Students showcase engineering projects

Steffanie Tate

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Engineering and computer science students will be showcasing their design project at the Second Annual Senior Design Project Showcase on Friday.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science will host the event that will showcase 14 projects. La Tesha Hagler, students outreach coordinator said the showcase is just as much about the students as it is about their projects.

“It is really a time where we display our seniors for the community, students and faculty to view,” Hagler said.

Seniors are required to design and build a project, but it does not necessarily mean they will be chosen for the showcase. The works in the showcase will be taken to Montana State College for a competition from May 13 to 15.

The showcase will also allow students to display their designs to industry professionals and will also give them the opportunity to introduce themselves to potential employers.

Justin Larson, mechanical engineering major, is one of 30 students who worked on a human powered vehicle.  He is one of five drivers of the vehicle, which is based on a recumbent bicycle.

“This is a two semester project and we don’t take breaks,” Larson said. “We design and build everything from the ground up.”

Although the department provided the team with funds, they still had to hold fundraisers to raise money to complete the project.

“The crankshafts, gears and chains were bought, but the whole frame, seat and roll bar we built,” Larson said.

Although the creations need to look impressive, they must perform as well. For the recumbent bicycle, the team will enter in a speed class. They must take part in a sprint or drag event, and an endurance race where the five drivers will take turns on a track and ride for as long as they can in a given amount of time.

“The bicycles’ goal this year is to get up to 40 mph,” Larson said.

Last year’s model of the same style of bike only reached about 30 to 35 mph and placed in the top five.

Other teams have created a remote controlled helicopter, a small Formula 1 type race-car, and a remodel of a 2D video game into 3D.

The department chair and faculty advisers chose the senior projects that will be displayed.

“It is part of their curriculum and the projects are picked from there,” Hagler said.