You are on page 1of 7

ME 371 Project A Report

Group 9

Zach Bowling, Robert Cortese, Alex Kerns, Danny McCarty

Goal Statement
The goal statement for our group project is as follows; to Collaborate with team
members in order to design and fabricate a desktop ornament that features a functional
planar slider-crank mechanism.

Project Specifications
The instructions of our project specify that each team will be given a collection of
semi-finished products from which to fabricate the paperweight. Other parts, or
off-the-shelf items, are also available for use. The objective is to design and fabricate
the lineage using information gathered from class lecture and outside of class
inspiration. All of the paperweights will be shaped by using the following machine tools
at least once during the manufacturing phase of the project: the drill press, the lathe,
and the milling machine. Of course other tools and processes may be employed too.
The use of the lathe will require the team to perform at least one turning operation using
a conventional lathe tool. In the past, steel washers have frequently been employed as
an afterthought to overcome a flawed design. This approach will not be permitted.
Individual spacers to provide axial separation of parts, and to respond to other
ill-conceived situations, will be machined from standard stock items. The precision
linkage must perform in a smooth silky fashion with minimal noise and an easy crank
rotation while having an appearance that one would want to display on one’s desk.

The group turned to real world applications such as trains wheels and car engine
pistons. Upon further investigation, it was decided that anything found in the real world
would be too difficult to create in our short time frame so we needed to find other
sources of inspiration. The in-class material because our second and final source of
inspiration. We looked at sample designs of a slider crank mechanism, and decided to
build something along the design depicted in figure 1. We collaborated with each other
and decided to construct a wheel-piston design with a simple fabrication process.
Figure 1
Design Selection:
The slider crank mechanism is constrained to fit on an aluminum base plate with the
dimensions 4”x6.75”x2’”. The base plate is machined to contain 24 evenly spaced,
threaded holes allowing other pieces to be bolted to it. Our initial design consisted of
five main components (from top left of Figure 2 to bottom right): rectangular stand,
wheel, linkage bar, slider piece, slider rails.

Figure 2: Initial design of slider crank

The motion of the mechanism is initiated by applying a force on the handle of the
The hole on the wheel is threaded and is attached to the unthreaded rectangular stand
allowing the wheel to rotate. The wheel is spun with a bolt handle that also attaches the
wheel to a linkage bar. The linkage Bar is loosely bolted to slider that is free to slide
along slider rails when the wheel is spun. Our final construction can be seen in Figure 3
Figure 3: Final Slider-Crank Prototype

Our final prototype (Figure 3) is nearly identical compared to the initial design
(Figure 2). This comparison exemplifies the importance of having a quality design
before building a functioning mechanism. The group succeeded in fabricating and
constructing the mechanism with very few minor issues due to the high quality initial
design. Below in Figure 4 is the dimensionalized blueprint of our initial design that lead
to the team’s success.

Figure 4: Slider-Crank Design Blueprint

Despite successfully achieving the goal statement, there were some minor
problems the team encountered. The way these problems were solved is discussed in a
further section.

Manufacturing Details:
During the manufacturing of the initial prototype, many considerations were taken
into account in order to ensure a polished and clean final product. The team decided on
a base material of aluminum, citing that the material was soft, allowing for easier and
more accurate machining, yet still durable, able to withstand heavy use and wear.
Pieces were also constructed out of a plastic 3D printed resin. The process of 3D
printing the slider part allowed for a more intricate piece to be created which may have
been very difficult if not impossible for a first time shop experience.
In order to assure that all measurements were accurate while cutting, milling and
fileing each piece, all pieces were coated in an ink dye and a calliper was used to etch
markings accordingly into the ink once dried. After the piece had been fully cut and
finished, the ink dye was washed off using an acetone solution. This method of
measurement allowed for not only accurate cuts and measurements, but also for a
clean finished product once manufacturing was finished.
Apart from materials, multiple different methods of machining were needed to
create the final parts. From the raw cut aluminum received in the shop pieces were first
cut roughly to size, either using a hydraulic drop saw or the band saw. After the raw cuts
on the saw are finished, the pieces are taken to the milling machine, where each pieces
is properly measured and trimmed down to the exact measurements specified in the
sketches or schematics, while also creating a cleaner edge than the one left by either of
the saws. After each piece is cut and milled, many of the pieces required some form of
hole. There were two distinct styles of drilled hole in the project pieces; those that
required free rotation and those that required threading. The threaded pieces were
drilled with a smaller diameter, and then threaded afterwards to allow for a tight fit using
bolts. This style of hole can be easily seen in the hole bored at the center of the radial
disc. The other style of hole that we created was a larger hole that allowed for free
rotation of a bolt inside of the hole. This is seen in many of the pieces, but can be
specifically noted in the stand piece where the axle for the radial crank is anchored.
After cutting, milling and drilling, much of the work was finished, but many pieces
still appeared rough or unprofessional. To clean up any burrs or sharp edges the final
pieces had, a file was used to file each edge down individually to ensure a smooth edge
to lower the risk of cuts or of parts in contact from snagging or binding up.
After all the pieces were finished, the parts were assembled using sturdy ¼ inch
bolts, ensuring a durable and strong connection between parts in the assembly, and a
lasting prototype for testing.

Problems and Solutions:

The team was very lucky in the sense that the build ran into minimal problems.
The first and main problem we ran into was the time constraint. During our design week,
each member had 3-4 exams throughout the week. This restricted the amount of time
we had to really get anything done initially. The second problem the team ran into
regarding time was that the builders underestimated how much time there was access
to the machine shop. Three members of the team had a big exam during assembly
week so we were not able to meet until Thursday. We initially thought this was fine
because we all assumed that the lab would be open during the weekend. We soon
found out that this was not the case and ended up having to expedite our assembly
process. Luckily it all worked out in the end and we were able to have our main
components machined and ready for assembly by the time the shop closed on Friday.
In order to prevent this from happening again, we all agreed that we need to plan further
ahead and be more proactive for the next project.
Once we received our slider from the 3D printer in the machine shop, we kept our
fingers crossed that it would work as planned otherwise we would have to make
emergency modifications. Luckily, our design held true with the exception of a few minor
issues we had to resolve. The first issue we ran into after our initial assembly was that
our slider motion was restricted at the end of the rails by the screws we had to keep it in
place. The screws were wide enough that they impeded the ends of the slide from being
able to make a full cycle and we had to come up with a solution to prevent this. Luckily,
it was an easy fix and we simply flipped the bolts from being screwed in from the top, to
the bottom. This however, allowed our support blocks on the end to rotate freely since
they were not threaded in anticipation for this issue. This problem was quickly solved
with the application of a few dabs of superglue to secure them in place and create a
sturdy support for our rails.
The second problem we ran into was that our slider motion was being noticeably
restricted by the linkage bar via a tight joint to the linkage bar. This was resolved using a
smaller bolt for the joint and loosening the connection itself. We then found that the nut
would start to come off of the bolt if we used the slider-crank continuously. In order to
prevent this, a small dab of superglue was applied to the end of the bolt to secure the
nut in place.
Once everything was assembled and working properly, we noticed that our
slider-crank was not sitting level on the table. This was the easiest fix of all and simply
required that four bolts be added to the bottom, one on each corner to provide stability.
Analysis - Calculations
Performing the calculations with Θ​2​ = 45° yielded a position of -3.09 in & Θ​3​ =
8.42° when crossed, and yielded a position of 4.7 in & Θ​3​ = 171.58°. Performing the
velocity functions yielded a velocity at point A of 7.6 in/s and a velocity of 4.58 in/s when
the angular velocity was observed to be 10 rad/s @ 45°. The slider crank achieved a
mechanical advantage of 1.66. Using the mobility equation: M=3(L-1)-2J, our
mechanism achieved a mobility of 1. Figure 5 below shows the types of links and joints
in the mechanism used to calculate the mobility.

Figure 5: The four types of links and four full-type joints present in the mechanism