Collaboration on the Waves to Water Prize

I was happy to collaborate with Landon Mackey from NC State on the recent Waves to Water Prize


Fingers crossed that our venture WATER BROS is successful as Landon is a blast to work with!


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ProJet 3500 HDmax Printer is up and running

This summer we got the new ProJet 3500 HDmax from 3D Systems up and running.  It features exquisite detail in a range of materials.  We’ve already used it for some turbine and microfluidic prototypes.  Contact Dr. Hewlin or Dr. Williams to discuss prints on this machine.


Prototype turbine components (prior to support material removal)

Prototype turbine components (after support material removal)


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Hydrovision 2019, Portland State University, and Portland

Hydrovision was in Portland,OR this year, which made attending a no brainer as I coupled visits to Portland State University on the front and back end of the conference to oversee the assembly of the hermetically sealed magnetically geared generator for marine hydrokinetic energy applications.  The conference itself was a good chance to connect with industry, government, and academics in the search for the next partner, supplier, or funding source.  It was particularly exciting to see Emrgy (a small business out of Atlanta) announce a new partnership with GE Renewables to bring their small distributed hydro generators to international markets.

Emrgy and GE Renewable Energy Partner for Global Commercialization of Distributed Hydropower System

The time at PSU was also valuable to supplement the countless video conferences over the past year.  I was impressed/amused to see the electronic component vending machines in the halls of the Engineering building.  As quirky as it seems, I can imagine them getting a lot of traffic, particularly during senior design crunch time.

Electronics Vending at PSU

The city itself remains a favored destination, with reliable mass transit, great choices for food, and inspiring attractions.

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Manufacturing Support for Solar Racing at Appalachian State

The Magnetic Gearing Research Group was happy to provide some manufacturing support to Appalachian State University’s Team Sunergy as they made modifications to their car ROSE (Racing On Solar Energy) in advance of their upcoming races.

We were able to use the Haas Mini Mill to produce new battery holders.

App State students visit to assist with manufacturing.

Finished battery holder component.

Team Sunergy ROSE logo.

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Microhydro Workshop at Appalachian State

I got to head up the mountain in early June to Appalachian State University for a workshop on covering the principles, practice, and lessons learned with microhydro power.

PowerSpout Pelton Turbine being tested.

Brent Summerville (the instructor for the course) presenting a trailer mounted microhydro station including coiled penstock, power electronics, and batteries.

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FIRST Robotic Competition: Asheville 2019

Belated links to the NC FIRST Regional Event in Asheville.  As always, NC FIRST photographer Danny Levenson has captured some great shots from the event (

Dr. Williams as the Lead Robot Inspector for the event with his rest of the inspection team (including Kevin C. from UNC Charlotte Mosaic).
picture by Danny Levenson

Dr. Browne (in yellow) briefs the teams on rules for the event.
photo by Danny Levenson

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Spring Semester Wrap Up

The Spring 2019 semester wrapped up with a flurry of activity.  Three undergraduate research assistants (David Barnett, Austin Joyner, and Ryan Williams) graduated with their BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology.  While Austin and Ryan are moving on into the workforce, David is following Casey’s lead and sticking around for graduate studies.  Timely graduations are part of the equation when you are hiring undergraduate research assistants, but it can be bittersweet.  You are happy to see them transition to the next phase of their professional development, but you do miss the finely tuned operation of the research group when they are gone.



The magnetic gearing research group also landed another accolade, as Casey Nichols took second place in the inaugural EPIC Innovator competition for his presentation on an modular in-conduit turbine with magnetic transmission for low head hydropower applications.



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