Junior, Electrical Engineering
Athens, OH 12 December 2016 –
At the end of last semester, I was assigned a final project in my Computer Organization class that was focused on designing and simulating an introductory MIPS processor. This was a very simplified version of a processor that is fairly similar to what is found in modern computers. This project took the information that we learned throughout the semester and applied it to a single problem.
Like most modern day research and development of computer hardware, we did not build the processor out of physical components, but simulated the hardware design on a computer. To do this, we used a HDL, or hardware description language, called Verilog. Verilog allows a designer to start at the lowest level, building the different types of basic gates out of transistors, and then use those basic components to continue building upward until a final design is reached.
Since this project was to encapsulate the entirety of the course, we had to start from the ground up replicating every component we learned that semester. In total we designed and tested over forty discrete components that when replicated and used to create the functions of the processor, created over 500 hardware components that were being simulated to run the processor.
When it was all said and done, and the 36-page report covering everything from the functions the processor was able to perform to the standardized input the processor must receive, it was easily one of my favorite projects of my college career. It was a project that challenged me to make sure everything I was doing was in an efficient and fault proof manner. It helped me see what I wanted to do when school was completed, and was another proof that I had chosen the correct major for myself.
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering
Athens, OH 27 November 2016 –
This semester in one of my ISE classes, Project Management, myself and a few other students decided to do a project studying what it would take to open a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Athens.
Project Management is a class required for all seniors to take in the fall before we begin our senior design project in the spring. Naturally our department wants us to understand how to manage a project from start to finish before we are given our final capstone project.
Chick-fil-A is my favorite fast-food restaurant and I’ve always wondered why we don’t have one in Athens. I figured it would be a fun thing to study in case I wanted to come back to Athens someday to be a franchise owner.
Soon after we began research we found that all that you truly need to open a Chick-fil-A franchise is $5,000 for franchising and a free year to manage the restaurant. The catch however is that Chick-Fil A accepts less than 0.1% of the applications they receive every year. This realization put a damper on my dream of opening a franchise in real life, but the work on the class project had just begun.
Through the planning of the rest of the project, we went through and picked out a location for the franchise, cost for renovations and supplies along with how we planned to staff the restaurant once opened. After gathering the information, planning each task and developing a report, we presented our findings to the class.
This process was helpful as we learned about opening a restaurant and managing a project from start to finish. I expect that this experience will be helpful when we begin working on our senior design project next semester.
Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Athens, OH 23 October 2016 –
I am currently taking a class for my major called mechatronics (ME 4550). The class focuses on the combination of electronics, programming, and mechanical devices.
We were tasked to create a mechatronic device for an individual project that has all of these features and has some practical application. For my project I decided I wanted to build robot! I love star wars and so my mind quickly thought of BB-8. At first I thought it would be too complicated or hard for the project, but I went for it anyway.
I ordered all my parts a couple weeks ago and began construction as they came in the mail. I used a 10” hamster ball for the round shell and a 2-wheeled robot for the drive system. A servo is mounted to the bottom of the robot that will shift a weight back and forth leaning the sphere as the wheels drive forward or backward simultaneously. To make a weight heavy enough and the right size, I melted down a bunch of lead fishing sinkers and attached that to some K’NEX then glued that to the servo arm. I broke the first servo but I’ll get another one.
The bot will be controlled through an Arduino UNO microcontroller mounted to the center robot. The only physical simplification I made was to leave out the BB-8 head.
This project so far has been a ton of fun! I love building things and being hands on, so the construction phase has been a blast. It feels like something I could be doing just as a fun hobby project, yet this is for a class required for my major. I guess that means I chose the right program for myself.
I can’t wait to get the programming loaded up and see the little guy moving around. After graduation I think I will continue the project and possibly add remote control and some feedback control through motion sensors.
Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Athens, OH 24 February 2016 –
With Spring Break ahead and midterms behind, it’s now time to relax and finish up some of this semester’s projects. This semester I am taking a class called Mechatronics. This class is by far one of the most interesting and fun classes I have taken in college.
Each student must use an Arduino microcontroller to make some sort of device that completes a task. Since I have been hitting the snooze button in the morning too much recently, I decided to make a motion sensor alarm clock that will not stop buzzing until I walk out of my room.
After project proposals have been completed, we are paired up with a student from the ETM Department who is enrolled in a different class. Their role is to fabricate parts needed for the design using a 3-D printer.
For my alarm clock I will need a housing that is large enough to fit my circuit, microcontroller, and battery pack. I will also need it to have an opening so my motion sensor is able to detect whether or not I am walking out of my room.
In the class, there are a lot of different things that people are designing. Other projects include remote control cars, automatic pet feeders, and even a pneumatic Nerf gun!
I am really looking forward to see everyone’s project when they are completed. This is going to be a challenging and exciting project that will top off my senior year perfectly.
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Athens, OH 15 December 2015 –
This past semester I took a very special class that is offered only to a select group of engineering students: the Robe Leadership Institute. It was based on developing our leadership skills and also to get to know some of our most successful alumni. We had speakers once or twice a week and we would learn from their experiences of being leaders in the professional world.
On top of that, we had projects such as writing a leadership biography of our favorite leader. For this particular project I decided to write about Juan Manuel Santos, the current President of my country, Colombia.
This project consisted of doing in-depth research on this leader and it was broken down into 3 different parts. The first part included an introduction of the project and the leader, and also a historical overview of all the events that were important in our leader’s life.
The second part was dedicated to our leader’s leadership style and special traits that helped him become successful. This part was very important in order to understand the methodology of this person.
Finally, the third part was a connection between us and the leader–how we could apply his traits and styles to our particular situations.
This project required a lot of time, but I learned a lot from it since it made me understand the most important person in my country to a great extent. In addition, I could comprehend some of the most relevant historical events that make our country what it is today. Finally, I would say that this class has been the one that has prepared me the most for the professional world.
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management
Athens, OH 10 December 2015 –
As the semester comes to a close, I’ve spent my final weeks studying for exams as well as finishing up final projects. One of the classes I took this semester was ETM 3510, Production Tooling. In this class we learned how to design and build a jig or a fixture. These devices help to ensure repeatability of a process and that each part run is created the same.
This class helps us to better understand how a large batch of items can be manufactured with little to no variation, and is also crucial for our senior capstone. We start by thinking of a possible design and then making it in CAD. Any revisions are reflected in the technical drawing prints. We use these prints to create our fixtures to our predetermined specifications.
For the last couple of projects, we were assigned to produce a physical fixture along with all of the technical drawings, parts, and documentation. These are the types of projects I really enjoy doing since we’re able to apply the methods learned in lecture into an actual product.
Fixture without part loaded:
Fixture with part and hole cut:
Junior, Civil Engineering
Athens, OH 29 November 2015 –
The air is becoming cooler and crisper and the days are much shorter. I cannot believe that we are done with November and moving in to the last month of the year. The semester is coming to a close and the project deadlines are approaching. There is nothing more that terrifies me than project deadlines and finals. Even though I am terrified to think of what is in the near future, I am still ready to tackle them head-on. I have found that I work and learn best when I am under a little pressure.
One of my favorite classes of the semester is CE 4160, Construction Estimating & Equipment. In this class, I have been working on roadway construction projects all semester. In this class we are divided up into groups and we are given a set of plan drawings to which we need to make an estimate of how much the project will cost to build. I like this class the most because it is most applicable to what I want to do once I graduate.
Another benefit of this class is that is directly related to one of the organizations that I’m in. The Civil Engineering Estimating Team does exactly what my class is teaching me. We get a set of plan drawings and we need to bid the project during a competition.
I find that I tend to like classes more that I can directly relate to outside of the class room. I am what they call a “hands on” kind of person.