2014-15


Automated Circuit Board Loader

Andrew De Haan, Craig Disselkoen, and Drew Nederhoff

We worked with Sencore, Inc. (Sioux Falls, SD) to design a device to automate the process of feeding printed circuit boards (PCBs) onto an assembly line. Our automated PCB buffer frees the operator from the repetitive task of placing PCBs onto the input conveyor for the assembly line, allowing him or her to focus attention on other less tedious tasks.

Our automated PCB buffer device stores PCB's between two towers on the teeth of cogged belts. Upon request, a PCB is lowered onto the conveyor belt and delivered to the next machine in the assembly line. Key features of our design include a method to prevent damage to the PCB by slowing the rate of descent just before the board lands on the conveyor and adjustability to accommodate the variety PCB sizes used at Sencore.


Disaster Relief Shelter

Dylan Postman, Kyle Ruiter, Alan Van der Woerd, and Chase Van Gaalen

We designed and built a transitional disaster relief shelter to participate in John Brown Unviersity's (JBU) annual Disaster Shelter Competition. Each year JBU hosts this competition in partnership with a Christian disaster relief organization like Samaritan's Purse (this year's partner) in order to generate new ideas for improved shelter designs. This year the disaster scenario was based on the 2005 earthquake in Balakot, Pakistan, requiring shelters to withstand high wind and earthquake loads as well as cold winter temperatures.

Our shelter is designed to provide a safe and comfortable home for a family of four and to meet the wind, temperature, and earthquake loads specified by JBU. For quick assembly the shelter is made up of eight structurally insulated panels which utilize PVC pipe at the edges to snap together and which insert into a sturdy, insulated floor. The materials for the shelter can be sourced locally, which will help to stimulate the local economy after the disaster. Our shelter sustained vigorous shake and wind testing, and performed well in heat retention testing, earning an overall ranking of first place out of the five participating shelters at this year's competition.


Residential Storm Sewer

Jonathan De Graaf, Anthony Harbaugh, and Austin Van Vuren

We worked with the City of Sioux Center to create two possible storm sewer designs for a residential housing subdivision being planned for the undeveloped farmland to the west of the current hospital. The proposed storm sewer will collect and channel surface street runoff away from the development.

Our first design utilizes a buried 48-inch diameter concrete pipe that would handle most rain events and would work in combination with the street to channel runoff from large rain events. The estimated cost for this design is approximately $250,000. Our second proposed design utilizes a concrete or grass open-channel to accommodate the runoff from any rain event at an estimated cost of $40,000-$110,000 (depending on how the channel is lined). For comparison, we estimated the cost of an all-pipe design to be $850,000. We presented the city with the benefits and drawbacks of each design alternative so that they can make an informed decision as they move forward in laying out the development.

Both designs incorporate a dry detention basin (meaning that the basin will only be filled with water during large rain events). This detention pond will be centered on the stream that presently runs to the east of the development allowing the stream's flow to be adjusted as needed to accommodate the un-detained water from the subdivision. This design will also mitigate the effects of the development on downstream locations by ensuring net-zero increase in flow from the pre-development conditions.


Round Bale Gasification

Austin De Boer, Steven DeJong, and Aaron French

We designed and constructed a small-scale model for converting hay or silage bales into fuel for the fluidized bed gasifier that Dr. Ethan Brue maintains on campus. Gasification is a possible means of energy production and bales of bio-organic materials are a plentiful resource in farming regions. Dr. Brue's long-term goal is to convert round bales into an accessible and viable fuel for fluidized bed gasification.

We designed and constructed a small scale "proof-of-concept" model that cuts a core of material out of a square bale to test and validate this possible energy solution. Cutting a core from the bale (as opposed to shredding or unrolling the bale) takes advantage of the already dense state of the bale by eliminating extra processing steps, thus reducing the cost and power required for processing the bale. Our design utilized a steel pipe, driven by a hydraulic jack to cut a core from the bale, which could subsequently be fed into the gasifier. Tests showed that the concept has a high potential to meet the need of feeding the bale into a gasifier at an appropriate rate, however, getting the hay to fill back into the hole made by the cutting pipe in preparation for the next cut is a significant challenge that will need to be addressed in future iterations of the design.


Sheet Metal Shear Backstop

Tyler Jansen and Cameron Stuive

We worked with LVO Manufacturing (Rock Rapids, IA) to design a programmable backstop for their existing sheet metal shear. LVO makes large kitchen equipment and many of their products are made from sheet metal, thus the sheet metal shear, which makes straight cuts in sheet metal, is an important piece of equipment in their manufacturing facility. The current backstop, which sets the length of the cut on the shear, frequently becomes misaligned leading to wasted sheet metal and operator frustration. LVO requested a redesigned for a backstop that addresses these problems and that is digitally programmable. Our final design strives to improve reliability and reduce frustration by utilizing high accuracy servo motors to position and a ball nut and ball screw system to physically move the two stops. Additionally, a programmable controller allows the operator to easily control the motors in order to set the desired position for the stops. This design will provide quiet, accurate, and reliable position of the backstop.


Soccer Press Box

Braden Graves, Thaddeus Van Essendelft, and Alec Woods

We designed the structural and mechanical (HVAC) portions of and provided a cost estimate for a press box for the Dordt College soccer field. The soccer program wants this building to facilitate video recording and commentating during games, fan seating, and equipment storage at the field.

Our proposed press box features first story storage and second story media rooms for filming, commentating and taking stats. Based on a load analysis, we specified a concrete and rebar foundation, steel studs, wooden I-beam floor joists and wooden roof trusses. We also determined that a commercially available MagicPak heating and cooling unit would meet the HVAC needs for the building. In addition, a 13-row aluminum bleacher stand will sit in front of the structure to provide an inviting place for fans to congregate and watch games. We estimate that the total cost to create this facility will be approximately $181,000.


Solar Air Heater

Isaac De Jong, Joel Dykstra, and Ola Ilelaboye

The Dordt College Engineering Department is actively looking at ways to expand current lab equipment on the roof of the Charles Adams Engineering Building. To meet this need, we designed and installed a system of instrumented set of solar panels to heat air that will allow students to experiment with active solar heating. Current commercially-available solar hot air systems have limited user adaptability in positioning and airflow.

Our solar heating system consists of three solar panels, each from a different manufacturer (Solar Sheet 1500 GS, RREAL SPF32, and Solar Way 6000). The angle of each panel can be adjusted independently, allowing the collectors to face the sun at different angles. The fan speed blowing air through the system can be varied and the path of airflow through the panels can be adjusted so that it flows through each panel heats the same air (series) or each panel heats different air (parallel) before the air is introduced to an interior space. Purchasing three different collectors also will allow students to compare panel design, quality, and performance over their useful lives. The system is also designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and the changing seasons over many years of operation.


Universal Test Stand

John Hondred, Matt Roghair, and Todd Verhoef

The Dordt College Engineering Department needs a loading device to apply force to the lathe bridges that are designed and built in the Introduction to Engineering course, as well as a way to test large concrete beams for upper level courses. The apparatus must be able to simultaneously record force and displacement values in real time.

We designed a steel testing frame that can withstand the large loads needed for testing a concrete beam and with fine enough resolution to accurately measure the smaller loads for testing lathe bridges. The design uses a hand-powered hydraulic cylinder to apply the force and a string potentiometer to record the displacement. The instantaneous force and displacement values are recorded in excel spreadsheets to facilitate analysis.


Volleyball Impact Load

Joseph Montgomery, Aaron Parks, and John Van Weelden

Shoulder pain is relatively common among volleyball players. It is likely that biomechanical factors contribute to the causes of this pain, so understanding the loads applied to the shoulder during a hit or serve might help reduce the incidence of shoulder pain.

Our group designed and built a device to record force data on a volleyball during a hit. The design uses a Tandem Spike Challenger stationary volleyball practice apparatus to hold the ball in place. The tethered ball is covered with a skin that is instrumented with a grid of 16 Flexiforce sensors. A LabVIEW program converts voltage signals to forces via a Cymatic LR-16 audio recorder. A visual on the LabVIEW interface displays the force using colors and numbers.


Water Resource Management for the Esther School

Kim De Boer, Amanda Donnel, and Emily Riihl

Need: The Esther School (Nyangwenya, Zambia) has problems with calcium deposits, drying wells, and erosion around the school buildings. These issues, along with a desire to collect gently used water from the kitchen and washroom sinks (greywater) to water the orchards, have led to a recognized need for a sustainable water management system.

Solution: We designed a rainwater harvesting and storage system consisting of rain water collection at buildings, piping to a cistern and a return pipe for use. This system will store water during the rainy season so that it can be used during the dry season. Using rainwater will solving the calcium problem, since it is softer than the ground water. A rainwater system will also reduce the school's demand on the community's freshwater wells, allowing both the community and school to grow more sustainably. Collecting the rainwater will also mitigate erosion around the buildings, since it will now run into the storage system instead of onto the ground. A separate greywater system will facilitate reuse of the collected water by collecting and filtering water from the kitchens and washrooms through compost before piping it to orchard for irrigation.