I'm Chris Marion: a 20-year-old engineer, entrepreneur, artist, adventurer, tinkerer, programmer, and thrill-seeker. I'm currently working on developing innovative new 3D printing and rapid prototyping technologies, and am well known for my special effects endeavors, as evidenced by my "FireHero" series of creations. I enjoy working with any mechatronic system, and for me the most rewarding projects are those which incorporate multiple disciplines of engineering. Taking a multidisciplinary approach to any project I tackle allows me to discover and utilize solutions that otherwise wouldn't be noted.
I've been a lifelong autodidact and have been teaching myself about science and engineering since I've been old enough to read, when I first began to raid the libraries. One of my favorite toys as a small child was an old computer; I would take it apart and put it back together again, over and over, and was absolutely fascinated by its inner workings. When I played with LEGOs at age 3 I would design the buildings so that I could run electricity through them and build in working lights. In the fourth grade I began designing alternative energy systems, and began working at my local school district over the summers helping to upgrade and add new IT infrastructure. I got a lot of free computers and parts through this endeavor, and I began to stock up! I knew that I could always come up with ideas on how to use the parts later, as long as I kept everything I could -- who knew what I would need in a future project! (This trait, while often useful, haunts me to this day.)
In 6th grade I got my first contract job designing and building an electronic interactive museum exhibit for the Children's Museum in Troy, NY under PetraWorks, Inc. The exhibit, to my knowledge, is still on display! Middle school and high school were both times of extraordinary research and development for me, and this is the time that I taught myself most of the basic skills I use almost every day now: soldering, circuit design and analysis, basic embedded systems design and programming, debugging, machining, welding, and all kinds of fabrication and design.
During my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I worked in a molecular genetics and plant pathology laboratory at Rutgers University. I learned a lot about all kinds of lab techniques as well as research methodology and worked on DNA sequencing, gene splicing and recombination, and protein synthesis projects. In my sophomore year of high school, I built my own PCR machine, designed DNA oligomers to target a specific dimorphic human transposon, and characterized members of my AP Biology class as well as my family for the presence or absence of the particlar intron (so that I could study my own inheritance of the transposon).
This was also the time I began delving much more deeply into alternative energy research, with a significant portion of my focus devoted to developing efficient electrolytic cells for production of Hydrogen and Oxygen in ideal stoichiometric ratios for reacting in an internal combustion engine. I quickly realized the dead ends inherent in electrolytic production of Hydrogen-Oxygen gas, and instead began working heavily on the Magnetolysis process, originally pioneered by Chris Hunter. At the same time, my focus was shifted from working with internal combustion engines and I instead directed it towards designing highly efficient Rankine-cycle heat engines to extract kinetic energy from the heat produced by the combustion process.
My senior year in high school was a great one, with some of the notable emerging projects including an aluminum-casting foundry, an algae photobioreactor, the first version of FireHero, designs for Project Vulcan, and the Segway.
I went to college for one semester, but quickly left once I became frustrated by the rigid structure that embodied the polar opposite of my ideal learning environment. This coincided with the release of FireHero 2, and with nothing but burning desire to begin spending all of my time working towards my dreams, I began the year 2012 with a bang. I began mentoring my high school's FIRST robotics team (#3142, Aperture) and enjoyed working with the team all the way to the world championship competition in Saint Louis that year, for the first time. The first half of 2012 brought many internship opportunities, and I almost found myself making my way to Australia for some contract pyrotechnics work. Things didn't work out, and I instead ended up doing a last-minute pyrotechnics gig for a music video shoot in Brooklyn. I began the first phase of my research and development on 3D printing technologies in February of 2012 with my first DLP printer build. I began development of a cross-platform 3D-DLP printing software package, 3DLP Host, with the intention to release the software for free to satisfy a growing need in the DIY 3D printing community for a unified, powerful, and easy-to-use software package.
On my birthday in September of 2012, I received a wonderfully exciting birthday present in the form of an email asking if I was able to design, build, and run a large pyrotechnics installation for a multi-million dollar music festival. Both the timeline and budget were tight, and while some may have said that the particular conditions made my task just about impossible, I was beyond excited and absolutely determined to make this my break into the live special effects world, with the FireHero platform being my first innovation. Things were seemingly set in stone until a mis-communication about insurance left me with no festival gig, but a completed pyrotechnics system. Score! This rig became FireHero 3, which I released on December 21, 2012.
IN THE PRESS
FireHero 2 has been featured on Synthtopia.