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Week 8 - Spartan Superway Internship (Final Week)

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With the last week of my Spartan Superway internship, I began to make final revisions to my design. We plan to send the design out to a manufacturing company, where they will cut our design out of sheet metal and fold it for us. It will take approximately 3 weeks for its production, so by the start of Fall 2017, those working on the Spartan Superway for their senior project will be able to assemble it.
The first step I did was to revise the top and bottom L brackets that attach the mount to the L beams of the track. I made them smaller to accommodate the new design, but still being able to slide them along the the tracks for adjustability. 
Figure 1: Revised brackets with mount and beams
With the widened track, I also extended the bolt slots of the bottom of the mounts to reach the 3.5 meter distance between the two tracks. Lastly, I added bolt holes to the frame to allow the braces and the top and bottom pieces to be connected. Unfortunately since we do not know which panels we will be…

Week 7 - Spartan Superway Internship

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During our seventh week of the internship, I began improving on our mount design. With the previous design, the dimensions of the new track were not taken into account. Now that I have received a general idea of what the new layout will be like, I have made the necessary changes to accommodate this rack onto the rail system.
The first step was to widen the holes. We learned that the new tracks are now 3.5 meters apart from center to center, so I needed to spread the mounting holes more. In addition, a new beam will be attached to the top, so I have raised the whole array in order to not cause any problems with spacing. Lastly, I widened the flanges in order to be more stable. Until I do any finite element analysis, I will not know how much of a change this makes, however I believe that it should help a bit. 
Figure 1: Assembled mount
Below the upper and lower pieces of the mount have been flattened to show how it will be cut from sheet metal. A goal we are trying to achieve is a 95% t…

Week 6 - Spartan Superway Internship

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During week 6, I began to revise my second mount design. Instead of creating a new design, I decided to add onto a previous concept that I was provided. Because I did not know the resources we had available for processing the sheet metal into parts, I believed it would be best to work off of a previous concept that one of the mentors worked with and has knowledge of the tools available.
The design first begins with two upper and lower pieces that are made from sheet metal and will be connected with bolts at each end. In order to support the middle parts of the upper mount, I designed it to add braces made of sheet metal to support and downward forces that may act upon it. You will see in figure 2 that bolt mounts have been extended off the piece.
Figure 1: Upper mount piece
Figure 2: Lower mount piece Figure 3: Upper and lower assembled
With the upper and lower assembled, I added simple braces made from sheet metal to support the middle sections. These braces are simply I beams created …

Week 5 - Spartan Superway Internship

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During week 5 of the Spartan Superway internship, I began converting my drawings to sheet metal. In my previous design, I had created a design that called for sourcing outside materials and requiring welding to put the pieces together. By using sheet metal, we can reduce costs and manufacturing time, thus overall increasing build efficiency. To do this, I spent a good part of the week learning how to utilize the Sheet Metal function in Solidworks.

I first began by creating the outer unit that will bolt the panels onto the L beams. We also learned that the track will now be wider, so I remade the design to accommodate for this change. In the pictures below, you can see the difference between the first design and the new sheet metal design. The new sheet metal design features thicker flanges which should help it hold its shape and be more structurally sound.

Figure 1: Older design
Figure 2: New sheet metal rack design
The advantages of using sheet metal is that they can be produced much e…

Week 4 - Spartan Superway Internship

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During our 4th week, I began working on side solar panel mounts for our track system. Although solar panels generally do not receive enough sunlight when mounted vertically to be efficient, we will be using them to match the aesthetic that we have with the curved top solar panel array. In order to do this, we first need to create mounts for our side I beams.

This first design I came up with was made to slide from below and up the side on the beam. However, I later found that there may be obstacles in the way such as bracing and other parts, so this idea was scrapped.

Figure 1: First side bracket idea
In order to accommodate any obstacles, I created a three piece design that features an L bracket on both inner sides of the beam and a main plate to hold the panels together. This desi3gn will be able to everything together using holes in the I beams, while still being able to be adjusted vertically for slight changes.
Figure 2: Inner I beam brackets
Figure 3: Inner brackets and outer plate …

Week 3 - Spartan Superway Internship

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During this third week I began creating designs for our solar panel mounting system. We plan to mount our whole assembly onto L-beams located at the top of the tracks. In order to do this, we planned to create friction mounts to the beams, followed by a custom rack for the panels.

The first step before mounting the panels is to create our foundation. Because we are attaching to L beams and do not want to drill into them, we needed to create friction mounts. To do this, I created an upper and lower mount that will squeeze onto the L beam. This allows for a secure connection as well as being able to slide back and forth along the rail for easy adjustment.

Figure 1: Friction mounts for L beams
The next step was to plan out how we wanted our solar panels to be. We created a curved array for aesthetic reasons, and measuring the width across the tracks we found that we could mount 4 panels side-by-side in portrait orientation. We have not decided on the exact solar panels, so we used the dim…

Week 2 - Spartan Superway Internship

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For the second week of this internship, I began drawing up some designs in CAD for our mounting and racking system for the solar panels. Our goals are to create a curved array for aesthetics and panels accessible from below the canopy for easy repairs, if needed.

First, I created a 5x25 solar panel array with angles that begin from 10 degrees all the way down to 30 degrees. We chose 125 panels because we found from previous reports that this amount was needed to power a 150m section of track. These angles were chosen because 10 degrees is the minimum angle to prevent buildup of dust and debris, and 30 degrees was the optimal angle we found for the solar panels for San Jose. The resulting array can be found below:

Figure 1: Curved Solar Panel Array

In addition to the array design, I also came up with a design for the mounting system that will allow the panels to be accessible from below. With the addition of creating a technician's pod that can ride along the existing tracks, we wil…