Team UV is a senior project team made up of five highly motivated Mechanical Engineering majors from Cal Poly Pomona, namely: Brian, Andrew, Ketton, Abraham, and Ben.  The project Team UV is working on is the design, construction, testing, and analysis of an underwater vehicle (UV) based on an innovative propulsion system that the team designed, built, and tested a demonstrator for as a machine design project for another class.  As such, counting the machine design project as Phase I and the senior project as Phase II, this project will have taken place over a total of 12 months, culminating in a report and presentation in the Spring 2015 Project Symposium, with the goal of being selected for the Project Symposium Showcase.

 The objectives for this project are to produce the UV to have fluid/smooth maneuvering, be capable of higher speeds (relative to other UVs), require little to no human interaction, and to boast a great deal of stealth (with respect to thermal, magnetic, and flow signatures, noise, cavitation, and ability to be inconspicuous).  The principle application for this UV will be information, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR), although future applications could include mine detection, underwater inspection, and exploration.  While these goals may seem incredibly ambitious, Team UV is more than capable, dedicated, and determined enough to reach these goals.  Team UV’s greatest limitation is financial and thus we would like to ask that if you feel that you would like to help this truly inspired, passionate team to reach their goals and achieve their dreams, that you donate below.  Even the smallest donations could make a world of difference.

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For Team UV’s full story, read on below.

Team UV is a senior project team composed of five Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) Mechanical Engineering (ME) undergraduates: Brian, Andrew, Ketton, Abraham, and Ben.  All five team members will have obtained their degrees by the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.  More information on the individual team members can be found on the Member Bios page.

Four to five years ago (2010), Brian began to develop his passion for engineering and the defense industry.  Since that time, Brian has spent countless hours reading articles regarding engineering, the defense industry, and technological advances on a daily basis, all of which helped to push his curiosity and fascination with engineering to where it is today.  As Brian’s passion and curiosity began to build, he began to spend more and more time coming up with innovative designs for all kinds of things, but the one subject that he kept coming back to was that of underwater vehicles (UVs).  One of the many UV concepts that Brian came up with utilized a type of flow which has never been used for propulsion before.  Brian became obsessed with unlocking the secrets of this previously undeveloped type of flow which had never truly been studied before, especially with regards to propulsion.  Brian spent years thinking about this flow and the UV that he was sure he would one day create which would utilize this type of flow; unfortunately, that was about as far as his concept ever got, for he lacked the experience, knowledge (especially at the time of the birth of the concept), and man power to further develop this concept and thus the concept continued to live on in his dreams, but never in reality…at least not until a little over four years later.

In April 2014, in ME 325/L (Machine Design/Laboratory), Brian and his classmates were tasked with designing and creating a product that would showcase an understanding of machine design principles.  Brian jumped at the chance and utilized the opportunity to assemble a team of passionate, highly intelligent, and ridiculously capable students to take advantage of the ME 325/L project to develop a propulsion system demonstrator for the future UV, which Brian planned to develop as his senior project.  The first new teammate was Andrew, who was one year Brian’s senior, and Brian’s lab partner/study partner for at least ¾ of the ME core classes that they had taken to that point.  Andrew worked with Brian to prepare a technical proposal for a Department of Defense (DoD) contract solicitation focusing on corrosion-prevention materials, and brought to the table an insurmountable “can do” attitude and loads of team experience from his work with University Advancement.  Next was Abraham, who Brian and Andrew first met when the three of them were lab partners in MFE 201/L (Manufacturing Processes/Laboratory) two to three years earlier.  Aside from his manufacturing ingenuity, Brian believes that Abraham has shown more educational growth than anyone he has known in the past five years and is the team’s resident Disney expert as that is where he has worked for years and has always thought it would be cool to be one of the Imagineers.  The next teammate to join the team was Ketton, who began his academic career the same year as Andrew and was introduced to Brian through Andrew.  Ketton brings unparalleled experience to the team through his work with the CPP Formula SAE team, Hamilton Sundstrand, and Otis Elevator; he has even designed a component used on the Orion space capsule.  Last to join the team and the youngest member, Ben first met Brian about nine months earlier when they were on a team in ME 350L (Materials Selection Laboratory) in which they designed and ran experiments based on their question of what kind of rope is the most suitable for survival purposes in the absence of standard Nylon climbing rope.  Ben and Brian worked closely together on this project and ran many experiments and performed a great deal of analysis (both engineering and practical/utility-based) for this project, showcasing Ben’s knack for curiosity as exhibited by his extracurricular tinkering.  With this newly formed group, Team UV was created.

Over the next 36 days, Team UV spent 850 hours (as a conservative totaled tally of each member’s time) designing, manufacturing, testing, and analyzing their propulsion system demonstrator, which they affectionately named SHEILA-D (Submerged Hydrodynamically propelled Explorer, Implementation: Los Angeles – Demonstrator).  Upon conclusion of the project, Team UV submitted a 58 page report and presented for approximately 75 minutes on their project (and all of this was done and presented one week before the deadline), garnering them a 99% on the project.  Proud, yet cautious, the team knew there was no time to waste and began work on Phase II within two hours of finishing presenting their Phase I effort [Phase I being the ME 325/L project (propulsion system demonstrator), Phase II being the Senior Project (full UV)].

After submitting a 14 page Primer/Proposal package to their ME 325/L professor, their professor agreed to come on board as their Senior Project advisor.  The team immediately got to work and decided that the senior project would last until late May 2015 when they would present their senior project at the Project Symposium, making the senior project a 12 month effort (twice as long as the required 2 quarters/6 months).  The team has divided the senior project effort up into five main parts:

  1. Spring 2014: Initial goal/idea documentation phase after presenting the Phase I effort.
  2. Summer 2014: SHEILA-D testing, concept formulation, and meetings every other week where all members present PowerPoint presentations consisting of:
    1. Open Mind:  A 3 pronged response to a real world engineering-style prompt/problem statement assigned by Brian.
    2. Well Read:   A discussion of an interesting science/engineering article read by the group member.
    3. Presentation Content:  A summary of the work/research the member has performed over the past 2 weeks.
  3. Fall 2014: Concept development, design, calculations, solid modeling, pre-manufacturing analysis.
  4. Winter 2015: Manufacturing, testing, and performance analysis.
  5. Spring 2015: Report, presentation, and symposium preparation.

 Upon completion of these parts, Team UV will attend the Project Symposium with the goal of being selected for the Project Symposium Showcase.

Mission Objectives for this project can be summarized as:

  1. Fluid/smooth maneuvering
  2. Higher speeds (relative to most UVs)
    1. Thermal signature (reduction)
    2. Magnetic signature (reduction)
    3. Noise (reduction)
    4. Flow signature (reduction)
    5. Cavitation (reduction)
    6. Inconspicuous
  4. Little to no human interaction necessary

 These mission objectives were set out in the initial concept stage of Phase I and have remained unchanged since; violation/endangerment/jeopardizing of these mission objectives is equivalent to a failure of our mission

Operational & Design Objectives for this project include:

  1. Depth range of ~100-200 ft
  2. Speed of > ~5 knots
  3. Size limited to approximately that of a scuba tank
  4. Weight which aims to increase thrust-to-weight ratio, bud reduce the amount of positive buoyancy that the buoyancy control systems must overcome
  5. Operational time of > ~1 hour at full power
  6. Maximization of internal space for stowage of sensor suite
  7. Eases of storage and transportation/portability
  8. Ease of maintenance/reduction in required maintenance

 These operational objectives are subject to change as the project progresses and will be further assessed at the end of the Summer 2014 period, prior to the Fall 2014 design stage.

The principle application for this UV is that of Information, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) which could mean anything from information gathering to provide safe passage of naval vehicles, to providing surveillance for maritime/harbor security, to reconnaissance to give special operators a more detailed picture of the environment that they will be operating in or key information concerning objectives or targets.  Whether the future UV is used for information gathering, surveillance, or reconnaissance, it will undoubtedly help to reduce the risk posed to our troops, including (but not limited to) special operators who would otherwise be used for these underwater ISR operations.  It is important to note that these ISR capabilities extend past the boundaries of the defense industry, as many of the same concerns may be eased with ISR operations in civilian areas (ports, oil rigs, marinas, etc.); in addition to this, the abilities of the UV as derived from its ISR capabilities will open the UV up to new opportunities with respect to future applications.  Most notably, the future UV could use its ISR capabilities for the purpose of mine detection, underwater inspection (oil rigs, pipelines, etc), or even exploration.  These key considerations of providing increased operational security for our troops and possibly providing new capabilities with respect to mine detection, underwater inspection, and exploration are at the heart of what Team UV is setting out to do.

Team UV’s members are highly motivated, incredibly dedicated, impossibly determined, passionate individuals interfacing as a team.  Team UV does not see failure as an option, and looks forward to putting in the crazy amount of work required for this project and having a blast doing it.  We strongly believe that we can do anything that we can put our minds to and are ready to prove it.  The only limitation to what we can do is how much money we can raise to do it (Phase I cost Team UV $850 out of pocket) and thus we would ask that if you feel that you would like to help this truly inspired, passionate team to reach their goals and achieve their dreams, that you donate below.  Even the smallest donations could make a world of difference.

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Team UV

4 comments on “About

  1. Hello Team UV! and Congratulations on finishing your project (assuming you’re also on a year long timeline..!) I’m a senior ME student in Nor Cal and am currently navigating through the donations and sponsorship waters for my senior design project. I noticed that you used GoFundMe and also keep a PayPal donation link around here – do you have any reasoning to why you selected GoFundMe over other sites like Kickstarter or Fundly? Also, do you have any tips or things that you learned after-the-fact on donations and sponsorships that you may be willing to share? Thank you for your very interesting engineering articles – I look forward to the new website and will continue to subscribe!! =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the read and for the congratulations. The project is technically finished after and has been running for 15 months, but we do still have a few things to finish up before we can really call it a day. To answer your first question, we considered KickStarter, RocketHub, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and a number of other sites, but ultimately decided on GoFundMe for the following reasons: you keep what you get (as opposed to the all-or-nothing style of KickStarter), monthly traffic was pretty high (see this link), but most importantly by far was the research we did as far as what kind of campaigns appear on these websites. Essentialy, we searched all of these websites for projects similar to ours (things in the realm of engineering senior projects) and looked for how much they raised and how succesful their campaigns were (% raised, completed or not, etc.). If you are the only (for example) space satellite senior project ever in website A, but website B has had a few space-related campaigns that were highly successful, then website B will increase your chance of outside funding.

      We knew our project would have a big price tag just by the nature of how highly complex and innovative our design is (a major reason we have not shared much of our design on our website) and so the keep-what-you-get campaign style was attractive as we knew we would likely not meet our fundraising goal. Additionally, GoFundMe has seen a few engineering senior projects and at least one related to underwater subject matter, so this was appealing to us.

      At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember by far is that likely 100% of your donations will come from people you know, or people that people you know, know. For this reason, the most important thing to do is to tell everyone you know (family, friends, ask family and friends to tell their friends, ect.) about the campaign and show them that you are passionate about what you are doing and be sure to let them know how their donations can help. Because of family, friends, family friends, etc., we were very successful with our campaign and between the campaign, research conference competition winnings, and smart, intuitive, financially responsible design, we raised basically all of the costs for our senior project. For this we have our incredibly supportive, awesome donors to thank and could not have done it without them. As long as you are passionate about your project, can show people how their donations can make a difference, put a lot of effort into spreading the word about your crowdfunding campaign, and can be smart about how you go about your senior project, you should be fine. As the team founder/leader of Team UV, I can tell you that a major part of my job was to make sure that we were designing responsibly with regards to cost. Of course, I had plenty of design, analysis, etc. work to do, but there is also a lot of administrative responsibility that goes along with leading a team: things such as looking for conferences, dealing with paperwork for your team, organizing meetings, making sure you are leading the project in the right direction, doing your own homework on where to go next, assigning each subsystem a budget (both financial and power, if electronics come into play in your project) and making sure you and your teammates stick under budget, and I cannot stress this last one enough, but if you are leading a team, your two most important goals are producing the best project you can and helping your teammates (and yourself) to grow as much as humanly possible over the length of the projec.

      Anyways, back to the crowdfunding, what I will say that we could have done better was to be more active with regards to our crowdfunding campaign. The most successful campaigns continuously post updates regularly on their campaign page, many provide rewards (be careful with this as you can lose a lot of money this way, especially if you forget about shipping; in fact, this was too cost prohibitive for us, although I have seen many projects that will send pictures by email or thank you emails with commentary by everyone on the team, etc. as rewards), and interact with their sponsors and donors very often. You can raise more money this way, but we were far too busy for all of this; for example, I was working on the project on average 7-10 hours per day every day for the first 11.5 months of the project, sleeping 3 hours/day on average and going without a meal for 24+ hours about once a week, since I had the project, other classes and projects, grad school apps, and a ton of other things going on. Because of this, we really could not afford to spend too much time on the campaign, as any time spent there would take away from project time, so it is a balancing act. Even if (like us) you decide you can’t afford rewards (which take away from project time and funding), it is extremely important to thank your donors and make it known that you appreciate their donation, as without them, the project could never live up to the same level as it could with their help.

      Anyways, that’s my input, I hope it helped. Best of luck to you and I am very pleased to hear that you will be continuing with us through or move to EAF. If you have anymore questions about seniorproject funding, managing, or anything else under the sun, please drop us a line at engineeringafuture@ymail.com (the Team UV email address will remain active, but the EAF one will be checked much more often).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Brian! This is such a belated response to the incredible feedback you gave to me!

        I just wanted to thank you for your thoughts and advice – I remember reading it and making sure that some of the things you shared (esp. dual responsibilities of a leader) with me. But I forgot to reply!!!

        I can’t say that our crowdfunding was entirely successful, but every cent was still as incredible to receive and helpful in allowing our project to move forward and until recently has finally finished as well. We just need to create a maintenance plan and schedule now that everything is officially over and complete. I can’t say thank you enough for your sincere and incredible advice.

        I was wondering why I wasn’t receiving any more blog updates from Team UV and EAF, but I now know the bittersweet news, so I wish you and the rest of your team the best in your futures!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for reaching out, it’s always nice to hear from our previous readers!

        I’m glad to hear that some of the advice was usable for you and very happy that we could help out.

        Crowdfunding is tricky business for sure, and I’m sorry to hear that the campaign was not as successful as you would have liked, but at the end of the day (just as you mentioned), every last cent raised proves highly beneficial as it relieves some of the team’s financial obligations.

        Good luck with wrapping things up, that is often one of the bigger challenges that you will face and is often far too easy to underestimate, especially as the team members prepare to move on towards bigger and better things in post-project life.

        Thank you for the support and sincere wishes, I have passed on your comment to the rest of the team; I’m sure it’ll brighten their days. Best of luck to you and your team as you all move forward with an eye on the future.

        Team UV

        Liked by 1 person

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