Category Archives: Steel Bridge

Welcome Back! First General Meeting 2017-2018

Summertime is over and school is back in session. No that doesn’t mean no more beach days and hangouts. Instead, it is time to see all your friends and classmates you’ve missed for that two month span! USC ASCE held its first general meeting of the semester last Thursday to welcome back returning members and introduce potential members to what the organization offers.

Missed it? Well you’re in look! You can find more information below:

Concrete Canoe – Yes, it is exactly what is sounds like! Members work together to cast a canoe entirely out of concrete, and they then get to subject it to various tests during competition. Want more info? Contact canoe@uscasce.com

Steel Bridge – If you ever wanted to learn how to use big power tools like chop saws, drill presses, and welders, this is the team for you! The team builds a bridge from scratch spanning over twenty feet in length, then various engineering related tests are applied to the structure. Find out more at steelbridge@uscasce.com

Environmental – The Environmental Team solves real world problems that pertain to the comfort of our everyday lives. For example, water filtration. What if that luxury was suddenly taken away during a disaster? What would you to get clean water? If this interests you, Environmental is for you! Check them out at environmental@uscasce.com

GeoTech-  Every civil structure ever is built on the ground. What is the ground made of? That’s right, soil.  GeoTech explores the possibilities by pushing it to its limits. By designing and constructing a retaining wall, members compete to see how much force and how much earth it can hold back before rupture. Cool right? geotech@uscasce.com

PSWC- The biggest event of the year, the Pacific Southwest Conference, is an annual event that showcases the work of the organization for all to see. Over 17 schools come together at a single location to compete for the best spots. We couldn’t recommend enough for you to join us! For a preview take a look at this site.

Intramural Sports – You’d be surprised how competitive engineers get when it comes to sports, and as a result, it is quite an integral part of PSWC. At USCASCE, we build the span between engineering and friendship. Everyone is always welcome, and fun is always a guarantee! Our main focus is basketball, but if we get enough interest in other sports, we will create other teams without hesitation. If this sounds interesting to you, search IM Leagues and sign in with your USC credentials. Then search for ASCE Ballers.

Membership – Want to be a member? Sign up here.

Additional Info – If you have any other questions about the organization or design teams we offer, email us at uscasce@uscasce.com

Fight On!

 

PSWC 2017: Results

This year, the Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) was hosted by UC Irvine. USC ASCE participated in nearly every design competition offered. For full results, click here.

Don’t be too worried! This year, the organization ran into many unforeseen complications which significantly hindered the progress of many design teams.

Hey, USC ASCE, be proud of what you do. Take pride in what you work for. You did all this on your own, and you can personally take the credit for all the experience you gained this semester!

For an overview of USC ASCE, look below.

Overall: 7th

  • Concrete Frisbee: 3rd
  • Environmental: 4th
  • Concrete Canoe: 7th
  • Construction: 5th
  • Surveying: 5th
  • Transportation: 6th

  • Steel Bridge: DQ
  • Geowall: participated
  • Tech Paper: participated
  • Soccer: participated
  • Scavenger Hunt: participated
  • Kan Jam: participated
  • Tug Of War: participated
  • Volleyball: participated
  • Timber Towers: participated
  • Mystery Event: participated
  • Impromptu: participated

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Prep for PSWC 2016

All of our design teams are busy making final preparations for PSWC 2016. With less than a week before conference, the KAP basement is full of activity from everyone from steel bridge working on final fabrication and assembly, concrete canoe preparing the stands, section, and display table, geotech building their box, surveying practicing, and environmental finishing their system. We’re excited to showcase our work in Long Beach next week!

The environmental team work on their filtering system.
The environmental team works on their filtering system.
The concrete canoe team tests out their new, reusable folding wood canoe stands.
The concrete canoe team tests out their new, reusable folding wood canoe stands.
Geotech captain Marissa measures the geowall box.
Geotech captain Marissa measures the geowall box.
Steel bridge team members discuss how to manufacture a part.
Steel bridge team members discuss how to manufacture a part.
Steel bridge members at work.
Steel bridge members at work.
The steel bridge box where pieces are transported.
The steel bridge box where pieces are transported.
The steel bridge team takes a brief break to pose for a photo.
The steel bridge team takes a brief break to pose for a photo.
Pieces of the Steel Bridge are laid out.
Pieces of the Steel Bridge are laid out.
Surveying team members practice in E-Quad.
Surveying team members practice in E-Quad.

Steel Bridge December 2015 Update

It’s been a long and tedious semester for everyone, but Steel Bridge doesn’t stop just because projects and exams pop up! We’ve got our design finalized, our steel bought, and our members know all the ins and outs of working with the machines.

Steel Bridge 2015

Although we didn’t get a chance to do much fabrication this semester, it was great having all of our dedicated members come out every week! It’s definitely dirty work cutting and welding steel, but the Steel Bridge team is totally prepared for next semester. Once January rolls around we’ll be cranking out our 20-ft bridge, and getting ready for the competition in Long Beach!

Jessica Maass
USC ASCE Steel Bridge Captain 2015

Steel Bridge 2015

Steel Bridge October 2015 Update

Steel Bridge Team Tests Tools

The design is almost finalized, and by next month we’ll start cutting up the pieces and forming the actual 20-foot steel bridge for conference. In the meantime, we’re currently in the process of creating a small box out of scrap metal. We’ve already cut and grinded our pieces to the correct lengths, and now all we have left is welding everything together. Our next project will be to build a single truss out of the tubular steel left over from last year, to practice for the main bridge.

If you haven’t been involved yet, don’t worry there’s still plenty of time to come out and learn the machines, the design, and have fun!

Bridge Team October 2015

PSWC 2015 Results

The results are in and one thing is clear — USC ASCE is now a dominant force in the ASCE Pacific Southwest Conference. A year after a shocking 3rd place overall rank at PSWC 2014, our biggest, strongest, most promising team in recent history has repeated with a 3rd place overall finish at PSWC 2015, hosted by the University of Arizona.

Ultimate Frisbee team with their 1st place award.
Ultimate Frisbee team with their 1st place award.

An overall placing at PSWC is no small feat. Over twenty events contribute to the overall composite score, and 18 universities vie for victory in each and every one. USC ASCE has records of placing third overall at PSWC only twice (2014, 1994) in our 91-year history, and we believe that we’ve never placed higher with this many schools in our conference. This is truly a special moment for our organization and our members.

Quiz/Family Feud Team with their 3rd place award.
Quiz/Family Feud Team with their 3rd place award.

Seven of our competition teams placed top-three and all events contributed to our overall finish. I’ll now break down the results for each of our eight design teams, followed by a summary of our placings in all of the smaller events.

Concrete Canoe

2015 Concrete Canoe Team Photo with our canoe, Jurassic
2015 Concrete Canoe Team Photo with our canoe, Jurassic

Last year’s concrete canoe team established itself as a solid contender with the 6th place finish of DiSCovery II, following a 14th place finish in 2013. This year, the team continued to improve with an even stronger canoe, Jurassic.

3rd Place in Concrete Canoe Design Paper!
3rd Place in Concrete Canoe Design Paper!

A new effort to better understand the structural analysis of concrete canoes contributed strongly to a repeat 3rd place finish in the design paper category, as well as a much-improved 6th place finish in oral presentation. While the smallest of omissions in the engineer’s notebook lead to a significant deduction in the final product category and our slightly modified hull design and logistical constraints with practicing lead to  lower placings in three races than last year, our women’s sprint team finished 4th and our women’s endurance team placed 6th. Overall, our team placed 5th with Jurassic, a one-place improvement over last year.

Steel Bridge

2015 Steel Bridge Team with their assembled bridge.
2015 Steel Bridge Team with their assembled bridge.

This year’s bridge team created an incredibly innovative design featuring a complex connection system that allowed the team to optimize cost, weight, and constructability. The design proved to be time consuming to fabricate, but our dedicated team pulled several consecutive all-nighters, including two in Tucson, to complete their bridge in time for the competition.

Despite only having time for two practice runs, the team put on an impressive show in the bridge assembly stage, highlighted by a novel technique of building most of the bridge over the “land” before swinging it around on a pivot to complete construction. The 14:46 assembly time is one of our best in recent memory. Unfortunately, during assembly, a single washer fell off from one of the members—the washers were used to bolt together the members, as per the competition rules. Because of this, the bridge did not meet the requirements and forced a disqualification. But it should be noted that many, many teams are disqualified from the steel bridge competition for various reasons (13 of the 17 universities at PSWC 2015, in fact), and that result does not diminish the quality of the product that our team produced. Our 2015 bridge is one of the best we’ve created and we’re excited to see what next year’s team will do to build on it.

Environmental

2015 USC Environmental Team with their water filtration system.
2015 USC Environmental Team with their water filtration system.

Our environmental team put on a strong showing this year with their water treatment system. They built an impressive structure to house the varying stages of systems and presented their results very professionally. The filtration system was reportedly successful in its initial results, pending further analysis by the judges. In the end, the team placed 8th, giving us a significant contribution to the overall point total and also leaving plenty of room to continue improving in future years.

Geowall

The 2015 Geowall team poses with their loaded box.
The 2015 Geowall team poses with their loaded box.

The Geotechnical Engineering competition this year proved to be a challenge for many participants. Teams built a three-sided retaining wall out of paper. Unfortunately our team’s wall was unable to  hold the weight of the sand when the box was opened due to a variety of factors. But the team put in a good effort, seen in aspects ranging from their strong presentation poster to their meticulously-designed Trojan-themed box. Looking to next year, the team is excited to see what they can do with the knowledge gained from this year’s efforts.

Surveying

2015 USC Surveying Team.
2015 USC Surveying Team.

For the first time in many years, our surveying team sought not only to learn enough to get by, but to actively learn various aspects of surveying to further both their individual abilities and the team’s success. Weekly practices throughout the semester and the help of a graduate advisor lead to a strong 6th place finish that contributed significantly to our overall 3rd place finish.

Dog House

The 2015 USC Dog House Team poses with their food-truck-themed dog house: "A Trip Around LA".
The 2015 USC Dog House Team poses with their food-truck-themed dog house: “A Trip Around LA”.

A new competition this year, the dog house team sought to build a creative and functional home for a deserving dog that featured a geographically relevant theme. Our result was a spacious wooden structure themed “A Trip Around LA”, featuring food trucks and the food truck culture that is evocative of Los Angeles. Making another significant contribution to the overall point total, our team finished in 6th place. After the competition, our dog house was donated to a local animal shelter, which will be auctioning it off as a fundraiser. We’re excited to have this opportunity to support the local Tucson community and create a new home for a special dog.

Concrete Bowling

The Concrete Bowling Team poses with their Spongebob-themed ball.
The Concrete Bowling Team poses with their Spongebob-themed ball.

While this year’s concrete bowling received a “participation” score, their perfectly-round “sponge-ball” was extremely well-executed and well-received. The team is already planning extensive efforts to better prepare themselves for next year now that they have a solid year to build off of.

Complete Scores

Our talent show team placed 3rd with a stunning rendition of "Something Big" featuring an original dance.
Our talent show team placed 3rd with a stunning rendition of “Something Big” featuring an original dance.

Our team competed in every event at PSWC 2015, and every point mattered in our 3rd place finish, winning by only 15 points. Four of this year’s teams placed 1st and three teams placed 3rd, the highest number of individual event awards in our recorded history.

Scavenger hunt captains with their 1st place award.
Scavenger hunt captains with their 1st place award.
Mystery Event Team with their 1st place award.
Mystery Event Team with their 1st place award.
Talent Show Team with their 3rd place award
Talent Show Team with their 3rd place award.
  • Concrete Canoe: 5th
    • Design Paper: 3rd (repeat)
  • Steel Bridge: DQ
  • Technical Paper: 1st
  • Geotech: participated
  • Environmental: 8th
  • Surveying: 6th
  • Dog House: 6th
  • Transportation: participated
  • Quiz/Family Feud: 3rd
  • Scavenger Hunt: 1st (repeat)
  • Concrete Bowling: participated
  • Mystery Event: 1st
  • Ultimate Frisbee: 1st
  • Basketball: participated
  • Soccer: participated
  • Talent Show: 3rd
  • Impromptu: participated
  • Kan Jam: participated
  • Tug of War: participated

Overall

Sylvia Tran, 2015 USC ASCE Technical Paper Author, with her 1st place award.
Sylvia Tran, 2015 USC ASCE Technical Paper Author, with her 1st place award.

I began this post with an explanation of our 3rd place overall finish. But I want to once again emphasize the importance of the contributions each and every one of our teams made. Every single point counts, and our team truly gave this conference their all, fighting through challenges ranging from limited time and budgets to broken noses in the basketball tournament. The shear effort put forth by our team represents a unbelievably solid commitment to our school, our chapter, and each other.

Celebration after placing 3rd overall at PSWC 2015.
Celebration after placing 3rd overall at PSWC 2015.
PSWC Co-chairs Lucy and Nick with USC ASCE President Winston and our *3rd place overall award.
PSWC Co-chairs Lucy and Nick with USC ASCE President Winston and our *3rd place overall award.

With such an amazingly successful year now complete, it’s hard to imagine what the future may hold. One of the most exciting parts of this year’s team is the number of underclassmen, including seven freshmen, we had. Only twelve seniors on this year’s team are graduating, and while they all played significant roles, we’re better prepared than ever to have younger members fill their shoes. With such a strong base of returning members, all eager to recruit others to join us as well, we can only imagine where we’ll be a year from now.

USC ASCE PSWC 2015 Team with all eight of our awards.
USC ASCE PSWC 2015 Team with all eight of our awards.

– Nick Halsey

USC ASCE 2014-2015 Sponsorship/Conference Co-chair

 

P.S. this is exactly my 100th post on this blog. The website and our club have come an amazingly long way since I first built this site in my freshman year (2013), and I’m excited to see where we go from here!

PSWC 2015: Steel Bridge Competition

In the Steel Bridge competition, teams race against the clock to assemble their bridge. All bridge members must be within a restricted size, and the rules have specific guidelines for connections. This year’s teams pulled off an impressive assembly procedure including a dramatic rotation of the bridge structural in order to optimize the speed.

PSWC 2015: Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge, and Dog House Aesthetics

Our team woke up bright and early to set up our concrete canoe, steel bridge, and dog house aesthetics displays at the University of Arizona. Aside from engineering, each of these competitions are also judged on aesthetics and presentation. This also provided students at the University of Arizona a chance to see our work.