As the semester begins to wind down, it comes time to turn in projects, do those last minute problem sets, and perhaps design a wind turbine.
This was my past week. So since early November, I’ve had this design project for one of my classes, 2.005, where we had to design a floating buoy-like structure to support a 700,000 kilo tower and rotor combo. I started working on it Thanksgiving afternoon, and finished it this past Monday morning much to my delight.
Originally, I kinda didn’t take the design project seriously, and thought that it’d be just plugging numbers into an equation, and then typing it out to make it look nice; however, it was far from that. I had to actually practice being an engineer, and needless to sasy the project wasn’t all about typesetting some equations in Latex.
20 pages of chicken scratch later and a solid 1.5 weeks spent constantly thinking about the design, I managed to produce my final report where I derived equations about the natural oscillation, center of mass of the frustum, etc. I can’t even begin to describe what joy it brought to me to be able to press print and be done with it, but the process from conception to design was one of the best parts.
Now one thing MIT is known for is hands-on experience. I think this project is a great example of it. While I actually didn’t build the wind turbine, I got a good idea of what it takes to bring engineering concepts to life. I got to revive my 733t programming skills to minimize a cost function of five variables, and also got to see what it’s like to watch the sun rise while you’re still doing work (no all nighter still)
While I didn’t have the opportunity to build a wind turbine. Next week, I’ll have the opportunity to check out the final presentations for 2.009 (Product Engineering Process) where students have designed and built banana harvesters and lentil sorters.
Yes, it was in this class that they also built the death ray.