PULLMAN, Wash. — Student teams from Washington State University College of Engineering and Architecture snagged at least four second-place awards in recent regional competitions with other universities. Their robot, concrete canoe, steel bridge, dune buggy, radio-controlled car and construction management teams made good showings this spring:
WSU Robotics: The WSU Robotics team took its insect-like robot, Caliban, to the SAE Walking Machine Decathlon in Montreal, Canada, April 30-May 1, where it took third place of 17 teams. Club general manager Dan Kenney, Wenatchee, and Mark Fuller, Moses Lake, escorted Caliban, with its 24 legs, through maneuvers. It was the smallest and had the most legs of other entries, thus it made the 3-meter dash in 15 seconds, an improved speed over last year, and one of the fastest at the event.
Caliban is controlled by an R/C transmitter, two drive motors, and batteries. Efforts to make it completely autonomous continue. The WSU Robotics Club will include Caliban on its tour of Spokane public schools the second week in May.
Contact: WSU Robotics Club, 509/335-3867.

Concrete Canoe: The 10th rendition of WSU’s concrete canoe, Lil’ Sloan, placed second in the ASCE NW Regional Conference April 17-19 on Vancouver Lake. This qualifies it for national competition June 17 in Melbourne, Fla. The 20-foot 110-pound faux brick skimmer had the best speed of all entries, but more difficulty in turning, said the team.
WSU placed second overall and in the display and the men’s sprint, third in coed sprint (beat by U of I and UW), the paper and presentation, and fourth in women’s distance. The canoe capsized in the men’s distance, and disqualified in women’s sprints.
The team is patching the boat’s cracks and damage, practicing paddling, creating a more technical display yet less technical presentation, and trying to raise several thousand dollars to send 15 team members to the national event.
Members are Ralph Wagner (captain), Anchorage, Alaska; Mark Taylor, Skagway, Alaska; Pat Ryan, Mary Jo Ward and Ty Blocher, Pullman; Caroline Appel, Colfax; Wayne Ostler, Moses Lake; Bo Manasco, Omak; Robin Radach, Monitor; Stuart Bennion, Kennewick; and Tina Routt, Tri-Cities. Others are Diane Hansen, Milton; Tony Vader, Yacolt; Ken Thiemann, Tacoma; Jeremy Delmar, Seattle; Erik Rowland, Sequim; Robin Adolphsen, Sequim/Port Angeles; David Delafield, Vashon; Steve Strand and Scott Howard, Vancouver; and Alicia Lane, White Salmon. Out-of-state team members are Kristin Meyers, Salem, Ore.; Cori Menzia, Gresham, Ore.; and Jeremy Ramberg, Mentor, Minn.
Other team supporters were Kurt Hutchinson, engineering shops technical supervisor and miller; Ken Fridley, faculty adviser; and industry sponsors General Plastics, Al’s Auto Body Shop, Scott Chatelain, The Bookie, and Central Premix Inc.
Contact: Ralph Wagner, 509/332-7780, rlwagner@wsu.edu; Ken Fridley, 509/335-7320, fridley@wsu.edu.

Steel Bridge: WSU civil engineering students took second place at the April 17-19 ASCE NW Regional Conference in Portland, Ore., which qualifies them for the national competition in Anchorage, Alaska, May 28-29. Although Oregon State placed first, WSU took first in stiffness, lightness and efficiency.
Team captain Brian Morgen, Kennewick, said the team came up from last year’s third place showing, and learned how to better design a steel bridge as light as possible, with as little deflection and still hold a 2,500-pound load. They managed to put together a 90-pound structure in 30 person-minutes and have a bridge that deflected only 0.1 inch under the loading.
Other team members are Erich Orth, Newport; Anne Fabrello, Ketchikan, Alaska; Robert Graff, Piedmont,Calif.; Stuart Bennion, Kennewick; Aaron Newell and Jessica King, Elk; Seth Cutler Bremerton; and Robin Adolphsen, Sequim.
Contact: Brian Morgen, 509/332-1565, morgenb@mail.wsu.edu; or faculty adviser Ken Fridley, 509/335-7320, fridley@wsu.edu.

Micro-Baja: The student mechanical engineering team took second place of seven teams competing in the ASME Micro Baja radio-controlled 10th scale model car competition. Heidi Hegewald, Auburn; Mark Fuller, Moses Lake; and Daryl Bolejack, Renton; were judged on technical presentation, poster, creativity, design, manufacturing, drag and slalom races, and Baja endurance course full of jumps, bumps, gravel and turns.
A unique aspect of their model, the Fanatically Driven Machine, was its plastic frame, built entirely on the 3-D rapid prototyping machine in the MME School.
“It’s rather unusual to spend 28 hours to build such a small frame, but the judges were impressed with our innovation,” said Hegewald. Montana State University was the contest winner.
Contact: Heidi Hegewald, 509/334-0691, deanna@mme.wsu.edu.

WSU’s mud-caked dune buggy returned from Manhattan, Kansas, in the 11th position of 61 teams in the country who competed in the SAE Mini-Baja competition April 15-17. The car was engineered, manufactured and put to the test by MME students Kelly Bickford, Kennewick; Ross Nelson, Waterville; Joe Tarp, Kirkland; Jeff Hall, Colfax; Matt Smith, Seattle; Jessi Grubb, Malaga; Eric Ball, Yakima; and Kris Wickstead, Spokane.
Team members Nelson and Bickford said WSU’s team was among only 21 teams who completed the four-hour endurance race, which included driving over hills, rocks, water, logs and other obstacles. The team scored 12th in the endurance race. Their next best feats were the hill climb (13), acceleration (14) and maneuverability (13) tests. Competition also included a sales presentation, a safety and design report and a cost analysis of the vehicle.
Contact: Ross Nelson, 509/332-5248, rcnelson@wsu.edu; Kelly Bickford, 509/334-2554, totallyt@wsunix.wsu.edu, or faculty adviser Dave Stock, 509/335-3223, stock@mme.wsu.edu.

Construction Management: A team of construction management students placed second in the commercial building category of the 12th annual Associated Schools of Construction (Region 6) competition at Reno in February. Ryan Grouws, Seattle; Trevor Wyckoff, Vancouver; Richard Stevenson, Jeff Gardner and David Hirsch, Pullman; and Mitch Neeley, Puyallup, created a written project in 16 hours, an oral presentation in another 12 hours, and then submitted their presentation to a panel of judges from the construction industry. A total of 18 universities competed in four categories. The award carries a $1,000 prize.
Contact: Mitch Neeley, 509/535-7656; Darlene Septelka, faculty in Spokane, 509/358-7910, septelka@wsu.edu; Bill Mincks, faculty in Pullman, 509/335-5074, mincks@wsu.edu.