It's almost spring. To college-bound high school seniors, it's the time of year when college acceptances (or not) start coming in. One of our team members, Lydia, who helped with the last submarine got accepted to Caltech, one of the top technical schools in the US. We all knew Lydia was brilliant when, at age 15, she did all the calculus for the submarine project, but it's nice to see such a distinguished school recognize her gifts. When she went to Caltech for a visit, after having been accepted to the school, several of the staff told her they had noted her work on Il Calamaro, our 2013 ISR entry, and that it was a PLUS on her resume. Congratulations, Lydia!
Today's focus was cutting pieces of wood for the fixture we will be building on Saturday. We reviewed safety procedures and got to work. What a great way to learn about fractions! The biggest problem we had was getting the work crew here! Poplar Hill Road, a dirt road, is suffering from the slow snow melt; today it looked like a mud-wrestling pit. Cars stopped at the top of the hill and the kids slogged through the mud. It was definitely a "leave your boots at the door" kind of day.
Our submarine is named Nautilus. In a future post, we can look at the first nuclear submarine, Nautilus, and possibly Jules Verne's Nautilus, but in today's post, let's learn about the beautiful sea creature, the nautilus. Did you know that the chambered nautilus:
Military commemorative artist George Skypeck heard about our submarine project and wanted to help. His solution? Create an original work of art and donate it and its copyright to KIDS! He stopped by Friday to make a special presentation to the group. We learned a lot about the Nautilus submarine, symbolism in military art, and how art can be used as therapy and to help others. THANK YOU, Mr. Skypeck!
To learn more about Mr. Skypeck, click on the link above.
On this snowy Saturday, Sam and Teddy, along with Zaahid, went to FusionFiber to meet with Mr. Whitley for the last of their fiberglass tutorials. Here's what they brought home.
The propulsion team got the chance to talk to Mr. Brian O'Connor, who holds a patent for the rotary lobe pump design we have been working on. He showed us his designs and is eager to assist. We appreciate his time and willingness to work with us.
The adventure continues. I visited my Coast Guard daughter, currently stationed in Seattle and residing a mere two blocks from the Space Needle. While looking at a map to plan out excursions, I saw that the University of Washington was just a few miles away. Back at the 2013 ISR, UW's beautiful submarine Laurie Bell was situated right next to our Il Calamaro out in the parking lot. Emboldened by the spirit of camaraderie that ISR engenders, I contacted UW's mechanical engineering department to see if I could visit with members of their human-powered submarine team. The response was humbling: Yes, please visit. Yes, we have a team meeting tomorrow and you're invited. Yes, come early for a tour.
Team co-captain Bentley Altizer--he gives good directions!--met me at the dive locker where the sub is being constructed. He patiently showed me various components, explained manufacturing techniques employed, encouraged me to take pictures, drew out graphs explaining "modulus of toughness", etc. I was really impressed by his knowledge, professionalism and generosity. Knowing that we were having issues forming our windows, he graciously let me take two sub-standard (a little pun!) nose cones home to show our team and possibly modify.
Following this tour, we went to the all-team meeting. Bentley gave his report. Of surprise to me was that the category of submarine for the 2017 team entry had already been selected. That's planning ahead! Sub-system leads then gave brief reports. Following these report, each sub-system had a chance to break out and meet. I sat in on the controls group. Again, I was impressed by the team work, knowledge and commitment that these young adults exhibited. It was hard to remember that they were all volunteers.
My visit to UWHPS team left me with a happy feeling. I was happy because of their warm reception. I was happy because these young people will be tomorrow's engineers, and they show such promise. I was happy because I knew I'd get to meet many of them again, in just a few month's time. Needless to say, I had a smile on my face all the way back to the east coast as I maneuvered my souvenirs, the two PETG nosecones, through various airports.
Click on the button to link to the University of Washington's sub team website:
We arrived unannounced, but the staff here were just super and gave an impromptu tour of their boat building facility. The apprenticeship program is open to young adults, age 17-22, who have struggled through the traditional school system. The Foundation offers a great opportunity for folks to learn practical skills, learn through hands-on experience and to be able build a boat! Those of use who had worked on the wooden mock-up of the 2013 ISR entry Il Calamaro could really appreciate the intricacies of wood bending, etc. Again, we added to our knowledge base of what programs are available and where skilled professionals are to be found. Thank you, Alexandria Seaport Foundation and Mr. Chadwick for this great tour.
What a great tour! TechShop is sort of like a gym for "makers": They charge a membership fee which gives you access to all the equipment...once you've passed the basic safety skills test. They offer classes, too. Let's see, among equipment that's available here are:
-tool benches, basic hand tools
-design work stations with 2D and 3D software
-silk screening area
-laser jet etching/cutting machines
-injection molding machine
-vacuum forming machine
-sewing area with heavy duty machines, sergers, embroidery machine, vinyl cutting machine
-bike repair/maintenance station
-wood shop (table saws, CNC milling machines, lathes, drill press, etc)
-machining shop (powder coating and sand blasting booths, tube bending machine, sheet metal bending machine, welding area, CNC milling machines, lathes, drill press, water jet cutter, etc)
There are also storage facilities, a kitchen/dining area, meeting rooms, a supply shop, and more.
So, for the submarine team, if we needed to vacuum form the windows for the sub, we could do it here. In fact, there are a lot of parts we could make here, if we had the training necessary and a membership. Another successful fact-finding trip!