March 29, 2002

Pneumatically Powered Bicycle Wins 1st Place for City College Students at the Los Angeles WESTEC 2002 Manufacturing Challenge

Seventeen San Diego City College students won first prize for the design and machining of a prototype pneumatic drive for a bicycle at the WESTEC 2002 Manufacturing Trade Show Challenge. Awarded at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Monday, March 18th, the City College Student Chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers has won this prestigious award in the Community College Division for the second consecutive year.

Contest rules required competing colleges to submit a project designed for manufacturing. In developing the prototype pneumatic drive for a bicycle, the student team hotly debated several conceptual designs in search of the simplest way to transfer the motor’s power. Using the most cost effective practices in modern manufacturing: Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, Rapid Prototyping and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM), a Motor Mount Assembly was designed to directly drive a roller against the rear tire.

This student’s new environmentally friendly transport reaches a speed of 4 miles-per-hour. The finished product could sell as an install-it-yourself kit of tubing and control parts along with the newly designed Motor Mount Assembly to fasten the pneumatic drive system to a standard bicycle. The pedal system is intact for unfueled operation.

The manufacturing technology students used City College’s rapid prototyping lab to create the drive system model from computer drawings right into the Z Corp. Three Dimensional Printer. This rapid prototyping process, using models made of ordinary cornstarch, eliminates wasted hours in cutting metal during the design improvement process.

“Few, if any, companies could have competed the project in the time that this team used to finish. Few of the 4-year universities that competed in the contest has the lab technology found at City College,” said Doug Welch, Professor of Manufacturing Technology at City College.

San Diego City College is home to four Advanced Technology Centers: the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies, the Center for Technology Enterprise Development and San Diego Technology Incubator, the Southern CA Biotechnologies Center and the Virtual Technologies Education and Enterprise Center (VTEC). VTEC was awarded a National Science Foundation to develop curriculum in rapid prototyping/rapid manufacturing technologies for the improvement of undergraduate education in engineering and manufacturing technology.

City College, one of the fastest growing community colleges in the nation, is located in downtown San Diego at 12th and A and serves 15,000 students a semester.

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