Jonathon Cardenas

Jonathon Cardenas


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I am a graduating mechanical engineer and would rejoice at the opportunity to be a designer,product developer or R&D engineer. I want to see to the development of goods that are implemented into people's lives. For the purpose of attributing to their enjoyment and/or survival. Where they will feel that they have the most reliable, safest and best product on the market.

Beginning college I joined the TTU Motorsports FSAE team because the lower level courses lacked excitement that I was looking to find in school. By connecting with the team, I have learned more than what the textbooks could teach or the professors could show in a classroom setting, as I gained proficient experience in fabricating. Having gained the skills to operate a lathe, mill, welders and sheet metal cutting tools, I have been more than capable to satisfy the team’s design requirements. While joining TTU Motorsports team has complimented both my mechanical engineering coursework and desire to create, the experience has driven me to seek additional opportunities to develop the skills to design.

Utilizing the knowledge gained from my work on TTU Motorsports, I have been able to undertake my own projects. Most of them relating to the sporting industry, ranging from a magnetic weight rack to an ever changing miniature golf course. Understanding only one should be chosen, I chose to design and write a provisional application for a snowboard binding patent. From watching some of the most revered pro riders such as Scott Stevens and Bode Merrill perform one footed tricks, I designed a binding to detach oneself from the snowboard while in the air and/or on the ground to accomplish a wider array of acrobatics. I full heartedly believe that this style of riding could be the next big phase in snowboarding so much that I brought the paper drawing to life by employing SolidWorks 3D modeling, 3D printing, and metal fabrication to develop the binding. I took it upon myself to test the binding and make improvements to the apparatus; however, I soon discovered that I would design a better product if I sought out the expertise of others.

Ultimately, I entered my snowboard binding design into the Eagle Works Innovation & Entrepreneurial Competition and competed against 30 other teams. I credit a number of supporters for their input, as it assisted me into the final round of the competition. These individuals instructed me on the importance of a minimum (valuable) viable product, as well as the creation of a business model that included researching value propositions, inquiring about a customer archetype, validating logical key partners, and developing cost structures based on the industry’s trends. In learning these ideas, I opted to partake in an entrepreneurship course to better my understanding of business focused topics and become more well rounded than other ME students.

In the Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Lean Launchpad course, our team was tasked with finding the validity of a portable fuel cell powered camp stove that would compete with others currently on the market, like Jet Boil and MSR. In doing so we worked with a Tennessee Tech professor who specializes in fuel cells. Together we brainstormed ideas for a product that could offer the most value. We then modeled a prototype, using SolidWorks, cooking stove that was very desirable to backpackers given it would meet a certain criteria after reviewing customer interviews. In learning everything Tennessee Tech has to offer for entrepreneurship I searched for more ways to broaden my horizon.

Continuing my interest in power creating devices, I signed on to the engine optimization senior design project. I was elected team leader because the other four members saw the skills I have to offer would benefit the team the most and I had the most related background. Our first priority was to blueprint the engine and document are findings accordingly, concurrently researching performance upgrades. From there we modeled the dynamic components in SolidWorks to verify the new components would fit. We came up with three possible designs under-square, over square and square engines. Based on our report and presentation my team and I chose to go with a more square engine, in hopes that it would best suit the conditions. The engine will need enough horsepower to get through the autocross course as well as have the torque to accelerate in the drag race. As of now we are roughly 1:1 on our horsepower and torque curves and with more testing we hope to increase the Hp by 50 from the original design.