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Zambaby's Norwich Field Test

Mar 21, 2017   |   by Lee Michaelides   |   Daily UV

Students' ice surfacing machine shows promise.

Sophomores from Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering nailed the concept—a small machine large enough to resurface the ice on the Norwich Rink. Izzy Parizeau, Lindsey Hodel, Peter Strawn, Nick Cervenka and Quang Dang designed and built the Zambaby for an intro-level engineering class. The idea was to automate the work done by people like Norwich's Hosers. The Hosers scrape and flood the rink every night—weather permitting. It takes two Hosers more than an hour to do the job. Three of them were on hand last Sunday morning to watch the Zambaby demonstration.

The Zambaby's design is straightforward. A motorized brush in front clears the ice tailings on the surface. Water from a tank mounted on the top of the Zambaby is plumbed down to a cloth stretched across a rake-like device that wipes water along the ice—smoothing the surface.

The Zambaby's shortcoming was noticed immediately. The brushes barely turned. At first the team thought the battery powering the electric motor had been drained by Sunday's bitter cold. But that wasn't the problem. They figured out the motor they installed wasn't powerful enough.

"We looked at RPMs and we should have considered torque as well," said Izzy Parizeau, spokesperson for group.

In the real world the engineers would go back to the drawing board and design Zambaby 2.0 The Zambaby's creators didn't have that option because Dartmouth's winter term is ending. They had to write up their report, edit a video and be prepared to present their findings to their professor the next day.

And the Hosers? Expect to see them back on the rink.

"We would have liked this machine to make us go into retirement," said Jackton Downard.

Here's the Zambaby's presentation video. Feedback from the Hosers begins at 4:15.

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