ohms. After that, you find out how many amps are required to heat the wire to your desired temperature, and you get a complete equation for your circuit.

Then there was actually building the circuit. This was tough, but it's okay because I found that I learned a ton through my mistakes. We needed to use a transformer to convert the AC 120v outlet to a 24 volt DC connection. I also threw in a dimmer switch and button combination to make it fancy (and more importantly, safe). Also, I threw in a fuse for extra safety. A fuse will only allow a certain amount of current (think of this like the amount of water able to flow through a hose at any given moment) to pass through, otherwise it will overload and break.

To test our design, we excluded the fuse and I saw sparks fly everywhere. We ended up breaking our dimmer switch. A few days later, I replaced the dimmer, and threw in a 6amp fuse to test it out. We blew the fuse. Finally, I realized (with the help of a colleague, Mark Zemlany) that the transformer was wired backward. Whoops.

After I fixed that, the circuit worked like a charm. We ended up cutting out a prototype airfoil right after we fit all the guts into the junction box.

The Nichrome Wire Cutter project was foreign to me in a bunch of ways. For example, I've never designed and created my own circuit. I've made a computer chip before at a hacking convention, but it wasn't anything compared to what I did during internship. I had an end result that I wanted (cutting foam for prototype airfoils) and I had to build a circuit from the ground up. Right off the bat, I googled "Nichrome Wire Foam Cutter" and I found a bunch of great resources. I still had to a bit of work to do on the size gauge I want on the nichrome wire, and the length of the wire I wanted.

This means I would need to calculate the voltage, amperage and resistance of the circuit. I ended up going with a 22 gauge wire. I calculated the resistance of the entire 6ft length wire using a constant from matweb.com.

The constant for Nichrome Wire is:

0.000118 ohm-cm

Then, you find the cross sectional area of the Nichrome Wire and you get the resistance of the wire.

In centimeters, we have 0.0644cm as the diameter. Half it and you have 0.0322cm for the radius

Cross sectional area is the wire is 0.00325cm^2. Divide the length of the wire by the cross sectional area and multiply by the constant, and you get around 6ohms. After that, you find out how many amps are required to heat the wire to your desired temperature, and you get a complete equation for your circuit.

Then there was actually building the circuit. This was tough, but it's okay because I found that I learned a ton through my mistakes. We needed to use a transformer to convert the AC 120v outlet to a 24 volt DC connection. I also threw in a dimmer switch and button combination to make it fancy (and more importantly, safe). Also, I threw in a fuse for extra safety. A fuse will only allow a certain amount of current (think of this like the amount of water able to flow through a hose at any given moment) to pass through, otherwise it will overload and break.

To test our design, we excluded the fuse and I saw sparks fly everywhere. We ended up breaking our dimmer switch. A few days later, I replaced the dimmer, and threw in a 6amp fuse to test it out. We blew the fuse. Finally, I realized (with the help of a colleague, Mark Zemlany) that the transformer was wired backward. Whoops.

After I fixed that, the circuit worked like a charm. We ended up cutting out a prototype airfoil right after we fit all the guts into the junction box.