The OSU Institute of Technology Engineering Graphics & Design Drafting Technologies program students are collaborating with the General Motors ASEP program to 3D print a replica of a General Motors 6.0 liter engine to be used as a teaching tool.
The project came about from a conversation regarding an engine model the GM program could use to demonstrate how motor moves.
"We were talking in the office one day, and I was talking about teaching tools that I had seen when I was going to classes and mentioned an engine cut out that showed all the moving parts in an engine per rotation," said David Penrod, GM ASEP Instructor. "The Engineering Graphics & Design Drafting Technologies program instructor, Justin Sifford, said he thought his class could duplicate that teaching tool. He started his game plan with his students to make it into a project for his class."
The students are designing and 3D printing the engine block, head and main internal parts, including the camshaft, connecting rod, piston and springs from a 2000s model 2500 Chevy Silverado.
"Both programs have stepped out of their comfort zones of just normal classroom work and started doing something real," said Penrod.
When completed, the engine will have cutouts on the block, cylinder heads and engine valley to allow students to see inside and watch how the inner parts of the engine work throughout a crankshaft rotation.
"Most people don't understand the inner workings of an engine, and this tool, once built, will allow the opportunity to see what takes place while the engine is running," said Penrod. "This should allow us to see the valves opening and closing, piston moving up and down in the cylinder bore and how it is connected with the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft. It should turn out to be an excellent teaching tool to use in the classroom."
In the Engineering Graphics & Design Drafting Technologies program, the students learn how to become drafters and designers. This project allows the students to try something new with the principles they have already learned, such as measuring, drawing in the programs they use and seeing things from a different view.
"I teach them to think outside the box, and there is no limit to what you can do," said Sifford. "With this being a hands-on project, it helps them understand what it takes to be a designer."
Chris Payne, an Engineering Graphics & Design Drafting Technologies student and project lead from Muskogee, was responsible for the camshaft and timing gears for the motor.
"My favorite part of this project so far is seeing how what we had created on the computer, then printed out, fits together," said Payne. "This type of project allows us to learn the practical usage of the programs that we are learning and shows how to solve problems. We had to measure all the parts, recreate them in Solidworks and then make sure that they fit together."
Payne said it also taught him how important tolerances are to any project, the value of teamwork and communication and the importance of time management.
The GM program provided a completely disassembled engine for the class to put their hands on the actual parts they were duplicating to make the 3D version. This is a very detailed project that requires precise measurements and tolerances. As the students are designing the pieces of an actual engine, when going into 3D print, some measurements must change to allow tolerances for rotation of the plastic pieces versus the actual steel pieces.
Melissa Ticante, a student from Tulsa, was responsible for creating the life-sized model of a piston for the engine.
"This project has allowed me to get more of a hands-on experience and prepared me for real-life. When I go out there, I know a little bit of what to expect and what is expected," said Ticante. "One valuable thing I learned through this project was that you always have to persevere to accomplish things. Things do get hard and tiring, and if you're not willing to try again after every mess up, then you're going to get frustrated very easily."
Sophie Sawyer, a student from Henryetta, was responsible for 3D printing the value system with a team of two others. She encourages those who may be interested in the program to go for it.
"This project has given me experience with breaking down more complicated parts and working in teams to get the work done," said Sawyer. "I was a little afraid to enroll in this program at first because of how much math is involved, but it's not bad. Most of the math is applied to real-world things. We have some great advisors for this program, and the instructors on campus are always willing to help if you need it."
Grant W. Eley, a student from Broken Arrow, designed the cases or block.
"My favorite part so far is the time we spend together in the classroom, all working together toward the completion of the engine," said Eley. "I have learned that it doesn't matter who you work with; it is how you work with others to complete the common goal."
Sifford said he feels there is great value in working with other departments on campus.
"Working with another team can give you new skills and perspectives," said Sifford. "Working together better fulfills the needs of multiple departments. Collaborative work also allows team members to bring their individual work styles, skills and perspectives to other projects, giving us the chance to tackle new challenges, as well as opening up possibilities for new solutions and better results."
Penrod said he has enjoyed being involved with this project and helping develop this type of teaching tool.
"I've been able to watch the students involved not only be challenged but overcome some obstacles that we did not foresee in doing this," said Penrod. "As we get closer to the new assembly of the engine, I look at what the students have accomplished in the design and what we can accomplish in assembly. I know that here at OSUIT, we are teaching skills that can lead not only great individuals but also great teams to tackle the problems of the future."
The project is expected to be complete at the end of the 2021 summer trimester.