Landing Gear (loading competition)

For my Mechanisms and Vibrations class, we were challenged with producing a landing gear that could withstand the highest load, statically simulated by adding weights.

After designing for the best mechanical advantage with a given actuator as source of input, it was concluded that the limiting factor would be the material of construction.

While others made their landing gears out of popsicle sticks, I used my machining skills and practical knowledge to manufacture my landing gear out of aircraft grade aluminum (6061-T6) utilizing Teflon bushings between moving components, double shear supports, and a Double Pull Double Throw switch for an easy change in the direction for current.

Thanks to my understanding of materials, good design and manufacturing practices, and experience working with tools (lathe, milling machine), I produced the first-place design and withstood loads much greater than my competition.

The certificate we received for placing first in the competition by lifting the most amount of weight.

Solidworks stress simulation showing the minimum factor of safety. Stress simulations can be tricky, if you do not define features properly, have the correct fixtures, loading, and the correct mesh, you will get incorrect results.

My training and experience working with this software for 6 years has given me a keen eye for detail and a better understanding of how to correctly replicate real life loading in the simulation.

On the left are aluminum bushings I machined on a lathe to properly space the components. Shoulder bolts were used where moving (hinging) components interacted.

We deemed the number of cycles the landing gear will go through to be too low to justify using bearings, as it would complicate the design and raise the cost.

Final CAD of the mechanism. An emphasis was placed on using off the shelf parts to reduce the number of machining steps/components.