Engineer’s Spotlight – Stefan Varga
Stef Varga is an Engineer known on GrabCAD for his intense love for everything ZW3D, stellar renders of other people’s work and a love for designing and uploading flying cars and spaceships. In the real world he lives in Maribor, Slovenia and works for BiroCom2000 as their ZW3D CAD/CAM specialist. We got a chance to catch Stef and throw the Engineer’s Spotlight on him.
Stef started off at Art school but in the end found himself in the Engineering and Construction Department. “I am a 34-year old Father of an 8-year old boy. I try to get my ideas into CAD and present them to the general public.” This, of course, is where GrabCAD comes into play for Stef. But he doesn’t use CAD to be a show-off. Design isn’t just for fun – its got a purpose for him. “My dream is to try make a better future, not just for my son but for all of our sons and daughters. That’s why we need to put our heads together.” I couldn’t agree more, Stef.
All that energy is being driven into the ever growing ‘GrabCAR’ project, a nascent concept ‘flying car’ being developed by a group of engineers, designers and students lead by Edison Phoenix. Projects like this are going to become more and more common according to Stef. “Today a single engineer is able to do what some years ago would take a whole team of experts. Just imagine what a community of engineers such as GrabCAD’s is able to do.” Getting them together and following through with a plan is the hard part – our job is to make that process of collaboration easier. I asked Stef what we could do to help. “it would be interesting to have departments organized in a sort of a tree, or an assembly, so we could keep track of the different stages of development in dif. Departments”. Another idea was a video chat ability that makes it easier to help other engineers with their questions about programs. As it happens, Stef receives a lot of questions about ZW3D, helping out as best he can. Video chats mean screen sharing – a really important capability for teaching.
Of course, designing things on a computer is one thing. Having it in your hand is a whole other thing – a really important part of the Product Lifecycle process. We tossed around ideas about 3D printers and Fablabs. Stef got really excited by the idea of ‘GrabLab’, a shop where all the best designs from the community were made. “I think it’s an every engineers dream to see their creation come to life”, Stef says. We talked about Quirky and their style of crowdsourcing-oriented product design and whether or not GrabCAD could pull something off as well. The popularity of a lot of the design challenges is due in part to the fact that people have a chance to have their CAD work made into something real. Imagine where whatever the community created in CAD was turned into products for customers that needed it.
This is one of Stef’s first projects – These giant Umbrellas in Medina, Saudi Arabia, designed keep the crowds cool during the day and then retract in the evening. His job was checking tolerances and prepping parts for laser cutting on what he describes as utterly massive project. Stef also developed the molds for the McLaren MPC-12C, a project of particular pride to him because, heck, its McLaren! “I designed some EDM electrodes that were used to make a molding tool for the central console of the McLaren MP4-12C.” In addition to McLaren he’s picked up work with BMW and Ford, doing everything from balancing flywheels to tooling.
We shared stories of meeting people who turn out to be GrabCAD users. Stef’s story was the best. One day he walked into the office of another company for a meeting. When he introduced himself as Stefan, another technician said ‘Stefan … Varga?’ As it turned out, Ales Romih happened to work there and recognized Stef. GrabCAD users – they’re out there!