Category: Pablo V.

Engineering – More Than Nuts and Bolts… DONE

I just got home from my SRP Presentation and it was awesome. I loved seeing my fellow peers’ interests and works, and I loved getting to show mine as well. Even stopped by for some Olive Garden to celebrate!

Now time for some incredibly well deserved thank you’s… (written directly, hopefully they read it)

Mr. “Wink” Winkelman – College Counselor/SRP Coordinator

After 5 years of knowing me, not a single time did you give up on me. You have seen the best and worst of me and were always there for me when I needed advice, someone to vent to, or a reality check. You’ve helped me realize my strengths and worked with me on my weaknesses. I highly appreciate every minute that you spent getting me copies, transcripts, helping me find the right colleges and scholarships, and writing me my letters of recommendation. I could not have done this without you. Also thank you for teaching me like 8 different push-up forms in 8th grade… You da man Wink!

Mr. “Dean B” Balanda  –  SRP Advisor/Dean of Students

 You have been one of my greatest friends throughout high school. Whether we are hating on each other’s cars, collectively hating on someone else’s car, or just venting to each other about annoying people we deal with, I always feel like I can go to you for anything. I do want to thank you for logging in close to 66 hours of in-person advising (not to mention the countless emails), for making scary phone calls for me when I did not have the guts (or experience) to ask for an internship at GM, and for of course for ripping my presentation and PowerPoint to shreds (constructively) after my first rehearsal. You have always given me the best advice for any type of situation, from dealing with little kids and their parents at church (we both serve in a Kid’s Ministry), to correctly aligning pictures to text boxes on my slides. Working with you has always been a pleasure, and getting to know you as a friend was even more so. I have always looked up to you, and I am very glad that you stayed long enough to help me through senior year. Thanks for everything B…

An accurate depiction of my relationship with Mr. B…

For those who are not familiar with BASIS Faculty… they are an incredible group of people with an even more incredible devotion to making BASIS student’s lives better. I see so many of them go out of their way to help students on a daily basis, and I can tell that they do it with pure ecstatic passion. That is why I love BASIS. Sure over a dozen AP’s helped me get ahead in college but BASIS Ed. and it’s faculty body taught me to love learning. That is why I stayed at BASIS when given the chance to leave, that is why I didn’t let a bad report card scare me away during my first couple of years at BASIS, and that is why I wanted to pursue this SRP.

It is the relationships that are formed between student and teacher that make high school enjoyable. And the ones that I formed at BASIS are the type that are going to make me hunt them back down during my visits back home from ASU to catch a coffee.

Passion is contagious… and a passion for learning is the best type of bug to have and share.

Thank you BASIS… For everything.


Engineering – More Than Nuts and Bolts… Back Home

I cannot see the world the way I did before my Texas visit… My interning experience completely changed my role in my family business by allowing me to apply many of the management principles that I learned at Stabiltec, which made me see the importance of actually going out of my comfort zone to learn new things.

Upon my return, I sat down with my parents to talk about how we can improve the family business. Our shop, CIMA Automotive, is an automotive repair shop that deals with anything and everything mechanical, electrical, or what have you. We formally started the business almost four years ago, and have seen great success, but we are still fresh in the business-owning realm, and sometimes struggle with organization of shop operations.

I spoke with my family about keeping the shop itself as clean as possible, keeping everyone’s tools in their proper boxes etc… and made them realize that every minute that we lose struggling with a disorganized environment is a minute that we lose shop output. I managed to organize other issues in the shop as well, figuring out a safer and cleaner system to get rid of automotive liquid waste and scrap parts, and even organized a Saturday shop spring-cleaning extravaganza with our two employees. In just the month that I have been back, my parents have noticed a positive difference in their work day at the shop, and our employees frequently say that working has become much easier and more efficient.

I never realized how valuable real-world experience can be, and I fell in love with seeing something grow and improve with changes I made based on things that I went and learned. I can’t wait to see what else I can do with what I learned, and can’t wait to go and learn something new.

Engineering – More than Nuts and Bolts … Some fun stuff that I did during my stay in Texas

Hey everyone! I am very glad to be back home, but I wanted to share some of the great times I had in Texas with my family… I absolutely loved spending time with my aunt, uncle and little cousin and we had lots of adventures during my 7 week stay.

Here are some cool pictures we took from some of our weekend escapades.

One of the cool things about Texas is that you can drive a couple of hours in any direction and always find something fun, exciting, and different.

One weekend we decided to explore Houston (about 30 miles away from where I lived) and had a blast walking around downtown, visiting the NASA Johnson Space Center, and going to church. Here are a couple of cool pictures…


Inside Lakewood Church in downtown Houston, the largest megachurch in the nation. (used to be a basketball stadium)




Getting to see some of the engineering marvels inside Johnson Space Center was one of the most humbling and exciting experiences I have had in my life, as I was literally dwarfed by most of the exhibits. Witnessing the immense feats of NASA was an excellent way to show me the versatility of engineering, and gave me even more insight to just how important it is for the growth and development of a people.



Fun times in Galveston, brunch with the family, with my little cousin Tai


Teaching Tai how to grill the best steak


Lastly, one of my favorite parts about my stay, learning how to drive a forklift.

I learned so much more than I had expected during my stay in Texas, mainly how to get out and have fun!

Engineering – More Than Nuts and Bolts… How to Make Mistakes

(The following occurred a few weeks back)

I have gained my respect with the shop guys, and have proven to be pretty versatile throughout the work day. I can weld, grind, clean, drive a forklift, deliver parts, and maintenance machinery large and small. My growth in shop skills has pushed Joe to test how good my craftsmanship skills really are, by entrusting me with one of the most delicate processes in the whole shop, operating the Outside Diameter (OD) grinder.

This grinder is used to evenly grind the blades of stabilizers, and has immense capability in doing so, hence, operators must have a careful eye, good coordination, and a lot of endurance.

Below I have photos of each step of the process, and some YouTube links to short videos of the process.

I was chosen to prepare 4 stabilizers.

Recall: This photo shows what a brand new stabilizer looks like. Notice the nicely built blades, general symmetric nature, and overall evenness.


  • As you can see above, there a variety of different types and sizes of stabilizers, but they all have one thing in common, they get worn down.

Step 1: Receive worn stabilizers from customer.










The blades wear down, causing an unstable spin, which decreases the drill string’s efficiency.

Step 2: Pre-Grind

  • The worn stabilizer is inspected for cracks and vulnerable blades, and then put into the OD Grinder.
  • The Pre-Grind can vary in specification, normally, we must grind the blades down 1/4 inch under the specified final OD. In my case, my four stabilizers had a Final OD of 8 -1/4 inches so I had to grind mine down to 8 inches.
    • Sometimes, if the blades or the hard metal coating is cracked, we just grind the stabilizer down to the base metal. We do this by grinding until we see sparks coming from all blades, indicating that all hard metal has been removed, because hard metal produces no sparks.
  • Using a ring gauge (details later), I Pre-Grinded all of the stabilizers to size, and had them ready to be dressed up with new hard metal.
  • Here’s a video of the Pre-Grinding process
    • Opens in same tab so be sure to come back and finish the read!

Step 3: Dress Up

  • Stabilizers are brought over to be outfitted with new hard metal, as seen below.


  • The rod that Chip is holding in his left hand is made of a special mix of Tungsten Carbide, which is melted on to each blade of the stabilizer. This process is tedious and takes lots of time. Hard metal must be laid consistently and evenly, or cracks will form during the cooling process.
Outfitted blade up close – Notice the roughness of the hard metal, uneven ramps (bevels), and sloppy edges. The final grind will smooth the top and the ramps, but the edges must be hand-ground.
  • Joe (my supervisor) had dressed up my 4 assigned stabilizers, and it took him a while…

Step 4: Final OD Grind

  • Stabilizers are carefully placed back into the OD grinder (They are super hot) for a final grind to the specified OD
  • Here are some pictures of how the stabilizers are loaded, and how the OD grinder works.
Loading stabilizers onto OD grinder with a forklift… You can see a ring gauge hooked up with the stabilizer on the right side.

OD grinder.jpg

OD Grinder

I had completed my four stabilizers, but dug too deep into two of them, essentially bringing those two back to the Pre-Grind stage. In other words, I had erased about half a day’s worth of Joe’s work, and pushed the shop’s progress back.

On top of having messed up the two stabilizers that Friday, I had failed to realize that they were due on Monday, which meant that Monday morning Joe had to re-dress them as quick as possible and I had to re-grind them again to the perfect size. There was a huge sense of pressure, and I got a good straightening out from Joe as soon as I clocked in.

What he had mentioned was not that I screwed up technically, but that I had failed to communicate with him over the weekend and have him come in to fix them. I came to realize that he was correct, and that I could have prevented the Monday morning rush by simply telling him what I did. In the end, I did hold back the shop’s progress but I learned a valuable lesson in communication.

On the ride home that Monday, my uncle Jeff and I discussed what had happened. He told me of a much more drastic incident that he had experienced while running a plant in the Aerospace field. One of his employees had put some turbine components through an incorrect heat treatment cycle, effectively scrapping thousands of dollars worth of engine parts. He said to me “You know what I did to her when she told me that? I thanked her. I thanked her for telling me and not hiding it.” He told me that everybody screws up, and that as a manager, you should never fire somebody for screwing up, but instead work with them to help them improve, or find a position where they work better.

I learned that in management it is important to roll with the inevitable punches, because you want to represent a company that is willing to work with an employee after a mistake, not condemn them for it. I also learned that as a worker, you want to work for those companies as well, and you need to be able to learn from your mistakes.

From then on, my nickname in the shop became “Clutch” because when I work, I work hard, but I occasionally stall and mis-shift haha…

Engineering – More than Nuts and Bolts… The Lifetime of a Stabiltec Product (part 2)

Engineering – More than Nuts and Bolts… The Lifetime of a Stabiltec Product (part 2)

Hey guys sorry I haven’t been on here in a while, working overtime is taking its toll on me, since I am used to sitting at a desk 5 days a week…

The last post mentioned a tool commonly referred to as “knuckles”, and this post will serve to show you the lifetime of one of them. At Stabiltec Houston we repair knuckles made by us and by other manufacturers. And let me tell you, it’s a workout.

(These are solid steel by the way… and when we work on them they’re normally several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, you can imagine how fun it is moving them around)

Here is part of a blueprint for a fairly simple transmission, which features a “driver” on either end, a long double ended piece, or a “driven” in the middle. There are a myriad of different designs that make up the several-mile long drill string that goes down-hole, and specifications are different by customer. This specific blueprint is for Halliburton, one of the top three drilling firms in the world.

knuckle diagram.png

Now that you know what they look like, here is how we receive them for repair in Houston…

Restoring knuckles back to excellent condition requires lots of heating, welding, grinding, followed by more heating, welding, and… you guessed it… grinding.

The wear is due to high-torque rotation.
This knuckle gauge gives an idea of where the knuckle should be, telling us how much we need to build up.


Step One – Preheating

Knuckles are heated in a large oven…
Before the first procedure, tools have to be heated to at least 650 degrees Fahrenheit, as checked with this marker


Step Two – “Migging”


Using a knuckle gauge as a guide (shown in the first picture), we weld up the walls of the worn blade, forming a sort of horseshoe shape, and create a lip on the top of the knuckle. This serves as a housing for the hard metal to be welded onto.


 Step 3 – First Grind / Gauging

This step is pretty tedious, too much pressure on the hand grinder and you can miss the gauge, causing you to have to build up a wall again.
After the walls are aligned to the gauge size they are ready to be outfitted with hard metal.


Step 4: Preheat II

Knuckles are reheated either in the oven, or if they are too large like this one, individually.
For this preheat, knuckles need to reach a minimum temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit


Step 5: “Stoody” / Clean Up

Hard metal is welded on, filling the hollow we made earlier, in the form of a special tungsten-carbide infused wire.


After about twenty minutes of careful grinding, HAZZAH!


Step 6: Dry Moly and Stencil

After polishing up the tool, we spray them down with dry moly, which acts as a solid lubricant, and protects the knuckles during the delivery process.



This is one of the tasks that I perform at work, depending on my assignment, and can perform this task from start to finish. Learning how to do each step with precision and efficiency forces me to pay attention to the details and not take any shortcuts. Starting off, I had immense trouble executing the first grind (gauging). I would become frustrated after having to weld up a wall three or four times, but would receive great advice from my co-workers. I can now knock at knuckles just as quick and just as pretty as any other guy in the shop. (Sometimes prettier, I’m a perfectionist with this kind of stuff)

Overall, my experience with knuckle repair has taught me how to maximize efficiency, which is by doing it right the first time. However, my learning experience has taught me how important it is to make mistakes as well.

I will expand on the importance of making mistakes in my next post, and just a heads up, it involves me getting yelled at by Joe, my supervisor, and causing a train wreck of a work-week for the guys at the shop. JUICY STUFF – Stay tuned…

Engineering – More than Nuts and Bolts… The Lifetime of a Stabiltec Product (part 1)

I have put together this post to capture the lifetime of a Stabiltec tool, starting with it’s birth in Stabiltec Louisiana. There is tons of pictures, so be warned, it might be a long scroll down… Here is a nice view of the main facility at Stabiltec Louisiana, although the photos below only show one of the four buildings that the compass includes.


Here is Step 1 of a Stabiltec tool, the raw material.


Solid steel tubes, each to be carved to specific widths, radii, tread length, and groove size for the blades. Customers provide Stabiltec with their own blueprints, as seen below.


This is done with extreme precision with the help of computerized/automated lathes.(shown below)


A machinist inputs the needed specifications into the control panel, and the lathe does the rest, producing a flawless shell.


Tools are then taken to a second or third lathe, where treads are carved on the inside, and final details are sculpted.


After tools have completed their sculpting stages, their blades are outfitted with a layer of super strong tungsten carbide, or “hard metal”. This allows for a longer tool lifetime, by delaying the wear of prolonged use. This is what they look like as finished products.


Stabiltec Louisiana also produces transmissions, or “knuckles”, a growing repair service offered at Stabiltec Houston. I produce a separate post displaying the lifetime of a knuckle,  its components, and the versatility of its design to fit specific needs.

My visit to Stabiltec Louisiana was amazing, and I will be going again very soon. I learned so much about their production process, always ensuring safety and quality

Engineering – More than Nuts and Bolts

Arrived in Houston yesterday, I will be spending this week familiarizing myself with the area and with the Stabiltec branch here in Texas. I am excited to see what I will be working on, and to network with the people I will be working with.

On a non-related and fun note, I got an awesome close up view of the NRG Stadium in Houston, which will house the Super Bowl in a couple of hours. Great way to start my stay here!