By Hannah Wilk '17
Since graduating from Olin, Guillerme Cavalcanti has been anything but bored. Whether starting his own metal workshop, or working on a 5,000 lb. robot, he is constantly looking out for the next big thing.
After leaving Olin in 2009, Gui worked for a couple of years in the Massachusetts Defense Department's R&D Department. After a year of working for the defense contractor, he realized he missed the ability to create whatever he wanted, and the freedom he experienced as a student in Olin's machine shops.
Gui decided to create his own work space, and along with co-founder Joe Martinez, created the Artisan's Asylum. PGP visited and wrote a bit about that endeavor in the spring of '12. Gui and Joe bought some tools and put them in a 1000 square foot workspace, with the goal of giving people a place to learn and work on metal shop tools, designing and making whatever they wanted. Unsure of how popular this venture would be, they had a grand opening party, and 100 guests filled the tiny workspace. This was a wakeup call for the pair, who realized that they would need to move into a bigger space. In one month, they found another home, and expanded a space of 9000 square feet!
While working at the Asylum, Gui and two other Olin friends, Dan Cody and James Whong, had the idea to create Stompy, a 5,000 pound, 6-legged hexapod robot with enough room to fit two passengers. Using the Asylum's resources and one Kickstarter campaign, they found the room, funding, and machining tools to create the gigantic spider-bot. Each leg has over one thousand unique parts. Before they even began to build, they had many meetings to discuss the type of bot they wanted to design, and spent hours developing and refining their ideas. Decisions were made on how the leg should be built and where pieces should be welded together.
So far, this method of prototyping and designing has worked well for the team. Building each individual leg took a while, considering the complexity of each. Gui and his team decided that the end goal for Stompy was to showcase it at different events. Also, to fulfill the terms of the Kickstarter campaign (which raised $95,000 for the project) everyone who donated has the chance to ride in Stompy and will be invited to the tech demo day.
While Gui worked at the Artisan's Asylum, and was not busy building Stompy, an opportunity arose to appear on a Discovery channel reality TV show. The show was called Top Engineer (eventually changed to the Big Brain Theory). A call went out for engineers to come to this show for a seven week long series. Gui applied and was selected to be on the show.
Discovery flew him out to LA. The show put Gui on a team where he spent 3-5 days working on each project. During his time on the show he created bridges, developed a diesel powered waffle machine, and competed in an egg drop competition with explosives, among other things.
After having lots of fun and great experiences outside of Olin's borders, Gui has decided to come back and work with a new generation of engineers, teaching our Principals of Engineering Class this fall here at Olin.