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Two Is Better Than One: Experiences Revitalizing A Capstone Design Competition Program

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Design Projects in Mechanical Engineering II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

14.1285.1 - 14.1285.8

DOI

10.18260/1-2--4519

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4519

Download Count

54

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Paper Authors

biography

Brian Novoselich United States Military Academy

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Brian Novoselich is a Major in the United States Army and an Assistant Professor in the
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West
Point, NY. He holds a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

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biography

Joel Dillon United States Military Academy

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Joel Dillon is a Major in the United States Army and an Instructor in the
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West
Point, NY. He holds a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Two is Better Than One: Experiences Revitalizing a Capstone Design Competition Program

Abstract

This paper examines the steps taken to revitalize the Baja SAE program at the United States Military Academy (West Point). Due to some significant issues with the 2007 Baja SAE team, West Point did not compete in the 2007 competition. Because Baja SAE is conducted as a senior capstone design project, the lack of competitiveness led the senior faculty advisor to examine the program and take steps to prevent future failures. A brief history of the West Point Baja SAE program, course framework, and steps taken to revitalize the program are discussed in detail.

In order to bolster students’ technical knowledge, the lessons of a related vehicle dynamics course were re-sequenced to better align with the steps taken to build the Baja vehicles. To heighten motivation for the project, early brainstorming sessions were conducted with limited success. The most successful change to the program was the creation of a second team for the 2008 season. The friendly competition between the two teams was a tremendous motivational tool that led to the successful completion of two vehicles for the 2008 competition. Individual feedback about the usefulness of the two team concept is discussed in detail.

Background

The Baja SAE competition first started in 1976. In this competition, engineering students from around the world are challenged to design, build, and test a robust, single-person, off-road vehicle designed for the “weekend enthusiast”1. Today, all vehicles are designed around the same 10 hp gasoline engine donated by a prominent engine manufacturer, making the design aspects of the vehicle very important. Students compete in one of three domestic competitions: East, Mid-West, and West. A unique aspect of the Baja SAE East competition that West Point habitually attends is that the vehicle must also be amphibious.

Figure 1. One of two West Point Baja teams at the 2008 Baja East competition.

Novoselich, B., & Dillon, J. (2009, June), Two Is Better Than One: Experiences Revitalizing A Capstone Design Competition Program Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4519

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