Maker Profile

Who are you and what do you make?

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Management, and also the instructor of senior design course. I mentored the senior design students to design, execute, and manufacture products. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Manufacturing Systems Engineering. My research includes sustainable manufacturing, sustainability analysis of nanotechnologies, life cycle assessment, additive manufacturing, and CAD/CAM.

What's the favorite thing you've made?

The favorite thing I have made is a lithium ion battery coin cell with SiNW anode. For the lithium ion battery with SiNW anode, the cathode is made of lithium foil with binder. The lithium high purity foil (99.5%) is produced from cast ingots, which can be found in the database of Gabi 6 Professional. The binder is a composite with styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) as the primary binder and sodium carboxyl methyl cellulose (CMC) as a thickening/setting agent. The product code of SBR/CMC is PSBR100 made by Targray®. the silicon powders (Sigma-Aldrich®, -325 mesh, 99.99%) were firstly cleaned by successive acetone, ethanol, and deionized water washing to remove the organic contaminants. This is followed by hydrophilic treatment using a boiling solution of NH3·H2O, H2O2 and H2O (1:1:5, volume ratio) for 10 minutes. The dioxide layer is then etched away in the following procedure: The pretreated Si powders are placed in polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) beaker and certain amounts of H2O, HF, and AgNO3 solution (1:1:3, volume ratio) were added successively. Silver plating took 30 seconds for processing. Then certain amount of H2O2 using graduated syringe was slowly added. The resultant porous silicon was rinsed with copious water and then split into two portions. One was dried directly in vacuum oven and the other portion was washed with concentrated nitric acid (30%) for 15 minutes in order to remove the residual silver. The prepared porous Si material was mixed with carbon black and CMC glue (8:1:1, weight ratio) and coated onto copper foil (5 µm) to make disk-like electrode (1/2 inch).

What's your go-to Maker skill and/or tool?

My go-to Maker skill include all the related knowledge in the field of electrochemical engineering, chemical engineering, manufacturing engineering, mechanical structure design. The tool used are furnace, vacuum oven, ultrasonic cleaner, sol-gel system for nano-particle synthesis in various size ranges, glove box, cleaning room, SEM, TEM and XRD equipment.

What's been your biggest Making challenge?

How to improve the charging/recharging cycles of the coin cell is the biggest making challenge. I changed the material composition for electrodes, tested the alternative electrolyes and optimized the structure of coin cell.

How would you define 'Maker culture'?

As a faculty member in the Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Management, my definition of ‘Maker culture’ is to provide students with great opportunities for undergraduate research, research environment, laboratory work, internships, and industry experience. Especially focusing the senior design courses or similar project based courses, students can involve in different related fields such as robotics, nanotechnology, materials science, control design, CAD design, CAM generation, manufacturing and business plan in the design and manufacturing process of a real product.

How is Maker culture transforming your campus?

CSUN is located in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, and surrounded by a highly developed concentration of defense, space, aerospace, electronics, manufacturing, biomedical, and entertainment industries. CSUN's 39,980 students reflect the racial and cultural diversity characteristic of the Southern California area. CSUN serves a population base of more than 3.5 million people, has more than 50 years of experience in recruiting students in engineering and 30 years of experience in supervising and mentoring undergraduate researchers in engineering and science. The MSEM department at CSUN has worked with local schools and with the Southern California Regional Robotics Forum (SCRRF) for the past ten years to host annual workshops for high school robotics teams participating in the FIRST Robotics program and VEX Robotics world championships. The manufacturing systems engineering at CSUN is one of only 20 manufacturing engineering programs in U.S. The MSEM department directed five senior design projects each year. It is estimated that a total number of 50 undergraduate seniors will be directed by the team each year.

How can Making contribute solutions to big problems?

Making is a great idea to motivate the student attitude, and a phenomenon of cultural change. Based on the experiences, facilities, resources that Making provided, the students can be lead to successful career either in solving big problems, or academic challenge.

What are the challenges facing Making in higher education?

The biggest challenges facing Making in higher education is how to manage and provide a free, transparently operated center for innovation which is open to 100% of the campus as well as free-of-charge to the public, not just within the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Why do you think Making is an important 21st century skill for students?

Making is the cultural activity of inventing, learning, creating, designing and manufacturing in the social context of the internet age. The 21st century is a internet century when everyone will be socialized and connected to each other via internet. The idea of Making through social change and internet communication is great and helpful for student success.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to Making?

Get involved in one of the projects at your local campus. Start sharing your idea and making your contribution to the project.