Michael Lombardi, The Sky Is The Limit
I find it very encouraging when talking to young people today, to see that some are actually being very productive and not just sitting around addicted to their cell phones or computer games.
Recently I was chatting with my nephew, Michael Lombardi, on Facebook after noticing a photo he posted of his new electric car. I wanted to know more so I got in touch with Michael, and his response was, “I made it.”
This of course sparked my curiosity since Michael is only 10 years old. I knew I needed to dig into this a little deeper. Michael has always been a very bright young man who impressed me even at an earlier age.
It was almost as if he’s had an older soul since birth.
Michael’s younger years were very challenging, to say the least, but I firmly believe he prevailed, not only because of his so called older soul, but also because he has a father who loved him very much and was very supportive.
I contacted Michael by phone to ask some questions about the self made electric car. The first question was, what started the idea of building an electric car? He responded proudly and with some excitement in his voice that he asked his science teacher if he could have one of the small electric motors that were left over from another project. The teacher happily responded, yes you may, but you will need to make it a project. Let’s see what you can do with it as a science assignment.
Being very excited to be given this electric motor, Michael already had an idea in mind of what he was going to use this motor for; building an electric car.
Michael rushed home after school to show his father the electric motor and to discuss building an electric car with him. The first step was to plan out what parts he would need to build the car, and then purchase them. They headed to the hobby store in order to purchase pulleys that he would need to move the vehicle, and then set out to the Dollar Store to buy a friction car.
Oh, and let’s not forget the power for this car, 2 – 9volt batteries. Back at home, Michael’s dad was preparing a business for grand opening, so a friend of his father’s stepped in to help Michael begin his fabrication of an electric car.
Since this was all new to Michael, there were many things he would need to watch and learn how to do. Like soldering the wires on the motor and attaching them to the batteries, installing an on and off switch, installing pulleys, cutting the car door for access to the motor, and finally, adding the switch to make it run. After watching the first solder operation, Michael was ready to finish the rest.
All the parts were in, wiring installed, and now the true test, flipping the switch. But there was one minor problem, the car only went backwards! This really confused Michael since he knows he installed everything correctly. Since his father is very good with electrical circuits and electronics, he pointed out to Michael and explained to him about reverse polarity.
Normal polarity in electronics is when the positive is hooked up to the positive battery terminal and the negative to the negative terminal. Reverse polarity would be having the positive hooked up to the negative terminal and the negative to the positive terminal. The same concept can be applied to magnets.
So Michael reversed the polarity and the car was now heading in the correct direction. I asked him what he learned from this project. He replied, I never knew how to solder before, I didn’t know how to install wires, and especially, I never knew about reverse polarity. But I do now.
Michael proudly took his electric car to school and demonstrated it to his Science teacher and the class, which earned him an extra grade. The teacher was so impressed by what he learned from this, that she advised the class that if anyone wanted to attempt such a project to ask Michael for some advice. Who knows what his next project will be or what he might invent for the future? The sky’s the limit.