April 29, 2007

Let the pictures do the talking

I'm going to try something different for this post and let the pictures do all the talking. More details of further testing will pop up shortly!

The finished propulsion system

The steering cables attached to the motor mount.

Will, Mike, and Josh take a breather from wiring the 36 volts of batteries to the motors.

The bow of the hull has been filled with expandable foam (The official rules dictate a specific amount of flotation relative to the boat weight)

The finished motor mount without the motors

Will ratcheting the electric motors to the motor mount. Isn't that sweet?! Two motors!

The lower unit covering

We are using some incredibly beefy wire. This year, we are using a MUCH more flexible, welding wire.

Mark working on the motor mount's connection to the mock transom.

Two knees were fiberglassed into the stern to help brace the transom for the massive amount of load provided by the propulsion system.

One solid team, enough said.


April 22, 2007

Update from Lake Arthur

I just want to start off by saying that we broke a long standing tradition today. We took the Carnivore out to Lake Arthur, and it did not rain. There was not even the slightest hint of downpour and no threat of deadly thunder.

The testing was brief, but the propulsion goup uncovered an important obstacle that will be addressed this week. At high rpm and tourque, the tming belt was slipping on the smaller pulley. We have a couple of options to prevent slipping. The first is to upgrade to a more heavy duty timing belt type. The second is to change the geometry and overall setup slightly so that the belt has better contact with the pulley. Issues with slipping were forseeable, and a solution is well within our means. We will soon have an improved propulsion system.

April 15, 2007

Foaming at the Mouth

Following design review VII there has been massive amounts of work done in the boatyard. All sections of the team have been plowing full speed ahead to get ready for the coming weeks.

Propulsion Update:
(Still a good source of Vitamin D)

As we wait to get our completed parts out of the MechE shop other aspects have been picking up speed.
  • Lower Unit housing - Andrew has been painstakingly carving out pieces of foam to create a good housing for the lower unit. Once completed it will serve as a mold for a strong fiberglass skin which will protect and seal the lower gearbox and shaft.

  • Mock Transom - I trimmed the mock transom yesterday morning and it now matches its non-mock cousin. Who doesn't love family togetherness?

  • Steering - Brian has been hard at work machining the steering column and it is nearing completion. As I type this a mock boat setup is being created which will be used in conjunction with the mock transom to experiment with the steering setup before mounting it on the real boat.

Hull Construction Pictures:
(Like a double dose of Centrum Silver)

Fun with foam!

A view of the precisely machined barriers implemented to stop the expanding foam

Before Expansion:

After Expansion:

Top pieces designed to block the rising foam

After a day's work

In addition, steps have been taken to stem the clean up issues. Thanks to Lluis, various parts of the boatyard are looking substantially better than before, and things are starting to get organized. To assist in this task, Mark and Andrew bought a few storage units to try and organize parts. Hopefully the first of many to come.

There's nothing like a busy but productive weekend to start off a busier and more productive week!
- Mark F.

April 8, 2007

Because there is no such thing as too many blog posts...

Tired of the fascist regime in which this blog is run, Joshua Sztul sent out a desperate plea for there to be freedom among the CMSS account...and with this post we will witness a new age, in which any CMSS member who chooses to may have the distinct privilege, nay the duty, of posting to our venerable blog.
It was my original intention, as per Josh's request, to post regarding updates to the progress of the Propulsion group. However, it appears that Andrew (obviously preempting our underground CMSS blog coup) has already posted a great deal of information as to the goings-on of the entire team. We must stand strong, however, and not let this imbalance of power corrupt our right for freedom of unbiased information!

Propulsion Update:
(now with twice the added value and Vitamin D content)
  • Lower Unit dumps cavitation plate. Now ready to move on to bigger and better props, that won't hold our lower unit back any longer.
  • Now that we are sans Cav plate, we need to make sure the housing is correctly sealed. This should be worked out in the following weeks.
  • The transom on the current boat has been trimmed in order to accommodate clearances during turning. Defne, Josh, and I trimmed it up on Saturday
  • Andrew has put together a very fashionably constructed mock transom that needs to be cut to represent our trimming changes. With the mock transom in place we can begin testing our mount and steering design.
  • The mount itself is almost done, with only one or two parts that will be machined tomorrow morning. The mount should be fully assembled and mounted within the next day or two.

With the mount construction and mock transom done, there are still major work areas ahead. We will be finalizing and testing the steering designs being developed by Brian and Otto, as well as starting testing on the PVC composites being developed by Marco, Will, and Elizabeth using one of the stress testers on campus. The next big step will be assembling the pulleys and belts which constitute the drive train in order to assess the Trifecta's performance and work out any kinks.
Aside from construction related issues, we recently received word that our SURG grant for Shape Optimization and Sensitivity Analysis for Use in Designing Optimal Solid Structures was awarded $500 for research next semester. This is exciting news as it provides a good direction for interesting solid mechanics research next year.

That's all for now, and remember to keep the spirit of freedom alive.
- Mark Fuge

66 Days to go!

The cold has not been slowing down CMSS's momentum. We have been very busy (as always) and have a few exciting things to tell you.
We have fiberglassed in ribbing with great success. The ribs were placed in the rear half of the boat and were custom carved from foam and covered in fiberglass. The ribs have made the boat much more solid. The addition of rigid foam in the bow will further prevent the boat from twisting. After installing the ribs, we turned the boat over and turned to our old friend, Bondo. This bondo-ing was much more intense than the application on the foam plug because we were creating the actual outer surface of the boat. It had to be perfect, and that is what we did. Using our eagle eyes, and our incredible spackling skills, we made sure to cover and improve any blemish on the fiberglass. We then sanded the entire boat with three different grits of sandpaper to make it smoother than a baby's bottom. As I write this, primer is being sprayed on the hull and by week's end; the base coat of paint should be dry. It is quite something to see, and we are all very proud of what we have accomplished.
We see the finish line in the propulsion group. The mount is complete, the propellers are being ordered (and then will be tested to see which will work best), a mock transom has been constructed, and the lower unit is nearing a final design and construction. Marco and Will will be running some tests on the strength of PVC piping which will determine how we want to construct our lower unit. Mark Fuge has done numerous calculations regarding how to efficiently shape the transom for a flawless integration between the hull and propulsion system. Brian and Otto are finalizing the steering design. We will be ready to test our system by the time the hull is completed.
The power dissipater is done and will be used to cycle our batteries. The batteries need to be cycled to achieve the optimum efficiency. This will be done very carefully as we will be mixing high voltage/amperage and water.
We are nearing the end of the construction as you have read and hope to test the boat on a local lake after spring carnival. Moral is very high and excited to show off what we have done in all disciplines of this project.

and now, some pictures!

Will, Josh, and Lluis work on the gunnel and ribbing.

Some of the ribs in layed in the hull.

Hard working silhouettes

Mike, Will, and Josh keep a strict eye on the vacuum bagging for the ribs.

Andrew Moore applies the first primer layer to the fiberglassed hull while Will, Jen, and Riddh look on
Some might see this as a mess...
But really it is extra foam to be used later for floatation.

Kevin and Winston work together to get the needed wire for the power dissipater.

The finished product to be used to dissipate the batteries.

The mock transom with the lower unit

The 99% finished motor mount.

The start (motor) and finish (propeller) of the propulsion group.

Jen and Andrew being constructive while the primer dried.

Josh and Jen had a slight misunderstanding that turned violent. (Jen won of course!)

The variety of Bondo products used over the past weeks.

The hull after the first layer of primer (looks like chocolate right?)

The transom before priming, but after the various bondo layers.

The transom after adjustments were made to accomodate the motor mount.

A chocolate boat: mmm mmm, if only there was cookie dough inside...

Another long post, i know, but you must forgive me. I get really excited and can't stop typing!!
All the best,

April 2, 2007

Getting there

Over the weekend, we worked diligently to fix any imperfections on the interior and exterior of the fiberglass. We also have started to make the ribbing to be placed inside the boat for added rigidity. We plan to fiberglass the ribs to the hull tonight, so stay tuned to hear how that went.
The propulsion team is approaching its deadline of April 6 (Friday) and is currently machining the last few parts of the motor mount.
The power management team has made a device to dissipate a massive amount of power while testing and optimization of the batteries.

In lieu of pictures, I have a video. Our webmaster, Will, has made the video of the hull fiberglassing available on the official CMSS website. Please take a look and enjoy. Time Lapse Footage