Each Spring semester, the Engineers Club invites middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students and professionals of all ages to participate in their Design ChallenOge in honor of National Engineers’ Week. During the Fall, the Engineers Club members come up with the specific “design challenge” they want to hold in the Spring. They create a set of parameters that the entrants should follow in designing their machine, and send them off to the various schools and businesses by December. Contestants build their machines and bring them on the day of the event.
This year, the Design Challenge was held on Saturday, February 28th in Bakersfield College’s Gymnasium. The objective was to design a Spring-powered model car that could carry a load of sand between 0 and 250 grams a distance between 10 and 20 meters. The contestants were not given the weight or distance until right before the competition began. As one can see, keeping the specific details vague until the day-of forces the engineers to be as creative and thorough as possible with their designs— they must be able to be adjusted to satisfy the wide range of possibilities within the parameters.
“We had a pretty good showing. Even with a simple design, a spring-powered car, a lot of people were able to design things differently.,” said Engineers Club member Zeph Nord, “There were 2 designs that were able to predict the distance down to the very centimeter; We were all pretty impressed with that.”
For anyone who thinks this sounds like something they’d be interested in, but missed the challenge in February, there is some exciting news— for the first time since its inception, there will be a second Design Challenge held in the Fall.
Professor Klint Rigby, faculty advisor for the Engineers Club, tells us more. “We decided we’ll do a Civil challenge in the fall. Civil would be bridges, roads, waterworks, all those kinds of things.,” he explained, “It will probably be in that window around early November, that first or second week. We’ll be publishing the rules for our Civil Design Challenge before we leave for summer, and It’ll have information set in stone of when it will be, and where it will be held.”