A broken all-terrain vehicle shock helped lead a team of SUNY Canton mechanical engineering technology students to become finalists in a national competition.
Joel R. Landry of Malone, Kyle C. Szelestey of Salisbury Mills, and Brandon M. Trimboli of Norwood recently found out that their project was among the top 10 considerations in the nation for the Dimension Printing 2011 Extreme Redesign Challenge at the collegiate level.
The project took shape when another student blew out the rear shock on his Honda ATV. Instead of repairing the damaged unit, the three aspiring engineers collaborated in their courses to design a brand new suspension system.
“Our (Advanced Computer Drafting) class assignment was to create a real-world solution using modern materials,” Trimboli explained. “We decided to reverse engineer the shock to improve its performance.”
Using what they had learned in their studies, the students generated renderings and designs of a brand-new shock creating a lower center of gravity on the vehicle and better overall control for the rider. Elements of their design have the potential to become high-end replacement parts within the ATV industry.
“Our design is top-notch,” Szelestey said. “We are curious where this project will take us from here.”
To take their project past the initial design phase, the students began printing out scale reproductions of the individual parts on the College’s Dimension Printer. They then assembled each light beige component into a functioning plastic reproduction of their concept.
Assistant Professor Daniel J. Miller said that the addition of the rapid prototyping machine has added further potential for experimentation and invention within the Mechanical Engineering Technology program.
“Students previously had to cast or mill prototypes in metal,” Miller said. “Now they can run a program to print out scale models of their projects in plastic.”
Other student projects that have taken shape on the Dimension Printer include a scale-model working wind turbine and custom lightweight bicycle parts.
“One of our strengths is that we encourage students to apply theoretical calculations in real-world applications,” noted school Dean David J. Wells. “We emphasize efficiency and innovation all of our technology related curricula.”
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