Photos by: Rebecca Miller
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Mechanical engineering students at the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology demonstrated their “Designing to Make a Difference” senior capstone projects to the public this weekend.
The program focuses senior design projects on addressing a need in the community. The 12 teams displayed their designs in the Stocker Center lobby and the Academic & Research Center project hangar, as well as gave PowerPoint presentations in a Stocker lecture hall.
Team Haitian Brick Creation partnered with 1000 Jobs for Haiti, Inc., whose mission is to fight poverty in Haiti by creating jobs for individuals at competitive, livable wages. The team will travel to Haiti for a week after graduation to help reconstruct the design on site.
They designed a rotary aggregate sifter to create several jobs at a brick-making plant in Domond, Haiti. The sifter sorts the aggregate into appropriate piles by size so the required size can be used to make a stronger, more reliable concrete block.
The opportunity to aid an underdeveloped community was a primary motivation for the project and helped them overcome communication struggles due to distance, said team member Tyler Ward.
“Since our customer is in Haiti, we can’t just go to them and see what they need,” he said. “We couldn’t go on site and talk to some of the people so they could express some of the problems they have. Everything we did was by telephone or Skype.”
Team Got Dem’ Cuts’ goal was to increase employment opportunities for workers with disabilities at the Gallipolis Developmental Center. The employees currently cut through nylon military cargo netting with scissors and then sell off the scrap. With a new foot-pedal activated device, a blade will now cut the netting and the process will be easier.
Team member Talli Topp said the device has the potential to be reproduced to help other similar facilities. She explained that this hands-on, real world experience is why she values the senior design course.
“We actually help somebody, actually built something, and if we were wrong in some of our calculations, it’s actually going to fail,” she said. “It’s a really good experience to take a customer need, come up with conceptual designs and make it into a physical product that you can hold and use.”
Zachary Berger of Team Raising the bar expressed that time management was a big deal for tackling this yearlong project. His team designed and built an easily replicable mechanical greenhouse structure for local organic farm Green Edge Organic Gardens. The variable, 96-foot siding system will make it easier for owner Kip Rondy to ventilate his green houses.
“Rondy is now doing it himself, and he would like to implement the design on all his greenhouses,” Berger said. “He said it was great and very easy to use.”
As chair of the mechanical engineering department, Robe Professor Greg Kremer was proud of the work of students to improve the world through their projects in this course, which he developed and leads each year.
“We had a great event, Kremer said. “The students did a wonderful job. The presentations were very well done. There is a lot of excitement from the families and the community about these projects, which do create for good.”
Mechancial engineering senior design teams have won nearly $70,000 from various competitions in recent years, including winning or placing in the national Ability One Network Design Challenge in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and earning a second place J.F. Lincoln Foundation award in 2011, and first and second place in the same contest in 2013.
The electrical engineering senior design Demo Day will be held Wed., April 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Academic & Research Center atrium living room.
Team Flower Power designed a machine that can be used by adults with developmental disabilities to clean decommissioned metal lithographic newspaper-printing plates for re-use by artists at Passion Works Studios, where they'll be turned into metal flower sculptures and other artwork.