Our project centers around the need for a device capable of lifting and rotating a tire in order to help motorists on the side of the road replace a flat tire. The device is portable and compact enough to fit comfortably in the trunk of a vehicle. When a driver gets a flat tire they will retrieve the device from the trunk and place it near the wheel needing replacement. The final design includes a loading ramp which allows the user to roll the tire onto the device. As shown, the final design incorporates a loading ramp, removable tool-tray, caster wheels, and a rolling mechanism for rotating the tire. All of the components fit into a compact and portable design to allow the user the ability to transport our product in the vehicle on a daily basis. By means of a lowering ramp, the device will allow the user to remove a flat tire without directly lifting it. The new tire can then be placed on the device and raised to the proper height via the ramp. At this time the tire can be rotated in place until the hole-pattern matches the bolt-pattern. The tire will then slide onto the bolts where it can be tightened for normal operation. Once all roadside maintenance is complete the device can be stowed in the trunk until the next time it is needed.
The current design candidate was chosen based on the functional qualities we wanted our device to have. The device was designed with the average driver in mind, and it only requires one individual for operation. There are no tools required for setup all of the functions are incorporated into the Tire Assist. In order to meet the customer’s needs, the device has three primary functions. These include the ability to help elevate the tire/wheel assembly, maneuvering of the device with an applied load during operation, and the tire is able to rotate in place for easy installation. Drawings were created in order to see how the product would come together.
The first prototypes for the Tire Assist project were our Proof of Concepts. We created two of these and the first was made of four caster wheels, a rectangular wooden base, bar stock, and conveyor rollers. It was used to get an idea of how to maneuver the device on various surfaces and also used for identifying the type of rollers we would use. We ended up using the same type of caster wheels but chose to build our own rollers.
The second POC was built with legos and was used to see how well our idea of the lifting mechanism worked. After testing this Proof of Concept, the design for the new prototype changed dramatically and it was determined that the lifting function of the device would not be needed. This was decided because the vehicle will already be elevated by its own jack, and the user can adjust the height of the vehicle to ensure proper alignment of the wheel to the vehicle hub.
Overall the POC accomplished our goal of determining the correct mode of transportation for our device, and it also proved that the rollers had the potential to accomplish the rotation necessary to change a flat tire. The POC impacted our final design choice dramatically, it changed our initial lift design into a ramp like system. The new design is more efficient and effective than our first idea and is more cost effective to implement. The new wheel placement, roller location, and ramp idea were all products of implementing our POC.
The team decided that the majority of the device should be constructed of aluminum in order to keep the overall weight low while ensuring strength and stability. The new prototype was modeled and it included new features like a ramp for getting the tire on the device, a removable tray for the storage of tools and miscellaneous items, and a carrying handle as shown below.
The Tire Assist was designed for manufacturing and assembly in order to help reduce cost and enable the user to replace parts that may break. Most of the parts are sub-assemblies that can be built economically. The sheet metal for the base was cut and bent to form a symmetric shallow box.
The base and ramp were powder coated for durability and aesthetics, prior to installing the other components. A small piano hinge was riveted to the main body for the lid/ramp. A rubber liner was bonded to the inside of the ramp allowing for traction. Next a latch was added to the body and lid in order to secure the device. The rollers were built of aluminum rods, neoprene rubber sleeves, and a set of needle bearings.
The rollers and wheels are bolted directly into the main body. Finally a tray was formed from sheet metal and powder coated. The four caster wheels were installed and two of them are lock the device in place during storage or operation. Lastly the handle was bolted to the tray which is placed inside the main body.
Tire Assist in action
The Tire Assist was tested in order to verify that all design specifications were meet. The test consisted of using the Tire Assist to change a tire on a raised vehicle. The device handled a full sized tire well, and also allowed the user to maneuver a standard sized spare tire easily. Once in place, the full sized tire was stable enough to allow the user to position the wheel in place for installation. The spare tire also sat inside the tire assist, but required additional support as predicted due to the contour of the tire. The team was proud to call the Tire Assist a success.
ABOUT THE TEAM
Shawn Kerns was born in Reno and joined the Marines in 2005. Upon completion of his time in service, he began to attend the University of Nevada Reno where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering and he is the team leader for A.I.M.S. Solutions. He currently works at Ebara International Corporation and is working toward earning his Professional Engineering license.
Israel Nunez is a senior in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in mathematics. Israel has Work experience in robotics, coupled with the knowledge acquired through the university curriculum,he plays a key role designing and implementing unique solutions for the team.
Matthew Moorhead moved to Sparks Nevada sixteen years ago. After graduating from Reed High School he spent four and a half years in the United States Army. Matthew returned home to Sparks after the Army and received his Associates in Technical drafting from Truckee Meadows Community College. When he realized he couldn’t get a job he enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Program at the University of Nevada, Reno where he is on schedule to graduate in the spring of 2014. When he’s not studying Matthew enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, trail running, and other forms of physical abuse in the Lake Tahoe region.
My name is Anthony Brill and I am a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno studying Mechanical Engineering. I serve as the Vice President of ASME UNR student chapter, as well as the college representative for differential fees. I am currently interning at Ebara International gaining many experiences in the cryogenic world. I am also partaking in Bio-medical research, with Dr. Evrensel, researching the effect of pressure oscillation on the displacement of mucas.