Some of the student projects I was helping with 2012/3.
The first two videos are of EME students their stuff, the final video is of Mechanical engineering students. When it comes to student projects, then some of these can be quite ‘fun’!
The first video includes a tower climbing robot, a line following robot and an automatic faulty railway sleeper detector. The idea behind the tower climbing robot is to be able to inspect a wind turbine tower without having to power down the turbine, which for health and safety reasons you’d have to do if an individual was to do it. It attached to the tower by magnetic wheels. A line following vehicle – think about vehicles in a factory following laid down lines as the move from one location to another. A faulty railway sleeper detector which automatically takes a picture of each sleeper and (in real-time) sends it to a computer which can analyse the image for sleeper defects.
Next video, a rudderless boat, a mechanical mole and a small hovercraft. The rudderless boat is powered by two independent motors which provide both basic power and steering. Very manoeuvrable, wireless controlled by the movement of a tablet device. A mechanical mole for digging into the ground – rather noisy! (and had a habit of going backward). Plus a remote-controlled hovercraft with obstacle detection sensors. The wireless part of the remote control gave problems so for demonstration was controlled by a wired controller.
Mechanical students doing their stuff.
The task here is for mechanical engineering students to build a wind turbine and demonstrate it producing energy. The range and style of turbines developed included the standard modern horizontal axis wind turbine, vertical axis drag / Savonius, and vertical Giromill types. Likewise for the ‘energy production’ many went for electricity generation, perhaps with a generator at the hub of the turbine, or worked through a gear mechanism (some adapted motors as generators). Some for pumping water, others for lifting weights.
One of the big problems they had (which almost all eventually overcame) was getting the device to start to rotate. Once rotating then things went all right, but getting that first bit of movement could be problematic.
Adoption of bicycle parts was very popular, whether wheels, gear and chain mechanisms or dynamos. Overall, as student projects go, some quite interesting things developed, especially considering that they were on quite tight budgets.