The final runs and presentation are over. Though the results were not what I had hoped for, I can't help but feel proud of what our team has accomplished this term.
What I Learned in AER201
1. Never give up. Perseverance is key to success in this course - a lot of challenges and adversity will occur through failed ideas or damaged machines, but sometimes the best solutions are born from the most desperate situations.
2. Advanced Planning and Organization is paramount to the success of the project. Not only does this greatly increase the speed of fabrication and allow more time for integration, but it also helps to save costs, ease stress and allow the maximization of Lab Periods. Starting written reports earlier will allow for more editing time and more sleep :P
3. If I could do it all again, I would not have used the 50 RPM zheng motors. The gear system (in which the main drivetrain was controlled by a system of gears, one of which had to be epoxied directly to the motor shaft) gave us the most issues of all, as the epoxy kept breaking periodically throughout the term, halting the testing process by a full 24 hours each time. Also, these motors were very inconsistent - PWM fixed this somewhat, but often one of them would randomly increase or decrease in performance. If I could do it again, I would have either used vex motors or looked into shaft couplers more thoroughly.
4. Damn. If I knew we could have done a few practice runs prior to our actual competition runs, that would have been extremely helpful. In fact, I think that would have made the difference between 2 DQ's and 2 completed runs, especially with the two perfect practice runs prior. This is disappointing.
5. Pay more attention to the Design Notebook. Though this blog has allowed me to regularly document the progress of this project, I should have spent more time on my physical notebook.
6. Keep EVERYTHING. There have been so many times this semester that I have ended up using components that I had purchased prior during a prototyping stage that didn't work out and ended up being exactly what I needed for a new idea.
Things I Learned about Myself:
1. I am most likely a kinaesthetic learner. Though I have always tested as a visual learner, this semester when we were required to do the quizzes at the beginning, I was categorized as both visual and kinaesthetic. This is most definitely the case, as I immensely enjoyed the hand's on nature of the electromechanical position.
2. Though I am usually one to "go with the flow", this project really pushed me - I found my capability to predict outcomes and plan in advance, especially for materials acquisition and scheduling deadlines, was very strong and that I was very accurate in my assessments.
This course has been one of the more difficult that I have encountered, but I feel that it is the course I have gotten the most out of. It is hard to believe that it is over - the infamous second year is ending, and we will all be splitting into our respective options. Once the final report and report is submitted, this course will officially be finished.
Friday. I can't believe it's over.