Notre Dame Engineering

These projects were completed during college engineering courses to lay of foundation of problem-solving and analysis.

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Floating Structure

Completion of this project required knowledge of buoyant force and weight displacement.  As part of the introductory-nature of Engineering I, this project focused on making a claim because of a reason that is based on evidence.  Each group was tasked with using foam board and packing tape to create a floating vessel.  Weight would slowly be added to the vessel to see the effects of how the weight would slowly sink the vessel.  Engineering assembly and part drawings were created to model the vessel and parts.

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3D Prints

Computer Aided Design & Computer Aided Manufacturing was a sophomore level class that served to introduce students to the basics of CAD/CAM, to expose students to contemporary tools and methods, and to allow students to effectively use CAD/CAM systems.  After working with NX CAD software the previous summer, I had a familiarity with CAD systems and was eager to learn the Creo Parametric 3.0 software used in the class.  After understanding the basics, I learned further analysis of models, drawings and documentation, and behavioral modeling and mechanisms.

Two projects involved both the design and manufacture of a 3D maze and a coaster.  The 3D maze was modeled in Creo Parametric and later manufactured using a CNC techno router.  To add a creative challenge, I used the Liberty Bell as inspiration for the maze design, which added a challenge in modeling and routing the shape to create the path for the metal ball.  The coaster was manufactured using a MakerBot 3D printer.  One requirement for the design was to include my initials, seen in the top right corner.  The inset surrounding the circular bezel serves to trap any moisture from the glass on the coaster.

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Water Wheel

For the final project of freshman year engineering, all students divided themselves into groups based on interests in projects each student wanted to pursue.  My personal interest was in exploring opportunities to harness energy from water, so I positioned myself to be in a group that had the goal of doing just that.  We began looking through different methods of capturing the kinetic energy of flowing water, looking at the South Bend River as a possible real-word application of our project.  We collectively did the research for mechanical design and feasibility of building a model.  We would create a water wheel to rotate a LEGO NXT motor attached to a small LED light.  The input of the system would be the height of water in a water tank above the wheel that would release water to spin the wheel.  The wheel itself was constructed from plywood with a metal axle thread through two bearings.  The axle had to be perfectly aligned with the gear of the motor for the most efficient transfer of energy.  The motor itself was fastened down to a wooden support.  A Graphical User Interface (GUI) was created in MATLAB to simulate the maximum and actual efficiencies for both the voltage output and mechanical power of the system.  The equations used in the MATLAB code included the kinematic equations, power equations, Pelton Wheel equations, and current equations.  The group learned about MATLAB handles, GUIs, building a mechanical model, and mapping real-world solutions to mathematical simulations.

Team Members: David Hamilton, Tony Kestel, Dante Monterosso, and Ian Nichols

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