Shark takes 3rd place trophy
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June 16, 2010
A shark screaming down the road at 42 km/hr might sound like a scene out of a cheap horror movie, but no, it actually happened. And it landed a third place trophy for the Camosun team in the fifth annual Canary Soapbox Derby on June 12, 2010.
Students, staff and faculty from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program spent three months designing and building this year’s entry, a fierce-looking aluminum shark, modelled on the design of WW2 fighter jets. It’s equipped with a water cannon that shoots out of one eye and a sound system embedded in the tail.
In four years of entering this event, this is Camosun’s third time for a third place finish, once again finishing behind the same two companies, Schneider Electric and Carmanah Technologies.
“It’s important to recognize that every year, Camosun students start from scratch and create a brand new concept for their race car, developing their ideas into reality in a very short time-span,” explains Imtehaze Heerah, faculty advisor for the Canary Derby project. “Our top competitors reuse their original cars, tweaking features and adding improvements each year. We’re very proud that our team of first and second-year students always compete so closely with full engineers.”
The Canary Derby attracted ten teams into the qualifying rounds, which consisted of two timed runs for each team, one in the inside lane and one in the outside lane. Eight teams then advanced to the finals, with the Camosun team in fourth place. Teams were then paired up, and each ran two more timed races, one in each lane. At the end of the day, Camosun managed to move up to third spot and a trophy.
Always thinking outside the box
Over the years, ideas that Camosun students came up with have been admired and sometimes copied by other competitors. One of the requirements is that each soapbox car must have four wheels on the ground. In Year One, the Camosun team was the first to align two wheels at the back to reduce drag. The next year, they pushed extra weight to the back to increase their speed – that was the year a wheel fell off and even though that meant losing the speed contest, the crippled car still managed to win the obstacle race. In the third year, Camosun’s team improved the aerodynamics by eliminating the window, using virtual reality goggles to “see” the course. This year, the team designed the shark’s body around two racing bike tires, and added two smaller wheels at the back for balance.
“The students put in countless hours on this project,” says Heerah, “which is not easy on top of a very intense program workload. They’re writing final exams next week, so this extra volunteer activity is really a big commitment.”
“Our two lab techs have also been an incredible resource for the students,” continues Heerah. “Pat Nicholson and Neil Porter were also here many evenings, helping the students convert their classroom knowledge into a real-world application. They’re both very dedicated to the students.”
Too much fun!
In keeping with the shark theme, a whole team of shark groupies showed up to entertain the crowd, decked out in colourful beach wear. They handed out prizes, blew bubbles, organized face-painting for children, and instigated water fights. The shark car itself blasted out high-energy tunes from its sound-tail, and squirted bystanders with its water-cannon eye.
“This event is always a highlight for us,” says April Atkins, program assistant for the School of Trades and Technology and head Groupie. “And because this year’s team was mostly first-year students, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year!”
About the Canary Derby
The Canary Derby is the main annual fundraising event (held in both Victoria and Vancouver) by the Canary Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying cancer early through a simple blood test and then isolating it with imaging. Every year Camosun College has been proud to involve its skilled and talented students, faculty and staff in the race.
Last updated: June 18, 2010 9:54 am