P19433: Plastic Bottle Chip Melter

Integrated System Build & Test

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Integrated System Build & Test Phase

For this phase, our team set out to complete the full assembly of the melter in order to start testing and verifying the CR's and ER's. The mechanical engineers were tasked with completing the structural assembly of the jack support and welding the mold together to prepare for testing. The mechanical engineers also worked towards creating a design and 3D model for a cover to protect the wool insulation. The electrical engineers were tasked with finishing installing the reaming electrical components, seek approval of wiring from RIT electricians, and test the new heaters.

During the phase, the team was able to complete the structural assembly. The team worked with Gary and the machine shop to finalize the design and complete the welding and machining of the jack support and mold. John was able to design and model the cover for the assembly that will function to secure the insulation and create a visually appealing melter. The electrical engineers were able to...

Current State

Action Items


During this phase, the mechanical engineers worked with Gary in the machine shop to complete the remaining components of the frame and jack support. The following tasks were completed and allowed the team to fully assemble the melter.


The team finished the frame rearrangement, and added the two tubing bars to the top. During this process, the team also made a small design change by slotting the jack support bar and adding a threaded rod to eliminate some of the wobble of the jack support bar and bottom plate. The threaded rod is inserted into the slot of the jack support bar and then secured in place with nuts to plates welded to the frame. This stabilizes the jack assembly and avoids any potential wobbling.

Frame Progress this Phase

Frame Plate Attachment Frame Plate Attached Frame Plate with Heaters
Alignment Rod Installed

Jack Assembly

The jack and jack support were connected and added to the device assembly during this phase. Gary and the team also decided not to weld the jack plate to the jack and the bottom jack support plate to the jack plate. This will allow future users to replace worn parts easier, especially the jack. This also allows the jack support assembly to be securely assembled with screws and nuts, but can be disassembled without needing to cut multiple welds.

Jack Progress this Phase

Jack Support Assembled Jack Support Jack with Jack Plate

Sensor Mount

Machining Part Model of Part

Insulation Cover

Throughout this phase the team discussed making a cover to enclose the insulation around the melter device. John worked to create a model and get a quote for thin aluminum sheet metal. After getting a quote for the metal required for the cover the team decided that shaping a cover to protect the insulation will not align with the team's budget and time frame. Moving forward the team will attach the insulation to the frame with screws and washers, and add a protective tape to cover the insulation. This option is less expensive and can be completed once hardware is obtained.
CAD Model of Cover

Device Assembly

The team was able to assemble the jack, attach the heaters and start testing the heaters to see of they work appropriately. Testing information can be found in the electrical section.
Attaching Jack Adding Bottom Plate Aligning Jack Support and Bottom Plate
Current Assembly

Electrical Updates

During this phase, several key pieces of progress were made on the electrical system. All high-voltage components of the system were wired to match our final design, and new wires were made where they were needed. This allowed us to test the new 500W heaters by heating them to 50C to see how quickly they heat up as well as to verify that they are working properly.

While testing the heaters, we were also able to test the microcontroller, which was programmed with a PID control loop and fine-tuned to be as accurate and precise as possible for temperature control. Two IR temperature sensors were connected to detect temperature and allow control for the top and bottom plates individually. The control loop worked as intended and stabilized the plates to the desired temperature while reaching the temperature in a shorter time than the previous 300W heaters.

Getting Ready to Test Heaters Testing Top Heaters

Test Results Summary

During this phase the team was able to operate the melter device and test the heaters. Below are pictures from the minor test. Plastic was used, but the heaters were not held on long enough to completely melt the plastic. It can be seen that the plastic melted very little.
Getting Ready to Test Heaters Holding Sensor Up
Adding Plastic Covered Plastic Closed Mold
End Result on Top of Mold End Result on Top and Bottom of Mold

Risk and Problem Tracking

Risk Management

During this phase, the high risk of not having enough time to fix problems was decreased since the EE's were able to run the top and bottom heaters successfully. This was a main concern since the electrical components are complicated and typically do not work the first couple of tries. Other concerns during this phase include:
Phase 7 Risk Management

Phase 7 Risk Management

The working Risk Management document can be found here

Problem Tracking

The current problems were re-evaluated and updated and two new problems were added to the document. The current problems concerning the heaters not reaching the ideal temperature in reasonable time and the new jack not being installed have been resolved. Additional problems during this phase:
Phase 7 Problem Tracking

Phase 7 Problem Tracking

The working Problem Tracking document can be found here.

Functional Demo Materials

Include links to:

Plans for next phase

Moving into Phase 8, the team will be focusing on wrapping up the remaining elements of our design before Imagine RIT. We will be continuing to melt plastic, performing tests and documenting results. We will also be refining the overall process, and creating user instructions. Electrically, we are still planning to implement a touch screen and user interface.

The Gantt chart for Phase 7 reflects the actual timing of when tasks were completed, as well as many new tasks that were added as the design continues to change. A few tasks were pushed into Phase 8 which were tasks that contribute to nonessential functions of the Melter. The team felt it was appropriate to focus on functional tasks and push these into Phase 8.

Phase 7 Gantt Chart

Phase 7 Gantt Chart

Phase 8 Gantt Chart

Phase 8 Gantt Chart

Three Week Plans for Team Members at the End of Phase 7:

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