The people who use our boards.

Charles Nickels Carver

Test Engineer @ Virgin Galactic

Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

My name is Charles Nickels Carver, and I am a test engineer for the Structural Integrity group of Virgin Galactic. I was born in Singapore and have lived in the Ivory Coast, Turkey, UK, Taiwan, Shanghai, Indonesia, Thailand, and the USA!

After my schooling, I served as a combat engineer for the Singaporean Armed Forces, where I was involved with military bridging. This ignited a passion for engineering, so I studied for my bachelors at Washington State University (Go Cougs!) as a materials scientist and engineer. I was fortunate to be entrusted with multiple research groups in Washington State University, which has given me an understanding and the skills to conduct university-level research relating to both materials science and mechanical engineering. With my time spent in the Kessler Research group, I was introduced to the personality of dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) as an antimicrobial polyurethane and pressure-sensitive adhesive.

I started my career in Virgin Galactic as a materials engineer. This involved the research, design, documentation, qualification, and testing of aerospace thermoset composite materials. More specifically, my responsibilities were focused on the material characterization and mechanical testing of components, subcomponents, and joint elements in an aerospace environment. I have recently switched to the Large Scale Testing group, where I am currently involved in testing various components and systems of Virgin Galactic’s SS3 fleet of spaceships and carrier vehicles. In short, my professional career has involved a large amount of document-writing and time in front of a computer.

Charles Nickels Carver in camo, with gun and radio
Although his military days are behind him, Charles keeps up his rifle marksmanship

Outside of work, I enjoy maintaining my rifle marksmanship, fencing, gaming, 3D printing, designing, urban trekking, flight simming, traveling, binge-watching movies/TV shows, rock climbing, building spaceships, and playing with my two cats, Floki & Freya!

Charles Nickels Carver's setup
Viking cats have conquered Charles's setup

What hardware do you use?

I currently have a Windows-OS i7 6850 with a 1080 GPU, 64 GB of RAM, an Intel 750 series PCIe SSD, APC 11-outlet surge protector, my trusty TI Nspire CS CAS calculator, my beloved Pentel Graph Gear 1000 automatic drafting pencil, Samsung C32HG70 monitor, an Autonomous standing desk XL, a Stream Deck XL, various trackballs, a Warthog + VKB HOTAS, an Xbox Elite controller, a SteelSeries wireless headset, Vaydeer USB 3.0 wireless charging aluminum monitor stand riser, Apanage powered USB 3.0 hub, and my beloved Moonlander keyboard!

Charles Nickels Carver's setup with books
Presumably the cat will tell Charles when he can use his laptop again

And what software?

CATIA, SOLIDWORKS, Adobe, Excel, Word, various video games, and so many countless others!

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

I use a custom keyboard setup that I have been improving as my experience with the Moonlander increases. I love learning about my typing habits and strategizing my keyboard layout. With my professional and casual life in front of a computer, I noticed pretty early on that the traditional computer layout is dangerous to the human body, and changes have to be implemented in order to have a healthy future! So I started the hunt for ways I can improve this situation. When I first discovered ErgoDox, I was deeply intrigued by the ingenious thumb clusters and I immediately felt the design made perfect sense! However, the high entry cost originally dissuaded me, and I felt being hunched over a traditional keyboard would be a better option, until the Moonlander came out. With an aerospace-themed title and working from home due to COVID, I finally was convinced by my mother that the Moonlander would be a worthy investment, and I haven’t looked back! The ability to customize layers to use for Word, CAD, Excel, gaming, and countless other applications have really made my life click. I can see a lifetime loving and fine-tuning this keyboard, and I’m reminded of it with every Gold switch keypress :)

Charles Nickels Carver and co-workers with a Lockheed F35-B
Aerospace holds appeal for Charles, as you can see in this photo of him and his co-workers with a Lockheed F35-B

What would be your dream setup?

Honestly at this point, just an eventual upgrade to my desktop PC!

Charles Nickels Carver's setup from a different angle
The cats seem happy with the setup, too

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