P19433: Plastic Bottle Chip Melter

Subsystem Build & Test

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Subsystem Level Build & Test Phase

Summarize: During this phase our team set out to start rebuilding our machine in order to start preliminary testing. The mechanical goal of this phase was to remove components of the structural tubing and relocate it to support the new mold and jack locations. Drill holes in the existing steel plates for mounting and attaching heaters, and machine the new mold steel to get ready for testing plastic. The electrical goal of this phase was to receive the ordered heaters, and power converter and start testing them in the device.

In reality a large portion of the goals were accomplished, but not all were met for this phase. The heaters finally arrived, along with the power converter and the electrical engineers got ready to test them. The mechanical engineers were able to work with Gary H. to remove parts of the steel tubing frame and welding them into the new locations on the device. They were also able to update the drawings and get ready for cutting the new mold steel and adding the heaters to the device.

Current State:

Subsystem Build


The mechanical engineers worked with Gary H. to relocate parts of the steel tubing in the device and weld them in new locations for the new design. The top and middle bars were removed and then located on the bottom of the device for a jack support. The team worked to redesign the jack support and calculate the length needed for the jack support arm to decide the best place to locate the jack.
Broken Frame Cutting Frame Removed Bars
Grinding Bars Jack Placement New Jack Placement


Working with Gary H. and the machine shop the team was able to get the steel sheet for the mold cut on the waterjet. The next step is to weld the sides on, machine the surfaces, and then start testing with them.
Mold Parts Mold Parts Assembled


The electrical engineers replaced the old mechanical relay with a Solid-State Relay (SSR). Additionally, the transformer was removed and a 240VAC to 5VDC power converter was added in its place. Test the new IR temperature sensors and to continued planning the assembly/installation of the whole electrical subsystem. Wire cutting and prep was a big process. Next:Finish the Electrical Sytsem set-up and test heaters
Electrical Schematic

Electrical Schematic

Electrical Box Before Power Converter Electrical Box After Converter
Removing Heaters Wiring SSR Wiring Power Converter

Changes in Design

During this phase the team started with a very complex system for attaching the jack to the bottom plate. After discussing the proposed design with Gary and the team, the design was modified to reduce the weight of the jack support by eliminating the intricate design.
End of Phase 5 Design Simplified, but Heavy Design Final Simple and Light Design
The original design used smaller steel tubing at angles off a center tube attached to the jack. This would apply pressure evenly to the bottom plate and allow room for the heaters and the IR sensor. The problem with this design was that it would be complicated to align the tubing at angles, it would also be heavier than necessary. The next iteration of the jack support was simpler in that steel tubing was still used to support the bottom plate, but it would attach horizontally instead of at angles, and a tube in the center would connect to the jack. The problem with this design is that it would still have been unnecessarily heavy. The design the team used is even simpler than the preceding and used less tubing, resulting in a lighter jack support. This design is a center steel tube connecting the jack to the bottom plate, with small plates and blocks on either end to add support when connecting to the plate and jack.

Test Results Summary

A summary of the Test Plans can be found here. The document provides:

Since the new heaters are not installed, the Team has not been able to start testing. This document will be heavily utilized throughout the remainder of MSD II to verify the melter is meeting the ER's and CR's. The Team plans to have all remaining items ordered, a functioning melter, and to collect all necessary tools and equipment for testing by the end of Phase 7.

Risk and Problem Tracking

Risk Assessment

The Team re-evaluated the all risks in this phase which resulted in the major risk of not having enough time to fix potential issues. The team anticipates to have issues with the electrical components working the first time. To help reduce this risk, the Team will utilize the knowledge of experts to avoid developing major roadblocks. The working Risk Management document can be found here

Problem Tracking

The problems from Phase 5 were updated and an additional problem, not having all orders completed, was added to the document. The problem of the heaters not reaching the desired temperature should be resolved once the new heaters are installed. The Team's concern of not having the jack installed on the frame has also been resolved during this phase.


The working Problem Tracking document can be found here.

Functional Demo Materials

Include links to:

Plans for next phase

At our next demo, the team plans to be ready to melt plastic! We have moved a few tasks into the next phase due to the EEs waiting on the frame being in the shop as well as getting time to use the waterjet cutter for the mold. Despite these setbacks the team is confident that we will be able to test by the next demo. Going forward we will be sure to schedule time for the EEs to have the machine so they do not fall behind.

This next phase includes Spring Break, We have an ambitious plan to complete most of our tasks before the break(between weeks 8 & 9), so that the last two weeks can be used for tying up loose ends and rigorous plastic testing!

Phase 6 Gantt Chart

Phase 6 Gantt Chart

Phase 7 Gantt Chart

Phase 7 Gantt Chart

Three Week Plans for Team Members at the End of Phase 6:

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