This month I have dedicated more time to continuing work on my BTEC rewind project, which entails producing a pneumatic rewind unit to use on our rotary machines.
My final grade will be based on presentation, evidence and analysis, which will include elements such as a Gantt chart and critical path analysis which aided the planning of my project.
I initially had three options in terms of how the unit was to be driven – by belt, gears and directly. For a thorough analysis I had to go through the process of investigating each option. I determined that belt driven would have made the part too tall and directly driven would have made the part too long and have uneven weight distribution, which would have caused a lot of stress on the fix point. Gear driven worked out to be the best option and is also how our rotaries are driven.
As building the final piece will take some time, I have created a 3D printed version on a 2:1 scale, to demonstrate the working parts. It has a simple design of two wedges, which can be adjusted if the tolerances don’t quite add up. The moving gears will allow me to explain how it works and the design decisions I took. It will also show the stress/strain analysis which I can evaluate and comment on.
All of my other college work is going well and is nearly done for the year. I have completed my assignment for pneumatics and hydraulics in which I had to design a door opening system. It had to have a safety feature that enabled the doors to open should there be power failure. This also entailed providing analysis of my decisions, such as why I used a pneumatic system over an electric or mechanical system. This was really interesting work and had elements that complemented my rewind project nicely.
I’m still helping out at Hove Park School, in my role as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Ambassador. I’m keen to introduce tapes to their electric car project as the main joining method, but so far they’re sticking (excuse the pun) with traditional fixings. Although I know that a VHB product we sell could do the job of these fixings (and more), I don’t want to take over as I’m there for guidance purposes. They do have one element of the car requiring a tape and this is to stick a foam part to metal, at the front of their car. I’m really pleased we managed to get some tape included in the build and, of course, we are providing this for them.
Another activity I’m undertaking for STEM is to talk to students who are interested in engineering, at Davison High School. They have a STEM day there that I’m unable to attend, so they’re putting on an extra session for me so that I can still get involved. I’ll be talking about my apprenticeship, what it entails and how I got the role. The students will be at the point where they decide what to study upon finishing high school; I’m hoping that sharing my experience will help them to decide whether to study subjects relevant to engineering or to go straight into an apprenticeship scheme. I’ll certainly be sharing the benefits of doing both, as gaining my A levels prior to my apprenticeship has been very beneficial to my NVQ and BTEC.