“Impossible” is a meaningless word at Florida Poly.
Dorian Alberti can prove it. Back in 2008, the freshman saw the first Iron Man movie in theater. It was love at first sight. The mechanics, the action, engineering; all of it appealed to him. So he decided to make his own Iron Man suit.
The Mark I suit was a clunky mess made from wood. That was OK. Dorian had achieved what he set out to do. Now it was time to improve. With each evolving prototype, Dorian learned something new. He spent hours tinkering in the garage behind his home in Madison County, Fla., reworking and reimagining what was possible. And like any new inventor, Dorian put in long hours working to support his hobby.
“I spent a lot of time hanging sheetrock. I would do the hard work, get paid, then go to the shop and do what I love,” says Dorian, who is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on multifunctional materials.
With a modest income and access to a borrowed wire welder, Dorian’s Iron Man suits grew in complexity, comfort and features. Today, the Mark 14 is an impressive amalgamation of steel, fiberglass plating and EVA foam.
“It’s never good enough for me. I always strive to make it better,” says Dorian, who is already working on Mark 15.
That’s going to get easier now that he’s studying at a school that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). He has access to state-of-the-art equipment, a faculty with deep industry backgrounds and friends that dream just as big as he does.
“I feel welcome here. You can just throw out thoughts regular people might consider crazy. But crazy is normal at Florida Poly,” Dorian says.