Would you feel safe in an excavator cab if you knew that college students made it with a 3D printer? You should.
Meet the Team From UIUC
A student engineering team has won a nationwide design contest for their 1/16th scale concept of an excavator cab that factors in sound-dampening, material costs, and safety. The students, Sharon Tsubaki-Liu, Naomi Audet, Kevin Kim, Luke Meyer, and Andrew Peterman are from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They plan to arrive at the CONEXPO-CON/AG Tech Experience in March of 2017 with a functional full-scale prototype of the excavator cab, 3D printed in steel at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The CONEXPO-CON/AG event will also feature emerging jobsite technologies, innovative wearables, skill seminars, and more.
The students created a fully functional design that was also aesthetically pleasing– they employed a Voronoi pattern, known for its rigidity and strength (it’s similar to the microstructures in human bones!) for the cab. The engineering students have received a $2,000 cash prize for their design, courtesy of National Fluid Power Association. The most important aspect of the design is safety: generative software, such as what was used for this project, can be strengthened to withstand certain kinds of damage– for example, the cab can be reinforced to resist crushing if the excavator tips over.
Want to know more? Check out a full video explanation of the winning project’s design.