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sburke.eu : Stephen Burke's Interests

SolidWorks 3D CAD

Stephen Burke is a CSWE (SolidWorks Certified Expert)

SolidWorks is a 3D Computer Aided Design Package used to design and model pretty much anything. I started using SolidWorks 2001 Plus in University as part of my undergraduate degree in Materials and Construction (Education). Going on from that I was a Teaching Assistant tutoring SolidWorks, and lectured some Modules also on CAD with SolidWorks. At present I work as an Application Engineer supporting SolidWorks CAD Software to Industry and Education here in Ireland.

Working with SolidWorks on a daily basis has really pushed my knowledge and ability in CAD, including FEA (Finite Element Analysis), Data Management including System Administration of workstations and networks.

Outside of work, I use SolidWorks to design and model go-karts which is another interest and hobby of mine.


AutoCAD was the first CAD package I became really proficient in using (I had used AutoSketch myself before). I also tutored and lectured AutoCAD in a number of places from UL to LIT to FAS, and developed a number of resources to assist people learning AutoCAD.

Engines - Small Engine Repair

Yamaha RXS100 Engine repaired and used for a Go-Kart

My interests in engines was borne from go-karts. I got an old lawnmower with a petrol engine from a neighbour who was throwing it out. While the lawnmower itself was completely rusted, I managed to get the engine working at age 13. From here I went through many many engines and gearboxes in the goal of getting it to power a go-kart. I became very good at taking an engine apart. From replacing conrods to replacing clutches and a gear selector on motorbike engines.

One of the diagnosis I remember most is holding the spark plug against the metal of the engine, and turning it over to see a spark. It did happen to me a few times that while I saw a spark, the spark plug was in fact faulty, and under the compression cycle, the spark plug failed. Conclusion: if the engine won't start and all other avenues explored, try a different spark plug.


Stephen's first welder, a 100amp mma (stick) welder.

While I made many woodwork projects for home and school, it is metalwork where my interest and passion lies. The moment I got a 100amp welder from my Uncle (thanks Star!) I went from strength to strength and excelled in fabricating parts from metalwork. I got to use Lathes and Milling machines in University and made a number of projects and hand tools. The ease at which something could be welded together and fabricated always fascinated me, compared to making projects out of wood (requiring nails or glue).

System Administration - Linux & Windows

Wang PC with 5 1/4 Disk Drive

There was always computers around at home, starting from a Wang 386 which had 2MB of RAM and 20MB Hard Disk space! At college everything I done involved computers, from websites to installing applications and getting programs to run. When I got involved in the Skynet Computer Society and in particular Sys Admin, my passion for Administration grew. Running the kartbuilding.net website from a Debian OS on VMware on my postgraduate computer, I setup all linux services I could think of. This was great preparation for becoming a member of the Skynet root team where I looked after Xen, to name one service.

Debian Linux Logo

I also manage a dedicated server running this website and many other sites and services as part of "burkesys" (Burke Systems). I make maximum use of Linux for maintaining a robust up-to-date server hosting some commercial websites.

All throughout the years I've been involved in setting up and looking after Windows installations, both client and server versions. From lmtools to admin installs to building computers the applications and uses were endless. With work, I'm involved in supporting SolidWorks client and admin installs on workstations and servers including network connectivity and performance analysis.

Web Development

I started my first website in 1999 when I started in University due to a lack of plans and information on go-karts on the Internet. I setup kartbuilding.com first and then kartbuilding.net and produced different sets of go-kart plans free for use by anyone. Web development fed into my Final Year Project where I made an Interactive website for second level technical graphics students covering orthographic projection. Included in this FYP was an ability for a student to login, rotate 3D models (created in 3d Studio Max) in a Java Applet, and attempt multiple choice questions. There was a facility for a teacher to login and view students results also.

As a postgraduate I started making websites for projects and conferences, some of which can be seen in the portfolio section of this website. Over the few years making websites I have gotten to know the many quirks of web design and cross browser support.

Kartbuilding Website Logo

From a young age I was deeply interested in all things go-kart related. My Dad created my first wooden go-kart with spoked wheels from an old pram. From here I made several more wooden go-karts. At the age of 13 I was experimenting with attaching lawnmower engines to propel the kart. Having little or no money to spend on karts, I experimented with many different setups getting parts from wherever I could. Neighbours, friends and the dump provided much of the parts and materials I used. When I got my first welder my go-karts took a new and improved direction away from wooden chassis towards metal fabrication. With some money, I could get more powerful motorbike engines to power the go-kart.

Building go-karts with little or no money was my main hurdle, however this led me to discovering the most about gearboxes, transmissions, engines and steering setups. Many thanks goes to the very kind and helpful people who volunteered small engines, gearboxes, rear axles and brake hubs to my cause.

Stephen Burkes Wooden Go-Kart Plans

Hands on building of go-karts took a back seat when I started in University, been away from home. My energies instead went to virtual design of go-karts and plans for the kartbuilding.net website to give to others the information, plans and details I used to make karts. Hopefully I'll get back into making go-karts and also to further develop the kartbuilding.net website.