My 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, on which I was a contestant in 2015 and 2016. Through all of my adventuring in combat robotics and elsewhere, I have become a reasonably competent self-taught mechanical and electronics engineer and mentor to aspiring designers & builders.
I attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for my Bachelor’s Degree (S.B.) in Mechanical Engineering and worked towards a Masters (S.M.) thereafter. 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 and MIT-SUTD Collaboration has seen me in far-out places such as Singapore and Monaco.
At MIT, with its abundance of resources, I 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. From 2013 to 2016, I was the fabrication shop instructor for a the MIT-SUTD Collaboration (MIT International Design Centre), where I trained students in the skills they need to engineer and make, and was the Director of the Postmodern Robotics Research Group. I currently am a mechatronics engineering consultant, working primarily in robotic power and drive systems.
The best way to get ahold of me for a legitimate purpose is just to email me at charlesg@that 3-lettered school down the river from Harvard.edu. Otherwise, I’m all over the Internet in various forums and discussion groups. 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 was 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. 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.
I like building things and writing about building them.