skip page navigationOregon State University

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

Oregon State University’s Formula SAE Team  March 20th, 2014

Our engineering team got a chance to peak into the auto shop of Oregon State University’s Formula SAE Racing Team.  The team won a national championship back in 2010 and is trying to do so again this year.  Never heard of Formula SAE racing? In this trailer of the short film Relentless the OSU team shows part of the process in preparing for this race.  Be sure to check out Youtube to see all of Relentless.

When our engineering team stepped inside the shop of this year’s Formula SAE team, they got to have a sneak peak of how a part is designed and engineered. This end cap is an important engine part that will help the formula car go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds. Check it out:

Engineering Team: Completed Project  March 20th, 2014

The team has finished! In this video they show off their cable car along with the extra activity walls needed to check off their requirements (which are different than yours). Their project also easily comes apart so it can travel and makes its way to you guys!

The team says their final good-byes and recaps on what worked well in their project.  The guys said teamwork is what really made their project run smoothly so make sure to watch the teamwork video if you have not done so already. We cannot wait to show you their finished project during the Middle School Challenge!

Engineering Team: Cable Car Videos  March 20th, 2014

The engineering team introduces some videos that may be useful to your cable car project.  The videos shows the assembly and disassembly of ski lifts, which are very much like cable cars but not identical.  What are the differences you see? How can this be applied to your project? Let us know in the comments section below!

Video 1: Chairlift Assembly

Video 2: Chairlift Tower Disassembly

Video 3: Peak to Peak Cable Installation

Engineering Team: Code of Ethics  March 20th, 2014

This week Alex talks to us about the engineering code of ethics. Webster’s Dictionary defines ethics as: “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad”.  This can play a role when you engineer a product that is for the masses, such as your cable car.  These practices are good to keep in mind when you incorporate safety into your cable car. Take a listen to the engineering code of ethics!

Test Your Cable Car  February 28th, 2014

The mechanical engineering team wants to help you with some of your cable car requirements. First, you must have requirements that are testable.  You also need to find the best test for the requirements you want to meet.  The guys show you how their cable car testing was done and signed off by their professor. Just a reminder your cable car must: cross the 5-foot span of string without falling off, balance on the span without any assistance, have no more than two strings may be used for the cable car, have no human assistance can be used during the operation of the cable car, be able to move in both directions, be reliable and safe, and travel quickly. Good luck!

More Help From the Engineering Team  February 24th, 2014

The group wants to show you how their project is coming along.  Alex, Erik, and Jared are excited to show you how they incorporated their materials into their own cable car reality.

Alex shows you how the team incorporated scale into their design.  A scale is the size you determine your cable car to be.  The group shows us how they used a computer to decide their scale and then put it into practice. Remember the group is making a larger scale project, but these tips can still be applied to you.

Jared and the SMILE Team strongly encourage you to use safety while creating your project.  Jared also tells us about manufacturing and how laying out your project is an important first step.  Remember mistakes happen and it is important to stay positive while working with your group. We encourage you to ask questions on the blog and keep checking back!

The Mechanical Engineering Team is Back!  February 3rd, 2014

Alex, Erik, and Jared are back again to give you more helpful hints on this year’s Middle School Challenge.  To recap the last time we heard from them, they helped define the customer for our upcoming cable car project.  Today the group wants to share with you what type of materials they are using to please the customer, which may look a little different than the materials you may end up using.  They also encourage you to be more efficient by planning your materials and budget ahead of time.  The team is here to break it all down for you.

Alex is here to talk to you about a budget and schedule.  Both are an important part of the engineering process.  The video even shows you the team’s timeline for their own cable car.  We may not have the same timeline the group does but time management is an important factor in this project.  What do you think will be the first item on your schedule? How long should it take you?

Jared is helpful in breaking down what materials you may come across in your project.  He elaborates on where you can get these various supplies.  Don’t worry we do have most of the supplies for you, but what supplies do you think you will need? Where do you think is the best place to purchase those supplies?  Feel free to share your answers in our comment section.