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Working at Frustum: The Summer Intern Experience

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Side by side comparison of the original brace and the generate optimized brace with 30% reduction in mass.

Ever wondered what’s it like to work at a startup focused on engineering truly functional generative design? We asked our intern, Michael Begg to share his perspective. Admittedly, ‘intern’ is used very loosely here since the Rochester Institute of Technology third year student was working side-by-side with our entire team and contributed directly to Generate.

What did you work on?
Going into the internship at Frustum, I knew the majority of my time would be spent ‘elbows deep’ with their core technology building an actual project that would be manufactured and used in the real world.

First off, functional generative design is cutting edge technology, so sitting side-by-side with the Frustum team - the guys leading the innovation for the entire industry - was an amazing experience. I got to use Generate (and new features in R&D) to re-design a driveline backing brace for a Baja racing car for the Society of Automotive Engineers. Throughout the process, I was able to share my feedback on usability and functionality with the Generate team -- some of my feedback has even been added to the R&D schedule. 

As a part of this project, the Frustum team coached me through some interesting business skills that I hadn’t expected. For example, I got to work directly with EOS, a leading additive manufacturer, to secure a deal that resulted in the company printing my design. Jesse and team helped me through the process of approaching EOS, negotiating a sponsorship for the Baja car and all the details to make it happen. I don’t think I’d have been able to get this level of experience as sophomore anywhere else. 

What did you like most about Frustum?
One of the things that really stood out to me was how immersive the internship was. The skills I learned and exposure to cutting edge functional generative design software should set me apart from other students when I graduate.

The company itself had a lot of appealing traits as well. Frustum is a startup, so the pace is fast, the culture electric and I was impressed with how committed everyone is to the user experience.   It seemed that every day, new product features were being rolled out or discussed or being planned. And I got to participate in meetings, provide my opinion, etc. The culture is very welcoming and supportive.

Any advice for potential interns?
Anyone interested in rolling up their sleeves and getting involved in lots of things will really enjoy Frustum. The culture is one of ‘give it a try and see how it goes’, rather than one where you will be spoon-fed. If you’re a self-starter and interested in advanced design techniques, then I’d encourage you to apply for an internship.

Another piece of advice for any potential intern is you HAVE to devise and develop a project utilizing the generative design technology, so show a genuine interest in a project and start breaking doors down to make it happen. I think this will be the best way to show that not only are you effective as a student, but you could be just as effective as an employee.

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The optimized bracket fits in assembly with an identical interface to that of the original part.