Since moving to the United States seven years ago, Heqiu Liu ’14 has earned a mechanical engineering degree, landed a job and launched a photography career.
The magna cum laude graduate is a design engineer for Continental Machines, Savage, which manufactures metal-cutting equipment, including the DoALL bandsaw.
“I just teamed with another designer on a very complex indexing table design for a special band saw order for Bridgestone Tires,” said Liu.
The table — part of an 18-foot tall band saw — can transfer, rotate and tilt tires up to 20,000 pounds, according to Liu, a 27-year-old who lives in Burnsville.
Liu is mostly doing new product development, working in SolidWorks, a computer-aided drafting software. Among other responsibilities, he has been working with the firm’s electrical engineers to pull their two-dimensional symbols and schematics into three-dimensional models and assemblies built in SolidWorks.
On weekends he shifts focus to photography.
“Whenever I get tired of the stressful engineering side, I do some artistic stuff to relax my brain,” said Liu, a native of Fujian province in coastal southeastern China. “I often listen to music to inspire my photo ideas. Since my senior year in college, I’ve been using my left hand more so that my right brain becomes more creative.”
He won the 2014 and 2015 St. Cloud Greater Photo Contest. In 2014, he exhibited at the Minnesota State Fair, selling his exhibit photo for $300.
“I don’t think I want to do commercial photography at this stage,” he said. “My goal for the next 10-plus years is to show people that Minnesota is one of the most beautiful states in the United States.”
Liu foresees using his engineering skills to capture underwater and aerial images.
“To take those photos, I’ll need some fancy equipment to do the motion control I want, because I’ll likely be on the ground controlling the robots,” he said. “Instead of spending thousands of dollars on robots, I want to design them with my friends.”