I’m a mechanical design engineer with five years working experience at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) of Nigeria. This job entails the development of 3D models, assembly procedures and designs from conceptual inputs using specialized CAD software (SolidWorks). It also involves research and development of new materials, and the 3D printing (additive manufacturing) of prototypes. Growing up, I was passionate about creative design and innovation, and I was curious of how engineers use the fundamental principles applied to products and structures, and then integrate them into designs. This curiosity led me to a career in this field. To be honest, when I joined the organization, I was a bit overwhelmed at first. NARSDA is the national space agency of Nigeria (like the NASA of Nigeria) and a national powerhouse, and I wasn’t sure if I would fit in. Gradually with time, I gained my footing. In my first few weeks, I was given the freedom, available resources and the right mentorship to work on various design projects. I learnt about creative design thinking, development of user-centred solutions for different challenges, research and development of prototypes using a Makerbot 3D printer. The work environment is a friendly one that involves a team that is dedicated and passionate about engineering creativity and innovation. The most enjoyable part is getting deep into a design project with other engineers who are passionate in finding the next best way to tackle the new technology constraints and opportunities. After spending 5 years in this organization, I can gladly say NARSDA gave me a great oportunity and is helping me develop into a better design engineer. This is a career and an organization I would choose over and over again if given an opportunity to choose a new career and company.
At each machine I’m working on I like to have the stock material and finished parts separated and arranged nicely (in 5’s or 10’s for large quantity orders) to make keeping track of quantity easy. I also like to have the part’s print visible somewhere and any inspection, fixturing, and deburring tools in the same area so I can repeat my process easily for every part. That being said, when it gets busy my workspace can easily devolve into a huge mess of tools and paper. I try to stay on top of it.