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High school engineering project

I’m not sure if this is allowed here. If not, please delete. In my high school engineering class, I am working on innovations centered around mechanics, both professional and at-home. My group needs some information and has set up a survey for anyone willing to help. It is only 7 questions and no one who takes the survey will be bothered by me or my group. For anyone interested, here is the link to the survey:
Thank you for your help.

I participated… So just what is this project? The questions seem to be designed to find an answer to “What cool tool can we design to help mechanics solve a problem?” Am I close?

That’s the project. The first step is to create a problem statement. We just need information to justify a problem statement. Thank you for participating.

Good luck with your study, my thought for uncomfortable was under the dash.:sunglasses:


Thank you for your help

Yeah— UNDERdash has been a problem long before age made that even more difficult! :smirk:

Searching patents can help with prior art. Example:

I think diy’er mechanics would benefit if you could design a hand-held battery operated inexpensive tool (less than $50 retail) that provided an o’scope function for looking at ignition system waveforms, o2 sensor waveforms, alternator output signal glitches, and for rpm measurements. Used o’scopes can be purchased for that, that’s what I use. They often can be found for not much more than $50, but are usually quite bulky, and not shop friendly. An automechanics’ o’scope doesn’t needs to have a 20 Mhz bandwith like an electrical engineer needs, and doesn’t need to use a CRT tube. Just a ordinary liquid crystal matrix display would work fine. So given the reduced functionality a mechanic needs, a low cost mechanics’ o’scope should definitely be possible.

The other gadget that would be helpful to diy’er is a data logging tool. Hand held, battery operated. Say you had a problem with the battery going dead overnight. You’d hook it up to the battery and whenever the voltage dropped suddenly, it would store what happened and the time it happened, and you’d know something was turning on at that time that shouldn’t be.

My experience is bending a wrench or screwdriver to reach a tight place. I have used Sun machines with an oscilloscope but I now leave electronic diagnosis to the dealer.

I’m sure I’ll come across some idea in the very near future… there’s always something that makes me say "I wish… ".

Seeing as this is an engineering school project, I’m going to try for an idea that requires calculations of mass, center of gravity, inertia, or power/force of some type. Or perhaps an understanding of thermodynamics. Like perhaps a design for a 12VDC scissor jack capable of lifting a 5,000 pound vehicle in an emergency. Although a standard 12VDC air pump with a “lift bag” would be perfect, a jack would be a great project idea.

I’ll post back if I come up with something.

I dunno but our local vo tec some years ago came up with a nifty ice scraper for windshields in their tool and die class. It was molded plastic, circular with a good knob in the center. You just ran it over the windshield and it worked amazingly well. I only got one on a school tour and have never seen them for sale. Not much good on snow though.

I would like someone though to come up with a decent powered solar flag light dusk to dawn and with an on off switch. I’ve thrown several away that just don’t have the power.

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Last Winter I had a couple inches of snow on my car. I cleared the windows and left on a short drive to the store. When I reached the stop sign the 2 inches of snow on the roof relocated to my windshield. I was able to cross to a parking lot and remove it. I knew better but since we don’t always get snow I forgot. I have a small plastic whisk broom dust pan combo and the dust pan worked great.

Thank you, everyone who has helped my team out so far.

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You know the available voltage and current for a 12VDC motorized scissor jack.
Using those parameters, and a measured amount of torque to turn an unloaded scissor jack, what would the ratio of the screwjack (worm drive) need to be to enable the jack to raise 1,0000 pounds? How much current would it draw? How long would it take to lift the corner of a small SUV with a flat sufficiently to change it? How long would the jack need to operate to do so? How much energy would this drain from the battery?

Just thinkin’ out loud…

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I like your thinking. Let me add some thoughts. How about an app and an input to USB box the condition the signals to be displayed on an Android phone or tablet?

How about that…,. I did a search for USB O-scope and I found one on Amazon for $54.99!! Here you go George!

re; PC based o’scopes

@db4690 has mentioned PC based o’scopes use in his professional shop. That’s a better solution than a traditional CRT based scope like I use. But the PC version is still somewhat bulky, and although the scope attachment is reasonably priced, its use requires a laptop. What I was referring to for the OP is a hand held stand alone battery operated scope geared to auto mechanics use. 20 Mhz isn’t required, probably at most 1 MHz, and even just a 100 KHz bandwidth would likely get the job done for almost ever test an auto mechanic would need to do. A simplified low cost version of something like this.

I’d like a bit bigger display than that handheld. The scope setup I listed is a bit fumbly for sure. The laptop could pretty easily be a $250 netbook or you could use a Windows tablet instead. I’d prefer an Android capable O-scope since they are more common on tablets and cell phones. I don’t think 20kHz capability raises the price much.

Many of these are available attachments to a smart phone. They have obd2 readers, scopes, IR cameras, etc that are pretty cheap and you control them via smart phone. I have several OBD2 readers for each car.

Thank you all. Your ideas have been very helpful to my group. We have until Friday to turn in our survey for anyone who would still like to help by taking the survey. Again, the link is