Member Profile: Daniel Black

09 November 2015

Member Profile: Daniel Black

Daniel Black - BSc Geography

Daniel’s expertise is in watchmaking, and got involved in a major making project supported by our Summer Studentship scheme: to advance understanding of the Antikithera mechanism – an ancient Greek astronomical calculating machine – through physical models. The project is in partnership with UCL Archeology, and Engineering’s 3DIMPact research group.

He has been recreating the cogs, gears and arbors from archaeological evidence, using a 3d printer and laser cutter. The team would like to use this proof of concept to continue at PhD level, and are now looking for heritage and corporate sponsors.

Other eye-catching projects include the making and experimental testing of high-powered lasers. He now holds the Guinness World Record for the number of balloons popped in one minute, alongside James Mould, a member who used our Materials Bursary to create a mathematically arranged helium balloon display. We also assisted his attempt to create the world’s largest laser cutter with our 10-ton gantry crane.

Daniel says he has used most of the tools here over the course of the year, through formal and fun projects. He volunteered at our Robotics open lunchtime sessions, and on the graphene demo station at our Public Open Day. The thing he finds best about the Institute of Making is that he doesn’t feel judged for being slightly mad or making what he wants to make. He feels free to make anything as long as it’s safe and doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s work.

“Here exists a melting pot of knowledge. Anyone from UCL can come in and there are really nice natural interactions between staff and students – it’s not the first thing you ask another member. Everyone is equal, academic status is just not that relevant to making.”

As a result of being here, Daniel has been introduced to staff at the companies Selex and British Aerospace (BAE), with whom he starts a paid internship over the summer.