Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Random Walk: Diwheel Test

Diwheel cars
Photograph by Kathryn LoConte Lapierre.

The lawn behind Thayer became a racecourse at the end of spring term when students tested diwheel cars—vehicles with two wheels, side-by-side—that they made in ENGS 146: “Computer-Aided Mechanical Engineering Design.” “Diwheels contain all of the design elements that I want to teach: computer-aided design, statics and dynamics simulations, mechanism design, computer-aided manufacturing, advanced prototyping with computer-numerically controlled machining, welding, and rapid prototyping,” says Professor Solomon Diamond ’97 Th’98. “But making the diwheels in three-and-a-half weeks is incredibly challenging. All the diwheels were operational on the smooth and level floor of the GlycoFi Atrium, but taking the race outside introduced difficulties due to the roughness of the terrain, slipperiness from grass getting into the mechanisms, and the slope of the lawn.” Indeed, most of the students had trouble getting their cars around the track. But even failure can be useful. “My plan is to share the lessons learned with next year’s class so that we can make improvements collectively,” says Diamond. “Having students learn from their predecessors helps to create a sense of intellectual continuity and shared purpose.”

For more photos, visit our Diwheel Car Race 2013 set on Flickr.

Categories: Random Walk

Tags: curriculum, projects, students

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