We had the pleasure of working with Jamie as a Year-in-Industry intern this year, and we will be sad to see him leave next week! We missed out on a lot of things last year, including welcoming those wide-eyed interns to Labman HQ – but this year we are delighted to bring you more stories about what they got up to. Before Jamie returns to complete his final year at Loughborough University studying Robotics, Mechatronics and Control Systems Engineering – he had a little something to say:
How has the year been?
When faced with getting hired as a student intern in a global pandemic I would never have guessed I would end up in such a great job! I definitely feel very lucky to have spent my intern placement year here, and I can’t imagine many people will have been given an opportunity like this.
What did I get up to as an intern?
Testing – In the beginning there was starch. Lots of starch. I was responsible for testing and refining the cooking process for a multi-million-pound robot for my first 5 months of working with Labman as an intern, which though it was daunting at first I was given guidance when it was needed. This was a good opportunity to lay the foundation for my later work with Labman, allowing me to get involved with some hardware development, software, and management of deadlines.
Ultimately this meant that when the testing was completed I helped design some of the modules for the final system, and was able to give guidance on the final design of the cooking parts of the robot.
Hardware integration – Moving on from this testing I showed my interest in developing my software skills, and my interest with robot arms. As a result I was given a collaborative robot arm to figure out how to control and integrate with Labman’s software. This was done with generous support from Chris Brown who guided me through the process in which I learned so much about how large software projects are managed. Ultimately I was able to implement all of the functions needed to control the robot arm, as well as a custom interface to allow it to be controlled and programmed through Labman’s software. The project was wrapped up with a presentation I gave to Labman for anyone that might be interested in using the robot arm on their own systems, this was a very rewarding project to work on.
6-Axis robot arm control – Having demonstrated my abilities working with the 4DOF robot arm I progressed to programming a movement profile for a 6DOF Mitsubishi robot arm to create consistent spray patterns on fabric. This was a really interesting programming challenge where, using the inbuilt functions and some of my own, I was able to push the boundaries of what we have done with robot arms so far by moving the arm in custom spirals. This produced some great consistent results and allowed me to get to testing with lots of products to conclude the work on the project, and evaluate the viability of spraying to create the stain patterns.
System development – My final big project was a cap feeder which I was involved with from initial sales work with cardboard and tape, up to seeing it being integrated into a project ready to ship to the customer. This was a thoroughly rewarding process of problem-solving and using the many tools Labman has to offer to take an initial idea through to a complete working assembly. I was able to try unique solutions, and take the time to produce a robust system that far exceeded the required output.
What have I learnt?
Throughout the year I have learned so many things, from CAD to programming, machining, project management, and customer relations. I hadn’t used Solidworks, but by the end, I was using it as part of my day-to-day workflow. I had no idea how Labman’s software works or what is involved in integrating hardware, but by the end, I was being trusted to do just that. This and so much more with managing project hours, talking with customers and managing projects have been invaluable.
At Labman you have many opportunities to learn and pursue your interests, you have to work for it and speak up to try something new, but if you do you won’t be disappointed.
Being surrounded by such friendly and interesting people has made the whole experience so much more fun and memorable, I have many happy memories and can say Labman is the nicest place I have worked and I will miss it.
The time at Labman has gone so quickly, and yet it feels like a long time back that I started! I will miss the people, and the workshop of course, but will continue on my endless quest to 3D print more 3D printers using 3D printed 3D printers. I’ll keep making robots, finish off my university degree, and try and get out and see the world a bit too!
Hopefully, if Labman hasn’t forgotten about me by then I might be allowed to come back….
You can check to see what I’m up to on here if you are interested 🙂