ETEC Senior Design Team Projects 2013

Department of Engineering Technology student teams presented their Senior Design Projects on Friday April 26, 2013. The following is a list of their projects with executive summaries. 

Team #1: C & M Charger

C&M Charger constructed a solar-based battery charger for heavy-duty lead acid batteries such as commonly used in cars, tractors, lawn mowers, garage door openers etc. The charger operates exclusively on solar power and can charge concurrently up to 3 batteries of different sizes and capacities. It uses a sequencing technique that polls each battery to determine whether it needs charging or not. An inexpensive microcontroller implements all the checking and control functions, while a stand-alone analog-to-digital converter handles all necessary conversions. A light emitting diode attached to each charging terminal indicates the status of each battery. The standby power is of the order of a few mW making the charger ideal for continuous operation over extended periods of time. In addition to batteries, the power from the charger is sufficient for the operation of small appliances such as laptops. The overall cost of the solar sequencer is approximately $200 but the majority of the cost is due to the solar panel. The electronic circuitry costs less than $50.


Team #2: Robo-Ensemble

Line of Sight Module for Quad Copters. This project is a continuation of a previous Master’s Thesis work at UNT which utilized a quad copter, camera module, and open source computer vision software (OpenCV) to enable an autonomous aerial vehicle track a specified pattern. As with many aerial vehicles, modules are added and removed to alter functionality. This project will give the quad copter an additional functional module. The Line of Sight Module will allow the quad copter to align itself between a base station and a roving unit using specified GPS and signal strength algorithms. The GPS algorithm will first center the quad copter between the base station and roving unit. Then, the signal strength algorithm will be used to compensate for signal strength differences if one of the units has a significant reduction in transmission power. After the vehicle has achieved and locked into an optimal position, it will begin bidirectional transmission of data between the base station, quad copter, and the roving unit. The Line of Sight Module will be easily added and removed to accommodate mission criteria. Applications include search and rescue operations, forward troop communications, long range improvised explosive device (IED) and mine detection, long range identify friend or foe (IFF) recognition, and oceanic exploration.


Team #3: American Construction and Redesign

Due to the new Apogee Stadium and future development, a demand for a safe and efficient pedestrian crosswalk over I-35 E at North Texas was needed. Our project objective is to redesign certain aspects of a future bridge linking the University of North Texas to the stadium side of the highway. The original design was a steel truss bridge that spans approximately 380 feet and maintain a minimum height of 27’9” over I-35. The team at ACR Contracting has taken steps to improve the aesthetics and design of the bridge. Our team has 3 primary objectives that will help us to provide proper project delivery:

  1. Improve lighting, canopy and other aspects of the bridge
  2. Make the bridge more environmentally efficient
  3. Create a 3-D model
  4. Estimate, schedule, and manage the construction of the bridge


Team #4: Eagle Ridge Construction

The empty plot of land we are using is 3.42 acres and is located in Garland, Texas off of South Country Club Road. The land is surrounded by residential subdivisions, but is zoned commercial. It is our duty to design something for that spot that would attract the surrounding population and be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes of the community.

Eagle Ridge Construction has decided to build Country Club Markets, a 2 story market center, on this 3.42 acre plot of land that can hold roughly 6 to 10 units that can be leased out to small businesses. The Country Club Markets will be a quick-stop shopping plaza that caters to the community's daily needs. The Country Club Markets serve as convenience for residential communities and relatively inexpensive retail space for the start-up of small businesses. The participating retail businesses that we have in mind that Country Club Markets could offer may include: small restaurants, a mail shipping center, a coffee shop, a cell phone provider store, a small grocery store, a neighborhood pharmacy, a dry cleaner, a local bank, a hair salon, or a video rental store. The construction of the Country Club Markets will provide the people of the surrounding neighborhoods a convenient place to get some of their day to day errands accomplished.


Team #5: Belle Consultant Group

Due to the increased growth as well as projected growth of the city of Prosper, Belle Consultant Group has teamed up with Highland Homes to provide avenues of efficiency during the construction process of Phase 4 at Whitley Place. This part of the project will include improvements in scheduling, technical support, construction management, communication, sustainability and accounting. BCG will also be working with developers and designers in the second part of the project to maximize attraction to buyers in a future land acquisition taking place in Prosper over the next year. This endeavor will include modifications on lot and street placement.


Team #6: Eagle Engineering

On January 26th 2012 the main building of the Selwyn College Preparatory School was burned to the ground due to an electrical fire. The building housed several classrooms and acted as the administration building as well. Selwyn School is in immediate need for a new building that will provide students with a safe and modern place to learn, and to serve as the location of the administration department. The school has approved 1.5 million dollars to fund the building of the structure. The school board has given Eagle Engineering full license to design the building and prepare the construction plan. Our design is a two story 18,000 square feet building that will consist of 10-12 classrooms, 4-6 administrative offices, and 4 bathrooms. The building will be fully equipped with modern technology to provide the rooms with fire safety, internet access, and classroom safety. With the future in mind, we will also strive to make the building as self-sustaining as possible. The project completion time will be 8 months.


Team #7: Viridis Partnership

The City of Denton, in Partnership with the Denton Animal Shelter Foundation is beginning construction on a new animal care and adoption center to replace the old facility. The city of Denton has more than doubled in population since the construction of the original animal shelter creating a need for a larger and upgraded facility. The Facility consists of a 15,200 square foot building located on a 4.25 acres lot off of Highway 77. The City of Denton has enlisted the help of Viridis Partnership to perform value engineering on the proposed project and to provide suggestions for modifications that can reduce build-cost as well as meet the criteria to obtain a LEED silver certification.


Team #8: SAE Formula 1 Chassis and Drivetrain

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) offers a collegiate competition involving a smaller version of Formula Racing. The competition limits engine size to 600cc and mandates a size specific restrictor plate installed within the intake manifold. The University of North Texas Chapter of SAE is participating in the competition held in Lincoln, Nebraska where universities from around the globe will gather and go head-to-head in a multitude of events that test the overall design of their car. This Senior Design Project covers the Chassis and Drivetrain portion of the car. The project includes the design process, rigidity analysis, and the final proposal of this year’s frame and drivetrain for use in the 2013 June competition. The drivetrain portion of the project starts at the drive chain coming off of the output shaft of the transmission extends to the rear differential and out to each drive hub. The chassis portion covers the frame with respect to SAE Guidelines, and the mounting of all other components (e.g., brakes, wheels, etc.) involved in the creation of Mean Green’s 2013 First SAE Formula Race Car.


Team #9: Portable Maintenance Platform

PMP designed and developed a helicopter maintenance platform which could be transported by helicopter. It is deliverable to locations which may not have the necessary equipment already available on site. Current maintenance platforms are welded or bolted together, and either too physically big to transport or requires special tools and multiple people to assemble. The PMP solution consists of four main specifications:

  1. Transportable inside the cabin of a helicopter
  2. Able to be assembled on site by 1 person, without tools, in a timely manner
  3. Stable enough to support multiple technicians and tools at multiple elevations
  4. Provides useful accessories, such as a toolbox, handrails, and a light for night maintenance

Each joint was engineered to provide the most convenience in assembling the platforms, and a technician will be able to assemble the stand on his/her own. The platform also has wheels for easy mobility, and two separate elevations, thus providing the technician with the most possibilities for potential use.


Team #10: SAE Formula 1 Suspension

The Mean Green Racing Suspension team designs and manufactures the suspension for a formula style race car to compete in an event such as, “Formula SAE”, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers in Lincoln, Nebraska. The suspension system consists of the shocks, A-Arms, uprights, bell cranks, spindles, anti-roll bars, hubs, steering, and braking system. All parts are custom to specific applications dictated by desired suspension kinematics and calculated cornering, braking, and steering forces. The key to designing a good suspension is to have minimal compliance which comes from parts other than the main suspension components. These parts consist of everything the suspension is connected to including any fasteners, fittings, and joints. The suspension of a race car is designed to obtain the most grip out of a tire as possible at the highest lateral and longitudinal accelerations as possible. This is done by studying tire data to determine the maximum lateral force at different camber settings which are dictated by the kinematics of the suspension links.


Team #11: Shifter Kart

Shifter Kart racing has been increasing through the years. The need for competitive and economical frames is paramount. The SK Team has taken it upon itself to create an adjustable frame to fit the needs of different tracks and different riders. By having an adjustable frame, the shifter kart will be able to adjust the wheel base to change the length of the kart. The longer the wheel base, the more stable the kart will be at higher speeds. The shorter the wheel base, the quicker transition will be on corners. Also, the SK team will be adjusting the pedals for different rider heights. With these adjustable features, the SK team believes that this frame will have a competitive advantage over standard frames.


Team #12: Mechanical Human Lifting System

A professional acquaintance approached the group with a project idea to help a local special needs camp, Camp Summit in Argyle, Texas. The camp was in need of a system to lift campers, with a variety of mental and physical handicaps, up to a zip line cable at the top of an existing standing tower. The camp currently uses a system of pulleys to raise the camper up to the base of the zip line. From there, the camper was led up to the top of the tower before being released to enjoy the zip line. This process is time consuming and physically demanding. The Mechanical Human Lifting System (MHLS) was designed to relieve the camp of these stresses. The goal of the project was to design a lift with a power operated winch attached to a freestanding support. The winch lifts the campers to the top of the tower where they are attached to the zip line. The system is designed to be completely isolated from the pre-standing tower or zip line course for liability reasons. A high degree of safety is included in all calculations and designs to ensure the camper’s safety.


Team #13: Frito Lay Improvement Project

Frito Lay Inc. approached Advanced Impeller solutions in regards to improving the performance of their existing impeller paddle component. A measurement tool for improvement analysis is the reduction of scrap material produced by the existing slicer system. The main objective of the F.L.I.P. team was to vary the design of the impeller paddle while keeping the system assembly the same. Conditions that the F.L.I.P. team will consider are material composition, torque produced, angle variance, and impeller paddle protrusions. The team has the ability to use the Frito Lay Inc. R&D facility and the University of North Texas’ machining lab to perform tests necessary to compile data acquired, and build the prototypes.