Project Overview  |  Proof of Concept  |  Final Design  |  Fabrication  |  Testing and Results  |  Meet the Team  |  Acknowledgements

Project Overview

All students learn material differently, and the way they learn can be broken up into three different types: visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Visual learners have two sub-channels; they are either linguistic or spatial. Visual-linguistic people learn through writing things down and being in class during lecture. Visual-spatial prefer to look at charts, demonstrations or videos to learn new material. Auditory learners prefer to process information through verbal analog and recordings. Kinesthetic learners use a more hand on approach in which they learn by touching or moving, such as doing experiments. Out of the three learning styles, kinesthetic learners encompass the largest percentage of students. The Mobile-base Crane is specifically built for Kinesthetic learners, since will be used for hands on learning activities and demonstrations. As specified in the PDS, the crane will not be over 300 lbs, and will be able to fit through a standard single door (max dimensions of 2X3X6ft). The crane must also be able to a payload weighing a minimum of 5 lbs.

The Dream Team’s product, a mobile base crane, belongs to the education industry. The crane will be used as a tool for classroom presentations and demonstrations. There is no competition for the team in this industry as they are doing this project for one professor for teaching purposes. Before entering this industry the Dream Team did research about similarly designed cranes and discovered that a student group at Georgia Tech University created a crane that was built with a comparable purpose. There is not a competitor for the Dream Team since this crane is being built for one professor and they are the only team working on this project.


Proof of Concept

The concept of this assignment is a Mobile-base Crane with several subfunctions. Cranes not only need to raise and lower a payload, they also need to rotate and move their base from one position to another. The concepts for this crane are a rotating arm, a manually movable base and a payload tracking system. The base is made of sheet steel for rigidity and weight to ensure strength and to lower the center of gravity. To move the crane, an operator will need to push the crane to the desired location and pickup or set down the payload. In the case that the crane is unable to be moved to change the position of the payload, the arm can rotate 360° and maintain full functionality through the use of an electric motor and two meshing gears. Two bearings are required: a lower bearing for rotation and an upper bearing for a guy wire attachment point. To track the payload, a localized indoor GPS will be used. This sketch shows a true scale Mobile-base Crane assembly. An FEA revealed that the crane will indeed support the payload with a safety factor of three. The intention of the model and FEA are to prove that such a device is possible to achieve in the real world and would not fail under normal circumstances. All materials required for assembly of this crane are easily obtainable and relatively cheap, however welding is required.


Final design

The mobile-base crane will be six feet tall when fully extended and be three feet long and two feet wide. These sizes were chosen since it needs to be able to fit through doorways during transportation between classrooms. The entire crane will be made out of steel besides the electronic linear actuator. This will allow for the crane to have a low center of mass which will take away the hazard of the crane tipping over. The mobile-base crane must be able to pick up and move around a five-pound payload. This payload will be tracked by programming an Arduino circuit board with distance sensors tracking how far the payload is moved in an x-y coordinate system. The crane will also have a cart shaped design with four wheels on the bottom of it which will help with transportation.

The purpose of the mobile-base crane is to allow for educators to be able to use this as an educational tool to teach students certain topics at the University of Nevada, Reno. This project is meant to bridge the gap between what students learn in the classroom and the real life application of the knowledge they are learning. This will be beneficial to the consumer since this will allow for that cannot normally fit indoors be brought into a classroom setting.



To create a strong foundation to the crane, the base is made of two inch square tubing with all pieces in a rectangular configuration. To maximize the weld surface area, all frame tubes have a 45 degree cut on the connecting corners. There are 18 holes equally spaced around the sheet metal one inch from the edge. The sheet metal was then welded to the base using the holes that were drilled. One inch pipe was cut and welded together to create the handle for the mobile based crane. With this done, the four caster locking wheels were then added to the base for mobility and the ability to lock the crane in place. A four-bolt flange bearing was then welded to the base to give a smoothly rotating attachment point for the linear actuator. A one and a half inch pipe was turned on a lathe to fit tightly into the bearing and a sprocket was welded to the pipe and a chain is attached to an electric motor. An arm will be attached and an electric motor will turn a reel to raise and lower the payload. The linear actuators main purpose is to make storing the mobile base crane easier.


Testing and Results

The mobile base crane went through several different tests to make sure it would meet specifications. The size requirement was tested by pushing the cart through a door to make sure it would be easily transportable. The slewing motion was tested by wiring a toggle switch controlling left and right swing. The slewing was checked 10 times to the left and 10 times to the right. The slewing passed with a 100% success rate. The lifting of the payload was tested by attaching a five-pound weight to the hook and using a toggle switch to control the reel. The weight was lifted a total of 10 times and passed with a 100% success. With these specifications being met, we meet the requirements set forth by our sponsor.


Meet the Team



Jason Wright is a senior at the University of Nevada and is studying Mechanical Engineering. He is expected to graduate in the Fall of 2018. The most challenging engineering project he has been involved in prior to to capstone would have to be the K-12 project he did in communications. This was challenging because his team was comprised of multidisciplinary engineers of different grade levels and they had to give a presentation to third graders about the transfer of energy from potential to kinetic energy. During his time at the University of Nevada Reno, Jason has gained many skills which include, the ability to work with others effectively, problem solving skills using creative solutions, and the ability to adapt as projects go along. Adapting as projects go along is important because no project is ever the same from start to finish and if he was not able to adapt his ideas may become irrelevant and the group’s success may be at risk. He has a past working in agriculture as a lands manager at his family’s ranch. His future is move back home and take over his family’s ranch and hopefully find a job as a consultant to an engineering firm.






Adriana Shurtz is a senior engineering student and the University of Nevada, Reno. She is expected to graduate spring 2018 with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and a minor in unmanned autonomous systems. Over the course of her academic career, Adriana has been involved in a variety of engineering projects with the first project being the most challenging. The first engineering project she was exposed to was the hovercraft project all freshmen engineers participate in. This project was the most challenging for Adriana since it was her first time working on an engineering design project with a randomly assigned team and she did not have any prior knowledge building a hovercraft. Using skills gained from the hovercraft project, she was able to help install an automatic start system in all of her immediate family’s cars. Adriana is focused on graduating from the University of Nevada with a 3.0 GPA and hopes to work on drone technologies.







Kenneth Dent is a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is expected to graduate in the spring of 2018 with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering along with minors in mathematics and unmanned autonomous systems. In his first introductory engineering courses at the university he designed and built a hovercraft with a team of four and designed Lego robots to be controlled with EMG sensors strapped to the body. Using his knowledge, he gained from his engineering classes, Kenneth has designed a built several things in his household including his bed frame, extendable coffee table and a wardrobe for his room. Currently Kenneth has eyes set on graduating with a GPA higher than a 3.0 and in the future hopes to work closely with autonomous systems such as drones or robotics.





The most challenging engineering project Chase was involved with would has to be the Mechanical Engineering Capstone project. Any other design process that he had been involved with didn’t require paperwork. Throughout Chase’s engineering career, his ability to precisely design has been improved, as well as his analytical skills. Outside of class, he learned how to MIG weld and fabricate brackets for anything that’s ever been needed at home. Restoring and modifying hi 1968 Ford Mustang is the accomplishment he is beyond proud of completing. When designing custom steering linkage for the Mustang, Chase needed to use the skills learned in the class known as “Statics.” Due to the odd angles needed to have smooth operation, Chase could not have done this without even some basic engineering knowledge. Chase’s number one goal now and after graduation is to become a professional engine builder. To put his engineering degree to use, he plans on designing and fabricating performance engine parts, which comes along with professionally building engines. The next two goals are fabricating a folding engine test stand by himself design for home use and learning how to TIG weld.



One of the more challenging engineering projects Alex have been involved with was competing in the nation FIRST Lego Robotics league when he was younger. He competed against teams from all over the world and placed in the top 100 teams at an international competition with over 500 other teams. Throughout Alex’s academic career, he has honed his ability to find solutions to engineering based problems. Whether it be simple fixes around the house or textbook problems, he has developed very strong problem-solving skills while studying this discipline.  Alex is 23 years old and from Las Vegas, Nevada. As an undergraduate, Alex is striving to branch out and make contacts and friends in as many sectors as he can to expand his job horizon as well as develop useful connections in the professional world. After graduation, Alex plans on learning the business and development side of engineering in order to someday run his own company.