Summer Career Connections at SAVY 2018: Session 4, Day 4 – Engineering Design (Rising 7th)
This morning we built and tested our first prototypes! We learned a lot through our first building and testing prototypes. For building, we learned a lot about how hard it is to actually assemble a prototype if you didn’t keep assembly in mind when designing. We talked about some tricks to make assembly easier when designing, like using slots to hold parts. Remembering assembly when designing often makes designing more complicated, but it’s worth it for a more precise prototype.
Testing was an adventure. We had a lot of bold glider designs and a lot of interesting test results. Everyone practiced throwing their gliders and recorded a lot of data. Even while testing, everyone had thoughts about how they’ll improve their current design and what they’d do for a second prototype. After testing, we reflected on our methods and discussed how rigorous they were. There’s a lot that needs to be recorded for testing. Ask your students what they recorded while testing. What did they forget to record? What did they decide wasn’t important?
This afternoon we went on a long field trip to main campus. We visited my lab in Featheringill Hall, where we saw two 3D printers and a friction stir welding machine! We passed around some welded aluminum and discussed how friction stir welding works. We also saw the 3D printers I use in my work and discussed how they’re different than 3D printers you’ll see in schools or makerspaces.
After my lab, we went and saw the laser cutter. We got to see some examples of what experienced engineers can make with a laser cutter, including a particularly cool box. We also saw the laser cutter in action when we made Vanderbilt keychains. The laser cutter is a lot faster than a 3D printer, so it is useful when prototyping. Ask your student when they would 3D print a prototype and when they would laser cut a prototype.
We finished our day by working on our posters for open house. Each group will have two posters, one for their design and one for a topic we covered this week.
I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow for open house!
Testing Our Airplane Designs