Engineer’s Spotlight – Alexander Papadopoulos
Alexander Papadopoulos is a Mechanical Engineering student from Greece, now on an internship at Karel de Grote Hogeschool in Antwerp, Belgium. You’ve probably come across his best known design, the 3D printed Synchromesh Gearbox. A pretty wicked design, deserving of a little time in our spotlight.
Describing himself as a passionate drawer when he was young, Alexander drew on “practically on everything I could reach.”. As it happens, this included floors and walls. “For me then it seemed not just something that must be done, and for my mother, something to clean up.”. We’re both big fans of the Japanese animation “Ghost in the Shell”, specifically for the futuristic machines and cybernetics. Beyond the classic passion for cars and helicopters, it was this vision of the future that got Alexander into Mechanical Engineering.
Once a student, he got into AutoCAD, From his first lessons, he began working on what became the Synchro Gearbox. In the end, it became his diploma thesis. He made it to be 3D printed. “The infinite possibilities I saw in 3D printers fascinated me. Yet to finish my thesis i started to learn how to 3d design in Pro Engineering by myself because in University it was used mostly for CAM.” After a stint with robotics, he managed to pick up an internship in Belgium. “The project that I’m involved is do design an aerodynamic and attractive racing car shell. The Formula is for International Design Competition of (FSG) Formula Student Germany.” Tell us how that goes Alexander!
Like a lot of students, the CAD library is key. Sharing CAD files for advice, rendering or to give back means they become better Engineers. Among the bigger companies out there, Alexander believes GrabCAD is going to force their hand. “I understand that a lot of people don’t want or have the authority to share their work because it can easily be practice for commercial use, but I believe that in the near future competition among companies will enforce them to share more data about their projects for the favor of evolution and feedback.” Hopefully, as more and more students march into these firms, or form their own, it will become the norm.