UBC Okanagan Engineering Students Build Award-winning Machines

Faculty of Applied Science, The University of British Columbia—First-year engineering students at UBC Okanagan have been learning what it’s really like to be an engineer.

The end-of-term design project for Engineering Fundamentals (APSC 170) consisted of a team-based competition in which students designed a machine to transport a ball through a multi-challenge course. The challenges included rolling up a curved ramp, floating in water, ringing a bell and defying gravity. The machine might typify those engineered for fruit-packing, packaging, assembly or bottling.

“I think you learn a lot by doing something—that’s part of our program here,” said Professor Andrew Labun, who teaches APSC 170 and established the rules for this end-of-year project. “The assignment was to build a machine, and students have been advancing their projects every week.”

Through the challenge, each team—consisting of three or four students—developed and evaluated multiple conceptual designs, prepared drawings for the chosen concept, purchased the parts and supplies, built the machines over the course of the spring term and demonstrated them for judges.

Students were evaluated on their oral presentation, visual aids and teamwork, as well as the machine’s functionality, design and workmanship. Penalties were assessed for going over budget and omitting parts of the machine in the budget analysis. Awards for best project design and best presentation were given.

Warren Anderson, Scott Ghomeshi and Jon Holland won the best Project Design Award for their Beagle II entry. Beagle II performed flawlessly through the multi-phase course. Its utilitarian design included a lift made from a car belt and rare earth magnets to elevate the ball. The project was made almost entirely from scrap wood, scrap metal and discarded bits of household appliances keeping the project well within budget.

“More complex ideas seemed easy on paper,” said Jon Holland, “but often required rethinking.”

“The event was a tremendous success,” said Bruce Dunwoody, Associate Dean and Acting Director of the UBCO School of Engineering. “Our students—18 teams—rose to the challenge and performed brilliantly for the very supportive crowd.”

More than 100 people—including representatives from businesses, other colleges and universities, as well as friends and parents—attended the inaugural competition. Students took advantage of the networking opportunity, with several securing interviews for summer employment.


For more information, please contact:

Teija Wakeman
School of Engineering
Phone: 250.807.8723
E-mail: teija.wakeman@ubc.ca

ErinRose Handy
Communications Officer
Faculty of Applied Science
The University of British Columbia
5000-2332 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
Telephone: 604.822.1524
Fax: 604.822.7006
E-mail: erinrose.handy@ubc.ca

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