The end is nigh (metaphorically) | The EIHS InvenTeam's Progress, March-May Edition

Energy Institute High School InvenTeam
The end is nigh (metaphorically) | The EIHS InvenTeam's Progress, March-May Edition

Hey there, reader--
As we explained in our last few posts, our project revolves around a type of additive manufacturing called fused deposition modeling 3D printing. If you’re unfamiliar with 3D printing, never fear, we’ve created a slide set with a bunch of relevant information about the manufacturing technique that can be found here. Now, on to the blog--

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Over the past two months, we had alternating weekly and in-person meetings (generally once or twice per week). Here’s what the team accomplished from March to late May!
For further info about how we divided up the work for this project, check out our first blog (‘twas so long ago).

The Administration Team

The admin team has continued to schedule meetings on campus to aid with the progress of the Filabuster's construction. As the project winds to a close, we can undoubtedly say the biggest challenge of this project was working remotely; it was a learning experience for all of us how best to assign tasks and collaborate effectively in a virtual setting.

Notably, the team took advantage of a few STAAR testing days at school to meet in-person for multiple full school days in order to pick up shipments and assemble components of our project. The team also successfully organized our March Mid-Grant Technical Review and submitted our April Technical Reviews, the both of which went really well! Our slides for the presentation provide a pretty comprehensive look into all the progress we’ve made, they'll be linked below.

[Slide 1 of our mid-grant tech review!]

The Financial Team

Through the purchase of parts, materials, and equipment, the team has exhausted around nearly all of the funds bestowed to us by the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grant. The final significant chunk of money that needs to be spent will go towards the purchasing of metal for our full-fledged shredder, which currently only exists in prototype/CAD form; after that we’ll be good to go!

[A screenshot of our remaining funds]

The Communication Team

The communication team’s outreach for the Mid-Grant Tech Review proved successful as we had a handful of guests join the virtual meeting, providing incredibly useful feedback. Thank you all so much for joining us! 

The Sustainability + Technical Teams

We thought the day would never come, but as of a few weeks ago (April 22nd) we officially moved past our initial prototypes and finally have a physical pellet extruder!! Here are some pictures of our CAD models alongside the real product--

[CAD models (left) and physical product (right)]

[Oscar busily working on securing wires behind our printer, complete with pellet extruder]

In our initial tests we discovered some issues with pellet extrusion onto the build-plate, but we believe that these issues can be resolved pretty simply with some additional parts that will be able to more effectively secure the barrel to the rest of the system (and potentially the installation of motors with higher torque). We're all super impressed with the work that Orian and the rest of our design team were able to accomplish, and we're looking to our continued progression!

Research Team

With our current progress the research team has made minimal changes, save doing our best to keep up to date with the blogs and design changes (even in the exhausting midst of AP exams and finals). Once we test the pellet extruder, the research team might make minor changes to our final schematic or component-by-component breakdown, but for now we are focusing on final progressions before the virtual Eurekafest event.

[Our updated schematic for the Filabuster]

As promised, here are our Mid-Grant Tech Review slides from our presentation in March. As a team we presented to InvenTeam representatives, as well as an audience of Energy alumni, community members, parents, and others interested in our work. We used the feedback from this audience to refine our current design and will remain in contact with many of these people for further input. Thank you again!

Also we now have a website! It’s still being updated, but we wanted to create a comprehensive space with links and references to all of the various aspects of our project (background info, slides, recorded presentations, our final product, etc). Feel free to check it out!
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Whew.

Effectively and accurately documenting our engineering process takes a lot of time, and we’re so grateful for the support we’ve received so far from people like you.

Feel free to follow our Instagram page @eihs.inventeam, or shoot us an email at eihs.ivt@gmail.com if you have questions or are a business/company who’d like to sponsor our project!

Till next time,

-allie, oscar, bella, orian, kendall, ian, noah, cole, diya, risto, ben