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Category: Science

Blogpost 3

I started to gather materials on the first day and tested the solar panels out. The solar panels wouldn’t work connected to a motor under the sunlight, so I tried to reverse the + end and – end on the engine, but it still didn’t work.

Day 1: Gather Materials


On the second day, I started to build my boat. Because things weren’t definite yet, instead of using hot glue to stick things together, I used electrical tape to hold things together. First, I fastened the two popsicle sticks on each side of the soda cans. Then I put the solar panel on the soda can.

front view

top view

After that, I connected the motors to the body of the boat.

top view

front view

The two motors were connected on one circuit. The circuit looked like this:


I found out that the problem with this circuit was that one motor would turn in a clockwise direction, while the other one spun in an anti-clockwise direction, making it impossible for the boat to go forwards. For the ship to go forward, the motor needed to be turning in the same direction, but in this case, they were spinning in different directions.


On the third day, to fix the direction of rotation on my motors, I made changes to the circuit for the motors that each of the motors were attached to a different circuit. This is what the circuit looked like after the first modification:

modified circuit

However, I later noticed that this did not fix the problem: the secured motors were still spinning in opposite directions. To fix this problem, I made changed the direction of the + and – ends of one of the motors. Since the direction of electricity is what affects the direction of rotation for the motor, when I changed the + and – ends, the flow of electricity changed directions, rotating the motor in the opposite direction. After this modification, the circuit looked like this:

modification #2

There was one problem with this solution, though. The wires were not that secure, and they kept on falling apart. To fix this problem, instead of twisting them from two different directions, I twisted them so that they were all twisted from one side. The wires were more stable after this. This is a diagram to explain how I twisted the wires together.

This is what the boat looked like by now.

top view

front view

After this, I built the propellers, cutting the wings from plastic bottles. I glued the individual wings onto plastic bottle caps and poked a wooden stick, which would act as the axis. This is a photo of the propellers.


On one of the after-school sessions, I was working on my project, when I had an accident with the light. The light was on for a while, on the table. It was on top of the wire, so the wire burned and snapped in half. To fix this accident, I got rid of the broken wire and connected the light to the wire with the plug. Thankfully, the process was successful, and the light turned on without any problems. Here are videos of me while fixing the light and the light working.



I glued the propellers together and glued the product together with a glue gun. Then, I tested the final product out on the water. However, there still were a couple problem with this. First, the front part of the ship that contained the motors, was too heavy. Next, the water got in through the holes in the front of the soda cans. Third, the wings got caught on the side of the soda cans, stopping the propeller from spinning. To fix the first problem, I added marbles at the back of the cans to act as a counterweight for the boat. To fix the second problem, I sealed the front with modeling clay and sealed the ends of the modeling clay with a glue gun. This added more weight to the front of the boat, but the marbles countered the weight. To fix the third problem, I cut the edges of the wings until they didn’t get caught on the edges of the soda cans. Here is the fixed version of the boat.


After that, I painted the boat lime green. Here is the final product.

top view

front view

Blogpost 2



Thursday – gather materials and finalize myย plan, test if the solar panels are able to be connected to the two motors

Monday – bring soda cans and popsicle sticks to school, and build the first prototype of my boat. After building my prototype, test it out and make modifications as necessary. document blog post

Wednesday – keep on working on the boat, make modifications as necessary, get feedback from others. Document work

Friday – finalize my project,ย  and make it aesthetically pleasing, and work on blog post.

Blogpost 1

What is this engineering task?

The engineering task is to take a renewable energy source and convert it to electrical energy.

The product will have to take either solar power, hydropower, or any type of renewable energy to power it.

What are you thinking about doing? (this can be multiple ideas)

Embed images and links of ideas you like/donโ€™t like

My first design is to build a boat that is powered by solar power. The boat will have a solar panel attached to a motor, which will be connected to the propellers. These propellers will be on top of the ship not be propelling water, but air. Essentially, the boat will move forward because of the flow of air.

Design #1 – the solar panels will be on top of the soda cans

My second design is to also build a boat that is powered by solar power. This is different from the first design in that the propellers will run in water; the boat will move forward as the motor is propelling the water backward.

Design #2 – the plastic tube will not be needed. The motor will be at the place where the red string is tied, and the solar panels will be on top of the plastic bottles.

My third design is to make a train that is powered by solar power. The train will look like trains from the 19th century, with several mini-trucks tagging along at the back.

Design #3 – solar panels will be on top of the first compartment.

ANALYZE those ideas: What are the pros/cons about those ideas?

Design #1

PRO: it’s environmentally friendly, as it reuses old soda cans and plastic bottles. It is also extremely light-weight, using soda cans to keep the ship afloat.

CON: the ship, if the solar panels and the motor are too heavy, might not move as fast as I want it to be, since sifting through the air is easier than water.

Design #2

PRO: the propellers go through water, which has a stronger resistance, allowing the boat to propel forwards faster.

CON:ย because the original design is not powered by a motor, I will have to change the design a lot, especially towards how the propellers are connected.ย 

Design #3

PRO: because it is a train and runs on the ground, it will be easier for me to test out the prototype.

CON: it is not very environmentally friendly at the moment; I will have to modify some of its parts to make it more friendly to the environment.

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