Mentor Visit Assessment 3
This mentor visit was one of the most exciting ones so far. I had never seen Mr. Ekpete’s workplace, although technically he does not actually work on the floor, and the Lockheed Martin facility is definitely a beautiful sight. Gaining access to the place was also difficult because of all the high level information and its connections to the national government and the military.
We started at with the construction of the wings. So many wings were all lined up and each one matches a specific aircraft. After the seeing the construction of the wings, we visited the composite lab which is somewhat off to the side of the linear layout of the facility. The next “section” we explored was the EMAS (Electronic Mating and Assembly System). The EMAS was somewhat similar to the fabric connections found in my exoskeletal parts. After the EMAS, I got to see the final staging and composite staging at the very end.
I got to see the use of composites in manufacturing. I never really realized how common composites are in products and aircrafts. I saw composites being pressed into their form which was extremely exciting. Composites are very lightweight and durable and this perfectly suits my exoskeleton.
This visit focused more on engineering in general rather than my final product. I got to see how all different forms of engineering play a role in the construction of something like a F-35. You need engineers to create the infrastructure used to create the different parts of the fighter. You also need engineers to manufacture the infrastructure. Clearly, all forms of engineering are extremely prevalent and overlap often. This visit motivated me to continue exploring engineering as whole, especially when it comes to college and the future. More importantly, I have never seen a facility of that size and scale every before so that was very interesting and inspiring. Although I may not have made tangible progress for my final product, it was fun to work with my mentor and get closer and more comfortable with him.
My next mentor visit should finalize my design engineer and software endeavors. I need to talk to him about what engineering software we plan on using for creating the online model. After deciding this, I can download the trial or student version of the software and play around with it to learn as much as I can. I also need to figure out how I need to create the physical blueprint which the online version will be based off of. This is the most important step that I myself need to complete to finalize my product. A professional and accurate design is the most daunting task and I need to stop putting off the inevitable and just get started.
The next visit should also include a review of my finalized requirements. I need to decide upon the requirements in order to rank the materials in my spreadsheet and score them to determine which material is the most all around suitable for my space suit exoskeleton. Mr. Ekpete will probably be able to catch requirement areas I missed. Even coming back to it can help me open up my mind a bit more allowing me to see new areas that I need to account for, but missed the first few times around.
I am excited to keep working on my final product. This visit was a nice break from just my final product and helped me reaffirm why I am in the ISM program as a whole and why I am interested in engineering. This reminder comes at a good time since we are heading into the final stretch of the program and a bit more motivation can help me get me wherever I need to be.