They’re BACK!

15+ student-led design teams, doing who-knows-what, have come back from winter break all fired up to build things.
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Concrete Canoe poured their new boat and filled it with water so it cures slowly. No one has slipped any goldfish or frogs into it. So far.

Several teams have been making a mess cutting high-density machining foam. The dust makes the shop floors awfully slippery.
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Everyone pitched in to make the place sparkling clean for the UM System President’s visit, which didn’t actually happen. Good news is that teams found all kinds of missing stuff.

Our HPER rocket scientists are becoming DIY explosives “experts.” In a scenario tailor made for YouTube they’re mixing their own rocket fuel/propellant; in the SDELC conference room it was feared, but that was just practice. “Oh, no! We’ll tell you when we’re mixing REAL explosives!” was the response. Comforting words….
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Solar car has been laying up molds for the revamped vehicle. They use a choreographed/chaotic system of applying slow-cure epoxy and heavy fiberglass mats, then repeating the process to produce upper and lower body molds that look terrible on the outside, but on the inside, smooth as a KU football player’s backside.

No offense intended.

It’s Time to Go Home

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About the only sign of life today at the decathlon site were a few hundred students, walking zombie-like through the equipment, materials, detritus and partially-disassembled houses. And even a few still fully complete structures... It was a mad … [Continue reading]

Speechless…

The solar decathlon affordability and marketability scores have just been announced. Baffling. We just can't wait for the architecture scores... No less a statesman than Anthony McAuliffe could have better described this. … [Continue reading]

Wow!

As the point totals among the top four Solar Decathlon teams continue to climb, the percentile differences between each team grow smaller. Days ago the variations between first and second place, or second or third were calculated to be about 1%. … [Continue reading]

Tracking the Decathlon Scores…

Is like watching a turtle race. That’s not being critical, just voicing frustration that the top teams are all so close in the scoring. Exciting, yes; stressful, even more so. Data is collected and compared throughout the event, and as we … [Continue reading]

Solar Decathlon Judging, and You Can Vote!

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WOW! The Miners’ Nest Home has edged into the lead. Runner-up Stevens Institute of Technology’s score is 99.999% of S&T’s number (really!), so it’s a virtual dead heat. While we’re all excited, the objective scores amount to reading computer … [Continue reading]

Open for Business!!!!

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This afternoon it was “throw the doors open and meet your neighbors!” as decathletes from fourteen teams had a chance to see what lay behind their competitors’ walls. While five houses aren’t quite ready for visitors, the Miners toured the other … [Continue reading]

GROUP HUG!!!!

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High-five, chest bump, fist in the air, whatever, the Miners are an ecstatic bunch! Decathlon rules required each team to pass three critical inspections by noon yesterday: site cleanup, public exhibit and public safety. The first one is … [Continue reading]

Exciting News for the Miners!

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Solar Decathlon officials announced today that Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz would be visiting the event this Thursday morning. Site officials have chosen three homes for Moniz to tour, and S&T’s Nest Home has made the cut! That’ll mean … [Continue reading]

The Best Birthday Present EVER!

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And the story behind it… Let us first introduce to you, Richard Dalton, shop and safety operations manager at S&T’s Student Design and Experiential Learning Center. Richard has a slightly mellow personality, but he shoulders tremendous … [Continue reading]