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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!

2012-2013 ME Rube Goldberg Challenge  January 21st, 2014

Last year (2013-14) at our Middle School Challenge we had our students make a Rube Goldberg project.  A Rube Goldberg machine is one where coordinated parts work together to accomplish a task (such as wiping your mouth) without human intervention during any part except the start.  Our team from last year made their machine take a picture with a camera.  Their weekly videos are posted here on the blog. By watching these videos you should be able to apply them to your cable car.  We encourage you to check it out!

SMILE and Mechanical Engineering  October 24th, 2013

Each year the SMILE program sponsors a Mechanical Engineering (ME) Senior Project, in which three ME students work with the SMILE program to engineer and build a engaging, educational machine that can be shared with middle school students all over Oregon.

Last year, we had a great team who bravely chose to take on this challenge. The team built a fully-functional Rube Goldberg machine that coordinated with the middle school SMILE clubs using videos about the planning and building process. The machine travelled to middle school challenge days around Oregon and students got the opportunity to interact with the machine.

This year, we are excited to work with a new group of ME students and provide new activities for our middle school students! It is our hope that your students will gain knowledge of the engineering and design process, and ultimately plan and build a machine. We also plan to have SMILE students interact remotely with our ME students as they go through their own planning and building process over the coming months. The ME students will be designing and constructing a cable machine that can be used to teach physical science concepts. SMILE students will similarly construct a motorized machine that can perform a specified task (more details to come soon). Then, at the regional Middle School Challenges in the spring, SMILE students will have an opportunity to share their machines, as well as interact with the ME students’ machine.

At the top of this page, you will notice there is a link to a page called “Mechanical Engineering Project.” We will be posting the videos from the ME students on this page, as well as small updates about their progress once they begin building. The page currently features the videos and information from last year’s ME project, and this year’s process overall will be very similar. We plan to feature questions and feedback from the middle school students for the ME students to answer in their videos and to help aid in the middle school students’ building process and make the experience more interactive.

Stay tuned for more information on this year’s project. Happy Engineering!