Integrated System Build & Test
Table of Contents
Team Vision for Integrated System Build & Test PhaseDuring this phase, our team's plan was to:
- Finish most of the technical paper content to convey what we've done in our project in a clear and concise manner.
- Make a draft poster of our project that will be on display at Imagine RIT which presents the problem and most important requirements along with the feasibility results and prototype as well as the solution and the summarized results.
- Purchase the final items needed
- Mount the vacuum box
- Attach sheet metal around the heater
- To able to form the mold provided to us by team P.O.R.T.A.
- Rebuild the vacuum box using silicone sealant to prevent leaks in the box in order to hold the plastic in place long enough.
Most of the plans listed above have been successfully accomplished, and there is currently further testing for more other improvements regarding solving the leaks coming form the vacuum box during the last phase.
Test Results SummaryInitial testing of our full system has been promising with only minor setbacks. We were able to successfully form objects using 0.060" thick plastic sheeting. We were also able to form the mold provided to us by team P.O.R.T.A. We were unable to successfully form using 3/16" plastic largely due to the differences in heat distribution with the thicker sheet. We do not plan on using 3/16" plastic sheets for production so these tests were solely for capability testing purposes and are not of concern. Further testing brought to light a few areas for improvement which are currently being addressed.
The tests have gone according to our test plans and have yielded quantifiable results that can be easily compared with the results from other tests.
Based on our testing, other than being able to successfully form objects under 7" in height, our unit can:
- Reach a forming temperature of up to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (and be easily switched ON and OFF)
- Time to heat: approximately 2-4 minutes depending on sheet thickness
- Pump down and effectively hold a vacuum of 26 PSI
- Time to pump down: approximately 2 minutes
Time to heat was tracked using a stopwatch in tandem with an infrared thermometer. The amount of pressure in the vacuum was determined by watching a pressure gauge. Being that our test plans were fairly straightforward and only needed to yield basic results, they were effective in proving the success of our subsystems. The success of the entire system is much more subjective, but can be supported by objective results as well.
Vacuum Box TestingIntegrated system testing revealed issues with the vacuum box design. The first box faced issues upon initial testing where the vacuum pressure was significantly greater than what the box strength could support. This caused the top and bottom of the box to flex in when vacuum was applied, cracking the seals after a few iterations. It was determined a new box would need to be built with a support structure internally. When designing a new box, material was found from the prior team that was significantly stronger and more rigid to use for the new box. The box was constructed and used for testing on the integrated system. Initial tests were successful and able to form and hold both thick and thin sheets of plastic on the prototype diverter mold. However, as the system was used, the vacuum box lost the ability to hold the plastic in place long enough for the material to cool due to leaks in the box. We are currently investigating solutions and have resealed the box with silicone. Additional testing will be completed to determine if this will solve the problem, or if more work will be required. This could require additional sealant material or even the construction of a new vacuum box.
Risk and Problem Tracking
Risk ManagementNo new risks were identified during this project stage. A list of all current risks can be found at the Risk Management page.
Problem TrackingA few problems were identified during this stage as shown in the chart below
An up to date problem tracking sheet can be found at the Problem Tracking page.