Monday, July 25, 2016

7/18/16 - 7/22/16 week update

Last week both Ron and Professor Furman were on vacation. Although Ron has returned, Prof. Furman continues his vacation through 7/29/16.

Throughout the past few and upcoming weeks, more Brazilian interns are departing to Brazil. I have been keeping up with the Bogie, I.S.E, Solar, and Civil sub-teams to ensure the flow of their summer work can continue into the Fall 2016 seniors. All of these teams have begun their Summer 2016 Final Report last week, and continue to work on them this week.

Last Friday Neto departed back home, so it was very important to put his files in the Spartan Superway Archive. Neto and I also met Kyle, the machinist who works in the SJSU Engineering Building last week and received a bunch of insight on the Bogie teams current design. We were able to brainstorm for a while and come up with a newer and simpler design. The new design will be much more robust in terms of welding locations and by reducing the amount of moving mechanical parts. The initial design would have had to use two power drills to lower the retractable system during maintenance. The new design removes the need for power drills, moving screws, and metal on metal contact. The new design will use one or two air pistons that will be attached to the main portion of the bogie itself, and the rod of the piston will contact and be attached to a new cross member at the top of the bogie. The cross member will provide more strength to the design, while the air pistons removed the need for steel contacting steel during maintenance. A few cross members on the design will include a few robust changes as the welding on these parts were deemed as a potential hazard. Although Neto is back in Brazi, he will help finish this new design and send it back to the Spartan Superway Archive. Once Neto has completed the design, I can send the work off to Kyle to be ordered and machined.

It is Victor's last week here in San Jose as well. He has been working on the braking system for the half-scale bogie. This week we received the caliper, brake pad, and other related hardware for the braking system. The last two pieces of the braking system that need to be ordered are the master cylinder, and the actuator that will compress / release the piston in the master cylinder. Victor needed the other components first as Honda, nor any other related company, releases enough measurement data for their parts, which are very crucial for Victor's design. The braking system will be hydraulic, but will also be automated with the use of a linear actuator. The new bogie design will free up a lot of internal space that the braking hardware can be mounted.

The Civil team has completed their design of the full-scale test track that will be implemented at 1555 South 7th St. They have also explored a variety of routes that the Spartan Superway can go through the southern Bay Area.

The I.S.E Team has implemented a safety guidelines for the shop, and is also continuing the organization of the shop as well. Cross-team communication has still be occurring to make sure other sub-teams stay on deadline and met their weekly and end goals.

The Solar Team has been working on a new iteration of the racking system, while working on their final report. The Solar team was able to get an intensive solar analysis completed that can determine how many solar panel arrays are required for the full-scale test track. Racking and mounting the solar arrays has been the main problem over the past week or so.

The French team has been working on the pseudo-code for the half-scale bogie automation, and the automation requirements for the bogie & podcar. They have developed a bill of materials with necessary items required to full automate the system and test it. While they continue their work, they are also waiting to have a meeting with Ron, Prof. Furman, and myself to discuss purchasing components to complete their task. Isaac has been apart of the French team as well, and has been looking into the pros & cons of linear & rotational motors.

The Korean mechanical team has been working on both the Suspension for the half-scale model, and the small-scale test track. The mechanical team and myself also met with Kyle the machinist and incorporated some of his knowledge into fixing up the suspension design in terms of manufacturing and strength. This team has completed these revisions and I have just sent in the drawing files to Kyle for inspection. The test track team has almost finalized their small-scale test track design, and intends to use Vander-bend to bend the necessary aluminum for their track.

The Korean electrical team has been working weekdays and weekends to get the old design small-scale podcar and bogie to work electronically. They will be using a magnetic system to determine where the podcar is on the track at all times. They have looked into RFID and WiFi communications as well, and are determining which will prove the strongest contender for this system.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Last Week - 7/11/2016 to 7/15/2016 update

Last week included attending the ASES Intersolar North America Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday 7/12/2016. All of the summer 2016 interns met at the Cal Train station in San Jose and arrived in San Francisco. From the SF station we all walked over to the convention center where the ASES exhibition hall was held. For the first 2 - 3 hours, all of the interns were split into three different groups that explored three different levels in the building which held a variety of different solar related companies. Each individual was tasked with speaking to different companies that could potentially help the Spartan Superway with its future solar needs. To do so, each individual talked to a variety of solar businesses and gathered information from these particular companies.

After the exhibition all of the interns went to the next door Intercontinental hotel to watch their fellow peers give a small, yet Spartan Superway related presentation. A member from each team (Solar, I.S.E, Modeling, Civil, and Bogie) gave a brief presentation on their current work, and a few members gave a presentation on their papers they wrote. This was a good chance for the presenters to develop their public speaking skills, and tell interested viewers what the Spartan Superway is all about.

A few companies that I personally talked to and had expressed interest in potentially helping the Spartan Superway were....

Bayo-S Solar: Dennis Schulte -   519-217-3320
I spoke with Dennis in the exhibition hall about the Spartan Superway and how Bayo-s Solar could potentially help out. Bayo-s Solar is a professional foundation construction company that gets involved in more than just solar systems. I mentioned to Dennis how we're going to build a test track in the hopeful near future and would need ground columns to support the guideway. Dennis told me that Bayo-s could be a potential sponsor for these columns as long as there was potential for Spartan Superway to grow (which there most definitely is). This would be a great contact for the future when it comes time to building the test track under a sponsor! 760-241-8900 - 1970 Placentia Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Here is a company that was promoting solar labels, solar placards, arc flash labels, and metal signs. This company was telling me that to pass regulations with solar installations, PV labels were absolutely required.

Battery Systems: Josh Brumm - District Sales Manager - Office: 559-486-0457 Cell: 559- 909-5094 - Address: 4600 E. Lincoln Ave. Fowler, CA 93625
Josh Brumm is the District Sales Manager at Battery Systems, and provided a print out of a Load Evaluation Form that can be filled out and sent back to him. Once this is completed he could size the proper batteries for our system. The form requires the type of appliance, quantity, wattage, and hours/day, then Josh said he would be able to size the type of necessary battery system for our Spartan Superway needs.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

7/5/16 - 7/8/16 Update


This week the Spartan Superway has received 8 new international students from both France and Korea. The Korean students have been working with the other mechanical Korean students and the current Bogie team to develop a suspension system for the half-scale model. It is their intentions to use the previous senior team "on top" suspension system that utilizes the three linear actuators to keep the pod car level at all times. The new Korean team would also like to use the suspension system that is currently being developed by the small-scale Korean team as well. This system utilizes three to five springs, with the use of potential dampers, that will be placed underneath the pod car. The old method to using multiple suspension bars won't be used, and a new single suspension bar will be used and will go through the pod car. This design is currently underway.

Next week is the ASES conference in San Francisco. To prepare for this, each team has been given a template of a poster board that will be prepared for this conference. Although this is a solar conference, it will be good to have all of the work that the international students have achieved over the summer presented to potential sponsors. This will also be an opportunity for the students who have prepared a paper to present their work (I know a few students have). There will also be a solar trade show where many, many vendors from all aspects of solar companies will present. This will also be a great opportunity to speak and learn from potential sponsors and suppliers of solar components.

Tomorrow an in-house presentation will be given so that all students can give an update on their progress.

Thank you,


Friday, July 1, 2016

Small-scale prototype repairs needed + general update

Here are some updates that Kenny and I have put together for the Small-Scale Track / Podcar.

Small Scale   Note: Bogie bearings are the "metal wheels" that touch the track

1) Bar codes posed an issue when podcar moved too fast / slow, and the ambient light may have affected a proper reading from the light sensor.
i) A method using a corrugated piece of sheet metal in unison with a hall effect sensor and neodymium magnet could be used as a podcar tracking solution. The magnet would be positioned at a particular fixed distance from the hall effect sensor and both would be placed on the podcar. The corrugated piece of sheet metal would be fixed to the guideway, and as the podcar drove past the valleys and peaks of the sheet metal, the hall effect sensor would be able to detect the change in magnetic field due to the magnet and the sheet metal. This could be used to create a signal that would allow for tracking the podcar.

2) Multiple problems with the podcar switching mechanism:
i) When the top bearing of the switching mechanism doesn't have a good connection with the top rail, the vehicle will fall off the guideway.
ii) The screws on the top rail of the curves could be loosened to allow the middle of the curve to be lower. This will help prevent a loss of connection between the bearing and the top rail.
iii) If the bottom wheels of the bogie are only on one rail then the vehicle will pivot. When the vehicle pivots, it lengthens the distance between the top rail and the top bearing of the switching mechanism. To mitigate this increase of distance, we have added spacers where necessary between the connector and the top rail. In some places we've added 4-5 nylon washers. This could be prevented by having a thicker top rail.

3) If the switching mechanism comes up against the bottom face of the top rail, the vehicle will get stuck along certain stretches of the guideway.
i) One reason could be that it switches too late, or from not reading the bar codes effectively

4) Bogie getting stuck along curved sections of the guideway.
i) The new bogie design is slightly different from the old design. On one bogie, Kenny has filed down the edges where it was binding.
ii) Another contributing factor is that the bearings on the bottom portion of the switching mechanism are slightly too large in diameter. Through the curve, the bearings on the inside and outside of the bottom rail experience such little clearance that it will bind.

4) The entry and exit of the station rails need to be parallel with each other.
i) One difficult fix would be to bend them (or have them re-manufactured)
ii) An easier fix that could work would be to add more connectors. I believe it would be best to have a connector on the station rail at both, the beginning and ends of the parallel portion.

5) Need wayside power for small-scale guideway that can be connected to the solar panel arrays

6) The switching arm attached to the Servo-motor needs to be more robust to improve mobility and strength
i) It currently contains piano wire that can become deformed after many uses

7) Bottom guideway rail may interfere with the bottom switching arm bogie bearing
i) The bottom bearings were interfering with the bottom rail in some instances of switching.
ii) Filing the bottom rail in places we noticed this was occurring was decent remedy. (needs better fix)
iii) This is most likely due to the slightly larger bearing wheels used. You may be able to order some from Boca Bearings. The screw attaching the bearing also needs to be analyzed.

8) Solar frame needs to be upgraded to metal to improve strength and aesthetics
i) You may want to start playing with the idea of using the 80/20 stock that we have or look into something new

9) Solar angular mounts could be upgraded to linear actuators for full automation

Small-scale Team:

The small-scale team has just formed this week with two M.E's and two E.E's. The M.E's are working on redesigning portions of the Podcar as last semesters posed some issues as seen above. The E.E's are working on understanding the electronics and coding that went into last semesters Podcars. They are going to use GPS to have the computer communicate with the Podcar. More updates soon on this team.

The civil team meeting with Prof. McMullan 6/30/16 @ 1:00 pm / PROF. McMullan cannot attend next Thursday for a meeting as he will be out of town.

  • Ed needs to start adding dimensions to his drawings
  • Kelvin needs to put his drawings in to templates like Ed does
  • Generally with AutoCad drawings, change line weights, add dimensions, and make drawings clear on 36'' x 24'' sheet size.
In this meeting a lot of ideas were discussed.

Test Track: 10 meter radius okay since 30 meter radius is too much for space allowed. Potential Easement problem (to be determined). Must think about potential utilities that may need to be removed / relocated (trees, powerlines, gas lines, etc). Podcar is approx 6 - 7 ft wide ~ 2 meters (upper limit). Test track height can be potentially 13.5 ft because there is no worry for vehicles being struck as testing will occur with operator on site. (not operated all the time). Redraw in AutoCad test track as far from property line as possible to avoid potential easement and in accordance with building owners. Prepare Plan View, Section View, and Elevated View of test track for city inspection to obtain building permits. Supply Chain: Get track length and number of columns to get a total steel tonnage to obtain approximate price. (Start researching steel manufacturers) 
Additional notes: Need street blue prints for better AutoCad Drawings through South Campus and routes to SJSU, instead of using Google Earth. Podcar needs sensors for object avoidance (Potential trucks. Using ramps for stations are an issue as ramps require a lot of horizontal distance to gain vertical distance per city regulations. Having a raise platform station would decrease the distance required for landing / take off. 
Future goals: Next phases of routes through San Jose, Santa Clara Valley, San Jose Airport, Los Banos, San Francisco, major businesses, malls, under-served neighborhoods, Cal-Train stations, and networks in between. Potential high speed podcar from SJ to SF. 
Update 7/1/16: Civil team met with BSB (Berry Swenson Builders) to discuss test track plan. Meeting went well. BSB discussed potential new location for test track, but must wait approximately 60 days to hear back if property can be purchased from city. 

Solar Team: 

Solar team has been working on developing models in SolidWorks that display how the solar panel arrays will look, and will be placed on the guideway. There has also been development in using a maximizer to quickly connect the solar arrays to each other without the need for an electrician to be present when the solar arrays are installed. SolidWorks models of the rails / guides for the solar arrays have also been worked on this week.
Solar team is current on a tour at Britmore facilities learning how their robots work in autonomously installing solar panel arrays. 

Bogie Team:

The Bogie team has been working on redesigning their first design of the bogie with the retractable frame for ease of maintenance. The initial design posed some mobility issues and issues with the strength of the retractable design. The bogie team has been developing a SolidWorks model of how the hub motor will be installed along with a linear actuator that will provide a normal force against the roof of the guideway along sloped paths. This will increase the friction force on the hub motor so it will not slip if the roof of the guideway is slippery due to ice or rain. There has been work done in programming the hub motor and understanding the circuity used by the senior class last semester. The braking system SSolidWorks model is underway as well, and will use a recently purchased disc brake as the means for the braking caliper to brake the system. The disc brake was ordered without a calipher or master cylinder due to Honda not disclosing the thickness of the disc brake. Once this data is recorded, the proper caliper and master cylinder will be ordered. A fail safe braking system is also be developed, so if the power to the podcar is lost, the podcar will stop. This could be potentially achieved using a powered solenoid that releases when current is removed from the system. The bogie team is planning on using the same steering design that the seniors used last year. Suspension has yet to be worked on.
David, a recent senior from last year, has offered his time to help the bogie team learn how to use the laser cutter at SJSU engineering building. This will be very helpful for when the bogie team has a final design to cut out of MDF wood and assemble their design.

Modeling Team:

The modeling team has been working hard on modeling the streets through which the podcar will travel, along with the guideways and everything else that goes into the construction of the Spartan Superway. This team is very important so that a visual representation of the Spartan Superway can be created and viewed. 

ISE Team:

The ISE team has been split so that some members are on the 5S team and others are micro-managing the other teams. The 5S team has still been organizing the shop, and a recent pegboard tool wall has been built. (almost completed) The 5S team will design a safety plan for the machine tools that are functional in the SSDC (IE, how to properly and safely use machines), as well as signage that will indicate proper tool usage and replacement. (IE, importance of putting tools back when done, etc)
The sub-team micro-managers have been keeping up with their teams in order to keep their team blogs updated, and files kept in an orderly and standardized fashion. (in the Spartan Archive) The team charters from Monday need to be place on the team blogs as well in PDF format. Gantt charts for next week need to be developed as well so team scheduling and deadlines are met. Supply chain and financial members need to develop standardized forms for their work, so when a sub-team needs material goods, these forms can be followed. Supply chain should be working will all teams to see what materials are needed and keep digital copy. Documentation from all teams should be on team blogs and updated to Spartan Superway Archive with proper naming convention.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Week Two Update

During the past two weeks 5/31/16 to 6/10/16, I have been ensuring deadlines per sub-teams; solar, civil, ISE, and bogie have been meeting their deadlines that are due each week. I have been developing proposal formats for each team to fill out each week to ensure organization of team duties and to keep teams on schedule. 

I have been providing technical assistance to each team of any questions that they have during the weeks. I have also been speaking with Mr. Swenson and Professor Furman on improving design concepts that each team can incorporate into their current designs for improvement. The warehouse has been on the positive path of improvement in organization and cleanliness since the ISE held their 5S presentation. Each team was assigned a different area within the warehouse to organize and clean which will continue throughout the summer. 

Cross-team communication was deemed an issue in previous semesters, so this summer I have been emphasizing the importance of this issue, and have assigned the ISE team to help keep communication across teams active so that no harmful interference occurs later in the summer when the integration of sub teams is crucial. 

The bogie team has been a particular team for me to focus on because of the lack of members they currently consist of. The bogie consist of the mechanical bogie, suspension, braking, propulsion, and steering which consumes a lot of energy and minds to solve the issue of creating a new and improved vehicle transport system. I have been communicating with this team on potential ways to approach certain issues, such as braking and propulsion. An idea for the braking would be to fix two disc brake calipers to the bogie in such a way that these calipers could stop the vehicle by touching the guideway. An actuator would have to be programmed to automate this system.

I personally have been waiting for the hall effect sensors and neodenium magnets to arrive in the mail so I can begin testing how this sensor will work in tracking the small scale vehicle. I am looking forward to solving this issue as tracking the vehicles is very important in case they break down, or other issues arise. 

Next week the international students will be on vacation from Tuesday to Friday, so I will be working on the tracking system during this time. 


Eric Hagstrom   

Monday, June 6, 2016

Spartan Superway Summer 2016

Hello All,

My name is Eric Hagstrom and I will be the Research Intern Manager this summer working on the Spartan Superway. I am a recent graduate with a B.S in Mechanical Engineering. My duties this summer will include ensuring deadlines are met so that all of the interns working this summer have something to go home to be proud of, and to make sure the project is completed on schedule. All of the interns will learn new skills, whether that be team-working, computer automated drafting, machine took skills, and research in their particular area of expertise to expand their engineering knowledge. I will be providing technical assistance as well.

In addition to managing this summer, I will be directly working on the small-scale controls system. My first project will include designing a vehicle tracking system using a hall effect sensor and corrugated sheet metal. I am hopeful that a neodymium magnet in alliance with the hall effect sensor will provide a consistent signal when moved along the corrugated sheet metal. This will provide vehicle tracking for the small-scale track, and potentially the half and full scale tracks as well.

-Eric Hagstrom
Mechanical Engineer @ SJSU