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College of Engineering, Computer Science & Construction Management

Design Expo - Spring 2019 Preview

Mechanical Engineering Major Alex Blake and his team have been working together on their senior capstone project since the beginning of the fall semester, and after more than 1,800 hours of work, it's just about done.

Blake, "Overall the project has been incredibly involved. The scope of the project when we started has changed to something that I don't think any of us expected it to be, and it's been a pretty amazing process to see how far we've come."

The project itself is called the Radial Dialation Fatigue Test Mode Shape Analysis Machine, and if that sounds complicated enough, wait until you hear what it does.

Blake, "It's a 3D scanner that is made to scan an object that is vibrating at an incredibly high speed. It's overall goal is to basically look at these tubes, and pick out the shape of its vibration in time."

The project is for Medtronic, the world's largest manufacturer of medical devices.

Blake, "The reason why they sponsored this project was so that they could have us do analysis on medical stints. They use these silicon tubes to test the medical stints for a fatigue life, so that they can be guaranteed to last ten years in the human body. The main problem that they had with the test is that they didn't know what shape they were causing that stint to deform in, so we made this project so that we could scan the stint tube while it's vibrating, and then pick out that shape and automatically build a 3 dimensional model in SolidWorks."

And while building the machine was no easy task, the real challenge for the group was in the data analysis.

John German, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Math Major, "We collect this data, how do we make sure that it's meaningful, how do we make sure that the data we analyze is accurate, so that we can make sure that the data we're giving Medtronic, they can actually use and make some sound engineering decisions with it."

The team has weekly conference calls with Medtronic and has even trekked down to Santa Rosa to visit with them in person on several occasions. Overall the company is thrilled with their work, and these students are pretty excited with it as well.

German, "I've learned skills here that I'm definitely gonna take with me into industry. It's definitely been life changing for me."

Blake, "I don't think it would've been possible without the specific group of people that we have and how hard everyone's worked."

The group. consisting of Blake, German, Andrew Gutierrez, Alexander Miller, and John Vega, will show off their finished product at the Design Expo this Friday. The event will take place from 10am to 1pm at the O'Connell South Courtyard and from 10am to noon in Colusa 100, featuring projects from all across the College of ECC.