About Me

Onstage at Dragon*Con 2010 with Cold Arbor

The name is Charles.

I’m the mastermind behind the assortment of megalomechanical creations on etotheipiplusone.net. I have been an electromechanical hobbyist – tinkering, designing, and making (nothing I would yet call inventing) – since 2000. Like many of my peers, I was inspired to pursue robotics as a hobby by the television show Battlebots. Through all of my adventuring in combat robotics and elsewhere, I have become a reasonably competent self-taught mechanical and electronics engineer deranged engineering hacker ninja.

I currently attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, having completed the S.B. in Mechanical Engineering and working towards a S.M. in 2013. I left the Masters program at MIT in Fall 2012 to take on an instructor & mentor role for undergraduates in Mechanical Engineering through my 2.00gokart experiment: concocting an electric vehicle design class for undergraduates with the end goal of forming a practical, multidiscipline design process foundation early on. My associations with the Mechanical Engineering department has seen me in far-out places such as Singapore and Monaco.

At MIT, with its abundance of resources, I’ve expanded my project horizon from combat robots to include electric vehicle technology, satisfying my obsessive desire to build things which move quickly, but optimally contributing to future mobility and transportation solutions. I’m also involved pretty heavily in our on-campus hackerspace MITERS, where we provide students, staff, and MIT community members with a common place to build our collective heads off, away from the departments and laboratories.

Contact

The best way to get ahold of me for a legitimate purpose is just to email me at charlesg@that 3-lettered place up there.edu. Otherwise, I’m all over the Internet, including places such as the Robot Fighting League forums and Youtube/MIT TechTV. For added legitimacy, you may refer to my resumé.

About This Site

I first started this site in 2006 during my last year of high school as a general purpose blog and a place to post build reports for the projects I was involved in at the time. Gradually, the latter purpose greatly overtook the former, and etotheipiplusone.net exists today as a sort of online engineering notebook for me.

As I continued posting content to the site, I began realizing that very few engineers or hobbyists document what they do extensively, especially in a public arena such as the Internet. I found this problematic and somewhat disappointing, since undoubtedly there was alot of redundant work being done retracing the mistakes of other people – something which could be easily avoided if discoveries and solutions were well-documented. Therefore, whenever I run upon something I find curious or interesting, I pitch it on this site.

I believe that the maker and hacker community’s drive for self-improvement is hampered by lack of documentation and the motivation to create it. Out of intellectual property concerns, many engineering institutions insist that their employees or peers keep their documents private or secret. While this is a suitable methodology for sensitive applications such as new products or technologies, I contend that it has spilled over unreasonably into the engineering hobbyist and hardware hacker world. Additionally, it’s been my experience that many makers will actively downplay their projects’ importance to them or their community, judging it to be not worth documenting or showing in public.

That, and let’s face it – alot of us are kind of lazy about writing about everything, myself included. Just ask my course professors how much trouble it is to actually get an up-to-date notebook out of me. But, what I am passionate about (i.e. my own works) I document almost exhaustively. It’s one of my goals to encourage as many makers to document and record their projects in as much detail as possible, such that they can not only refer to it when they need to, but also to make it available for beginners and future makers.

I also am a semi-active supporter of the DIY ethic and “makerdom” – that practical, applicable skills and knowledge do not necessarily come from the top down (academia and corporate industry), but a significant portion of someone’s breadth of knowledge in engineering comes from self-driven learning. Modern laws and safety regulations do not necessarily support this ethic, unfortunately, and at the risk of being political, I contend that such an environment is not conducive at all to American youth developing skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathmatics (i.e. STEM) – an issue harped upon all too often by politicians with no real intention to redress and every intention to enact another “safety” regulation.

Therefore, another motivator for the existence of this site is to inspire more people in my age group and younger (or older, or anyone really) to take up the “industrial arts” as a pasttime. Real experience making, designing, and building is, in my opinion, far more valuable than listening to someone else talk about how a product is made or a machine works.

tl;dr

I like building things and writing about building them.

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