Freelance Design Engineer – Sole Trader
April until Present
I am currently operating under the banner of Michael Aldridge Design Engineering, as a freelance Design Engineer. The move to become a sole trader seemed the perfect fit for me at this time, as I was looking for the next big challenge. A career path that would continue to challenge me as a design engineer, but also provide me with responsibility of running a small business. To date I have already begun to find myself very busy with many contracts from all kinds of backgrounds, from individuals looking to productise an idea, to large companies looking for additional support. I am finding it extremely rewarding with responsibilities of sourcing work, project manage and project fulfilment.
One large contract that has kept me busy to date, is working for the Glasgow based design consultancy FilamentPD – Design Consultancy, from initially being contracted for a few weeks, I been asked to continue working for them on a contractor basis for the foreseeable future. Filament is a fantastic company and it is really good to get to learn from another one of Scotland’s best design firms.
4c Design – Product Design Consultancy
Nov 2011 until March 2015
For four and a half years I worked at 4c Design, a Product Design Engineering Consultancy. The story started in 2010 when I was lucky enough to obtain the summer internship; beating back strong competition from over a hundred other applicants. Upon completion of the 3 month internship I was offered full time employment having made myself “invaluable” within the company. 4c was a fantastic and fast paced company with a hugely diverse range of projects with a fantastic group of design engineers. During my time there I gained a tremendous a wealth experience, something that would have been tough to achieve in any other profession. I regard the time I spent at 4c as a hugely valuable time that has shaped and benefited my professional experience and goals.
My roles within 4c Design included:
Product Design Engineer, first and foremost
– Involved in the entire design process from idea generation through to manufacture
– Product Visualisation (Concept Sketching & Renders_
– Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
– Project and Client management
– Content and media generation
– Social media & blog management
– Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Filming, Photography and Video editing
– Much of the website imagery and internal project documentation is done by me; I have a keen interest in photography both professionally and privately. I relish any opportunity to hone my skills.
Since 2010 I have worked on many projects while working at 4c Design (please see the 4c’s client list), but these are the projects I am most proud of:
Queen’s Baton – 2014 Commonwealth Games (Product Design)
The Queen’s Baton is the Commonwealth Games equivalent of the Olympic Torch; 4c Design won the contract to design it for the Glasgow 2014 Games. This involved the development of the story behind Glasgow’s baton, then taking the early concepts for the baton from paper to finished product. I was involved at every stage of the process but took ownership of the design on the puzzle mechanism at the top of the baton and polishing of the titanium lattice. The baton has received great praise from the general public.
Freeflow Electric Bike (Engineering)
Design of the world’s best electric bike around new motor/gearbox combo (my first patented design). My responsibility was the design of a custom frame and critically a gearbox system located inside the frames bottom bracket. This allows input from either pedals and/or motor without the requirement of the cranks to turn. This is unique among all non hub driven electric bikes and the area that ultimately became patented.
Moredun Bottling Machine (Engineering)
Moredun developed a worming vaccine for production and sale all around the world, 4c was tasked with the design and manufacture of a range of machines involved in this process. The most complicated being a machine capable of bottling the vaccine under sterile conditions. I was given lead on this project and designed all mechanical elements of the machine and managed the electronics and manufacture. I also flew out to Australia to see the machine commissioned.
RFD Leisure Liferaft Case (User Centred Design and Manufacturing Engineering)
My first project at 4c, it took a new approach to liferaft case design, more functional, lighter and cheaper. The project proved a huge success and the case are now sold worldwide. This project also triggered a range of additional work with the company.
4c Website and Blog
I have been instrumental in the design, content and upkeep of the 4c Design MkII and MkIII 4c website.
Tannoy Speakers (Industrial Design)
It’s great to work on any project with Tannoy, but a few of the industrial design projects I am particularly proud of include:
– Prestige GR (high-end residential speaker)
– Precision 6 (residential speakers)
– Revolution XT (residential speakers)
– Reveal 402, 502, 802 (studio speakers)
– Base Station (Soundbase)
2009 until 2010
RSBi – Furniture Design and Manufacture
2008 until 2009
Projects I was involved with included:
– RNIB (Royal National Institute of the Blind) reception area and custom display furniture to cater for their very specific requirements
– GHA complete furniture range to outfit a house
– Custom Kitchen for The Lighthouse, Glasgow
– A number of custom furniture designs
Varis Engineering – Civil Engineering
Summer Placements 2006 & 2007
Projects I was involved with included:
– Loch Lomond Sea Plane Pontoons (among others)
– Industrial Warehouse Design
– Distillery Water Treatment Plant
– Grain Hoppers
While at University I was a member of a number of clubs and organisations that I feel greatly added to my learning while at university. Most noteworthy of these were:
– The Cal Poly Rose Float, which entailed the design and manufacture of a hydraulically animated float for the Rose Ball Parade. From this club I learnt basic machining and welding, as well as an appreciation for the realities of manufacturing something on such a large scale involving so many people.
– The Strathclyde Formula Student team, this required the design and manufacturing of a formula one inspired race car that then competes with other university teams from around the world. This required a sound working knowledge of car design, mechanisms and great attention to detail in manufacture.