UBCO first-year engineering students competed a recent competition to see who could create the best vehicle gearbox in terms of design, sustainability and meeting client specifications.
One group designed the third-lightest gearbox, which featured three bearings instead of the usual six, earning them first place in the competition.
Team captain Kyle Reid said six bearings seemed like it was too much for the project, so the team designed a gearbox with three, weighing 42.3 grams.
“For us, it’s more sustainable for our project. We knew it wouldn’t be carrying a large load with our gearbox because that’s not really what it’s designed for, so we decided six bearings were kind of overkill,” said Reid.
“With less bearings, there’s less material, maintenance, and manufacturing cost. Also it’s so compact, it’s super strong and there’s little friction which is ideal in a gearbox,” said engineering student Stormy Howard.
The students worked on their projects throughout the semester. Overall one of the main challenges for the group involved getting together.
“We’re all on different schedules so it was difficult to set up times for meetings and to do work,” said Howard.
“More than 60 teams completed their design, which includes a set of engineering calculations, a model of the gearbox (using modelling software) and building a 3-D printed prototype. The prototypes went through vigorous laboratory testing, in which both functionality and engineering sustainability were assessed,” reads a UBCO release.
“The top 30 teams were selected for the final competition and these teams will present their models, as well as several alternative design solutions in the final stages of the competition.”
Awards were handed out for first, second and third place as well as an innovation award.
Students also completed an environmental impact assessment as the critical component of the design project, said head professor Dimitry Sediako.