Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Week 21 Progress (2017-3-22)

Since last week, Claude has made more progress on his architectural model designs. Below is what the simpest T-shape form will look like. The rounded grey sections are clamps, which will 3D printed. and the white portions are PVC pipe covers (which will also go over all of the brown crossbeams). Currently, we expect to use Erector parts for the brackets and for I beam connectors, though we may instead use laser cut acrylic.

On Thursday, Winter and Kevin went to the ME shop in the engineering building to try to create one of the architectural models, the "cat's eye" design, with the equipment provided there. The picture is below.

We used the bandsaw on some scrap wood in the Superway Shop to fashion this design. We attempted to sand the inside but this proved to be too difficult with limited tools. The "black box" squares are indications of where the Superway guideway would fit in, which is not part of our scope for this project. We are still waiting on Claude's father to work on the "interlocking column" prototypes, which we thought would be done by now but Claude and his father are still debating on dimensions.

We have also STILL not received any emails from Andries. We have been waiting on this since week #2. Fortunately though, Dr. Youssefi did succeed in making a pair of clamps with the 3D printer very quickly after contacting him.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Week 20 Progress (2017-3-15)

To reiterate something previously occurring, two of our group members, Kathlyn and Claude, participated in a Skype group call with Ron Swenson and Andries Louw. The purpose of this call was to share our designs thus far and to gain insight on any aspects we may have missed. Andries also showed us a new support structure design, though since this is such late notice, we may not take it into account in great extent.

We have the general dimensions for the architectural model we will be creating. This picture below is the wooden beam inside of a PVC pipe to mimic the aesthetic skin.

This picture is the basis of how we will make our design more pleasing to the eye. As of now, Claude is still working on the clamp design so we can't progress until he makes up his mind on some things. He's almost done with his design for the basic T-shape model, which we will later cover with a curved skin. After we work out how the clamps will look, he will begin to work on the designs for his cat's-eye concept. Then we can work on 3D printing everything and putting things together.

For now, Claude has this design, which we can't use because the size would make it too difficult and too elaborate in real-life application. He thought we would just make a giant T-shaped clamp. This will be refined by next week.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Week 19 Progress (2017-3-8)

Here is the link to our Presentation 1:

We had a good presentation, including what we've been working on all semester, our deliverables, schedule, and difficulties in completion. Our difficulties still remain:

1. We are waiting on Andries' blueprint to construct our column stub from Vander-Bend
2. We haven't finished clamp designs, so we can't get those 3D printed yet
3. We can't machine our wooden columns until Claude decides what dimensions he wants

Ultimately, there were hardly any questions on our presentation, so we think we were successful on that.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Week 18 Progress (2017-3-1)

On Saturday, February 25, the group met up with Eric Rosenfeld in the library. He explained some of the information from his summer research work, explaining how we could integrate the solar panels onto our possible designs for the Superway guideway.

For this image, Design #1 from Week 16 Progress, Eric mentioned that Snaprack probably wouldn't be able to attach onto the steep curve of the top bar. He suggested that we could do thin film (which has 17% efficiency), Standard Solar, or solar glazing.

He also spoke of the bogey team's work, because they use DC components with different lanes while AC uses an entire long line of components. The DC power needs an inverter while AC needs transformers. (And I apologize if this isn't explained correctly; none of us are too skilled in electronics) Currently, Wayside utilizes AC while the pod is DC (so it needs a transformer). We were playing around with the idea of the electronics fitting into that empty space on our column-rod designs, but it ultimately depends on the wayside and bogey teams. We thought of maybe placing the transformer underground and running wires to the electric components, but that wouldn't be as good for the pods.

Other than this meeting, we finished our Presentation 1, which will be viewable on next week's blog post.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Week 17 Progress (2017-2-22)

This week has culminated into a collaboration with outside sources. Using the designs that we've already come up with, we've contacted Eric Rosenfeld for advice regarding positioning of the solar panels on the top of the guideway.

He says there are four basic design concepts that he's considering: a sloped design, taking the design concept of Ron Swenson's Plantronics solar canopy installation, pitched roofs, flat roof design in which commercial racking system can be used, and ground mounts. He recommends SnapnRack, which attaches via screws but has systems that make it easier to remove and maintain.

After looking over Claude's and Andries' concepts for the column and guideway design, he suggests that it could utilize the sloped design with a central support, though he thinks a four support point design may be more sturdy. He worries that not many roads have islands in the center that we can place these supports into. Hence, he hasn't solidified a solar racking design because we haven't solidified a track design. Whatever orientation we make the top of the track have, the solar panels will have to adapt to.

While developing, we will need to let Eric know the distance between supports so he can develop a better racking system. Dr. Furman says the current design concept uses beams that are 24 meters apart, though we haven't really decided on that exact value yet.

Here are some options he's given us:

  • a truss system will allow us to put more of the solar module weight on the track support beams and trusses, and less on the roof of the transit
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  • a thin-film canopy, which can be printed at any length, but he's unsure of how it will handle San Jose weather conditions
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He also answered a previous question of ours. For the weight of the modules, he was previously considering SunEdison-R360EzC-4y module with a nominal power of 360.192W, efficiency 18.42%, approximately 22kg, at approximately 0.63 center per Watt. The modules are 1976mm x 990mm x 50mm. We need approximately 19,600 modules to run 88 pods for an entire year, assuming no alterations made. [https://cngsolarengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/SUNEDISON-%E2%80%93-R335-360.pdf]

Besides communication with Eric, Claude has resumed communication with Andries, asking for blueprints for a 4 foot long section of interlocking column, with estimations about its properties, as well as suggestions about potential connector designs. Our team will be attempting to meet up with Eric sometime this weekend or next. In addition, we will be working on our Presentation 1 soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Week 16 Progress (2/15/17)

This week consisted of more concept generation and dimension analysis. We outlined the basis for what we want the design to look like, as shown in some of the pictures below based on the parameters shown on the picture above.

The general idea we will be going with is the Solomon's knot column, connected to a welded section of curved steel. This section will be attached to the column using some kind of brace that connect at the left, right, and top edges of the curved section. The column will extend to the topmost point of the structure, reinforcing the horizontal arms where the guideways will hang from.

Claude has also been exploring a potential alternate design that could take advantage of the main column's shape and strength.They are shown below and more details can be seen in his blog post.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Week 15 Progress (2/8/17)

For the first week of the spring semester we were given new information about what we would need to do.

At the beginning of the session, we had a discussion with Andries about his x-column designs, and he answered many of our questions.

Towards the end, we also had a meeting to discuss what we were expected to complete for this semester. At first, we thought we would need to manufacture the columns and assemble a large T-shaped working prototype. However, we learned that a client wanted a round and curved Y-shaped version. Also, Andries stated that we would likely be better making a miniature working model to show what the completed project would look like, as well as having Vander-Bend manufacture a short version of a full scale column to showcase the technology. He also offered to have his team make the official manufacturing blueprints when we finalize the dimensions.

From here on, we will start by designing a column structure and guideway on some computer-assisted drafting technology to portray an aesthetically-pleasing architectural model of the Y-shaped structure. Once we have basic dimensions, Andries' team will be able to convert our design into exact measurements, which we will send to Vander-Bend for prototype production. This model will simplify our contact's bogie system and switching track.