St. Patrick's College, Lacken Cross, Killala. National University of Ireland, Galway.
Bachelor of Engineering, and Ph.D.
Power generation and medical device design
Researcher designing and building 3D printed shoulders
National University of Ireland Galway
About Me: Mechanical engineer from Mayo who loves football. Currently building new shoulders using 3D printing.
I’m originally from Mayo but have lived in Galway since I started University in 2010. I decided to do Mechanical Engineering after doing Engineering for my Leaving Cert. I loved the subject because you had so much freedom to design and build something from scratch, and it also allowed you to be really creative. Mechanical Engineering is probably the most broad discipline and allows you to work with biomedical, electronic and computer areas as well. Since I finished I have worked in research on things ranging from energy and power generation to biomedical implant design and manufacturing. In my spare time I play football with a local GAA club and socialise with friends.
My Work: I use 3D printing to make new shoulder bones for people when their bones don't work as well any more
In University, we had to opportunity to study lots of different subject and do projects based on them. Some of the best ones were making a bridge completely out of pasta and glue, and making a race car out of things you find in Tesco. As we went through University we were taught how to design things for certain applications and what materials are best to use, you could have a great design but if the material is too weak or strong, the end product is useless! Since then I have been working as a researcher – which doesn’t really tell you much. There is lots of engineering research going on in NUI Galway, including people working to make better wind turbines, self-driving cars, and testing your bones to see what happens when you have different diseases. Right now I’m working on 3D printing shoulder implants – the main reason for using 3D printing is because you can’t make the design any other way! Luckily I have access to a metal 3D printer and can make prototypes quickly to figure out how good (or bad) my design is. This work is sponsored by a company so hopefully someday my design will actually be used in people suffering with arthritis.
My Typical Day: I get into University around 9am, use a computer to design a new shoulder, have lunch with friends, then go to the lab and make the shoulder using a metal 3D printer. Afterwards I use a microscope and CT scanner to look at what I've made and this helps me improve the next design.
What I'd do with the money: 3D printing workshop where students learn about design and building
A number of workshops where students are taught about how to design things for 3D printing, based in the Advanced Manufacturing Lab in NUI Galway. The students would use the printers and see how their designs are actually made and what can go wrong. Students would also be shown how parts are tested to figure out why something should be designed a certain way and what materials are needed.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Creative, determined and hard-working
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Best presentation at a conference in Cambridge University
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My engineering teacher
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not much but sometimes
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Vet or Architect
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Race car driving in Australia
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
A job I love so it doesn't feel like work. Be a millionaire. Mayo to win the All-Ireland.
Tell us a joke.
Did you hear about the person who invented the escalator? He was mechanically inclined