12.10.18 / Life@Samsung

Junkyard Genius

Kenneth Abraham posing proudly with one of his creations; a motorized picnic table.

Kenneth Abraham, Supervisor for CVD Fab Ops at Samsung Austin Semiconductor, re-purposes junk material and scrap metal to build vehicles – all in his spare time. Combining creativity with mechanical know-how and a healthy dose of hard work, Abraham has managed to turn the most mundane of discarded items – such as old office chairs – into fully-functioning vehicles and applies the patience and dedication his hobby has taught him to all aspects of his life – personal as well as professional.

Abraham’s interest in building vehicles stems from a childhood spent in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, an area where people often live unwalkable distances from each other. Abraham grew up commandeering dirt bikes and other more unusual forms of transportation in order to travel around. He and his older brother would also pass the time re-building vintage sports bikes together; an activity he says led to his interest in re-vitalizing the discarded.

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“My brother and I had just finished putting together a ‘90s Honda CBR and had an aluminum frame left over from the parts we used,” recalled Abraham. “My brother mentioned he was going to recycle it, but I looked at it and saw the potential for a trike – I mentioned this to my brother and our project started from there.”

Abraham saw the potential for a trike in an old motorcycle frame his brother was going to recycle.

His first project, a trike (three-wheeled motorcycle), demonstrates Abraham’s eye for re-purposing. “The trike’s frame came from a ’97 Honda bike that I cut down, the seat was made from an old office chair, a 50-gallon drum became the rear fender, and an old helmet visor became the front windshield,” explained Abraham.

Abraham stripped the trike to the frame and rebuilt it using found materials.

Another of his building accomplishments is his riding cooler; having seen the vehicle on offer at what he considered an exorbitant price, Abraham set out determined to make his own. “I found a motor assist chair at a Goodwill Auction that was not working, so I bought and repaired – it had some wiring issues. I then took the chair apart, built a box to hold my cooler and equipped the machine with lights and a stereo.”

Abraham transformed an obsolete motor assist chair into a riding cooler.

In developing this childhood hobby through to engine-roaring fruition, Abraham cites his older brother, Elroy, as his inspiration. Having at age 13 watched him customize the dash on his Volkswagen Beetle, Abraham became determined to pursue this hobby himself. He says that, nowadays, his hobby serves to give him a different perspective on his day-to-day work at Samsung Electronics. Not only this, but thanks to the 5S workplace organizational methodology employed by Samsung Austin Semiconductor, he is now sure to keep his hobby work area 5S-compliant for maximum efficiency and safety.

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Further to the harmony that Abraham has achieved between his work and his passion, the biggest takeaway he has to share is simple – just to take a break every once in a while. “Sometimes things don’t go together as you thought, and you can get really frustrated,” Abraham muses. “I have found that simply stopping to take a breath can calm your mind and let you see something you were missing before.”

Of course, Abraham often comes up against challenges – particularly when looking to replicate features seen on traditionally manufactured machines on his own inventions. But the motto inscribed on his work bench represents his drive, even in times of difficulty; ‘Doubt Kills More Dreams Than Failure Ever Will.’

Kenneth and his first creation – a trike.
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