Just Because They Are Pedal-Powered, Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Wreck.

If this were the “professional” media we’d rely on a bunch of tweets/twits and not pay anyone to write viable content. Instead we’ll plagiarize* email observations from people who know something about last weekend’s Human Powered Vehicle Competition.

Pretty awesome competition despite all of the set backs and ultimate
breakage. Lots of lessons learned and some strong indications of a team really gelling next year.

Chief engineer Peter Frieberger and Jon Sanders handled the men’s drag race, a sure victory had not Jon pulled his cleat twice on the final race, leaving the Miners with a respectable 2nd.

Jon’s determined endurance riding rolled the trike, damaging a ball joint, steering column and push rod and setting up Miner team leader and first-rank rider Nikia Chapman for a second-lap breakdown(the trike, not the girl). She put on a post-wreck clinic of sheer determination here by carrying the bike on her head for her last lap. Ian Rogers closed out the endurance race by jogging the faired vehicle through his laps. Most of the fast teams (Olin College, Toronto, S&T and Wisconsin) ended up pushing their bikes across the endurance finish line Sunday afternoon.

Host team University of Central Florida should change their name to the university of “kick ass and take names” because that is pretty much what they did. Solid bike, solid competitors, and a female rider almost the equal of legendary S&T rider Whitney Metcalf. In any case they were very gracious winners.

*Remember when plagiarism was a criminal offense that shamed forever the miscreant? Now it’s cut, paste and share without regard to intellectual property rights. OMG!

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send The Martians On Over….

Monday morning the Mars Rover Design Team (MRDT) work area/stall was quiet; too quiet. Just ten days (and counting) until the public Rover unveiling/naming celebration, you’d think MRDT would be in final/frantic crunch mode; repairing the unbreakable thing or remaking a piece because the ordered parts didn’t fit.

Just a yardstick away the Human Powered Vehicle Competition Team (HPVC) was struggling to finish the last few pieces of their masterful carbon-fiber trike. Realizing that HPVC’s competition deadline was just three days away Rover’s mechanical team, including Jon Bopp and James Zandstra, saw a greater need than their own and instantly suspended Rover work to help get the ASME-sponsored project out the door. Baja! SAE’s mechanics and the crew of Advanced Aero Vehicle Group’s rocket team took the hint and pitched right in, pulling a community all-nighter to wrap things up.

MRDT Mechanical Systems Team Lead Ian Lee said “If you look around the shop on any day in the year, you would see Peter Frieberger, Mitch Thurman, and other HPV members helping other teams, especially with composites. They have almost certainly lent a helping hand, design advice, or some machining time to every project in the center this year. Peter even cleared space in their work area for our team’s tables and tools. I’m proud of our guys for jumping in to help. I figure the least we could do was to help them succeed at their competition.”

The focus of experiential learning at Missouri S&T is team-based operations, which prepares our students to thrive in their careers, communities, and lives alike. Call it the Golden Rule if you like, or Spock’s “………the needs of the many……” soliloquy, (which any respectable tech geek knows by heart) putting other people’s needs ahead of your own speaks volumes about these students.

A few years back a Miner design team member exclaimed “WOW! There’s a whole lot more to engineering than just engineering!” Generosity, unselfishness, integrity, teamwork and kindness aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom. Those traits start at home and really blossom as you learn to work well with other people. Design center staff have the best jobs on campus as we watch these young people develop into the kind of people anyone would want to work with. It’s a genuine honor to think we might have had a small role in that process.

And yes, the Human Powered Vehicle Competition Team DID get on the road to Florida. With a little (lot?) help from their friends.

As it should be.

Christmas Elves Are Working Overtime

Yeah, campus is almost empty. But deep in the bowels of the Kummer Student Design Center some tall, high-ACT elves remain hard at work.

WheeldishSUN_2928_2 The Human Powered Vehicle Competition Team recently took delivery of another three pallets of high-value tooling foam courtesy of Santa, er, Chuck and Kristle at Coastal Enterprises. The heavy sheets are glued in big blocks to be machined into precision body molds for the team’s aerodynamic fairings. Smaller foam sections are handled in house on Richard Dalton’s CNC mill. What looks like Christmas cookie trays are actually concave patterns for carbon-fiber wheel dishes the team will mount to the 2014 entry, a recumbent tricycle. Chief engineer Peter Freiberger says this will be the first time the Miners will build the entire wheel from scratch, hubs included. Peter spent equal time this week staring at the CNC mill and using one of the shop’s three lathes to make small aluminum hubs out of big aluminum billets. These hubs will be press-fitted into the new wheels, giving Miner riders stronger (yet lighter) wheels, and a better chance to claim their third national championship in the last seven years.

It turns out that aluminum shavings sorta resembles Christmas-tree tinsel, or even mistletoe, in a weird sort of way. It was the perfect solution! All that was needed was a problem to solve, and a workshop sorely lacking in Christmas cheer seemed to fit the bill. Tinsel 1SUN_2957 A little creative uh, engineering repurposed material destined for the recycling can into a useful decoration! Better still, we won’t have to store it!! Just take it down, ship it off to be melted down, and start the whole process over next year! WOW, what an idea!

Except the S&T Formula SAE team was one step ahead……….
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They’d already nailed some “found” evergreen branches to a wall and hung racecar parts, and yes, aluminum lathe turnings, to what vaguely resembled the lovely Tannenbaum, so we have to give credit where credit us due. Good job, guys! Keep wearing those safety glasses, and may Santa keep the lumps of coal from your stockings!

Isn’t It Great When Your Sponsors Brag About You?

Here’s a neat story about S&T’s Human Powered Vehicle Competition (HPVC) Team and the challenges they faced and overcame on the 2013 ASME competitions.

It’s not just the students who get a kick out of competing, it’s the parents, friends, Miner alums and business sponsors who live vicariously through the camaraderie, travel, and above all the LEARNING that accrues at these events.

Coastal Enterprises has been a stellar supporter of this Miner design team, and by connection several other SDELC teams who learn what the HPVC learns by using the Coastal products and technologies.  The firm is proud to help train experienced process engineers for tech industries, and if given the chance, would probably jump at the chance to ride the Miner bullet bikes.  Coastal also likes the fact that the Miner team shares the largesse with other university teams.

Why share with your competitors?  Simple.  The competition is the fun part but trophies are soon forgotten, but the friendships and learning are forever.

It’s Tough To Change Hats From A Competitor To An Event Official

Miner alumna, former Human-Powered Vehicle team leader and uber-rider Whittney Metcalf had a rough weekend in San Jose, California, site of the ASME-sponsored west coast event. You’d think she’d have a front-row seat for all the action, but being a volunteer official kept her hopping.
She didn’t have much time to watch the races, sit in on the presentations or chit-chat with the team, as she had tasks to handle. Whittney did manage to catch a few minutes of the endurance race and it took every bit of her self control not to jump in the pits to help the team, or scream “GO ROLLA!!!!” every time Nikia, Peter or Jon flashed by.
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Speaking of flashing by, S&T took 2nd in men’s and women’s sprints with Nikia Chapman being edged out by just 0.10 mph, while Jonathan Sanders’ sideways slide through the time trap was faster than many teams teams were able to drive across the line.
By now the Miner Human Powered Vehicle Team is approaching the end of the trip from the land of “everything is known to cause cancer.” They ended up in 3rd place overall, missing second by just .24 of a point out of 100.
Now it’s time to clean up, calm down, fix the bike and prepare for the east coast event, April 26th-28th, in Big Rapids, Michigan.

What A Way To Make An Impression!

S&T’s Human Powered Vehicle Team made quite a splash in San Jose, California today.

They sailed through safety inspections and did a good job with presentations before running sprints on the velodrome.
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Nikia Chapman rode “Colossus” to a strong second-place in the women’s sprints, just behind our friends/arch-rivals from Rose-Huhlman, and Jonathan Sanders did the same in the male category, clocking somewhere near 37mph. We’re not sure if Jon had one run or two, because some stories say he had the second-fastest time, while other reports have him tearing up the track in the mid-40mph range before having a “squirrel” moment and crashing.

Not satisfied with just crashing, Jon wrecked right as he entered the time trap, somehow managing to slide all the way through fast enough to beat all but three or four college teams.

Tonight was the “innovation challenge” new for 2013, and we think S&T is in 2nd place, maybe 3rd overall.

Tomorrow? The endurance race which the Miners will absolutely have to nail to win the overall crown. Can they do it? Why not? They did just that last year.

Let’s all pull for the Miners! If they ride half as fast as they drove to California they should be just fine.

Words Fail Us

A simple OMG! just doesn’t seem enough…………

We Interrupt Formula SAE Coverage To Bring You This Rant!

What is it with California schools correction reporters?
A California university claimed their solar house team was the only undergraduate team to participate in the 2009 Solar Decathlon. The record will show, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that Missouri S&T (nee UMR) had undergraduate decathlon teams in 2002, 2005, 2007 AND 2009. That was a load of fertilizer that they never owned up to, despite REPEATED official pleas for accuracy.
Now, someone out there is claiming Cal Poly WON last week’s ASME Human Powered Vehicle Competition in Tooele, Utah.
Uh, we’re pretty sure S&T brought home the first-place trophy, because the Miners have already deposited the $1,400 check.
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UPDATE: This fabulous racing photo was taken by S&T alum Amber Carver ME ’11, who came over the hill from her wildly successful new job at the big Kennecott Copper Mine to cheer on the Miners!
S&T (seen here blasting past east coast winner Rose Hulman) figured that Cal Poly had an insurmountable lead going into the last day, but the Miners pulled a miraculous rally to tie CP, and won on a tie breaker. Cal Poly had a classy, well-disciplned and -organized team, a great bike, super riders, and they are all good folks.
Maybe somebody wrote that article before the awards ceremony was over, ’cause that’s when things changed.
“Just the facts, Ma’am”, as sergeant Joe Friday used to say.
Edit: Upon further reading the story mentions the categories Cal Poly actually won, but never mentions they didn’t win the overall event. It did, however, say that “……..strong design contributed to the first place win.” “Takes the cake”, or “first place win” has but a single erroneous implication.
Nor does it mention who DID win the event
To call the story “incomplete” or “misleading” would be kind. In the journalism classes this writer took back in the day, the article would rate a C-. At best.
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And a photo of one bike does not a race make. Two or more bikes? Now you have a RACE!

Absolutely amazing!

A few years ago a design team student said “My art teacher said something like ‘engineers will probably have a hard time with the creative visual process taught in my class“.
Eric Audiffred’s video should serve to drive an emphatic stake through the heart of THAT steaming bunch of crap, though we do have to contradict Eric when he says “Kronos” won 1st place. It was a fiercely dedicated TEAM of students who designed, built, tested, argued over, and drove Kronos to victory.
As it should be.
And is.
At Missouri S&T.

Porcupine Trail And A Satisfying Ride Home

What do you do after winning a grueling cycling design competition? Head to the desert and ride some more, that’s what!
Nikia Chapman and her herd/minions/support crew dropped into Moab, Utah for a half-day adventure in the home of the greatest mountain biking on the planet.
Porcupine trail is an incredible single-track biking trail through an area steeped in Native American history, and probably the site of more than a few John Wayne western movies.
If you want to get an idea of what their adrenaline-stoked little minds like to do, check out this video. These aren’t our crew, but be sure to take your Dramamine before watching the fun!
So now they scatter for summer jobs with visions of new engineering designs dancing in their heads………….
UPDATE: Here’s a little video the team put together for you!