RC Electric Screwdriver ATV
For Yale’s MENG 185: Introduction to Mechanical Design course, we reverse-engineered a few cordless power screwdrivers and transformed the internal components and motors into a functional remote-controlled all-terrain vehicle. Working in teams of 3-4, the design of the RC car was driven by various performance, design, and manufacturing factors. The final goal was to drive the car over and through an obstacle course that involved steep hills, sharp turns, and uneven paths.
For the project each team was given three weeks and a budget of $80 for the purpose of buying premanufactured gears of varying sizes. The body of the car was to be made entirely out of a 0.5” thick sheet of Delrin that was only to be laser cut or drilled through. This project required us to understand several electro-mechanical concepts like how to incorporate gears while designing drive and steering systems. Throughout the development of the ATV, we created many subassemblies in Solidworks that were then combined into a complex assembly, the final rendering of which is shown above.
Since each team was only given 3 motors to work with, most teams opted for a simple all-wheel drive, with two motors controlling the steering of the front two wheels. However, we wanted to take into consideration the length of the car with respect to the turning radius required on the obstacle course while maintaining a strong enough forward drive. We instead used a modified rack and pinion steering system so that turning could be controlled with one motor while the other two were dedicated purely to linear movement. The power switches and batteries that were originally in the cordless screwdrivers were stripped and re-soldered onto the car as a fun ergonomic controller similar to a gaming controller. Our car performed wonderfully in the competition, with fantastic speed and turning abilities and decent handling over rocky terrain. In the end, we came in 2nd place!
Lasercut 3D Puzzle
The first project in MENG 185, this assignment was designed to give us experience with Solidworks, assemblies, drawings, tolerances, and a lasercutter. Working in teams of two, we were given a 12” x 12” sheet of acrylic and several design parameters. The resultant assembly of individual pieces had to be at least partially 3D and self-standing. The puzzle needed to have at least 3 interlocking jigsaw pieces, 3 pieces in a loop and 3 in series. Extra points were given for creativity and complexity, assuming all of the specifications were met. My partner and I worked out a model that used itself to support various ‘floating’ parts from falling down as they interlocked. Our design, shown above, was inspired by the Calder Sculpture at Yale’s Hewitt Quadrangle.
Arch 150: Introduction to Architecture was both a graphic and verbal dive into the language of architecture. Buildings were looked at from a number of different lenses - from the immediate and tactile to the contextual and theoretical. The primary goal was to train our eyes to see and observe the world around us with greater precision and understanding. The class had weekly drawing assignments and two open-ended design problems.
The sketchbook drafting went as involved as recreating a Yale gothic window. Both design problems were limited only by materials parameters. In the first, we were to create any sort of ‘internal space’ using only 5 columns, a pediment, and 10 2’x2’ planes. Using lasercut wood that I outlined with Solidworks, I designed an open-air auditorium, fronted with 3D printed columns that I designed. The pediment was also an engraving I did using the laser cutter. The second and final design problem was to make a lamp shade using only one type of white paper. The shade was required to sit atop an incandescent bulb and pre-measured hooks for the final presentation. My design was inspired by the architecture pf Saarinen’s hockey rink at Yale, with my focus being not on the light that shined through but the light that was cast back onto the wall in the shapes and shades forced by the sharp curves of the paper.