April 25, 2008

Next Year's Leadership

I am proud to announce next year's leadership as voted earlier this week.
President: Mark Fuge
Vice-President: Andrew Moore
Secretary: Mike Barako (bama)
Treasurer: Riddhi Roy

April 15, 2008

Productive Weekend

Last weekend we were very busy! From the propulsion system, to the hull group and electrical systems, we spent the whole day working and had quite a bit to show for it! Here are some pictures showing some of what we did. Unfortuneately, I forgot I had my camera for most of the day and missed out on some 'action' shots.


The spring motor mount on the new stand. Mark has fixed the welds and we are all set to run this!

The electrical box layout. This is a design based upon a more modular and specialized electrical system.

And to cover the three electrical boxes (one for each motor mount and one for the solar controller), we are making fiberglass shells. These will shield the component from water and look pretty snazzy.

We are using a female molding process for the e-box shells. This is the vacuum bagging of the female mold. We used a few layers to cover the foam plug to ensure it maintained its rigid shape.

Andrew battles to get the foam from the fiberglass. It is a sometimes aggravating process, but 100% necessary.
Andrew and I figured out a system and luckily got the foam out in less time than predicted. It was a relatively messy process. The fiberglassed female mold with the foam and bondo removed.

A shot of our endurance mount and new endurance motor. The entire endurance system will be done and running this week.

Stayed tuned for more!

April 9, 2008

A BIGThank You

I want to take a minute and thank all of the great organizations that have helped make everything possible for Carnegie Mellon Solar Splash. We have worked with some truly outstanding people and cannot thank them enough for all they have done.

We recently received significant grants from two organizations within Carnegie Mellon; The Undergraduate Research Office (URO), and The Steinbrenner Institute for Environment Education and Research (SEER). The URO has been a great resource to hone in on some terrific research projects. The Small Undergraduate Research Grants (SURG) approved for this coming fall include research in creating Mobile Performance Monitoring Device for our Mechanical and Electrical Systems, as well as increasing solar panel resistance to shade in order to boost efficiency.

SEER helped Solar Splash since last year, and has really helped the team maintain an environmentally aware attitude. They fund many environmental initiatives both throughout the university and the local community. With their help, we have been able to pursue our custom solar panel project as well as subsidize our competition costs. CMSS has been lucky to work with SEER and looks forward to working with them well into the future!

I could go on and on about our sponsors, but I will instead let you visit the website of our past/present sponsors.

Steinbrenner Institute: www.cmu.edu/steinbrenner
Undergraduate Research Office: www.cmu.edu/uro
R.K. Mellon Family Foundation: www.foundationcenter.org/grantmaker/rkmellon
Student Senate: http://senate.web.cmu.edu/
Carnegie Mellon: http://www.cmu.edu
-Mechanical Engineering : www.me.cmu.edu
-Civil and Environmental Engineering: www.ce.cmu.edu
-Materials Sceince Engineering: www.neon.mems.cmu.edu
The Hotel Grand Union: www.hotelgrandunion.com
Morningstar Corporation: www.morningstarcorp.com

Thank you again to all the above mentioned organizations!

April 6, 2008

70 Days, but who's counting?

Just pictures for now, I will elaborate later this week!

There was quite a bit of material for the solar panel backing as you can see from this photo. We needed both fiberglass, and vacuum bagging materials for over 30 square feet! It was a good thing we had plenty of people to help with this.

The bottom layer of vacuum bagging, peel ply, and breather are read for fiberglassing!

Riddhi and Andrew work on sealing the vacuum bag. There is a gap in the photo timeline due to the need for all hands being tied up with mixing epoxy, saturating the fiber glass, or laying up the composite for vacuum bagging.

With a tight seal, you can see the bubbles of epoxy seep into the breather. Removing excess epoxy will increase the strength to weight ration of the panel. You can see the carbon fiber strips stretched length-wise. The carbon fiber acts similarly to metal bracing at a fraction of the weight and with much more 'coolness'

The finished product of the solar panel backing. Although you can't tell in this photo, the carbon fiber gives the panels considerable rigidity!

The dashboard, described in earlier posts. The wood was soaked in Epoxy overnight to maximize the strength of the piece. Including the wood in this piece will prove beneficial when the steering wheel and displays need to be screwed/bolted in.

The beginning of what will be the Electrical box cover. Stay tuned for more updates on this.

A motor mount stand will help in the testing and construction of the telemetry and endurance motor systems.

Thank you to our sponsors! Those who have actively supported the team will be getting their long awaited coffee mugs this week.