Induction Week

On the first day of term at CSAD we were set the first task at university. To begin i thought that this brief was daunting and challenging but above all exiting! The task we were set was to design and build two drag racers, and two hovercrafts; we were then given a range of supplies which consisted of battery packs, elastic bands, paper, laminated paper, card, wooden wheels, cogs, motors, propellers and several other unbelievably useful items.

I began the task by making an inventories list, i then produced a range of initial designs; some of these were outrageous and definitely impossible considering the supplies we were given and due to the fact that we only had a week to complete this task! After producing about ten designs on both the drag racer and the hover board i then narrowed them down to two final designs which i would then create. I then decided as i had a limited time i would produce one simple design and one more complicated and interesting design. I firstly began the making by producing the drag racers, i did this by wiring the motors as these allowed me to see how much power was generated, this then helped me decide on the scale of the chassis; After doing this i then created the chassis to a suitable size, i could then work out how much space i had inside for the parts, such as the axle, battery pack, and motor. This worked well, and my first model was effective in moving forward, at a less than steady pace. With the second model, i found that the chassis took a long duration to make and was quite intricate. Although fairly difficult i enjoyed the challenge of this! I then attempted to improve it from the first model, i did this by using two motors; one of which on the front axle and the other on the rear. After constructing i found that i needed more power from the batteries as although the motors gave more power it was still not enough. This brought me to a suitable solution which was to purchase a nine-volt battery to power the motors and to speed up the drag racer. This was extremely effective and caused the drag racer to move at a rapid pace, especially when compared to my first attempt!

I then looked at producing a hovercraft which i anticipated to be much more difficult! I began by doing a simple design once again, and was given a template made of laminated paper; i therefore cut and folded this as instructed, this would then act as the first model, after adding the motor and propellor this was very ineffective and barely moved. I then did some research on hovercrafts; this research told me that i not only needed motors to lift, i also needed motors to direct the hovercraft. I also upgraded from a 1.5 volt battery to a two nine-volt batteries one of which to power the two motors and the other to power the motor which would guide the hovercraft forwards. After doing this and sealing the bottom of the polystyrene base with double sided tape i found that it lifted well and moved efficiently. After doing this work we then had to choose one of the above to race, i choose the second hovercraft but on the day of the race i found that the batteries had drained during practices, this meant that it barely moved. During this induction week i thoroughly enjoyed, I was challenged with problems which had to be quickly solved, and was taught the competitive side of the design world; although on a very small scale!

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