Tag Archives: senior design

ME Senior Design: Path Sweeper

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 21 November 2016

In an earlier blog post, I wrote about how I was excited for my capstone design project. Our team is designing a bike path sweeper to be pulled behind a bicycle and sweep the dry leaves and small debris into a hopper for dumping in designated areas.

It’s a very interesting project that brings in a lot of different mechanical concepts to balance. The obvious ones were directly addressed in the beginning of the project, such as pulling behind instead of in front for safety reasons and our required and desired performance specifications from our project partner.

The first stage of the design process was our conceptual design development stage. This is where we’re just trying to imagine as many possibilities for the design as possible. Next, is the conceptual design decision stage, where we use many different methods and continued research to decide upon an idea. After this stage, we meet with our mentor and professor to present our decision.

Our team ran into some difficulties in this, because around that time, we took a prototype which was given to us (a grass sweeper for a lawn) out for a ride hitched to a bike, and realized that after a certain speed, the sweeper became very unstable and swung back and forth. This drove a whole new arrangement of our design and set us back for a couple of weeks.

With an intimidating mentor and a craving for perfection and approval, this was pretty challenging psychologically. However, I feel like this design process has taught me a lot about how to think through difficult problems from various aspects and not be satisfied with the aspects I immediately think of. I hope I can apply this in life’s other problems as well.

Starting Fall Semester

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 8 September 2016

Fall is a complex time. As time passes and it comes closer to October, I yearn for cool weather and colorful trees. I daydream of long runs on the Athens bike path where I can breathe in fall-scented fresh air and reminisce on my high school cross country days. At the same time, however, I am aware that as time progresses, the many commitments I have will pick up to the point that my “long runs” might only be speed walks to class in the morning.

An exciting part of senior year that just came together is our senior design project assignments. Our class of around 70 students has been split into about 14 teams, each of which have a design project to work on for the next two semesters. I have been really pumped for this, and even more now that I know what my team’s project is.

The projects that always excite me most are those from local project partners, so I was very excited to hear that our team would be working with the Athens Cycle Path Bike Shop to design a human powered bike path cleaner. I’m sure I’ll post more about this design in the future as it comes together.

I’m only beginning to see what this semester will look like. So far, something I see that will separate this semester from the rest is the amount of purpose there is in what I’m doing. Although each of my previous semesters has also had purpose, they were more focused on preparing me and turning me into a competent engineer. Finally, now that I’m on the last level of my undergraduate career, I can feel the training wheels being lifted and I’m ready to roll.

Ali McCormick

Ali McCormick,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 18 April 2016

As the semester comes to a close, I can officially say that I have completed my senior design project. At the start of the year, I was assigned to design a hedgehog style drone that uses laser rangefinders to semi-autonomously fly around the basement hallways of Stocker and the underground steam tunnels around campus in order to find a person or steam leak via an infrared camera.

During the course of the project, the goal changed to deliver a drone with an integrated data collection system to be further progressed by graduate students in the following years. As I have learned, and many will find out, project scopes tend to change over the duration of the project. Problems constantly arise and the group must adjust the project accordingly. Our final tangible deliverable is a blackout 330 frame based integrated system, with custom wiring and a custom laser/Arduino Uno holding box that sat underneath the frame.

The system utilized the LIDAR-Lite v2 lasers connected to an Arduino Uno. The Arduino Uno is then connected to an Odroid, which collects and processes the laser data. A wireless access point has been created on the Odroid so that the ability to SSH (secure shell) into the drone is possible. Through the SSH, users are able to view the laser data remotely. A hardware flowchart (including future additions) can be seen below.

Flow Chart

Following the entire engineering design process, from paperwork to actual product, has been tedious, but extremely beneficial. Overall, having the opportunity to work on a project like this has been a life-changing experience.

Optimization in Senior Design

Melinda Nelson

Melinda Nelson,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 8 April 2016

The biggest project of many senior engineering students is Senior Capstone. This is a course where all your knowledge and experience are tried out in a real world scenario. Each group has an industry client and is assigned the project the client chooses. I knew that this could be a challenge and a great learning experience for life after college. It has definitely met both of those expectations!

The team I am on was assigned a project with Exel/DHL. They run warehouses for customers in various consumer industries. Our task was to create a model that could be used to evaluate existing and new, custom box sizes for packaging their customers’ products.

We created a model to take into account the size of products, boxes and costs involved in using different variations of box sizes. The model consisted of multiple equations that describe the different aspects of the situation we were studying. We set it up to choose optimal box sets based on making the void (empty space) when packing products as small as possible.

This project incorporated so many skills that I had been building throughout my time in college! Not only were skills in software and coursework utilized but also soft skills like presenting ideas and logistics and time management skills for working on the project while continuing to take a full load of courses! It also challenged and helped me to build on my leadership and motivational skills when working in a group. It was definitely a challenge working with conflicting schedules, deadlines, client demands and having to learn on the job.

Our project was to search for optimal box sets but the biggest takeaway for me was learning to create optimal team work and time management when working. These are huge takeaways that can be used in everyday life for years to come! Even though it had its stressful times, overall Senior Capstone was a great learning experience I truly enjoyed.

Senior Design Demo Day

Katie Logue

Katie Logue,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 4 April 2016

With graduation just around the corner, I really can’t believe how quickly my senior year has gone by. There are so many things left to do, but I know the next four weeks will be over in the blink of an eye.

This past weekend, my senior design class presented our final projects to other students, faculty, mentors, parents, and members of the community. We call it Demo Day, and it’s the culmination of all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears we’ve put into our projects over the past two semesters.

I may be a little biased, but I think our team’s demonstration and presentation went perfectly. Our booth was a big hit with the attendees. Our project was to create a custom tricycle for a five-year-old girl named Fiona, who has agenesis of the corpus callosum. This condition affects the ability of the two hemispheres of her brain to communicate with each other. Due to this condition, Fiona needs physical therapy to improve her strength, coordination, and motor skills. The tricycle we created for her can be used independently for therapy, and it can also be attached to her mother’s bike so that the entire family can ride together on the bike path.

ALT

Our Demo Day booth, with our actual project setup, tri-fold board displaying our needs statement and project pictures, and laptops with a slideshow of photos, and before and after videos of Fiona riding her old trike and her new trike.

We were so grateful that Fiona and her family could join us on Demo Day. Fiona is such an adorable, happy little girl, and she absolutely loves her new trike. She kept asking members of our group to take her for a ride around the building.

After about half an hour of pulling Fiona around, we proceeded to the auditorium to present our project. I was fortunate to have the responsibility of presenting for our team. When I flipped to a slide with a picture of Fiona’s trike, she got so excited, pointing and laughing. I had to pause my presentation to let the laughter of the audience die down.

Then, I asked her father to say a few words about what the project means to their family, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. This project has been so rewarding, and Saturday was the perfect way to wrap it all up. It was incredibly cool to be able to share this experience with so many people.

Senior Design group

Group photo of our team on Demo Day with Fiona, her brother Griffin, and parents Megan and Lenny.

Now that Demo Day is over, it’s like we’re finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s unbelievably bittersweet. As excited as I am for the past four years of school and one year of co-op work to pay off, I know I’ll miss this school very much.

Athens will always be home to me, and I wouldn’t trade being a bobcat for the world. Every late night studying for finals, every frustrating assignment I had to do, and every paper I had to bribe myself with coffee to finish was worth it. I feel like I’ve made the most of my time here, but part of me wishes I had more time.

I think as I look back, I’m realizing that it’s the people I’ve met here that mean the most. I’ve met some of my very best friends over the past five years, and I’m so grateful I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Russ College community.

ISE Senior Design: Simulation

Esteban Rodriguez

Esteban Rodriguez,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 20 March 2016

As an industrial and systems engineering student, I have to partake in a senior design project. Towards the end of last semester, we got assigned to a project based on our group preference. My team of four was assigned to do a project for DHL/Exel, to simulate the operations of one of their warehouses.

DHL/Excel operates the warehouse and want us to calculate the capacity of the warehouse during its peak season. Since the facility stores toys, the peak season for the demand of this toys is the month before Christmas, and 40 percent of the sales occur during this month.

Our group decided to build a simulation model of their picking and packing processes. These two processes are the ones that require the most labor and account for most of the processing time.

For building the model, we are using a software that we learned in our simulation class, and in addition to this we have our advisor who is the “master” in simulation.

The project has been challenging since we’ve had to deal with managing the time of all of our team members, as well as the difficulty of the project itself. I am very excited to see the outcome of this project and really hope that our project improves the company’s operations!

ETM Capstone Design Production Project

Steve Toth

Steve Toth,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 20 March 2016

One special thing about the Russ College is that every major completes its own capstone course. For Engineering Technology and Management majors, that means designing and completing a production run like what would be found in a factory.

If you are not familiar with Engineering Technology and Management (ETM) we focus on everything in the manufacturing process from product design, process design, process improvement, process management, quality control all the way to technical sales. Our capstone course incorporates all of these into one intense semester.

We start out by designing a product. For my group this is a door side organizer which incorporates a shelf, a cubby, key hooks and a cast aluminum badge which I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post.

Organizer

After the product has been designed and then proven by a model build, the rest of the semester focuses on bringing it into production through the creation of tooling and the multiple control plans that dictate a process (quality, inventory, capacity, routing sheets, etc.).

At the end of the semester, all of these components are put into action in a production run with 15 finished products being produced in a five-hour period…followed by a three-day nap.