Category Archives: Engineering Technology and Managment

Robotics Club

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 8 October 2017

I love my engineering classes, and I have learned a lot from them, but one of the best ways to cement what you have learned in class is to apply what you’ve learned in a student organization.

One student organization I am in is the Robotics Club, which is a new Russ College organization that focuses on developing and creating, you guessed it, robots.

As a club, one of our first projects is to create a robot to enter into the Association for Technology,Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) Robotics Competition. At the completion, we will have to put our robot through several tests, including throwing a bean bag into a corn hole, lifting up a weight and grabbing an item underneath it, and removing an object from inside a tiny pipe.

In order to make the robot perform these functions, we have to make the robot, from scratch. I have taken several classes geared towards robotics, including a C# Coding class, an Electronics/Microcontrollers class, and a couple of others, but this is my first chance to truly apply what I have learned about robotics in class into a project.

I have learned and incredible amount of information about robotics from engaging in activities with this club, and is has really helped cement what I learned in class.

Not only has the Robotics Club helped me get involved in something I’m passionate about and helped me learn, but it has also helped me professionally. Employers love to see students who are active in clubs and students who have been involved in activities where they have had to solve problems. You can’t really go wrong with getting involved in an Engineering organization, and I know getting involved with the Robotics Club this fall has certainly helped me.

A Summer Abroad

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 6 September 2017

This past summer, thanks to the Cutler Scholars Program here at Ohio University, I was able to study abroad in Sorrento, Italy for 5 weeks. In Italy, I studied a Business/Sustainability course in order to fulfill a requirement for my minor.

My experience in Italy was absolutely amazing, and I would advise any college student to at least consider studying abroad. For engineering students, it’s often difficult to find a program that caters to your major and needs, but Ohio University’s Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) is absolutely amazing and offers an extremely wide variety of programs/courses. From working with a manufacturing company in China, to applying engineering solutions in Ghana’s impoverished areas, to studying fine arts in Great Britain, and everything in between, OGO has it.

When you are studying or volunteering abroad, not only do you have to the opportunity to grow and learn in the classroom, but you also can grow as a person. I learned a lot about business and sustainability this summer, but I learned even more about myself.

Italy

I became a more confident and adventurous person, and I did a lot of things that I may have never done before, like cliff diving off a Roman Villa into the Mediterranean, or swimming a couple of miles to visit several underwater sea caves, or engaging with complete strangers in deeply personal discussions. I really challenged myself this summer when I was in Italy, and grew a lot from it. Study abroad this summer certainly changed my life, and I would advise anyone interested in studying abroad to do it, and you definitely won’t regret it.

Learning the Importance of Scheduling

Jacob Motts

Jacob Motts,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 17 March 2017

Like many within Russ College, this point in the semester becomes a nightmare for me. Classes have reached the infamous point of final projects and final exams and final assignments for final projects as a prep for final exams. It’s exhausting, especially when you are as heavily involved on campus like I am. Outside of my classes and ambassador responsibilities, I am also Vice President of Epsilon Pi Tau, participating in an internship at the Innovation Center, a member of the Society of manufacturing Engineers, and involved with Cru on campus. In all of this, I have found there is one simple way to keep from drowning in the ocean of work and responsibilities. All you need is scheduling.

In learning communities they always describe how important scheduling is and plotting your time in spreadsheets. As a freshman, I laughed at this. At the time, I didn’t think there was any way I would need to actually plot my time block by block. I had made it through all of high school without ever touching a planner or spreadsheet. Now, 3 years later, it is the only way I can keep track of it all. Classes alone require me to do this. The day-to-day assignments are only further complicated by larger projects and team projects. This need, however, also extends into my other areas of life as well.

Everything from dates to family gatherings and organizational meetings are put into my spreadsheet and accompanying calendar. As the VP of Epsilon Pi Tau, this is especially important because I have to know when organization events are happening and who needs to be there. I also have a lifeline in the spreadsheet I have put together for my engineering design and rapid prototyping internship at the Innovation Center. It tracks my clients and the priority levels of their projects. It also has estimated deadlines and contains contact information for each individual, as well as what the next steps in the project are.

Now, after reading all of this, you may wonder what the point is. Why should you care about what I said? Well, I am here to tell you that scheduling has taken me from a place of chaos to peace. It now does not feel like a frenetic situation to keep track of what I have going on in the week. All I have to do is consult a couple simple spreadsheets and a calendar. And let me tell you, it makes college life about 1,000 times easier.

Preparing for Summer

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 27 March 2017

The cherry trees are blooming, the birds are singing, and fest season is upon us, which means one thing: summer is right around the corner. This semester has absolutely flown by, and my plans for this summer are finally starting to come together. This summer, I plan to study abroad in Italy for six weeks studying business, hopefully intern for a couple of months, and also spend some time relaxing with friends and family.

This summer I have to travel abroad in order to fulfill a scholarship requirement. After months of planning, I finally decided to go to the Santa’Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy to study business in the European Union. The Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) here at OU is top-notch, and they helped me throughout my search. I eventually came upon the Sorrento program through OGO, and I never looked back.

As an engineering student, it is often times difficult to find an abroad program that caters towards your program, but studying abroad can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and has many, many benefits. Think outside the box, and think of taking classes abroad that could perhaps help you achieve a minor or certificate.

I am also hoping to co-op with Toyota for a couple months before I travel abroad. I am in communications with them currently, and am trying to work out a position that lasts for only two months. Remember that intern or co-op terms typically last 3-4 months, so keep this in mind for summer plans.

Also, don’t forget to relax and spend some time with your family and friends over the summer. You only have 4 summers until you are thrust into the “real world”, so enjoy them.

The Stamp Situation

Jacob Motts

Jacob Motts,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 19 March 2017

What many people may not know about me is that I am currently carrying out an engineering design internship within the Innovation Center at Ohio University. The Innovation Center has many purposes, but one is to serve as a nest for startup companies in the Southeastern-Ohio area and provide many fantastic resources to transform peoples’ ideas into reality.

When an individual has a new idea or new design they bring it to us to be turned into a reality. My job is to transform those ideas into CAD models and produce high-quality 3D-printed prototypes utilizing our Stratasys Objet 3D-printer. Sometimes those prototypes even serve as a functional final product, as is the case with one client of ours named Susie Abramovitz.

Finished Mug

Susie is a local artisan who does absolutely amazing pottery work. One of her mugs can be seen above. One of the characteristics that sets Susie’s work apart from the rest is her use of 3D-printed stamps to imprint the clay. This is where I come in.

A typical process has Susie’s graphic designer make a 2D sketch of the picture and send it to me. I then convert the Adobe Illustrator files into a linear CAD drawing and later construct a 3-dimensional stamp form in Solidworks to be printed. In the past, no issues were happening as Susie used the stamps in her work. However, with the new School of Nursing stamps to be made, that was a different story.

No changes were made in the process, but for whatever reason, these stamps were just not pressing deep enough into the clay. We knew it wasn’t the design because it was made in the same way as prints had been in the past. Many attempts and several redesigns later, we were still no closer to getting a good stamp into the clay. To make matters worse, the due date for the mugs was fast approaching.

At 9:00 pm on a Friday night it hit me mid conversation. Chemistry. Chemistry was causing the stamps to fail. Susie uses canola oil as a releasing agent for her stamping. In the past there was never a problem because we had printed the stamps using the Vero plastic material. However, this set of stamps were being printed in ABS plastic.

Stamps

In a flurry I went online to confirm my suspicions and sure enough; vegetable oils chemically attack ABS plastics. In other words, the canola oil was eating away all the details off of the stamp and leaving the clay surface marred. However, after a simple change in releasing agent to WD-40, it all fell into place. The stamps imprinted perfectly (pictured above), the mugs came out great, and the deadline was met. Another happy client.

The Importance of Advisors

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 2 March 2017

Often times faculty adviser meetings are overlooked and thought of as wasted time. I remember going to the first couple of meetings with my adviser and thinking “Why should this person be telling me which classes to choose? Of course, only I know what I want.” Little did I know that my faculty adviser would impact my life so profoundly. In fact, almost every award I have received and everything I have achieved in college is thanks in part to my faculty adviser.

So, it’s clear that my faculty adviser has made an impact on my life, but how can they affect yours as well? First, you must recognize just how important it is to develop relationships with faculty members. I struggled with grasping this concept over the first part of my freshman year, but I quickly realized that students who had positive relationships with faculty members tended to do better in classes than others. Those students were more likely to ask for help from other faculty members and were more likely to be recommended for many things, whether it be jobs, awards, or club positions.

Once you have grasped that concept, you must really take advantage of it, and one of your first faculty contacts will be with your faculty adviser. Not only will your adviser help you choose which classes to take, but they can also help you land co-ops, internships, or research positions. My adviser led me to both of my internships, and without his help I surely would not have gotten them. Also, you must truly take your adviser’s advice about classes to heart. They know more about the coursework than you do, and you should heed their advice. If you don’t, you may end up working on classwork for 70-80 hours a week like me this semester! Work to develop a strong relationship with your faculty adviser, and you won’t regret it.

Water Problems

Jacob Motts

Jacob Motts,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 17 February 2017

Yesterday, I woke up at 6:00 am but this day was different. Later that day was the first day of the Russ College Career Fair, and I was in the market for an internship or full time position. With me graduating in less than a year, I had been definitely feeling the pressure creeping in of finding a job. So, when I woke up, I dressed in my best suit and tie, printed out what felt like 100 resumes, and went on my way to Stocker Center for my Lean Manufacturing class at 7:45. That was when things started to go crazy.

Not five minutes into class, I heard a couple of my peers in the row behind me start to make a ruckus about something on the computer. I couldn’t help myself from eavesdropping, and I heard one of them say “Man we aren’t even supposed to be here. The university is closed!” The words had not left his mouth when two other students on the opposite side of the room piped in as well with similar comments. One student after the next all began talking and trying to figure out what was happening. The professor, who was trying to pass out equipment for a project, became very confused as to what had happened to the class. That’s when my friend Sam showed me a picture of the gaping hole in the ground surrounded by water that she had found online in a report by the Athens PD.

Apparentl,y around the 300 block of W. State Street, a 16-inch rupture occurred in the city water main. The leak then caused a sequential sinkhole in the ground and put a halt to all normal water use. Back in the classroom my professor began calling the department secretary as well as the ETM department chair. At this point the university had not sent out notifications to the students and faculty. Around 8:10 or so everyone checked their phones to see the emergency mass text from Ohio University. Classes were canceled, but what mattered much more to me was that the career fair was canceled. I was pretty disappointed about that.

As of writing this post, the water line has been fixed. However, the water itself, is not. A boil warning is still in effect for all of Athens until 2 am on February 18th. Why that matters to me is that I have a week’s worth of dishes that I had been procrastinating on washing. Now it has gotten to the point that I do not have a single clean pot or pan and do not have the time to boil water to wash them. The lift on the boil warning cannot come soon enough.