Cal Poly students proved once again that they are are award-winning when Cal Poly’s Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) team took first place in design at ASME’s (formerly the American Society of Mechanical Engineers) annual competition this weekend in Tooele, Utah. The team also took second place in the drag race, third in the cart event and a second place overall win with its recumbent bicycle vehicle.
The competition was the culmination of nine months of work for team members who began designing in September, before building the bike from scratch, said mechanical engineering junior and team president Matt Baker.
“As a school, we’re proud that we do all the manufacturing from start to finish,” Baker said.
The team’s emphasis on strong design contributed to the first place win, Baker said. ASME judges pay careful attention to testing and analysis in each design report when ranking competing HPVs, Baker said.
“They want to see who went through the design process, tested the design and did analysis on the design,” Baker said.
The bike also came in ahead of the pack because of its innovative features, said William Hilgenberg, an aerospace engineering junior and ASME vice president.
“Bikes come in all different shapes and sizes,” Hilgenberg said.
Most vehicles entered in ASME’s competition are three-wheeled designs, but Cal Poly’s team almost always builds a two-wheeled bike, Hilgenberg said.
To design the bike, called Gemini, the team was inspired by a previous Greek-themed team design, Atlas.
“The actual HPV team has been around 35 years, so we have a lot of history,” Hilgenberg said.
The two wheels allowed the bike to be both fast and maneuverable, allowing the team to take second in the drag races and third in the cart event, an obstacle course-type race, Hilgenberg said.
Though the team is a mechanical engineering club, students from other engineering majors and even majors outside the College of Engineering (such as history) joined the team, and were all coached in the creative process, Hilgenberg said. Each student was trained in the manufacturing process until it was memorized, and then given individual or small group projects.
“We can take people who have no experience in the shop and train them into someone who has a lot of experience,” Hilgenberg said.
Mechanical engineering professor and faculty adviser for the team, Kim Shollenberger, was proud of the effort put in by each student. Her role was simply to advise, and the students competed by themselves this weekend, Shollenberger said.
Shollenberger also served as senior project adviser for several team members, who spent long hours making the HPV’s design their senior project.
“They put in so many extra hours doing calculations,” Shollenberger said.
The team’s multiple wins this weekend were rewarding in light of the effort they put in, Shollenberger said
“I think they did a great job,” Shollenberger said. “They’re a great bunch of students, and they put in so much time in this year’s bike.”