It is a Dartmouth engineering tradition. The advanced machine engineering class spends the last 3 weeks of their spring term building diwheels. You may ask what is a diwheel is. As you can see below, a diwheel is a silly looking human powered vehicle. Your pedal power moves small wheels that through friction move big hoop wheels around you. In case you were also wondering, when I say build, I actually mean design, build (weld, machine), and troubleshoot everything except the hoops.
Once the 50 or so students in groups of 4 focus entirely on building this contraption and nothing else (sleep, what sleep), they have a chance to demonstrate their team’s design’s abilities. This year this included turning radius, speed, tracking, and stability.
Turning was a complicated affair, and when mechanisms failed, some teams got creative. Did I mention there were team uniforms?
With three engineering courses, winter term is tough. Last night (this morning?) watching the clock hit 2AM, not yet done with my problem set, I couldn’t remember what it was like to be well rested.
My respite this term has been pond hockey. I play at a friend’s pond and the community is incredible. Everyone is out to have a good time, make good passes and heckle each other to no end. No one keeps score, no one gets too aggressive, and all abilities are welcome. I started playing sophomore year, and it has been really fun to improve my skating and hockey skills. The fun atmosphere makes it possible to play against really high level players while learning the game. That in itself has made it an invaluable experience.
A typical game takes 2 hours with a 10 minute car ride. So this term, when a 7 hour ski trip would have burried me further into the realm of sleep deprivation, I could afford to take a wonderful hockey break.
Usually at this point in the term, I would have a whole bunch of new bowls to display. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it into the wood shop much because of my neck and school work, but I did make some things and learned a lot in the machine shop!
Other than the robot car that I made for class, I made three iterations of a pair of swap plates for my Dynafit bindings, and a prototype camera holster. The swap plates will let me travel from school to home with only my bindings. I can easily unscrew my bindings from one pair of skis and mount them on another pair. The plates are machined light weight aluminum. The camera holster is step one in what will be a bunch of iterations for a quick release mirror-less camera sports holster. Instead of digging through my pack for my camera, I can quick draw to get some action shots.
Engineering projects last term included building a robot for the Thayer ‘Baja’ rally race. The robot design had to overcome race course obstacles: a tight radius maze, a steep teeter totter, a sloped path and a wall. Our team earned points based on the number of obstacles our robot overcame. We designed our Baja racer with skid steering, four wheel drive, geared down for torque, and a servo that pulled a pin to pull down the hard maze. Still love to Race!
I call it the quality of life program. I asked the dean of Thayer for some money to pay for a DJ and get some food for a Thayer formal. And by a Thayer formal, I really mean a wicked-awesome dance party at Thayer with laser lights, kids on rollerblades, and general awesomeness. I have been looking at the atrium in Thayer thinking about having a dance party there for years, and it happened! Senior year bucket list item #1 down!!!