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Potato Planter Development via Capstone Design and Engineering Tools

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  078022.(doi:10.13031/2013.23025)
Authors:   Dean D Steele, Thomas A Bon
Keywords:   undergraduate education, computer aided design, agricultural machinery, research

A multi-year research project comparing potato planting configurations required a mechanical, plot-scale (two-row) planter capable of planting in both a conventional (hill or ridge) mode and in a furrow or trench mode. The objective of this project was to enlist teams of undergraduate engineering capstone design students to redesign and modify a conventional potato planter into a unit capable of planting in both furrow and hill modes. The first team of students redesigned and rebuilt the potato planter in one semester. Their accomplishments included redesigning the disk opening system and moving the ground drive/depth control wheels ahead of the disk opening system. A local manufacturing facility laser cut some of the parts based on three-dimensional computer-aided design models developed by the students. The second team of students (two years later) redesigned the disk closing system and shortened the overall length of the planter. Students conducted stress analyses based on their three-dimensional models of the planter. Both planter redesigns were used successfully in the field for small plot experiments. This paper will present our experiences in the roles of 1) research project leader and 2) capstone design course instructor.

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