Students triumph with home-built, mobile machine

June 20, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

Zipping over the finish line at 15.8 mph in a home-built, four-wheel, pedal-powered, bicycle-type vehicle was as much a triumph to the morning students in the machine technology class at Carroll County Career and Technology Center as a win in the Indy 500 would be to a race driver.

The 34 students in Bill Hill's morning and afternoon classes designed, engineered and built four of the vehicles during the last semester.

They presented them to the public Friday and tested them on a 200-foot race course set up on the parking lot.

Only one made it to the finish.

Speed was just one of the problems the students had to solve for their instructor, who also is the school's track coach.

Mr. Hill said industry is looking for workers with "problem-solving skills." That's what he teaches the students in his course.

After the race portion of the day's activities, the students progressed to math and science by calculating the friction cohesiveness of the tires against the road surface and the wheel circumference.

They also had to calculate gear ratios and revolutions per minute of the drive wheels to satisfy Mr. Hill.

One of the vehicles, a sleek, black, racy-looking machine with thin racing tires, broke a rear axle at the starting line. Another threw the chain off its sprocket about 20 feet from the finish line.

The fourth vehicle did not compete.

All four vehicles were built with parts of 20 bicycles donated to the class. The school bought tubing for the frames.

Next year's students will build three-wheel vehicles as their class project.

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