Monday, October 6, 2008

Large Spinning Disks of Doom (or Steel)

An annoyingly blog-like title to start with. Aside from just testing out how this blog thing works, I will attempt to catch my readers (hah!) up on one of my current fun projects, an electric go-kart with a 110F ultracapacitor boost. (Think railgun-you-can-ride.) Working with a crazy - but very competent - group of high school students from the MIT Edgerton Center Summer Engineering Workshop, we built it over the summer and have had some fun driving it around campus:

By the way, I do this kind of stuff because I sometimes get bored with business-as-usual in my life as an engineering student. But this particular project is interesting because I think, as fun as it is, it also has significant serious research potential. Since we've already proven it is a fun ride, I'm thinking it might be time to satisfy academia with some more controlled experimentation. Hence, the spinning disks of doom:

These 11lb, 14" steel disks will provide rotational inertia directly to the electric motor on the kart, enough to simulate the effect 500lbs of kart + driver. And all without leaving the table in our shop. Not as much fun, but with the wireless data acquisition system it should rake in results fast enough to meet some paper deadlines. And even if the papers get rejected, guess what, now we have a sweet electric go-kart and five massive steel plates.

If you are wondering what magic MIT technology we use to produce custom-cut steel disks, it is called an abrasive waterjet. But in fact you can use one yourself. I sent the order out at 2:45PM and they were cut and shipped by 5:00PM. Can't beat that.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to Big Blue Saw, and please keep us updated on your project.