Howdy I’m Ismail Hozain.
I’m a student at Texas A&M studying Interdisciplinary Engineering with a focus on MechE, Business and Physics. I’m really fond of building technical thermofluid + mechE projects. Things like rocket engines, ovens, furnaces, turbines, pumps, cryogenics interest me most. I found myself in a position to start a makerspace last year so me, Michael Frost, and Matthew Steil started Starforge, which is a hardware engineering focused makerspace catering to students. Prior to this I was working for the past 2.5 years on a 1500lbf Kerosene/Liquid Oxygen engine + rocket. Now I’m spending my time figuring out how to make desktop metal casting work. It’s a shockingly interesting problem with a lot more complexity to it than meets the eye.
Feel free to shoot questions at my email: email@example.com
The Personal Foundry (February 2024-Present):
I found myself wanting to prototype high strength aerospace grade parts such as turbines, turbine housings, impellers and engine blocks so now I am working on figuring out how to make a v-process casting system that is turnkey and reusable. This includes things like an water cooled internal combustion oxygen+acetylene crucible that should last a lifetime, integrated vacuum forming system, and other various automatic features. The nice thing about v-process casting is it produces high quality, low porosity castings with tight tolerances and the ability to do relatively thin walls at zero draft angle. For now the goal is to get one working in my shop before the end of the 2024 summer.
Starforge (Nov 2022-Present):
Starforge is the only makerspace in the Bryan/College Station area. We opened it because we needed a place like it to exist and the university was quite hostile towards personal projects. Funny story, I got fired from the engineering shop on campus in my first or second week of school and the thought of not having access to tools was so distressing I just felt compelled to do something about it. Then once the idea of opening a makerspace was in my head, I just had to do it. My thesis was twofold:
I really wanted this thing to exist and I was pretty sure I wasn’t alone in that desire.
It would allow us to perform a highly effective talent search seeking the best and most technical engineers and have them work near each other, allowing for a huge amount of emergent shenanigans. It was the best answer I could come up with on how to meet the most technical and talented people on a campus with 70,000 students. Idea here was if we provided them value, then we would filter for the people who liked to build stuff in their free time and those people tend to be very talented.
Both theses seem to have been correct and I think that the future for Starforge is very bright. We soldier on.
Rocket (Feb 2020-Nov 2022):
This rocket project started off as a group project to build a liquid fueled rocket to reach 50,000 ft. We raised a good amount of money (~15k), designed and built the engine, tanks and test stand and got it ready for testing. Nearly all the design work was done by Ben Merrell and I under the mentorship of Ken Mason, George Morgan and Jack Sprague with a lot of help from the community and the shop classes at our school. Huge thanks to everybody involved! This was definitely some of the best engineering work that I have done and it was a lot of fun to work on this during the pandemic and afterwards. Ben and most of the 6 member team graduated in May of 2021. I took on the project along with Drake Mooney and did a lot of the assembly and test stand work. We continued building until I had to leave for college in August 2022 and I took it with me to A&M. Then between September and November I recruited a small team including Michael Frost, David Hammons and a couple of other guys to help me finish it while working out of a storage unit. We finished the test stand, took pretty pictures and then when I wrote about it I suggested that building a makerspace would be really awesome and somehow that post made it to all the right places and the makerspace got funded.
It took a whole year for me to get my life under control after starting Starforge to the point where I have the free time to work on side projects once again, but the time is finally arrived.
PS. I’ve built a lot of stuff. More than I care to document properly. So here’s a google photos album. Enjoy!