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……….
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!