The Goal: Make recycling more efficient by wasting less recyclable materials
The Task: Create a system to sort recyclables based on different properties of materials
The Constraints: Mechanism must be constrained to specific locations on hopper, Q-Bot must operate within a given area
The Solution: A mobile hydraulic-powered hopper mechanism to sort recyclables
Figure 1: Final CAD assembly of the hopper depositing mechanism
Soft Skills: Collaboration, Communication, Problem Solving, Report Writing, Time Management
Technical Skills: Autodesk Inventor, ANSYS-GRANTA EduPack, Microsoft Office
Figure 2: Initial Sketch of design idea
Problem Framing: The team met several times to accurately define the problem, then came up with the objective, function, and constraints of our solution
Initial Research: The modeling team researched about different lifting/tilting mechanisms while the computing team gathered information about the Q-Bot and line-tracking algorithms
Initial Prototype: Each member of the modeling sub-team created multiple designs for the two different actuators
Choosing the design: The modeling sub-team used a weighted decision matrix to choose the design direction in terms of creativity, viability, and cost - according to the matrix, the hydraulic-powered mechanism was the best option for the team
Planning: The modeling sub-team split up the work into small parts that each team member can work on at their own pace
Materials selection: After each part was designed, the team decided which parts should be 3D printed using PLA filament and which parts should be laser cut on a acryllic sheet of plastic
Fitting: The modeling sub-team checked if the parts would be mounted correctly on the baseplate as per the CAD model and checked if the mechanism functioned as intended.
Testing: The team tested if the software from the computing sub-team is compatible with the modeling sub-team's design
Figure 3: Image of physical scissor lift arms mounted on baseplate
Role: I was the Administrator for the modeling sub-team
Responsibilities: I submitted all deliverables for the general team and modeling sub-team and created a Source Materials Database at the end of the project.
Expectations: I ensured that the everyone on the team was aware of deadlines and made sure that they kept to those deadlines.
Figure 4: Hydraulically extended lifting mechanism
Communications: I learned the importance of communication betwen the sub-teams to create a product that uses both the hardware and software extensively.
Inter-team collaboration: I learned how to create physical models that would work well with the software that the computing sub-team created.
Figure 5: Video of hydraulically extending lifting mechanism
I found that since our team decided to think outside the box and try something new, it added to the challenge of creating an engineering solution to a problem. Because our approach was not traditional and the TAs/IAIs had little experience with what we wanted to create, I felt that we may have had a slight disadvantage. However, by forging our own path, I found that we learned how to create something completely new with minimal help.