Some innovative designs by Cape Fear Community College students will be featured in this year’s N.C. Azalea Festival.
For the past year, students in CFCC’s mechanical engineering program have been hard at work, designing and building their own electric bicycles. The bikes are now just days from their debut on the streets of downtown Wilmington during the festival’s annual parade on Saturday.
Instructor Daniel Hendrickson said the project aims provide students with a challenge–apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to a real-world scenario.
“This project gives the students the experience of creating a cost-effective, hands-on, practical engineering project on a limited budget and on a deadline, which is what they should expect to face in the workplace after graduation,” Hendrickson said.
Completion of the bikes is the final project for students in their last year of the program. According to a release from the college, students must incorporate skills they learned in their first year, including computer-aided design programming, 3-D modeling, electricity, physics, statics and hydraulics, among others.
Each student designs an electric bicycle and makes a formal presentation to a panel of experts. The best designs are then chosen to be built in the final semester.
This year, students are building three bicycles, each designed for a specific purpose. One can be used to transport pier fishing equipment and another, to carry cargo. The third is intended to be energy efficient and aerodynamic and incorporate a low-drag design.
“The bikes are in the final stages of welding, painting, assembly, and testing prior to the parade. We are very proud of them and would love to show them off,” Hendrickson said.
CFCC’s mechanical engineering technology program prepares graduates for employment as mechanical technicians. Graduates of the program are qualified to work in a variety of manufacturing, fabrication, research and development and service industry jobs.