Demonstrating what South Dakota Mines is capable of, 2022 Design Fair

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 3:43 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - South Dakota Mines held a fair Tuesday that showcased more than 50 projects demonstrating what they’re known for around the state - innovation.

Some interested businesses, organizations and even some branches of the government sponsored some of the student’s work for real world application.

From a spray painting robot to aerodynamics, and up in space to the ground, it’s all technology developed by South Dakota Mines students, “that allows graduating seniors to showcase their engineering design efforts over the past eight months,” says Jason Ash, Associate Professor at South Dakota Mines.

He says it’s a fair that’s been going on for roughly 30 years but has been virtual for the last few, “so, this is the return to the in-person Design Fair.”

More than 60 projects made their way to the floor, like Adrianna Larson’s team project she calls “a street writing graffiti robot.”

Larson says the robot’s sponsor was looking for a more efficient way to keep posters up to date and looking snazzy, “because he didn’t like how when it rains the posters get wet and they get mushy. Occasionally, people just forget to pick them up so it creates more work for facilities.” Sometimes, it’s just tough to read someone’s handwriting when spray painting. “So, this was designed to kind of replace that.” Adding that while a partial goal was a finished product that anyone could operate, where she’d hope they’d say, “that’s cool, I want to run that.”

Ash describes the journey along the way was a collaboration that proved equally as fruitful, like for “project management and being able to work well with others.” True for every project on display, because “the projects being done are beyond the scope of any one person being able to do that themselves.”

In Larson’s experience, “we needed everybody to have the man hours to make this possible.”

An 11 person team, where everyone played a part. Like Daniel Rynders, a teammate of Larson’s with expertise in design, where he was “doing motor sizing for how big a motor do we need, how big of drivers, kind of control software and what control boards.”

He says they’d also be leaning on those who know their way around manufacturing, by “making parts and assembling it,” or taking to the screen and trusting those who understood software compatibilities, like “laser engraving light burn.”

Ash says, “they really have to trust one another to work together as a team for that common goal.”

Larson calls that, “a been a pretty labor intensive process.” While Rynders adds, “there were times when I wanted to do nothing but work on the project. It was so close to being done.”

A two semester journey full of ups and downs, where “what we thought would work well together,” Larson explains, “didn’t actually work well.”

Proving that with hard work from a group of driven individuals, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

“I’m really relieved that this is a working project. We have something show off rather than just a bunch of parts,” Rynders says.

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