Summer Intern Project – “SolderBot”

Every summer here at Michigan Scientific Corporation (MSC), we take great pride welcoming interns to our team. We try to create meaningful work that challenges our interns to utilize their skill sets and to learn through problem solving.  Recently, one of our electrical engineering interns, Thomas Lynskey, finished a project that will streamline part of our assembling process for internal ring soldering for slip ring assemblies.

About Thomas

Thomas is currently working as an electrical engineering intern at our Charlevoix branch of MSC. Thomas graduated from Charlevoix High School in 2017. He originally got into electrical engineering from his interest with FIRST robotics in high school. This sparked his interest in circuit board design and Arduino projects. He enrolled in college to pursue electrical engineering at Michigan State University. After this summer, Thomas will be starting his 3rd year and he is expecting to graduate in 2021.

The Mechanical Build

Currently to create the internal ring configuration, technicians solder wires to tiny rings using a camera zoomed-in to the workstation. Precisely soldering on such small parts is a difficult task. Thomas’ project then, was to create a device to make the process easier and more exact. With the ring soldering process more automated and streamlined, technicians can work on more essential parts of the product development.

To start his project, he consulted with the technicians who currently handle the process he is working to improve. They discussed what presently worked, what didn’t, and what was needed. Thomas then documented and understood what previous interns had accomplished on the project. Next he worked on designing the circuit board schematic, and once completed, created the circuit board layout using the schematic. PCB

The next part of the process involved collaborating with other interns. In order to build the “SolderBot” he worked with a mechanical engineer intern and a  machine shop intern who he knew had strengths 3D modeling, mechanical design and fabrication. Working with the two other interns, they designed an enclosure that would hold the control board and the touchscreen. To create the enclosure they used 3D modeling software, cut and milled metal 80/20 lengths, 3D printed spacers and touchscreen protectors, and cut Plexiglas.

Control Box with Touch Screen

The Interface Build

When creating the touch screen, Thomas drew sketches that included the controls the technicians would need. He then brought those sketches to a scientific and technical communication (STC) intern. They had a design meeting to discuss the layout and the general look of the interface. After the meeting the STC intern created a draft in Adobe Illustrator. As the project progressed, several iterations of the user interface were created. They met several times to tweak the design and optimize it for the technicians that would soon be using the “SolderBot”. As the housing for the touch screen was finished, the final drafts of the interface were also being polished. Finally, Thomas worked on getting the touch screen to communicate with the control box and the control box to the mechanical soldering box. 

Touch Screen Interface

Michigan Scientific is always looking to the future. One of the best ways we can do that is hiring interns every summer to introduce more people to the field and give experience to up-and-comers. If you would like to learn more about our company or careers, check-in with our Careers page for any openings or contact Michigan Scientific today.