SOLIDWORKS xDesign Challenge Submission – Shawn Lesley

The fourth person we would like to profile from the SOLIDWORKS World xDesign challenge is Shawn Lesley. He shared the following with us regarding the challenge:

When I first started trying to figure out what I would design for the SOLIDWORKS xDesign Challenge, I really couldn’t think of anything. The inspiration came to me as I was using a forge doing one of my hobbies, blacksmithing. Blacksmithing is something that happens all over the world, believe it or not. This ancient art has been happening for thousands of years and still exists all over the world. The surprising thing is that many third-world countries rely on blacksmithing to survive. Basic tools that are used to farm and support themselves come from local blacksmiths.

The Design Inspiration

Back to my design. As I was standing in front of a 3000-degree forge, I realized how much energy was being lost in the forging process. Shaping metal requires these extreme temperatures, but so much of that energy is lost. This got me wondering how to harness some of this energy for other purposes.

This design, a hybrid forge-water purification system, incorporates a couple of different operations together to produce something other than pure heat for metalworking. This design can be used next to a water source and will produce clean drinking water along with several other things that are traditionally labor-intensive to produce. The system will create steam, which will in turn power a steam engine.

This engine will power a water pump (which fills the boiler), power the blower for the forge (which is normally done by hand on a simple forge), and will produce purified water from the leftover steam. This water can then be used as drinking water. This could allow communities to obtain many more benefits from the use of their forges, and could potentially be adapted to conventional cooking stoves as well to produce something that so many of us take for granted: clean water to drink!


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Divi Lohiya

Divi is a Senior Manager, Product Portfolio Management at SOLIDWORKS. He is passionate about how new technologies are coming together to change the way how products are designed, made and sold and engaging/teaching kids in STEM activities. Divi graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay with a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters degree in Engineering from University of Texas at Austin.