As part of the Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering’s (MMAE) mechanical engineering capstone design course, MMAE 432: Design of Mechanical Systems, Matt Spenko, associate professor of mechanical engineering is issuing a Sketch Model Challenge.
The goals of the challenge are to familiarize students with materials commonly used in sketch modeling, give them a better understanding of how much time it takes to make a model, introduce them to the difficulties of open-ended problem-solving, have fun, and get the creative juices flowing.
Teams competing in the challenge have to quickly design and build a device, made primarily out of paper products and insulation foam, that is capable of carrying one person while being propelled by another. Lighter devices get a leg up in the competition while the heaviest device must compete with a blindfolded driver. The devices are used to compete in a game, which varies year-to-year, between dodgeball, a jousting tournament, and a version of whirlyball.
This year’s challenge saw a hard fought dodgeball game, between the class’s Tuesday and Thursday lab groups. The event took place on February 3, 2015, the day after the fifth largest blizzard in Chicago’s history, causing problems for the teams that did not design their models for use in the snow. Ultimately, Tuesday’s lab group beat out Thursday’s lab group 5-2 to win the challenge.