Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Week 24: Problems and Solutions

Since last weeks post, work has resumed on the bender and testing the new material that was ordered. The new material was AL 6061 T6511, and acted differently from the AL 6061 T6 that remained from the previous year's materials. Tests revealed that the smaller stock did not bend as easily, and the larger stock bent more easily. Therefore, the aim will be to use the remaining old material to create the bends for the sections of track as necessary.

With concerns to the permanent installation of the completed bender in the shop, some changes to previous plans may be made. A finalized plan will be made available as the end of the semester approaches.

The solar team provided details on the requirements for the ribs that they wanted made, so some work will have to be done with the new material to accommodate their request. It is good that their tolerances are not nearly as strict as the track requirements, so issues with handling the new material should be few.

New material, doesn't fit the curve.

Old material, fits the curve

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Week 23: Back In Action

Academic courses resumed Thursday of last week, which was the signal for work to resume. No building has been performed as of yet, due to a family medical emergency as well as rearranging the shop at home. There are a few updates regarding the information from other teams that was necessary.

1. No material was ordered by the track improvement team or the solar team before the break for what they requested to be built. The track improvement team stated that they would have a material order placed last week.
2. Details are yet forthcoming from the solar team on the ribs they are requesting. A concern is that no details on the plans for the solar panel mount have been made available as of yet.
3. Track column heights may need to change, according to mounting requirements by the solar team. Thanks to the previous year's track setup, it is fairly easy to change the columns used to support the track. However, there is no additional material in the shop with which to create new columns so material should be acquired as soon as possible to allow for work to proceed.
4. The vehicle positioning sensing subteam did not have their corrugated metal strip fabricated externally, and are pursuing the creation of it in-house. They asked for advice and recommendations on how to build gears that would work to their tolerances, and I will be working with them to help get the details sorted out.
5. Plans were for the corrugated metal strip to be glued to the track, but the method has not yet been tested according to the vehicle positioning sensing subteam. Tests should be performed soon to ascertain viability.
6. The vehicle control team still plans to place magnets flush with the track, which will require drilling large holes (+0.75"?) into sections of track. Though not impossible to do, it will require time and precision, but details on the locations of these holes are lacking at the moment.
7. Track mounting brackets are planned to be 3-D fabricated with plastic. Analysis showed that the brackets should be strong enough, but I have only seen one test piece thus far.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Week 15: Finals, Winter Break Plans

As of the writing of this post, regular scheduled classes have ended and final exams have begun. No work is currently being done on the bender, due to rearranging tools and machines at home and preparation for final exams, so no update to show here. The tank desk mentioned before can be seen below, but it was disassembled for transport and has been placed to the side for the moment as things are being rearranged.

I will not be at home to perform any work on the bender for the majority of winter break, which will be from December 21st to January 24th. As of this post, I am unsure of the exact date at which I will return. I believe that the capabilities demonstrated thus far are proof enough that we have completed our task as requested of us, but that variables yet left undetermined (such as the decision between 5052 and 6061 aluminum) should be resolved before more work is performed, mainly due to the significant impact that such a decision would have on the work to be performed. In the particular example given, if 5052 aluminum were indeed to be utilized, then calculations made thus far would have to be redone and work thus far would be null and void.

Regarding work provided by other teams, contact has been made with the vehicle positioning sensing subteam with concern to the potential for fabrication of a corrugated metal strip to be used with a Hall effect sensor. Extra details revealed the precision required for the metal strip, and having not received information early enough to warrant serious investigation, it was decided that the best course of action would be to move forward with external fabrication of the corrugated strip. Internal investigation of corrugated strip creation will be pursued during the spring semester if extra time is available

What a tank desk looks like when set up:

What the tank desk look like right now, with things being shuffled around:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Week 14: Alternative Bender Table, Future Plans

The main focus for work was, as mentioned in the group post for the week, on the final report, third writing assignment, and final presentation. The past six weeks of the build have seen a personal input of 20+ hours per week, which combined with the required input for other courses appeared to have led to accumulated levels of fatigue. During the coming winter break, limited work will be performed as I will not be at home for the majority of the duration. However, work completed thus far has provided positive results that will lead the way for what will need to be done next semester, which was the main goal of work this semester.

Some searching was done during the semester for desks, stands, or mounts that the bender could be placed on for permanent installment in the Spartan Superway shop. Towards this end, it was originally conceived that a desk would be constructed from two unused table legs, 2”x4”s, plywood, and bolts, nuts, and screws. However, searching on Craigslist for free desks revealed several promising alternatives, including a “tank desk.” A “tank desk” was acquired in decent condition this past weekend, so it will be tested as the desk of choice for the first table to mount the bender upon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Week 13: Final Report, Third Presentation

The third presentation and final report rough draft were the focus this past week, and will continue to be so throughout the week, and possibly next weekend as well. Owing to Thanksgivings break and not being in town, no work was done on the bender this week. However, as stated last week, bender results that matched expectations gave great confidence that the work that we have done thus far is going in the direction we need it to. Therefore, it seems that we have overcome the greatest obstacle in our path, which was the creation of a proper die to produce results exactly as we needed them.


The track improvement team has provided the team with some updated information, as well as their expectations for next semester. They informed us that they intended for us to create the corners for the improved track, but were considering reusing the station sections from the previous year. It so happens that work on the corner sections (in terms of dies) has progressed the furthest, which is beneficial for us. Additionally, corner sections were assumed to be potentially the most troublesome, given the bender type. Comparatively, bends for the station sections are seen as simply smaller versions of the full corner bends that were prepared for and tested, so all signs on work performed thus far are positive.