PNC students showcase their talents

2013-05-12T17:45:00Z 2013-05-12T23:15:11Z PNC students showcase their talentsStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 12, 2013 5:45 pm  • 

WESTVILLE | Tek Lentine designed a robot that would be similar to the Mars Rover, and when it was built, the remote-controlled device worked just as it was drawn up.

Lentine, 39, of Mishawaka, with help from two other Purdue North Central mechanical engineering technology majors — calling themselves Team Ripsaw — had the robot on display Wednesday during the third annual senior project showcase.

"We put it together ourselves," said Michael Smeets, 22, who along with Thomas May, 21, both of Michigan City, assisted in building the robot, which moves on wheels and has mechanical claws to pick up objects.

Thomas Brady, dean of the PNC College of Engineering and Technology, said about 20 teams of seniors took part in designing and making things such as an electric vehicle and a green energy simulator in addition to the robot.

About half of the teams had their projects on display in the Library Student Faculty building at the campus near Westville.

"It's just a great way to show what we actually do here," said Brady, who added, "It's important for the community to see what our students are capable of."

Eric Dunfee, 26, and Mike Kieszkowski, 27, both of LaPorte, and John McGriff, 26, of Wheatfield, built a Stirling Engine. The engine is designed to use heat wasted from a power plant or factory and operate devices like a generator or compressor.

"It's just a way of kind of reclaiming wasted heat and turning it back into energy," said Dunfee.

The participating students are majoring in fields such as computer and information technology, construction engineering and management technology, electrical and computer engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology.

Team Ripsaw's robot works so well that it took third place in a regional competition in South Dakota sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Smeets said he isn't sure how fast the robot moves but it will travel 200 feet away from the remote control and operates for two hours before depleting the batteries.

He said work began in the fall on designing the robot and by February they had it running.

"Somehow we managed to get it all together," Smeets said.

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