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Category: Video

Updates from ME team  January 23rd, 2015

This week the ME team was working on a power generator for their project which included a hand crank system.  The team describes their process below:

We started by designing a simple hand-crank and trying to power a 25 watt light bulb with it [photo 1]. We were not generating enough power to light the bulb, so the light bulb just glowed (it didn’t light up fully). We determined that we need to spin the generator faster to get more power, so we went about modifying out crank to include a gear ratio. Adding a gear ratio means that spinning the crank handle one revolution will rotate the generator hub more than one revolution (2.4 revolutions, in this case). The next few photos show our group hard-at-work in the machine shop at OSU: Peter uses the band-saw to cut steel components [photo 2], Sam uses the sand-blaster to clean and texture parts [photo 3], and Ryan welds a shaft onto a sprocket [photo 4]. The new, modified hand crank is complete [photo 5], and our test with a voltmeter is successful [photo 6]! The new design generates about 21 volts, which is a significant improvement over the 12 volts we were able to achieve prior to the modifications. Next, we’ll be conducting more tests and modifications—after all, engineering is an iterative process!

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2015 ME Team  January 5th, 2015

Peter, Sam, and Ryan make up this year’s Mechanical Engineering Team.  They are excited to introduce themselves and their project.  In this video they discuss the engineering and customer requirements for their project.  Fell free to ask them questions in the comment section below!

2015 IME Engineering Activities  January 5th, 2015

To get you all excited for the IME activities, we wanted you to meet this year’s IME team. Luis, Mohammed, and Pawarit made a video to introduce themselves and the profession of industrial engineering.  Here they are to help clarify what the job entails:

Grand Engineering Challenges  October 17th, 2014

As promised during the teacher workshop, we will be posting activities related to the fourteen grand challenges in engineering. During the workshop teachers got to work on “engineering the tools of scientific discovery” by creating a robot with a water hydraulic system.  Every month we will continue to make new activities based on the grand challenges and post them to our Grand Engineering Challenges tab. We have a carbon sequestration activity already posted for September, which lets students think about their carbon footprint. For October we went back to making scientific discovery tools, but instead made a scribble machine.  This video previews what you can expect from the activity that will be posted later this month.


2012-2013 Mechanical Engineering Project  October 17th, 2014

Follow the links below to learn a little more about the ME team from 2012-2013, the engineering process, and the Rube Goldberg machine they worked on:


ME Team Weekly Rube Goldberg Construction Videos

During the construction process, the ME team shared one video per week of their progress. The ME students also looked at individual steps in the engineering process and provided some strategies for students creating their own Rube Goldberg machines.

Here the team gives an overview of their machine. At this point the students have not built anything.  They have used special computer modeling software, similar to Trimble (formally Google) sketch up, called solid works.  Modeling the project allows the students to see how all the pieces of the engineering project will fit together and helps them to predict any problems they may have during when they build the project.

Engineering involves the use of potentially dangerous machines and materials.  In this video the team goes over some common safety equipment and rules so you can be safe during the engineering and construction of your Rube Goldberg machine.  After the safety talk there is a build update.

How do you take an idea floating around in your head and actually build a prototype or your first working model?  This week the team shares some strategies around how to do just that as well as sharing ways they are using the same strategies in their project.

Studying?! I thought we were working on an engineering project!  Well we are, but as the team explains studying is important when doing research for an engineering project and these strategies can help you in all your classes in middle school and beyond.

Ethics is an often overlooked, but very important, part of engineering.  This week the ME students will give you a crash course in some of the basics of engineering ethics and explain why it is such a vital part of engineering.

There are many types of engineering you can specialize in, such as biomolecular, materials, process, environmental, geotechnical, structural, transport, computer, electrical, aerospace, acoustical, manufacturing, thermal, vehicle, industrial, agricultural, applied, biological, building services, construction management, energy, mechatronics, nano, nuclear, petroleum engineering just to name a few.  Each one of these engineering specialties has its own specific area of study.  We happen to be working with Mechanical Engineers and this week the team wants to share a little more about what specifically mechanical engineers study.  Also this week there is an update where you actually get to see their Rube Goldberg machine in action!

During your Rube Goldberg project you are likely going to find one step in your machine that doesn’t quite work right.  This is where troubleshooting becomes very important.  Here the ME team will explain some strategies to help you troubleshoot all your problems into solutions.  What is that large contraption behind the students?!

This week the ME team interviews a bunch of their engineering classmates and asks them all about why they went into the field of engineering.  While this is a long video it is really interesting to hear all the different motivations students have for becoming engineers.  Ever wonder what an engineer’s favorite superhero is? This video will give you the answer.

What can you do as an engineer? Pretty much anything you want.  This week the ME team shares a series of videos outlining some really cool engineering projects.  From a military robot call “Big Dog” to an OSU student built Mars Rover rolling over the OSU football team. Enjoy!

This is it, the ME team is finished!  This is an overview of the project with pictures of the Rube Goldberg Machine in action.  Look for this machine to visit a challenge near you.  The ME team signs off and celebrates graduating as official engineers!

Algal Lab  August 8th, 2014

For all ages we created a lab activity to focus on a new type of biofuel grown from algae.  In this activity the class will make and grow their own algae as instructed in the video below.  This algae will then be extracted to show students how much oil can be produced from such a small sample. This will allow students to compare this biofuels to others they have seen in the past.

Reminder: Cable Car Challenge 2014  April 8th, 2014

Teachers, the Middle School Challenge is just around the corner!  Last term we learned some important lessons from our Mechanical Engineering Team that has hopefully helped your students construct a cable car.  We hope that you pass these lessons along to your students so that we can have a successful Middle School Challenge.  Here is a list of what you need to do before the challenge.

1) Make sure your students check out the videos we have been posting and do some research on cable car designs.

2) Make sure they have read and understand the requirements for the cable car.  Feel free to post any questions.

3) Have your students make at least one club cable car to share at the Middle School Challenge.  This car will need to be completed before the challenge as we will be doing a LEGO based industrial and manufacturing engineering challenge.

4) Come to the Middle School Challenge ready share and test your cable car! We look forward to seeing you at Eastern Oregon University on April 26th, or Portland Community College on May 3rd, or Southern Oregon University on May 10th.

Again if you have any questions please post them in the comments or contact us directly through email.

table-mountain-cable-car cable carBa Na cable car route sets four world records

“Gravity-Defying” Chain Trick  March 20th, 2014

Have you ever seen a chain do this?

For centuries, scientists have tried to explain this gravity-defying phenomena.  This chain curve, or “fountain”, happens due to the forces acting on the chain, which is explained in the video below.  The Royal Society also tries other chains to see if they are capable of creating a fountain. Check it out!