Even during the summer, SmartTree has continued to make progress on our structure! We are hopeful to begin manufacturing this upcoming quarter, so SmartTree’s project managers (Katie and Callista) decided to meet weekly for the last two months to finalize unfinished details from the spring.
A major portion of the work completed this summer consisted of Katie and Callista printing out CAD drawings for each part, previously completed by our team members in the spring, and then discussing each part individually. These conversations consisted of finalizing dimensions, manufacturing feasibility and material choice. They also spent a significant amount of time focusing on the top and bottom locking mechanisms, a topic of long discussion in the spring as the previous plans were not as feasible to manufacture as anticipated. Thus, our project managers came up with an alternate plan that they are going to propose to our teammates: create a metal-platform base with a 15 degree angled wooden wedge to hold an umbrella pier base for a pole of 3”.
Speaking of 3” poles, that is another big change that occurred this summer. Previously, SmartTree was planning on using a pole of a larger diameter; however, locating such a pole, especially one to fit our pier base plan for the locking mechanisms, does not exist. After doing some mathematical analysis, modeling the pole as a fixed-fixed beam with gravity and weather loads, Katie and Callista concluded making the pole size 3” with an inner diameter of 2.5” would not significantly decrease the structural integrity of SmartTree.
Katie and Callista also discussed the base pieces and base plates, or the giant triangular focus of the structure and its foundational element. First, they decided that the entire base plate (foundation) would be allowable to slice into 4 modular puzzle pieces rather than 8. Four pieces will not be unmanageable to manufacture nor move, and 8 pieces would lead to more complex tolerancing. For the base pieces (triangular center of structure), the lid for the center will fit on top of the triangular piece encapsulating the electrical home of the structure and will have no taper as water could perform capillary action and trap itself in the wood. The connection between the lid and center base piece walls will be lined with rubber to prevent water from seeping inside.
More minor decisions were considered this summer, all summarized on a spreadsheet placed in our shared team folder for easy reference. All general meetings between the project managers were also carefully recorded in our team’s meeting minutes folder. Katie and Callista are excited for team input and for the soon-approaching manufacturing phase! OH! And how could we forget… we now have a MINI-SCALED MODEL of our structure!!!! After Katie and Callista redid the CAD for each piece, Callista put extra hours in Ford Design Center printing each part. This model is supposed to act as a method for our new and returning members to better understand the structure. It sure helped our project managers identify missed details and holes within the project…
Hope everyone is having an amazing rest of their summer, and we will touch base once again this coming fall with even more updates on our structure!