If you’re considering MIT, you probably like to build things. Throughout my childhood, a small walk in closet in the basement of my house was dedicated to LEGOs. I have three brothers, so we racked up quite a few LEGO sets (likely well over 10,000 lego pieces by my 13th birthday!). Birthdays and Christmas were the only days of the year on which we’d actually build according to LEGO instruction manuals; As soon as we completed the actual official LEGO design, we’d rip it apart and build something new and creative. I remember building color coded Transformers, Pokemen, countless spaceships, and even Ironman himself.
Then 8 years passed. Three weeks ago, I got to do the same thing! Except instead of LEGOs, we started with a model RC airplane called the Parkzone Radian. And instead of my basement closet, we used the course 16 lab which is decked out with foam cutters, all types of CNC machines, a composite fabrication corner, a waterjet cutter and various other tools. We assembled the plane right out of the box, but then were given 8 days to completely redesign the airplane. This was one of the coolest classes I’ve ever taken. I learned a lot about the creative design process (brainstorming, concept selection, 3d modeling, analysis, optimization, rapid prototyping, analysis, testing, and presentation) and I learned a lot about my friends and teammates- Jamie and Mike (featured in the video).
16.810 is offered each IAP, and I certainly plan on taking it again next January. It’s sort of a shortened version of 2.007- a mechanical engineering class offered in the spring in which we design and build robots (and that I’m in now- more on that later). As part of our final presentation for 16.810, we made a short video. Here it is for you to enjoy! If you want to download the CAD model, or see more information about our project, check out: http://grabcad.com/library/mit-model-airplane-design-project