Seth Billings – The Exciting Projects that Lead To His Role at Bennett Engineering
The newest design engineer at Bennett Engineering has a lot more to offer than the recent completion of his Mechanical Engineering bachelors at Loughborough University; having worked in a workshop since the age of 13, Seth has practical experience to an extent which is rare for his age. Working in a workshop certainly had its benefits; visiting after school and during school holidays meant that the owner was able to allow him one exciting project per year. Even to this day Seth has expressed that he enjoys his side projects so much that he might actually – and I quote – “go insane” without them… so let’s hope that the ideas keep flowing… Explore with me three of his favourite projects below:
One of the first projects that Seth explained to me was creating a soapbox racer using various resources from the workshop, including wheels from a wheelchair, a bunch of steel and an old go-kart steering mechanism from a friend. With the help of his mentor, Tony and his brother Seb they created their motor-less vehicle in preparation for their race. Despite not winning with his first feet of engineering, Seth continued to better himself as an engineer, displaying a passion for concepts and contraptions from the age of 13.
In one of Seth’s more recent projects, he decided to challenge himself by adding electronics into the mix; a side of engineering that he wasn’t very comfortable with prior to this project. He was offered a broken dancing water speaker by a friend so the initial concept was just to create a bigger version of the original water speaker but with more of what I would describe as ‘Pink Floyd concert style’ smoke and lasers than the regular (and let’s admit it, overdone) jumping water. He began by creating some circuit diagrams and using inexpensive parts to practice on. Seth realised that the parts were of somewhat good quality and decided to incorporate them into the final design. The circuit was left to collect dust for roughly a-month-and-a-half whilst he continued to visualise concepts in his head. Then one day he saw the answer: Glimmering in the LEDs of Loughborough’s finest local supermarket… a beer keg. Now – don’t be deceived – what went through Seth’s mind at this moment wasn’t drinking, no… in Seth’s mind, the keg had now become the ultimate case for his electronic endeavour. Despite fellow speaker-making friends advising Seth that the keg would create a ‘tinny’ sound, he persisted and, alas, his friends were wrong; the new housing of the speaker has done nothing but increase the entertainment factor of this creation; something that blows the dancing-water speaker out of the park, something that is now only comparable to that of Bose or Sony… ok, maybe not that good, but as a witness, I can confirm that the speaker could only be described as a true engineering masterpiece.
An idea is an idea but what better source of inspiration than your own father’s mid-life crisis? As with most adults, turning 50 feels like a milestone… and not a pleasant one at that. Having heard various stories of people having a bit of a flap regarding their 50th lap around the sun, Seth’s dad was no exception… however, instead of the comforting and reassuring approach that children may opt for during this difficult time, Seth decided to remind his dad of his new age in the only way he knew how… a mobility scooter. What initially started out as £20 worth of mobility scooter bodywork, an empty summer schedule and the unexpected incorporation of a go-kart engine, quickly transformed into the beast that it is today:
Seth completed this project when he was 16 years old and it took 2-3 hours to plan how he could merge the go kart engine and the mobility scooter into the ‘loony tunes’ style that he enjoys. Finished with devil horns on the front and a foot-long extension to the body to accommodate the new-found engine. After the month that it took to complete the scooter, it was finally his dad’s birthday: having covered the mobility scooter with a sheet in the front room, they watched their dad reveal his newest automobile, immediately taking it back to the workshop where they could test the capabilities of the scooter on private land, and to find that it was able to travel at speeds exceeding 50mph!
With extensive engineering experience that is incomparable to that of most people his age, and the creative flair that has allowed him to envisage and bring to life his bizarre but brilliant ideas, Seth is an invaluable member of the Bennett Engineering design team, to the overall culture of the company and to ensure all designs are right first time.
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