Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Since most of our project is dependent on Claude's designs and his ability to finalize decisions, we're moving at a slow pace currently. He's still hung up on the original T design and finalizing SolidWorks issues, so Kevin and I decided to get started with the "cat's eye" design. We found a board of wood in the Superway shop and figured it would be easiest to use a tool such as the bandsaw to cut out the intricate beam design of the cat's eye. We couldn't figure out how to work any of the equipment in the Superway shop, so we went to the ME shop on campus on Thursday evening. Their equipment wasn't much better.

This is one of the "cat's eye" versions that we went with in the shop. We figure the guideway method of attaching beams could be used to connect the cat's eye to the guideway. The black blocks are where the guideway would go if this were fully developed, but we have no input on what goes in that area, according to the scope of our subteam, "Supports and Railings." We used a bandsaw and drill press to saw the general shape of the design, then sanded the edges to the best of our ability using the belt sander and hand files. I later painted the black boxes.

We are still waiting on Claude's father to manufacture the interlocking columns for the project. We expect it'll be a quick process, because his father owns equipment that is much better quality than the school's. Claude is still finalizing the dimensions, but once the columns are completed, we will leave room for it to fit where the slit in the wooden design above is.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


This week, there wasn't much happening. As I thought before, I figured I would be fabricating the wood beams to create the architectural model. As it turns out, Claude is going to have his dad make them so they're "more precise" using his equipment, which is much better than the ME lab's equipment or the machines in the Spartan Superway shop (which we're not sure if it works or not). Claude is still working on his designs.

To be honest, I feel like my hands are tied. We (the rest of the team) can't progress until we have these designs to fabricate, but Claude insists on making the designs the way he sees fit. So it's been a couple months now that we've been in this designing phase but I don't see anything coming together yet. I need to begin fabrication or we are not going to finish in time. Claude mentioned just making one architectural prototype and laser-cutting the other designs (cat's eye) but I think this would look tacky and simplistic compared to what the other subteams of Spartan Superway are working on.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


We gave our Presentation 1 on 3/1/2017. This is the link to the presentation:

I worked on the section including the Gantt Chart and Bill of Materials. Our schedule depends on our contacts Andries, Vander-Bend, Youssefi, and Claude for finishing the dimensions.

This week I had planned on machining the wooden columns for our architectural model, but Claude wasn't able to finalize the size that he wanted for them. I can't continue until he does so, because he's already planned to design the clamps. He said that if I manufacture them, he may decide that he wanted them to be a different size and I'd have to redo them. Seeing as the wooden prototype I made last semester took 6 hours to get halfway through, I will be waiting until he decides what he wants. Until then, there are wooden beams waiting to be manufactured in my bedroom.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


On February 25, my team (minus Kevin) met with Eric Rosenfeld to gain some insight on his plans for the solar panels. The purpose of this meeting was to further analyze which of our current designs for the guideway support structure would be most feasible and sturdy. The details of this meeting are written in our team blog post, but ultimately, the consensus was that we can choose whatever support structure we want; the solar panel adjustment is a last-minute alteration. With the wide variety of solar panel alignment systems available in the market, we could use any design that we want.

We also worked on our Presentation 1, which will be presented on March 1. The parts of the presentation that I worked on were the "Overall schedule for the semester + updated Gantt Chart" and "Budget (Most up-to-date B.O.M)" sections. I also helped brainstorm the "Identification of dependencies or exposures" section, since our Budget heavily relates to that. Basically, we are a bit behind on actual fabrication, but this is due to our contacts not responding to our repeatedly sent emails.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


This week consisted of communication, for me at least. Using the designs that we've already come up with, I contacted Eric Rosenfeld for advice regarding positioning of the solar panels on the top of the guideway. The following is information that I've included in the Full Scale Test Track blog, though since it is my own information, I will include it here as well.

"He says there are four basic design concepts that he's considering: a sloped design, taking the design concept of Ron Swenson's Plantronics solar canopy installation, pitched roofs, flat roof design in which commercial racking system can be used, and ground mounts. He recommends SnapnRack, which attaches via screws but has systems that make it easier to remove and maintain.

After looking over Claude's and Andries' concepts for the column and guideway design, he suggests that it could utilize the sloped design with a central support, though he thinks a four support point design may be more sturdy. He worries that not many roads have islands in the center that we can place these supports into. Hence, he hasn't solidified a solar racking design because we haven't solidified a track design. Whatever orientation we make the top of the track have, the solar panels will have to adapt to.

While developing, we will need to let Eric know the distance between supports so he can develop a better racking system. Dr. Furman says the current design concept uses beams that are 24 meters apart, though we haven't really decided on that exact value yet.

Here are some options he's given us:

  • a truss system will allow us to put more of the solar module weight on the track support beams and trusses, and less on the roof of the transit
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  • a thin-film canopy, which can be printed at any length, but he's unsure of how it will handle San Jose weather conditions
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He also answered a previous question of ours. For the weight of the modules, he was previously considering SunEdison-R360EzC-4y module with a nominal power of 360.192W, efficiency 18.42%, approximately 22kg, at approximately 0.63 center per Watt. The modules are 1976mm x 990mm x 50mm. We need approximately 19,600 modules to run 88 pods for an entire year, assuming no alterations made. [https://cngsolarengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/SUNEDISON-%E2%80%93-R335-360.pdf]"

From here, we need to meet with Eric sometime in the next couple weekends to finalize the information we were seeking so that Claude can continue with his designs. Also, we were just given the rubric for Presentation 1, so I'm sure that a lot of our time in the next week will be spent on that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


This week, we were tasked with sketching and contributing to the overall image of our design.


My sketches were focused more on dimensioning, so that we had an overall idea of the scale of magnitude we should be looking at. The brace is what we need to focus on next. It will attach on the right and left edges of the column, connecting to the split point of the curved beam on top. Claude has been working on the SolidWorks model, but my computer is having some issues looking at the files so I will have to wait to view them in class on Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


To begin the semester, our Full Scale Test Track team met with Andries, our South African contact, before regular class met. He was able to explain some parts of the interlocking column design that we were having trouble conceptualizing. He also brought a sample section of constructed column, which was very helpful to view.

During class, we worked mainly on deciding what we would construct for the semester, to have completed by Maker Faire. We will be coming up with rough estimates of the dimensions that our basic structure will have. We'll design on SolidWorks some aesthetically pleasing structure of the Y-shaped section that connects the interlocking column to both sides of the guideway. Once we have a couple of designs, we'll send them to our contact who will have his team sketch up some blueprints using exact measurements. From there we will send that information to Vander-Bend to prototype. I'm assuming that once we get our prototype received, we will fill the column with concrete to perform some tests, if time permits.

I'm not yet sure what our individual roles will be. I will probably be maintaining the team blog still. Claude is beginning a SolidWorks model. We will gain more information during our 2/8 meeting session.