The capstone sequence (ME451/452) in the department of mechanical engineering is the culmination of the student’s engineering education. For an entire academic year, teams of students work on all aspects of a single design project starting with defining the need to developing a working prototype. Along the way, the teams conduct engineering analysis, build a proof-of-concept device, write a business plan, and much more. In addition to the engineering content, there is a heavy emphasis on developing the student’s communication skills with written reports, oral presentations, and website development. Ideas for projects come from local businesses and individuals, professors, and the student’s themselves.
Team 1 | Team 2 | Team 3 | Team 4 | Team 5 | Team 6 | Team 7 | Team 8 | Team 9 | Team 10 | Team 11 | Team 12 | Team 13 | Team 14 | Team 15 | Team 16 | Team 17 | Team 18 | Team 19 | Team 20 | Team 21 | Team 22 | Team 23 | Team 24 | Team 25 | Team 26 | Team 27 | Team 28 | Team 29
C.A.R.G.G. Industries seeks to design, develop, and manufacture a working hydrodynamic water tunnel for college level classes and research purposes. This water tunnel is designed to be able to be transported to and from classrooms and labs for demonstrations as well as individual studies. The operator of the water tunnel must be able to see the water flow speed as well as be able to adjust the speed of water flow. Water flow speed must range from zero to one meter per second and remain laminar through a minimum viewing window of at least 4”x4”x12”. The development of such a product must be accomplished with a budget of $1000 which is affordable as well as a fragment of the price for a commercial water tunnel with the same specifications. This water tunnel is targeted for schools and research professionals looking to study the aerodynamic and fluid dynamic effect on scale models at an affordable price point.
Conductive Solutions has partnered with the local company Click Bio to design and create a microplate that is both cheap and uniform when heating a solution. The field of research is growing at an exponential rate as more people enter the field of science and more discoveries are made. Though the research varies greatly, scientists find themselves using similar tools. However, as the field grows and the research becomes more precise and specific, modifications to certain types of equipment must be made. Click-Bio works with these different researchers to cater to their needs when it comes to various types of lab ware and the need for a cheap and possibly reusable thermally conductive microplate has been brought to their attention. Conductive Solutions is working to create a microplate that can withstand and distribute higher temperatures without adversely affecting the mass the researchers are heating. Ultimately the goal is that more accurate results are obtained in the most effective and efficient way.
The goal of this project is to build a fold-able quad-rotor U.A.V. as a way to increase the possible applications of drones. A fold-able drone enables incorporation as a rocket payload; this allows high altitude deployment, increased range and accessibility that other drones may not have. The frame of the platform must ensure portable convenience and strong aerial performance. For a compact frame, the platform will be designed with folding propellers and arms. Performance in the air is inherent to the utility of the platform; the design will incorporate a diverse range of hardware including GPS receiver, first-person live video transmission, telemetry ground station control. With of the folding capability of the drone, options for aerial deployment and modular storage arise. Solutions to many challenges faced in search and rescue operations, geographical mappings, and agricultural surveys are found with the folding design. This project will focus on the design of the folding platform as well as the electronic hardware required for flight.
When a mobility aid device fails for an elderly person, the hazards of falling can be severe and even fatal. According to CDC.gov, “the direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion annually” were found on a nationwide survey for those who require mobility aid devices especially in elderly homes. In order to reduce liability concerns, direct medical costs for nursing homes, and prevent overall falls that may be fatal, Team Extreme is poised to fix the concerns of those who use mobility aid devices by re-configuring these mobility aid devices.
Save My Axe is a product that focuses on a redesign of the modern day ice axe. With an interest in the outdoors, the team sought a product to innovate. The team settled on the ice axe and asked the question: “When was the last design change of the ice axe?” In researching this very important mountaineering tool, Team Save My Axe found that the design and shape of the ice axe has changed very little in past decades, and immediately started to think of ways to improve the functionality of an ice axe. One improvement to be made is to decrease the self arrest times of fallen mountaineers. To make this improvement, the team will utilize a beveled, double pronged pick design. Two prongs that are beveled will act like a nozzle and yielding a larger surface area to catch more material and create a greater normal force against the mountain. Save My Axe aims to redesign a tool that is quintessential for every winter mountaineer, and to become the standard ice axe of the future.
Our team, Y.A.Y.B.E.E.R., specializes in capturing carbon dioxide that is typically exhausted during the fermentation process and reusing it in a creative and innovative way. In the typical brewing process, malt (water and steeped grain) and yeast are put into a fermenter and the yeast begins to eat the glucose. This anaerobic process enables heat to be added to the mixture and carbon dioxide is created as a waste product. Many breweries have not yet established a conveniently sized, ‘green’ brewing process at this time; most vent out out the carbon dioxide into the air. Our group will eliminate this norm by creating an efficient way to capture carbon dioxide to be reused as energy. A turbine and a compression chamber will be used for this process. A turbine will allow carbon dioxide to be compressed back into a pressurized cylinder which will cut breweries costs of having to order, truck in, and recycle CO2 containers.
Towing a trailer produces significantly more drag than a car does on its own, causing a decrease in fuel efficiency. This is due to the space between the car and trailer that produces turbulence, which slows the car down, utilizing more fuel to get to higher speeds. Our team is producing an Adjustable Trailer Tongue that will minimize the turbulence in the gap between the car and trailer. This will be achieved by an actuating trailer tongue that draws the trailer closer to the towing vehicle while on the road. The trailer will use sensors to measure how fast it is moving and an onboard microprocessor to control shortening of the trailer tongue at higher speeds. This allows the trailer to move closer to the towing vehicle at high speeds, thereby making the gap smaller and lessening the effect of the turbulence.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (U.A.V.) are becoming increasingly useful in a variety of applications. One of the biggest issues with their use though is limited range due to battery life. The Engineering International team has envisioned a way of increasing this range through the integration of automated battery replacement stations. A U.A.V. would land at one such station, and the systems therein would quickly replace the battery on board, essentially refueling the U.A.V., and allowing it to quickly continue carrying out its objective. These stations would act as small outposts, strategically located away from a centralized U.A.V. ground station. Practically, implementing these stations into hypothetical U.A.V. infrastructure would allow greater range, and therefor wider use of UAV. Expected cost and upkeep of these stations would be much less than the centralized ground stations, and the physical size will be kept to a minimum. As such, implementing these stations would be a versatile, efficient, and cost effective way of increasing the effective range of U.A.V. within a network.
In the sport of snowmobiling, it is common for the rider to have an unexpected dismount from the machine when riding in both moderate and technical terrain. Snowmobile manufacturers and other aftermarket companies have implemented a basic design towards protecting the machine when the rider inadvertently falls off by installing a tether switch that attaches to the rider. This system is designed to kill the power to the engine when the tether switch is removed, however it does not stop the machine. Without power to the motor, the snowmobile can still continue to move forward due to momentum and gravitational forces. Snow Control’s concept will incorporate a secondary braking system that engages upon disconnection of the tether switch. The goal behind this technology is to immobilize and prevent runaway snowmobiles from crashing into trees, rocks, creeks or other obstacles. Snow Control’s product will ensure to protect snowmobiles and significantly reduce the need for machine repair.
Imagine running late to work, driving across the highway and hearing a “POP!” the unruly sound of a tire popping. It can be difficult enough to drive a car with three wheels to a safe spot on the road, but the real issue is not even addressed yet, the flat tire. The task of lifting the car can be cumbersome with the use of a scissor jack, or bottle jack, and both are time-inefficient. With the use of the Portable Floor Jack however, these issues are non-existent. The Portable Floor Jack is a user-friendly and time-efficient car jack that brings the benefits of floor jacks in a compact design to rival the scissor and bottle jacks.
Electric vehicles have nearly no audible engine noise. This creates a safety hazard for pedestrians and drivers who are accustomed to hearing the sound of an oncoming vehicle. Starting in 2018, laws will require electric vehicles to have an audible safety feature that using audible output to assist in pedestrian and driver safety. Our goal is to design and build a device that allows electric vehicles to mimic the engine noise of standard combustion engines, and will be available as an aftermarket purchase complying with the upcoming law changes.
The Self-Directing Ratchet will be capable of mechanically identifying which direction the user is rotating the tool and will reset through the use of a button. This feature will benefit both the novice user and the advanced user by taking the confusing switch out of the equation. The button that will reset the mechanical system will also work better in tight spaces and will not accidentally get switched by miscellaneous objects. The Self-Directing Ratchet will revolutionize the tool industry and save countless mistakes across the world.
Dynamic Systems Foundations is dedicated to providing the consumer with the easiest and fastest way to complete the tasks that often get overlooked. By targeting these unglorified activities, DSF aims to make the life of the active individual more streamlined and easier to maintain. DSF has dedicated themselves to creating a dynamic system that easily washes bottles with a focus on the protein shake mixing bottles used by gym-goers everywhere. This system has been designed to not take up much space when placed on the kitchen countertop or on a desk/counter in a dorm room, as well as thoroughly clean out any residue and smell that may be left over in a mixing bottle. By not requiring a water line, taking less than 10 seconds to complete a cleaning cycle, and being compact, DSF hopes to create a product that can be widely used by active people everywhere.
The DDC design project of the University of Nevada, Reno 2017 engineering capstone is to develop a more efficient motorcycle disc brake rotor. The purpose of this design project is to design and develop a disc brake rotor that reduces the specific risks involved with braking during performance motorcycle racing and riding. Common problems involved with motorcycle brakes involve heat. This brake rotor will be meant to have a lower coefficient of conductive heat transfer between the brake rotor and the brake pad surface. The design process will deal mainly with material choice and the physical design of the brake rotor. Different materials have different thermodynamic properties; our goal will be to choose the best material that will result in optimal braking as well as the substance with the best heat transfer properties. The physical design of the rotor I.E. the width, slots, drill holes, etc. on the rotor will contribute to the heat transfer properties as well as the performance of the brakes on the motorcycle. With the DDC brake rotor, there will be a new technology available for performance motorcycle riding.
Packaging companies are in need of a process to remove plastic nylon from paperboard tube cores in order to conform to industry recycling standards. Currently many companies are exerting many hours of labor to make these rolls suitable for recycling. The current practice of removing plastic utilizes box cutters resulting in an unsafe and time consuming process. By solving this problem, package companies will be able to free up production time, lower safety concerns, and allow manpower to be utilized elsewhere. It is Core Cutters’ goal to solve this problem for packaging companies so that they will be able to free up production time, lower safety concerns, allow manpower to be utilized elsewhere, and conform to industry recycling standards without excessive burden. This will be accomplished by the construction of a hydraulic cutting machine capable of cutting nylon rolls up to 300 pounds and that have up to a 30 inch diameter, all while maintaining company cost restrictions and worker safety.
Team 16: The Orthopaedic Implant Company started here in Reno in 2010 with the goal of reducing the cost of trauma based surgical implants to both hospitals and patients. While The Orthopaedic Implant Company has developed an array of products for bone fracture repairs, they have yet to make any development in soft tissue repair systems. One of the most common soft tissue injuries are rotator cuff tears which often require surgery. Team 16, with the input of local surgeons, aims to develop a suture anchor system which will reduce the overall cost and waste compared to existing single use, disposable anchor systems. Team 16’s system will feature anchors and instruments that can be re-sterilized on site and manually loaded with sutures in the operating room. By eliminating the need for anchors and instruments to be sterilely packaged, Team 16 will produce a high value product that cuts cost without sacrificing quality.
Pixelator is an innovative way to go about printing an image or photo onto unconventional surfaces. Unlike conventional inkjet printers that are limited to being used on paper, Pixelator is designed to be able to print on most inorganic, solid flat surfaces. This includes various woods, papers, plastics, and metals. Team eNVy ME’s goal is to be able to provide an intuitive and user friendly option to print any given image onto any surface through an easy to use interface. The Pixelator will allow users to take a standard picture file such as a .jpeg file and convert it into g-code to allow the printer to apply the individual pixels of the image under the standard CMYK color model to develop a painted duplicate of the requested image. With the most current machining and manufacturing processes available the Pixelator will be designed to the highest design quality standards while meeting applicable ISO standards.
Moment Skis is a small operation where everything is handmade, but some automation could be implemented to help speed up simple tasks. Moment Skis currently uses Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWP), a composite plastic, for their sidewalls. The problem with this material is its complexity. In order to bind it to other materials, the top and bottom of the UHMWP must be sanded, burned, and cleaned. This process gives the polyethylene a satisfactory coefficient of friction to adhere to the epoxy. Currently, Moment Skis uses a hand driven blowtorch for the burning process. This process allows for multiple mistakes such as missing parts of the sidewall and spending too much time in contact with the flame. If not done properly, this can result in multiple fallbacks including loss of product and wasted time. Team 18 will engineer an automated sidewall burner that can execute the burning process perfectly for hours on hundreds of sidewalls. Our automation process will minimize human interaction and eliminate human error while burning the sidewalls.
Modern furniture is increasingly made by man-made materials. Victory Woodworks, a company based in Sparks, Nevada, is known nationally for its ability to use these materials to manufacture complex and high quality products. The majority of these materials come in the form of 4 foot by 8 foot panels 3/4 of an inch thick. After parts are cut from these panels the cut edges need to be covered with a banding called edge-banding. The edge-banding, which come in 500 foot roles, needs to match the color and look of the panel so it undergoes a finishing process with paint or lacquer. Currently, Victory Woodworks’ rolls these 500 foot rolls onto large construction tubes by hand to allow the edge-banding to be finished. Once dry they roll the edge-banding back up to be used later. Team JKATZ will design a machine to automate the process of rolling the edge-banding onto the construction tubes and, once dry, back off the tubes into a usable roll.
Flight Path of a Sports Ball is an interactive learning device that will demonstrate the Magnus Effect to the ages of 3 years and up. Its basic design will allow for the user to launch a ping pong ball with controlled spin, velocity, and angle to demonstrate the various flight paths caused by the Magnus Effect. Team Magnus may eventually include an experimental mode that allows for a more precise control of flight path targeted for an older age group. The manipulation of the flight path will be done through a Graphical User Interface (GUI), where additionally, the user will be able to also access informational files on the Magnus Effect. This project initially started off as a proposal by a Research Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Hassan Masoud, who has now become our mentor. The intention of the project is to be put on display in the Discovery Museum in Reno, Nevada upon completion.
Often, startup microbreweries, such as IMBIB Custom Brews in Reno, experience problems related to heating water needed for the brewing process. These problems usually consist of the expenses related to heating or the physical process of being able to heat enough water (~300 gallons of water at 175 degrees for microbrewery use). Currently, IMBIB heats large amounts of water using a small-volume on-demand water heating unit. They state the process is not only costly, but inefficient. To help alleviate the issues related to heating, we present solar-thermal heating processes as a concurrent or alternate heating method. Our product seeks to collect heat atop a roof through a series of closed-system winding pipes that use pumped liquid to transfer heat to vat of liquid water below. Additionally, to regulate and monitor the systems processes a series of gauges, release valves, and feedback control will be installed.
The Investigative Capstone Unit (IC[U]), is developing a digital camera mounting device called “Camera Ops”. This device serves to improve local security surveillance for the University of Nevada Reno’s Police Department (UNR PD) by removing the need for a standard tripod when monitoring university events from a high vantage point. Camera Ops is designed to mount a large array of professional cameras in order to take photos or video through a window. The device will be easily detachable and portable so Camera Ops can be used in many different scenarios with ease. Camera Ops provides a 120 degree vertical rotation along with a full 360 degree horizontal rotation allowing the operator to point the camera both towards and away from the window. This mount will help improve surveillance procedures for UNR PD in order to ensure greater public safety during large university events.
The one-handed athletic wheelchair is a wheeled apparatus that allows quadriplegic athletes with mobility in one hand to play Murder Ball. Current designs for athletic wheelchairs can only be used effectively by those who have mobility in both their arms. This places athletes who want to play the sport, but only have mobility in one arm, at a severe disadvantage when using conventional athletic wheelchairs. The one-handed athletic wheelchair is designed to alleviate this disadvantage by allowing athletes to more effectively control both wheels with one arm. This design every quadriplegic athlete a more equal ability to play Murder Ball.
truputt is a device that will allow golfers of all skill levels to improve their putting stroke anywhere at anytime. Its durable, compact and provides a kinesthetic teaching approach to the putting stroke. The adaptability of truputt is remarkable in that it can be used before a round out on the links or in the comfort of your home or office. truputt improves putting performance by providing users with a repeatable, straight putting stroke; this is accomplished by a retractable string that extends from the putter to the device. The string serves as a visual aid for the user to see the stroke plane. Additionally, a small resistance is applied to the string as the user putts through the ball. This ensures the user does not decelerate upon striking the ball. Improving these two aspects of the putting stroke can vastly help the golfer shave strokes off his game.
Team MEGA is designing the MEGA Hammer in conjunction with Ormat Technologies to improve installation and removal of impeller collets from staged centrifugal pump systems. The MEGA Hammer will be a vital tool for Ormat and others utilizing similar pumps to increase production efficiency and workplace safety. The current method of collet installation and impeller removal involves using a large, human powered slide hammer. This method creates several problems including personal safety, inefficiency, and regular damage done to the pump shaft due to inconsistent force applied. Personal safety is one of the major problems as the slide hammer currently used is dangerous, and the probability of bodily harm is high. In addition to potential bodily harm, the existing method is also inefficient and can be damaging to pump shafts and impellers. Having a pump shop maintenance engineer utilize a slide hammer induces force inconsistencies that impedes both installation and removal. The repeated and unpredictable impacts routinely causes damage to the pump shaft by driving debris deeper causing shaft surface imperfections.
In today’s world, there are many applications for a scratch tester. With such a wide variety of consumer products on the market, there is a growing need to know the coefficient of friction and how scratch resistant a surface may be. If controlled properly, one could generate the required stressed to deform the metal to the right shape. Industries that would benefit from this are the automotive industry, the paint industry, glass makers, and vinyl wrap manufactures. The main goal of the product is to design a tool that accomplishes the main functions of a scratch tester but is more affordable for smaller businesses with insufficient funds. Some scratch testers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars – an investment that smaller businesses simply cannot afford. Although there are older mechanical models of scratch testers available, we will implement one with a completely original and enhanced design.
Team R.A.C.E (Robotics and Capture Engineering) is designing a protective guard for an iClebo Kobuki mobile research robot. The iClebo Kobuki can reach speeds of up to 1m/s, an impact at this speed can cause significant damage to the robot. The guard Team 27 will be designing will reduce damage taken and redistribute the force of an impact throughout the guard instead of the robot. Team 27s goal is to design and build a lightweight, but durable, guard that can withstand multiple impacts and maintain its structural integrity. The team also plans to install an audible warning system into the structure of the guard that informs the operator if the guard is installed improperly or has been shifted after impact. The team also hopes to make the robot compatible with a Vicon 3D motion capture system which would allow for future research and development at the University of Nevada Reno.
Team 28, Electric Magma, is working to design a hybrid solar-thermoelectric generator. Thermoelectric modules can either use electricity to act as a heat pump and remove energy from a system, or can convert heat into electricity. They are currently used in many niche applications, including recycling waste heat. Our plan is to use lenses to focus direct sunlight onto thermoelectric modules, which will then convert the heat produced from the focused sunlight into energy. This generator will be used to supply clean renewable energy, at a more cost effective rate than solar energy. At present, the design is planned to be relatively small and modular, allowing for easy transportation. However, this research and technology could be the starting point for a new source of power within the renewable energy market, and could potentially be scaled up for larger applications. Team Electric Magma firmly believes thermoelectric technology holds the key to the future of renewable energy, and will transform the way man harnesses the power of the sun.
The goal of LPH is to create an affordable product which will extend battery life on small electronic devices that are used outdoors. Specifically, the project is aimed at GoPro cameras that are helmet-mounted. These devices are frequently used in all-day situations and will often die before the user is finished with their activities. LPH will utilize solar energy to trickle charge these devices while in use, giving them a longer battery life without any impediment to the user. The charging apparatus will also be usable with other devices if the user desires, as the charging output will be a female USB slot, making it compatible with a variety of electronics.