Students make mark in Bedrock Quarry challenge

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winning team (from left) Ryan Kennedy, Jacob King, Nicholas Gerrard, Taaeli and Noah.

A team of University of the Sunshine Coast students have drawn inspiration from a prehistoric-themed cartoon to showcase their potential as future mechanical engineers.

The ‘Furious Five’ team of Ryan Kennedy of Maroochydore, Jacob King of Burnside, Nicholas Gerrard of Chatsworth, Taaeli Fakraufon of Buderim and Noah Sellers of Buddina were victorious in USC’s first Bronto-crane challenge yesterday (Wednesday 24 October).
 
They topped the class in a hard-fought contest to replicate cartoon character Fred Flintstone’s famous Bronto-crane with a much lighter scale-model crane as part of a Mechanical Design subject.

Teams could only use balsa wood, glue and string to create their quasi quarry-mining dinosaurs, with points awarded for various criteria such as efficiency in construction and the speed at which cranes could operate.

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Selvan Pather said the winning team developed and built an effective light-weight crane that successfully picked up and delivered all five “rocks” (ping pong balls) to the quarry chute.

“This required perfect synchronised control of the movements of the crane by all the members of the team,” he said. “The simple crane design and ease of operation provided the team with a winning edge in this competition.”

Dr Pather said the contest helped students better understand key mechanical engineering concepts like levers, pulleys, load-carrying capacity and precision in design and construction.

He said it also gave them an opportunity to develop skills in turning their ideas and sketches into reality.

The event also included a colourful display of the engineering students’ design creations of clock faces inspired by nature, freehand sketches of vehicles, and cardboard polyhedral shapes.

 
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