Now that students have been able to use the QuEST Center for almost 18 months, they are reaping the benefits of having increased lab space, a dedicated maker space and the latest high tech equipment.
This semester several STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes had final projects and exams that involved hands-on creation of technology, such as 3D printers, Stirling heat engines, or exploration of different energy sources, such as solar energy, electromagnetism and steam engines.
“Many of these types projects were done previously, but we are at a completely different level of depth, quality and complete integration with the curriculum now,” said Kathy Rentsch, Dean of Business, Engineering and Technology.
Students are able to use these skills to continue their education, if they are seeking a bachelor’s degree in engineering or related fields, or apply them directly to the workplace.
Here are some of the projects students having been working on:
Creating 3D Printers
Students in MNT 216, Manufacturing Processes II, built two 3D printers from kits, model Mendel 90. They ran into multiple challenges, as the instructions for the kits were not up-to-date and did not match the parts provided. Students had to problem solve and re-engineer the process. While doing so, they also improved upon the original design.
The Fab Lab now has nine 3D printers that use different materials. Students select the material that will meet the needs of the design they are building in terms of flexibility, strength and transparency. The Fab Lab is open to anyone on campus. Summer hours are Monday and Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Students can come in and see how the machines available work and learn how to use the technology for their own projects.
Students involved include Eric Akillian, Jason Butler, Stephen Burris, Emily Miller, Steve Kelly, and Johanny Polanco.
Students Make Stirling Engines
Students in senior level MNT 215 were assigned the task of building five Stirling engines, which are heat engines. The project included research, downloading appropriate information, using parametric modeling software to re-engineer one of many designs. Students then worked together to identify which parts needed machining and which could be manufactured using additive manufacturing equipment, such as 3D printing.
One the machined parts were identified, students were required to design fixtures, create the CNC programs, and run the machines to produce five copies of each component. The next step was to assemble the parts, identify any errors and make corrections.
“The students realized immediately upon assembly that friction was their enemy and that simple frictional resistance could render a system inoperable,” said Lee Duerden, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Manufacturing Technology at QCC. “It was a terrific learning curve for them and a genuine challenge.”
Students involved in this project included Thomas Le, Emily Miller, Stephen Kelly, Nicholas Voyer, Eric Akillian, and Jason Butler. In the group picture, Dean Kathy Rentsch and Leslie Horton, Dean of the School of Math and Science, also are pictured.
Energy Utility Technology Fair
The Energy Utility Technology option program is designed to prepare students for advancement in the energy industry. Students can use this associate’s degree to advance in the workplace or transfer to a four-year program to complete a bachelor’s degree.
The QCC community was invited to the Energy Utility Fair on May 3. Projects included advantages and disadvantages of solar energy, electromagnetism, how steam engines work, and a demonstration of a lemon battery. Professors and staff walk around the fair, students present their interactive projects and are scored. The scores and projects are part of their final grade.
Manufacturing and Mechatronics
The final project in ELT 130 Embedded Microcontrollers was to design build and program a microcontroller-based system. Examples are:
- Mobile robot controlled by a PS2 controller, with the ability to detect and avoid obstacles or to avoid driving off the edge of a table
- Mobile robot capable of following a line on the floor
- A multicolored RGB LED lamp that can generate any color by mixing together various amounts of red, green and blue light.
- A laser harp that sends out multiple laser beams in a fan pattern, and plays notes based on which beam is interrupted.
Through these projects, students learn electronic assembly and troubleshooting; drawing electronic schematics; and microcontroller programming. These skills prepare them for careers such as electronics technician, automation technician, mechatronics technician and robotics technician.
Students involved include Joe Kimball, Brendan Jett, Perla Abboud, Steve Villalobos, Sarah Dinsmore, Robert Allred, Christain Hulett, Elijah Boudreau, Shawn Reese, Long Sybouheuang, and Cody Hamilton. Not pictured is Tyler Church.