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Control Systems Project

  1. Jul 21, 2013 #1

    Finally taking my first senior level course in Mechanical Engineering - Dynamic Systems and Controls. I find it incredibly interesting and was hoping someone could suggest an easy to medium difficulty project I could do on my own. This is for my own edification. The book that my class uses is Nise's Control Systems Engineering 6th edition.

    I'm going to be meeting with my Professor outside of class to do a small experiment to control a DC motor, but I was hoping to get some advice from you guys as well!

    Thanks in advance,

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2013 #2
    Did I post this in the incorrect section?
  4. Jul 22, 2013 #3

    jim hardy

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    Gold Member

    Nice idea there
    Might as well make it big enough to be useful...

    what's your electronics background?
    here's what would interest me were I in your shoes:

    There's an abundance of treadmills in junkshops these days. The best ones I took apart had wonderful DC motors about size of a half-gallon milk jug, 90 volts DC 6000 rpm 2 horsepower(probably a wildly optimistic peak power rating). They had a substantial flywheel into which one could turn grooves for a modern ribbed belt like in a clothes dryer.
    I'm keeping two to make my lathe and drill press variable speed and electrically reversible with dynamic braking. But haven't got to that project yet, too many outboard motors are distracting me.
    Anyhow that was my thought. Surely as a ME you'll need a gourmet machine shop in your garage.

    My senior year (1969) we built a satellite tracking antenna with induction motors, simple on-off control but we did close the elevation loop by adding to a stout TV antenna rotator a potentiometer for position feedback .

    Try a search on these terms:
    Flutterwhumper , Tinaja
    it should take you to Don Lancaster's old site. Back in the 1980's he was building substantial CNC machines for his home workshop using automobile alternators for stepper motors , and PIC controllers..

    If you do this please keep us posted so I can follow your trail.

    Above all, Have Fun !!!

    old jim
  5. Jul 22, 2013 #4
    Hey Fluidmech: Perfectly understand the highs you get from dynamical systems and control system engineering. As a suggestion for a project, I would advice you to rent or buy a ARDUINO UNO DUO(a microcontroller used to control all kinds of machines+you can program routines). This is what I did when I wanted to understand the practical aspects of stability/instability, signal lag times, programming time etc etc.I was trying to build a system that controlled headlight movements in my car interfaced to the circuit on my breadboard and controlled by my ARDUINO.

    If you've already had your share of practical projects in control systems, I would advice you to start reading on nonlinear dynamics. This is an advanced version of the control systems taught in class(stability/instability mean different things here). P.S: I'm also still a student and learning this stuff, so if you feel like discussing stuff on control systems, just ping, keep us posted.
  6. Jul 22, 2013 #5
    Not too much to be honest! I have some rudimentary knowledge from my physics classes. Also, I've done a couple of robotics projects in my intro to engineering class. Nothing major at all.

    Thanks, I'll look into it!

    I haven't done a practical project yet =P

    Absolute will do guys, thank you!
  7. Aug 17, 2013 #6

    I'll be working with my Professor's graduate students on their research in addition to my own project. One is working on Maglev train technology, another is working on a magnetic ball levitation experiment. In addition, they'll help me with my first project: a rotary inverted pendulum. Luckily, the mechanical base from a previous student was hiding in a closet so I'll only need to design the circuitry and controller for it.

    The summer session just finished up and I have no doubt I earned an A. Additionally... I was the only student that really enjoyed this class, which baffled my colleagues.
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