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Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 11:01am
Las Cruces, NM (KDBC) — New Mexico State University’s American Society of Mechanical Engineers took third place in the regional ASME Student Design Competition in Lubbock, Texas, on April 4.
The theme of this year’s competition was “Lighter than Air UAV.” The goal of the competition was to build a small unmanned air vehicle that could put out a fire.
Students were asked to design a UAV to carry cargo through two gates, see below, drop a payload and return to the starting point.
The judges used a hoop to limit the size of the vehicle and the vehicle was radio controlled.
NMSU’s ASME team was comprised of nine students.
The team decided on a quadcopter due to the affordability and practical utilization. Ed Conley, professor in NMSU’s mechanical engineering department, was the faculty adviser for the ASME team.
“Everyone used their strengths where they needed to be,” said Jesse Wilkinson, pilot and manufacturing lead. “Dr. Conley was also extremely important in our success.”
The rules stated that it would be beneficial for the UAV to have the capacity to carry a substantial amount of weight. Wilkinson said quadcopters are relatively inexpensive and can carry weight.
The overall cost of building the quadcopter was only $600. Students began working on the quad copter in November.
Wilkinson stated that the biggest challenge was securing funding for the project and travel.
All the parts of NMSU’s quad copter were printed on 3-D printers in the Aggie Innovation Space.
Wilkinson said that around 1,000 minutes of printing was required to complete the project. Ken Ruble, operations manager of the Aggie Innovation Space, also went with the team and served as a manufacturing mentor for the project.
“The Aggie Innovation Space provided us with the tools to succeed,” said Dakota Burrow, the lead engineer.
“Not one day went by where we felt that we could work without the Innovation Space, and not one day went by where we did.”
The quadcopter will be used as a system for education across Southern New Mexico.
The team has plans to use the quadcopter to deliver a football during the next NMSU football game.
The students were voted people’s choice, best in show and best pilot.
The team is an alternate for the international competition, due to its third place position.
The international competition will be held in Montreal Nov. 14-20.