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Interview with Karl Van Dyk


Karl Van Dyk teaches students on the mill, 2018.

What area of expertise do you bring to GRT?

I have decades of experience with most things mechanical, such as: how to hold parts while machining them, short cuts for operations and novel ideas for mechanisms.

Where did you get your training/education?

I got my electronics training from the US Air Force, and machining and design experience from half a century of working in the industry at a myriad of machine shops and engineering companies. I started working in my father's shop machining magnesium housings for Hughes Aircraft at age 12, and continued working there for 15 years.

What lead you to mentoring GRT & how long have you mentored GRT?

I read a notice in the SRI company newsletter asking if anyone wanted to volunteer at Gunn HS for the robotics team (then taught by Bill Dunbar). That was in 2006, and I've been mentoring GRT ever since. I also mentor a team in Placerville, CA on the weekends.

What is your favorite GRT experience?

My favorite experience in GRT is giving a suggestion on how to do a machining operation or how to hold a part that is tricky. That requires some thinking outside the box. Also watching how the concept comes to light for the students. Passing on knowledge to someone so it doesn't get lost — that is gratifying for me.