Friday, July 3, 2009

Presenting Our Thresher - June 25 2009

The entire team at our booth with the thresher. We had the booth set up for two days in a row, and provided information about our device.

Operating our thresher on-stage:

The presenters speaking about the design process:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Final Product

First, one must feed the panicle of sorghum into the thresher:

The threshed sorghum and minimal plant material falls into a fluidized bed; the grating that lies underneath allows the seeds to fall into the chute, and the excess plant material to be buoyed up by the air from the fan:

All you have to do to thresh sorghum is some pedaling!

Photos of the Build Process - June 2009

Adrianna, working hard on the frame:

David welding:

Tyler and Kenny, working on the thresher:

Tyler and Bethany, working on the pulley:

Our Sorghum Thresher at EurekaFest - June 24-27 2009

After racing through a build season of only a scant few weeks, we arrived at MIT's EurekaFest with a fully-functioning, highly successful sorghum thresher on June 24th, 2009. We were chosen to present our project in front of an audience of three or four hundred people, and received ample press coverage, such as from Discovery and Whole Grains Council. (Click to read the articles.)

Our design consists of a threshing drum – an inner and outer cylinder with spikes, with an annular space between – and a winnowing fan, which fluidized the bed of grain after it is threshed off of the stems and branches, or panicle. Both of these components are powered by pedaling a bicycle wheel.

More photos to come, including videos of our presentation/demonstration and from the event itself.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prototyping the Thresher - 5/5/2009

We are well underway in our prototyping process. We are building two prototypes:

1. A dual-roller brush design
2. An "annular chamber" design (a cylinder inside of a cylinder.)

Design 1:

Design 2:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pedal-Operating the MSU Thresher - 3/16/09, 3/24/09

Recently, we experienced one of the most pivotal events of our inventing experience! We hooked up a bicycle to the soybean thresher we received from Michigan State University, to test if it was in fact feasible for a thresher to be human-powered and pedal-operated.

Some of the team members attaching the bicycle to the MSU thresher.

We put some of our able-bodied men to the test with our new thresher - and they powered it with ease! In fact, the thresher actually worked more efficiently than it previously had.

We affirmed that it is both feasible and efficient to manually pedal-operate a sorghum and millet thresher.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

1/1/09 - Making a Mortar and Pestle

Our InvenTeam's New Year's Eve festivities included making a mortar and pestle similar to those used to thresh sorghum in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Adrianna spreading cement at the bottom of the pot.

Marissa and Tyler cutting a wooden holder for a tube and ball that will serve as a mold. The tube and ball, if suspended in the middle of the cement, will create a perfect shape on the inside of the mortar.

Gina, Phyllis, and Mr. Moser working on the last bits of cement for the mortar.

The mortar all set, drying the night away!

All done!