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Common prototype problems
The final prototype incorporates the unique elements from every design by the different students, making it uniquely creative in design and working mechanism. However, this also opens it up to unique problems that might not necessarily be found in other conventional designs on the market. Here are a few tips on how to prevent some of the prototype’s common problems.
Reducing instances of crankshaft breaking
Reciprocating and rotating machinery such as the prototype in question often suffers torsional vibration that results in the crankshaft breaking. To prevent problems associated with torsional vibrations, it is important to calculate such elements as the torsional stiffness and the polar mass of inertia. There are accepted formulae used, for instance, in the calculation of the torsional stiffness like carter’s formula and Ker Wilson’s formula. The calculations will help in determining the positions of viscous dampers. Ideally, they should be located at points with the highest angular velocity.
Special considerations should be made if the crank is gear driven. Torsional vibration can easily result in lateral vibration due to torque variations at the gear mesh. Gearbox manufacturers generally recommend the torque at the gear mesh be kept to a minimum of between 30 and 40 percent during the steady state operation (Feese & Hill, 23).
Keeping the mechanism closed
The new design is a sealed drum composter, and one of the characteristic …

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