Category Archives: Student Competitions

Dunwoody’s Midwest Robotics League Team Takes 1st in Regionals, 5th in Nationals

Dunwoody College of Technology students and faculty are celebrating the recent victories of the College’s Midwest Robotics League Team. The Dunwoody team participated in both a regional competition in late April, and a national competition in May, bringing home a consecutive first and two fifth place prizes.

Group shot of Dunwoody's Midwest Robotics Team League

The 2015 team (pictured above) is advised by former Dunwoody student and league participant–now Instructor and League Executive Director–Alex Wong and coaches Beth Spicer; Al Jaedike (Engineering Drafting & Design Adjunct Instructor); and James Jorgenson (Workforce Training & Continuing Education Adjunct Instructor).

The team includes students Chris Spicer (Electrical Construction & Maintenance); Andy Haug (Electronics Engineering Technology); Ken Weis (Machine Tool Technology); Tony Laylon (Engineering Drafting & Design); Kyle Dumas; and 2007 Dunwoody graduate Mike Rhode (Engineering Drafting & Design).

This year’s regional competition was held at the Mall of America and featured twelve competing teams and hundreds of spectators. The national competition followed just a few weeks later in Cleveland, Ohio, where 64 teams participated.

Crowd at Mall of America watching robot battles

Midwest Robotics League’s regional competition at Mall of America

Both the regional and national competitions are held annually and are open to middle school, high school and collegiate teams. Each year, the competing teams are able to enter as many robots as they want under the condition that the robots have been designed and assembled by students. Teams can also use a robot for multiple years until the group decides to retire it or until that robot wins the regional or national competition two times.

This year, Dunwoody entered two robots into both competitions— “Wedgey” the wedge robot and “Reburn,” a robot that deploys a horizontal spinner.

Robot Wedgey

“Wedgey” the wedge robot

Both Wedgey and Reburn were designed and built by the Dunwoody team and have already competed and placed in several regional and national competitions.

“Wedgey has been running for about 3 years, competing in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 events,” said League Executive Director Alex Wong. “Reburn has also been running for about 3 years, but we have been running variations on this design since the start of the League.”

Robot Reburn

“Reburn”

The League is open to all Dunwoody students, creating a unique opportunity for students in various programs to work together–each bringing  their own area of expertise to the process. And while the students enjoy the collaboration in designing and creating the robots, perhaps the most fun is had during the combat competitions.

The combat rules are similar for both regionals and nationals—the best robot wins.

“The robots are limited to 15 pounds each, and it is up to the students to design those robots,” said Alex. “A lot of them will have some sort of spinning weapon or use bigger motors so it can drive faster.”

Each robot is then entered into a randomly determined double elimination bracket where they participate in 3-minute rounds.

“The winner,” said Alex “is whichever robot can either “knock out”the other robot by disabling it, or pushes it onto a wall or other position where it can no longer drive. If both robots are still standing after the three-minute match, the winner is determined by whichever robot has the most points. The judges award points based on three categories: aggression—the moves you make when attacking the other robot; damage—the damage caused to the other robot; and control—how well the robot can maneuver.”

Action shot of robots combatting

In addition to combat points, the national judges also evaluate the team’s presentation skills. Prior to the competition, each team must also present their robot to the panel of judges by sharing drawings, describing the design process and explaining why they chose the materials they did.

Regional final award/trophyDunwoody’s students and robots performed well at both competitions ending their season with  several wins and awards. Wedgey scored the team a 1st place prize at the regional competition for the second time in its career. It also tied with Reburn for the fifth overall spot at the national competition. Wedgey was also named one of the “Best Engineered Robots” at the national competition.

The Dunwoody Midwest Robotics League will continue next Fall during the 2015-2016 academic year. Alex says the team has plans to retire Wedgey (as this was its second regional win) and is looking to redesign the current robots as well as build entirely new ones.

If you are interested in joining the Midwest Robotics League for 2015-2016 season, please contact Alex Wong at awong@dunwoody.edu.

Two Dunwoody 2015 Graduates are Finalists in Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge

Two 2015 Interior Design graduates—Andrea Mbali and Jessica Curtis—are among the ten finalists in the Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge.

Mbali and Curtis standing by their designs The challenge—open to all students in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada—provides applicants with an opportunity to create and submit a color rendering of an interior space for a residential and/or a commercial design. The submission requires the use of at least three Sherwin-Williams paint colors in addition to a project statement describing the project and explaining how color was essential in creating the design.

Each submission undergoes two rounds of judging and is scored on originality (30%); overall design aesthetics (30%); best use of color palette (30%); and the overall project statement (10%).

“We always let students know about all competitions that are open to them,” Interior Design Principal Instructor Colleen Schmaltz said, “and we particularly encourage them to enter since we know that our students consistently show strong work. The students also know that winning a national competition is a significant addition to their professional resume and portfolio, and in some cases a great source of prize cash and scholarships. This is the first year two of our students have chosen to enter this particular competition—and now both are national finalists!”

Both Andrea and Jessica used part of their mini-capstone project—created in the Fall semester of their senior year at Dunwoody—in their submission. The capstone project requires students to learn and become fluent in design programs such as REVIT and the Adobe Creative Suite including InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator—programs widely used in the Interior Design profession.

“All of the studio classes and building technology courses have taught me how to design creatively and utilize real practices,” says finalist Jessica Curtis, “and [Principal Instructor] Nada Sarraff-Knoweles really challenged me to create a unique design.”

Andrea Mbali also paid tribute to her instructors saying, “Colleen Schmaltz really inspired me to enter my project. Without her encouragement, I probably would have ben consumed with day-to-day projects and schoolwork and not have applied. Nada Sarraff-Knoweles also helped me during the design process. Nada pushed me to push myself creatively and was able to tell me when things were or were not working.”

Practice made perfect for Andrea when it came to designing. “Throughout class projects, my rendering skills in REVIT have developed tremendously,” she said, ”and I now typically build all of my own furniture, lighting and other necessary structures instead of using online prebuilt models. I feel this gives me an edge because I am not limited to what the internet provides.”

Andrea—who hopes to specialize in Hospitality design—took the idea of a traditional spa in a whole new direction in her STIR competition submission titled “Felicity Day Spa.”

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa

“My inspiration was drawn from my own experiences of going to spas and not feeling like they were cool enough for younger generations. Not everyone always wants zen,” Andrea said, “I was also inspired by my travels and seeing what the world has to offer outside of the Midwest. Everything here is so safe, and I love the unexpected and daring in design and fashion.”

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa Locker Room

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa Locker Room

Jessica’s submission—titled Flex Art Gallery and Studios—takes a more commercial design approach, inspired by real Minneapolis structures and landmarks.

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery and Studios Entry

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery and Studios Entry

“My project is a flexible art gallery and studio space,” says Jessica, “It started with being an adaptive reuse space utilizing the Bauhaus (Tap room) in Northeast Minneapolis. It incorporated different spaces where local artists could come and work and for the public to take classes. An expansion was then ‘built’ onto that to create an art gallery. The Art Gallery is an all-encompassing glass box façade offering a spectacular view of the Mississippi River and the Minneapolis skyline.”

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Studio

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Studio

Both projects are currently being reviewed and judged by Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing Jackie Jordan as well as two celebrity judges.

A first place prize in both the residential design category and the commercial design category will be announced in early June. Winners will have their work featured in the 2015 edition of STIR magazine and receive $2,500 in cash.

Dunwoody students earn gold at 2015 SkillsUSA Minnesota contest

Dunwoody College of Technology students performed well again this year in the SkillsUSA Minnesota Contest held last weekend at various locations in the Twin Cities, including the Dunwoody campus.

Overall, 20 Dunwoody students competed in nine contests, including Architectural Drafting, Automotive Service Technology, Automotive Refinishing, Collision Repair Technology, Electrical Construction Wiring, Industrial Motor Control, Related Technical Math, Web Design and Welding.

Students medaled in five of the contests, with five in first place, two in second place and two in third place.

The following are the medal winners:

 

Architectural DraftingAdvisor: Paul Strother

1st Place: James Matthes

2nd Place: Chris Herd

3rd Place:  Celina Nelson

 

Web DesignAdvisor: Kevin Wendt

1st Place Team: Ryan Blaha & Eric Lorentzen

2nd Place: Joshua Eastwood & Nhia Yang

3rd Place: Casey Cross & Andrew Kinniburgh

 
Collision RepairAdvisors: Bruce Graffunder & Allan Zimney

1st Place: Benjamin Meister

 

Automotive RefinishingAdvisors: Bruce Graffunder & Allan Zimney

1st Place:  Harrison Reget

 

Related Technical MathAdvisor: Polly Friendshuh

1st Place:  Matthew Shevich

The National competition will take place June 22 – 26 in Louisville, Ky.

For more information about SkillsUSA Minnesota, visit www.mnskillsusa.org.

 

Dunwoody Design & Graphics Technology students take first place in ICPF “Best of the Best” Student Design Competition

The results are in! Congratulations to Design & Graphics Technology Students: Stephanie Burdorf, Charlotte LaCour, Dan Mueller, Finn Pearson, Noah Rabinowitz and Jenna Weiler, winners of the annual International Corrugated Packaging Foundation’s (ICPF) “Best of the Best” Student Design Competition!

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Featured left to right: Noah Rabinowitz, Jenna Weiler, Charlotte LaCour, Dan Mueller, Finn Pearson and Stephanie Burdorf.

The 2015 “Best of the Best” Competition was held Thursday, Feb. 19 via a live teleconference during the Design & Graphics Technology 2015 Internship Showcase.

Competing against Dunwoody was 2014 AICC Structural Design Competition runner-ups California Polytechnic State University and Millersville University, Pennsylvania.

The objective of the 2014 AICC competition– won by Burdorf, LaCour, Mueller, Pearson, Rabinowitz and Weiler last summer– was to create real-world marketing materials to assist with their college’s student recruitment and retention efforts. The final project was to be tailored to each team’s corresponding schools and stay within the branding guidelines of that institution. This required students to work with the college’s admissions and marketing departments to ensure the end result was something their college could realistically use.

The Dunwoody team’s project, titled “Recruiting Standee,” was comprised of a student recruitment mailing envelope/folder, a 3-D floor display to be used during college events and a “first day” experience box to be given to new students. The box, purposefully designed to fit inside each new student’s locker, included room for a Dunwoody T-shirt, pens, pencils and a USB flash drive. The Dunwoody team explained they also hoped the box would drive locker sales, helping increase overall revenue for the College.

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The “Best of the Best” competition took the AICC competition a step further by requiring the top three contenders to successfully “sell” their completed projects to a panel of industry experts. The teams were then judged not only on their project’s overall design creativity, but also the team’s ability to communicate effectively and exercise strong persuasion techniques during their presentation.

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Weiler, LaCour and Rabinowitz shortly after they discover they have won!

The competition winners were announced during the telecast, shortly after each school finished presenting. Stephanie, Charlotte, Dan, Finn, Noah and Jenna leave with a $500 cash prize and an incredible addition to their portfolios and resumes.

For more information on next year’s competitions, visit www.aiccbox.org/student or
www.icpfbox.org/Best_of_the_Best_Student_Design_Presentation_Competition

Zech Bradach and Ollie Reller place in Behind the Mask welding competition

Zech Bradach earned second place in Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and third place in Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW). Reller earned third place in the GMAW division.

L-R: Ollie Reller earned third place in the Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) division. Zech Bradach earned second place in GMAW and third place in Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW).

Twelve Welding Technology students participated in the Behind the Mask Welding Competition sponsored by the American Welding Society (AWS) on Feb. 26. Around 100 students from Minnesota and Wisconsin colleges competed in the event held at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Students competed in several categories utilizing such welding processes as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), and Oxy-acetylene Cutting (OFC). During the timed events students were presented with a blueprint and the metal components required to complete a weldment in 20 minutes. The weldments were then inspected by AWS Certified Welding Inspectors who scrutinized the dimensions, weld size and weld quality.

Each division placed the top three individuals to receive prizes. First place won an auto darkening welding helmet (worth $500) and $100 cash, second place winners earned $50 cash, and third place winners took home $25 cash.

Dunwoody student participants were: Zech Bradach, Ben Browne, Jacob Dommer, Lucas Hoglund, Curtis Mattson-Laurent, Max Mertans, Brendan Pliego, Ollie Reller, Austin Reuter, Kristen Schafer and Nikki Umpleby, Wyatt Werner.

Bradach earned second place in GMAW and third place in SMAW. Reller earned third place in the GMAW division.

Dunwoody Instructor Michael Reeser said he’s proud of his students’ performance in the competition.

“This is an excellent opportunity to reinforce the advanced skills that we teach on a daily basis and allows students to apply those skills in a timed event. It motivates students to produce quality work as it is scored by industry-certified welding inspectors,” he said.

To learn more about Dunwoody’s Welding Technology program, visit http://www.dunwoody.edu/manufacturing/welding-technology/

 

 

 

 

Snow Devil 1012 team earns third place in Autonomous Snowplow Competition

The team, lead by faculty advisors E.J. Daigle and John McShannock, was made up of Automated Systems & Robotics students James Adams, Tim Easter, Jim Herman and Evan Prokop; Electronics & Engineering Technology students Andy Haug and Donald Kries; and Engineering Drafting & Design student Tony Laylon.

The team, lead by faculty advisors E.J. Daigle and John McShannock, was made up of Automated Systems & Robotics students James Adams, Tim Easter, Jim Herman and Evan Prokop; Electronics & Engineering Technology students Andy Haug and Donald Kries; and Engineering Drafting & Design student Tony Laylon.

The Snow Devil 1012 plow team earned third place and the Golden Smile Sportsmanship Award last weekend at the Fifth Annual Institute of Navigation (ION) Autonomous Snowplow Competition.  The event is part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival and took place in Rice Park.

The team, lead by faculty advisors E.J. Daigle and John McShannock, was made up of Automated Systems & Robotics students James Adams, Tim Easter, Jim Herman and Evan Prokop; Electronics & Engineering Technology students Andy Haug and Donald Kries; and Engineering Drafting & Design student Tony Laylon.

The Snow Devil 1012 used a magnetic navigation system to track a 0-3VDC electronic signal. Course correction calculations were done in an Allen Bradley MicroLogix PLC.

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The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Zenith and Yeti plows earned first and second place. Dunwoody’s Snow Devil 1012 earned third place, followed by the University of Calgary’s Fighting Mongooses, North Dakota State University’s Thundar, Case Western Reserve University’s Von Snowmower, University of Minnesota’s Ground Squirrel, and North Dakota State University’s Snowmenator.

Faculty Advisor and Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing E.J. Daigle said the Snow Devil 1012’s simplistic design and marketability set it apart from the competition.

“Most of the robots had over $10,000 in just sensors. Our total robot cost was $3,000 and could be implemented today by embedding magnetic sensors into a sidewalk or driveway,” he said.

For earning third place, the Snow Devil team won $2,000. Part of the prize money was used to build this year’s robot, some was used for a celebration dinner for the team and the rest will be used to kick start next year’s team.

The team also won the Golden Smile Sportsmanship Award and $500.  Daigle said the team did a lot to deserve the sportsmanship award. The Dunwoody Snow Devils: helped every team with tools, wire and parts to make repairs; cheered the loudest for every team as they competed; organized and participated in the parade with two other teams; initiated crowd participation through an audible checklist and 1-800-SNO-PLOW; and helped tear down the competition field after the event.

WCCO Channel 4 News’ Rachel Slavik interviewed Daigle for the story “Autonomous Snowplow Competition Wows Winter Carnival.”

ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition

According to the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition website: “The purpose of this competition is to challenge university and college students, as well as the general public, to design, build, and operate a fully autonomous snowplow to remove snow from a designated path. The objectives of this competition include encouraging students and individuals to utilize the state of the art in navigation and control technologies to rapidly, accurately, and safely clear a path of snow.”

 

Students and Snow Devil 1012 compete in Autonomous Snowplow Competition this weekend

Seven students and their Snow Devil 1012 plow will compete in the Fifth Annual Institute of Navigation (ION) Autonomous Snowplow Competition in Rice Park this weekend.

Seven students and their Snow Devil 1012 plow will compete in the Fifth Annual Institute of Navigation (ION) Autonomous Snowplow Competition in Rice Park this weekend.

Seven students and their Snow Devil 1012 plow will compete in the Fifth Annual Institute of Navigation (ION) Autonomous Snowplow Competition in Rice Park this weekend.

The competition runs Jan. 24-25 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Rice Park, Downtown St. Paul, Minn.

The Snow Devil 1012 uses a magnetic navigation system to track a 0-3VDC signal. Course correction calculations are done in an Allen Bradley MicroLogix PLC.

The Snow Devil 1012 uses a magnetic navigation system to track a 0-3VDC signal. Course correction calculations are done in an Allen Bradley MicroLogix PLC.

According to the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition website: “The purpose of this competition is to challenge university and college students, as well as the general public, to design, build, and operate a fully autonomous snowplow to remove snow from a designated path. The objectives of this competition include encouraging students and individuals to utilize the state of the art in navigation and control technologies to rapidly, accurately, and safely clear a path of snow.”

The Snow Devil 1012 uses a magnetic navigation system to track a 0-3VDC signal. Course correction calculations are done in an Allen Bradley MicroLogix PLC.

Come out and see the latest autonomous navigation technologies from eight of the top engineering universities in the nation.

This is the fifth year Dunwoody has participated in the competition. Here is a preview of the team’s 2015 entry: 

For more information about the competition, visit www.autosnowplow.com.

Construction Sciences & Building Technology fish house to be raffled Dec. 6

 On Oct. 17 and 18 Construction Sciences & Building Technology students built a Minnesota Bound-themed fish house for Fish House Frenzy Twin Cities.

Minnesota Bound-themed fish house

Teams from Adolfson & Peterson Construction and Kraus-Anderson Construction also participated in the 24-hour construction competition to raise funds for Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, which makes critical repairs for homeowners in need–particularly older adults, individuals living with disabilities, families with small children and members of the armed forces.

While the other fish houses were auctioned off already, the Dunwoody team’s fish house is still available via raffle to be drawn on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Joe’s Sporting Goods, 33 East County Road B, St. Paul.

In addition to raising money for a good cause, the students learned about the importance of preparation and teamwork.

Students learned through trial and error how to manage people and time. During a recap session they shared ideas about technical and management problems that arose,” said Senior Instructor James Strapko. “For example, they agreed on the value of preparation and following the drawings. They also recognized the need for establishing clear lines of authority and matching work crews with tasks.”

Through the competition construction students formed partnerships with other Dunwoody programs. The College’s HVAC and Electrical students provided some labor and materials for this year’s project, and Interior Design students have expressed interest in participating with the College’s Fish House Frenzy team next year.

Raffle
Saturday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Joe’s Sporting Goods, 33 East County Road B, St. Paul.  Tickets are $20. To purchase raffle tickets, email k.greiner@rebuildingtogether-twincities.org.