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Floating Storage Shelf

Some General information about your paper:

• The majority of your paper should be written in third person, past tense. Visit the Write Place for help with writing in third person, past tense.
• Please write your paper using Times New Roman 12 point font, double spaced.


Your report should include figure (often these will be scanned copies of sketches that you have done or inserted images showing computer aided drawings you have prepared). Make sure the figures are clear and sized to be readable. They are most commonly inserted into the text following the paragraph where you introduce them and are centered on the page, with sufficient white space on all sides of the figure. Please label all figures by adding a caption at the bottom of the figure, with the caption reading “Figure #. Descriptive Caption” (don’t include the quotations or number sign, and make sure to add a descriptive caption where shown). Refer to the figure in the text by Figure and its’ Figure # – as an example, “Figure 1 shows the original proposed design entitled Stackable Blocks”. Figures should be numbered in the order of their appearance (1,2,3….).
• TABLES should be labeled at the top of the table using the convention: “Table #. Title” (don’t include the quotations). Tables should be centered on the page. Tables should also be numbered in order of their appearance (1, 2, 3,…). Make sure the tables are typed and clear.


Cite all references in order of their appearance, using the convention [#] at the end of the sentence. (For example, “Over 30% of older adults fall each year [1].”) If you cite a reference more then once, you do not need to give it a new number. If you use a figure from a book or website you must also provide a reference for these (example: Figure 1. Aging curve for Aluminum 2024 [2] – the [2] refers to reference number 2). Technical papers do not use quotes from books regarding technical information (you may use a quote from a user of the product if this seems applicable).

All technical information obtained from a book or website should be paraphrased. You are required to have at least three references and at least one of these cannot be from the web. A List of References should be included at the end of the report giving each citation number and bibliographic information.

• NUMBERS – In technical reports, numbers are written out by name unless referring to measured values (example: Two samples were tested, the modulus of aluminum is 10 E 6 psi).

• ACRONYMS – In technical reports, all acronyms must be defined when first used (example: The University of Dayton (UD))

• Be careful using this template. Make sure the formatting is correct. Use spell check. Have a teammate read over your paper and sign it prior to turning this in. Also be sure your report comes across with a “unified voice”.
• A caution about writing engineering design reports: When writing be sure not to “get ahead of yourself”. Essentially the introduction should not talk about any other sections, the testing should not refer to results, etc.
• Be sure to remember that it is your ultimate goal to describe the process and choices made so that the client understands that the design you ultimately present at the end is the best product you could have chosen and that it was chosen based on logical decisions.

[Template begins on following page, delete these tips prior to turning in]

A short, concise summary (150 – 250 words) of your objectives, problem, what you did, how you did it and major conclusions.
Writing this section should often by saved until the rest of your paper is written, as it essentially summarizes the entire paper. An abstract will often precede the entire report and a reader will skim it to decide whether to read the rest of the report or not. It should essentially be one paragraph detailing the whole process – approximately a sentence for each design process step. Do not consider the abstract the introduction of the report — assume it is completely separate from the rest of the document.

I. Introduction

Team WIP was assigned the objective to create a floating storage shelf that would benefit the workers at Homefull as well as the produce the workers harvest. Homefull provides care and services to people in the city of Dayton who are at risk of homelessness, currently homeless, or previously homeless.

They work in conjunction with many organizations such as Miami Valley Housing Opportunities, County Corp, Goodwill Easter Seals, and St. Vincent de Paul Society. With the help of these partners, Homefull is able to assist more than 600 people daily in addition to serving as a 24-hour shelter for single men. Homefull provides educational classes that teach the individuals basic life skills as well as job search and employability courses. Located on the grounds of Homefull, there are two hoop houses that grow a variety of crops. Over the past few years, Homefull has grown as a company that provides more and more produce to the Second Street Market. In order to continue with the increased demand, Homefull would like to maximize the number of crops grown as well as diversify their produce. With limited amount of storage, Homefull came to our team to create a design that would function as a floating shelf to grow more crops while minimizing the area used on the ground. This shelf needed to be off the ground in order to grow produce below the shelf as well. Our team designed a floating shelf that would be created out of PVC pipe that would hold terracotta pots and plants as well as light weight supplies. The shelf would be attached to the sides of the hoop houses with U-bolts.

II. Generation of Design Alternatives

This section should briefly mention brainstorming, use of stimulus, and other ways you ensured diversity, creativity, and innovation to come up with the best designs possible. It should then state that these ideas were narrowed down to the best (minimum) 4 designs. Each design should then be presented one after another, giving a description of the design, including its key features and dimensions. A sketch of each should be included (these will often be the sketches you did after brainstorming). It is useful to give designs a name. If you are using a sketch make sure it is professionally done with a ruler on paper without line.

III. Design Selection Process

In order to select the most appropriate design to meet the group’s constraints and satisfy the group’s customer, Homefull, the group utilized a design matrix. A design matrix is a matrix in which the leftmost column is a list of all the principal criteria that the group’s design must perform as well as some of the key features it must have. The design matrix assessed the group’s top seven most important criteria; the group assessed the product’s weight, cost, portability, adaptability, strength, size, and ease of assembly. The first design was designed with vertical wooden 2x4s as the back support and horizontal wooden 2x4s as the shelf. The shelf had a diagonal wooden 2×4 as extra support, and the surface functioned as a shelf for plants or supplies. The second design was designed with horizontal PVC pipe and diagonal PVC pipe legs for extra support. The surface was slotted due to the space between the pipes to allow excess water to drain. The third design was designed with a horizontal wooden 2×4 as the back support, and a ply wood surface. The surface was long from left to right, but it did not extend far from the hoop house to ensure strength and the ply wood would not concave. The fourth design was designed with wooden 2x4s spaced apart from one another as they were stacked. The shelf would hang from the side of the hoop house to limit the space taken on the ground. The best design for weight was the second design. The worst design from weight was tied between the first and third designs. The best design for cost was the second design. The worst design for cost was the fourth design. The best design for portability was the fourth design. The worst design for portability was the second design. The best design for adaptability was tied between the second and third designs. The worst design for adaptability was the fourth design. The best design for strength was tied between the second and fourth designs. The worst design for strength was tied between the first and third designs. The best design for size was the second design. The worst design for size was tied between the third and fourth designs. The best design for ease of assembly was the second design. The worst design for ease of assembly was the first design. Therefore, the second design was the most fitted to the criteria overall. The group weighed the importance of the group’s criteria on a scale from zero to ten, one as least important and ten as most important. The top four designs the group created were placed in the design matrix. The weight of each category was multiplied by the rank of the category. The rank of the category was determined on a zero to ten scale as well, where zero meant the design did not adhere to the criteria at all and ten meant the design adhered to the criteria perfectly. After the group completed the design matrix, the group concluded that the second design matched all seven criteria the best. The pros of the second design include weight, cost, adaptability, strength, size, and ease of assembly. The cons of the second design include portability.
Design 1 (Khaled) Design 2 (Matt) Design 3 (Elizabeth) Design 4 (Mya)
Criteria Weight Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value
1 Weight 8 4 32 6 48 4 32 5 40
2 Cost 5 5 25 7 35 4 20 2 10
3 Portable 2 6 12 2 4 6 12 8 16
4 Adaptable 5 6 30 8 40 8 40 5 25
5 Strength 10 5 50 8 80 5 50 8 80
6 Size 6 7 42 8 48 6 36 6 36
7 Easy to Assemble 4 3 12 6 24 5 20 5 20
Total 203 279 210 227

IV. Final Design

This section should give all of the details of the design you chose to go with and build. If the design changes during the build phase this should also be mentioned. It should include multiple sketches of the final design, and possibly photographs of the built prototype. Dimensions and materials should be given, as well as in-depth information about any particularly important features. This section is worth the most points (refer to grading rubric), so should be the longest and most detailed section. Note that the majority of this section will be dedicated to the prototype BUILT – however you should also discuss your envisioned “plans” for what it would be if it were to be manufactured and sold (how would sizes change, what types of materials might be used, etc.). This is different than recommendations for redesign or next steps you will do later in the report.

V. Testing the Design

For the project, the group designed a floating storage shelf that is light weight that increases the space available to grow crops. After the prototype was complete, the group tested the design in several ways. The group wanted to test the strength, storage capacity, and the durability of the shelf. To test the design, since the shelf was created out of PVC, we placed books, laptops, and bookbags, on the shelf to represent the weight of the pots the shelf would be responsible to hold. The shelf was able to hold the weight of 30 pounds. This test was crucial since the major purpose of the shelf will be to hold potted plants and will need to be able to support weight.

The shelf passed the strength test according to our criteria, which was to be able to hold 30 pounds of weight. The next test we performed tested the total storage capacity of the shelf. The group performed this test by placing as many pots as possible on the shelf. The results concluded that a total of ten pots were able to fit on the shelf, but only eight pots fit comfortably. With eight pots on the shelf, there will be room for the crops to grow properly without overlap. The storage capacity test passed since we only required the shelf to be able to hold four plants. The last test we performed on the shelf was to test its durability. The shelf will not be exposed to too many weather conditions since it will be located inside the hoop house; however, the hoop house’s exterior that would block weather conditions from the shelf is very weak compared to the solid walls of a building. This will still expose the shelf to slight wind and other factors. We applied pressure and force to the shelf to stimulate a variety of weather conditions. The shelf was able to stay stable and passed the test set forth. We wanted to test the shelf for accidental run ins or other issues that would cause the shelf to collapse. After performing all three tests, the group is confident that the shelf will hold up throughout the entire growing season to allow an increase of space for crops to grow. After a variety of tests and reviewing the prototype led the group to decide in order to improve the design, smaller PVC pipe would be utilized in order to decrease the weight of the shelf, but more importantly decrease the space between the PVC pipes in order to allow for small pots to be able to be placed on the shelf. The group’s client Homefull will be able to use this shelf for a long time in order to have more growing space for crops available.

VI. Results

The group tested the design through three tests, strength as a shelf, storage capacity, and durability as a shelf. The requirement for the strength as a shelf test was the ability to support ten pots with water, dirt, and plants. The group simulated this weight with books, laptops, and bookbags. The shelf passed this test; however, the shelf is more stable with only eight pots on the shelf. Since the shelf is slotted, eight 8 inch pots fit best, and ten pots fit, but it was not nearly as sturdy. Pots smaller than 8 inches are not recommended. The requirement for the storage test was the ability to hold ten pots on the shelf. The shelf passed this test; however, eight pots fit more comfortably with room for the plant to grow without overlap. The requirement for the durability as a shelf test was the ability to survive the simulated weather conditions outside and in the hoop house. The shelf did pass this test, and it should last at least the length of a growing season. The group simulated weather conditions by applying pressure and shaking the shelf. Overall, the chair was successful in strength, as a storage unit, and in durability.

VII. Conclusion

This section should provide an evaluation of your design based on the test data and how well the design met the objectives and constraints. Include some concluding statements (typically no new info is presented here, just a summary of the key findings and design elements). *Remember you are trying to sell your design, even if the test shows it was a “failure”.

VIII. Recommendations

There are several recommendations to make to improve this design. One such recommendations would be to use 1 ½ inch pipe instead of 2 inch pipe. One reason is because what is gained is cost effectiveness is not lost as much in strength. For instance, 1 ½ inch PVC is two dollars less per 10 foot length versus 2 inch PVC. There is a similar trend with the unit cost of fittings. With more budget to work with, the more materials can be bought used to strengthen the design. Another benefit to using 1 ½ inch pipe is it is available in furniture grade, meaning that is holds up better in sunlight. Over time, direct sunlight will slowly begin to penetrate the layers of schedule 40/80 PVC and weaken it.
Another recommendation to improve this design could be to drill screws through the fittings and pipe so that the table will stay together if the PVC glue is too weak.
Another potential improvement could be to attach a metal slotted flat bar diagonally across the table, from corner to corner to make the table more rigid and help prevent sagging.
Another improvement would be to add a supporting length of PVC between the tabletop and the bottom of the leg so that the legs are less likely to bend and/or fall out of the fitting.
One last improvement would be to make round cuts in the end of the legs so that the pipe would wrap around the rib, so it could lean flush against the pole and the ground.

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