As you may or may not know, my name is Joseph M. Sinclair, the Chief Technical Officer of Solid Innovations and original founder of Solid Dynamics, LLC. Before we get into how and why I got involved in Additive, allow me to give you a brief background on how my new-found career came to be. In order to achieve this goal, we will need a little insight into my personal journey and my passion for manufacturing.
Growing up in the suburbs of Reading, PA I was a fairly-normal kid, just as promising or lack luster as the next. Like most kids, my days growing up were spent playing with Lego's as well as playing "war" with my buddies whereby we basically shot each other with whatever non-lethal weapon we could get our hands on. Granted this never went over well with the parents or the kid who got shot but we survived and somehow made it to the awkward adolescent years of high-school.
Inspired by the amount of fun derived from playing "war" in my youth and combined with an overall disinterest in academics, my plan early on in high-school was to graduate and join the armed forces, just as many of my friends also intended. School became more of a chore, with little perceived usefulness. School days consisted of slouched postures and a carefully positioned body orientation that prevented teachers from noticing the fact I was drowning out their ramblings with the sound of my favorite band via my iPod headphones. I did however become accustomed to the topic of history and found myself in an AP history class or two leading up to senior year.
If my life up until senior year of high-school can be minimized to the basic plot of an 80's action movie, then everything prior to that point was simply the exposition. I'm not really sure what clicked in my brain the summer prior to senior year or if puberty turned down the hormones and induced a moment of clarity, but in the words of my parents, "I came alive".
Senior year ended up being filled to the brim with AP credits, dual enrollment courses at Reading Area Community College (RACC), a new-found infatuation with physics and the fact that photons somehow maintained momentum without mass (thanks Mr. Petit for that mind-boggling tidbit).
Towards the end of the year, I had the privilege of joining fellow classmates on a history focused trip to Europe whereby we were able to experience history in person, which quite frankly, changed my perspective on life and war. If you ever meet a young man who aches for battle but fails to understand the true meaning of sacrifice, have him stand at the base of Douaumont Ossuary in Verdun.
This new-found perspective on human conflict, in combination with an unanticipated romantically based pursuit (which I ultimately chased to Penn State Main), derailed my militaristic aspirations and thus I found myself without purpose at the end of high-school.
The only reasonable thing to do at this point was to become a Nuclear Engineer (I needed an objective and so I picked the Penn State Engineering major with the highest attrition rate, logically of course). To expedite the process, all general education credits needed to be completed somewhere cheaper. With this idea in mind, class work immediately started at RACC the summer after high school graduation in 2012. Once the fall semester came around, I was enrolled in Penn State Berks as an engineering bound scholar.
Oddly enough I sincerely enjoyed applied mathematics and sciences. Harnessing this passion presented the opportunity to excel quickly and materialized in the form of making my way to PSU Main Campus in a year. The beginning of sophomore year went better than expected and by the end of the fall semester I somehow finagled my way into Penn States Schreyer Honors College. Right about this time I picked up the Mechanical Engineering major in conjunction with the Nuclear Engineering major via a Dual Degree program hosted by PSU as well as the Engineering Science and Mechanics major (my mom always said my eyes were bigger than my stomach).
However, this is where things take a turn toward more entrepreneurial endeavor. Though academic success had been achieved, experience in the engineering field was required to satisfy my resume. Naturally, I attended an intern/job fair and all the signals from recruiters were positive and all the interviews went well. As fate would have it, none of the 20 or so companies that received my resume decided it was worthy of an internship or more simply put, an opportunity. This rejection of sorts led to the realization that if you can't be innovative for someone-else, why not do it for yourself? In the words of Henry Ford, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently".
The following week Joe's Rapid Prototyping was born. Originally operated out of a dorm room with a single Solidoodle 3D-Printer, the business started by selling tooth paste squeezers, then toothbrush accessories, and eventually moved on to custom client work. The demand for custom client work grew exponentially and within a couple months Solid Dynamics, LLC, my first company, was founded with the first office located in Innovation Park alongside a small fleet of three 3D-Printers under the team’s command.
Since Solid Dynamics' inception I've have operated a variety of additive and subtractive manufacturing devices, enhanced my CAD capabilities, increased my engineering and design capabilities, incorporated Virtual Reality and software solutions to improve how clients perceive their designs prior to fabrication, and improved my functional knowledge of low and high-volume production manufacturing.
At the end of the 2015 Spring Semester, I graduated PSU with degrees in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and have continued advancing my personal knowledge of manufacturing while holding positions at Penn State's Applied Research Laboratory's CIMP-3D facility as a Design Engineer and Operator, Chief Technical Officer at Solid Innovations, LLC, Business Adviser and Previous Partner at X Materials Processing, LLC (which evolved into Xact Metal), Head of Hybrid Processes Research and Development at Imperial Machine and Tool Company and most recently Director of Additive and Hybrid Processes at Imperial Machine and Tool Company. Most recently I completed my course work for a master’s in engineering Degree from Penn State University. I have continuously shared and applied the lessons learned at these various entities to further innovate within the Additive space.
Solid Dynamics continues to operate in State College assisting clients with both Engineering & Design services as well as in low and high-volume production of end-use parts however my primary focus now is building out Solid Innovations, LLC to enable 3D-Printing to take its rightful place in the modern manufacturing supply chain.
Looking back, I suppose I made a fundamental decision to build things and not destroy them, funny how life works.
- Joseph M. Sinclair