Dcmercie headshot 1.jpg

Dylan Mercier[edit | edit source]

Email: dcmercie@mtu.edu


About Me[edit | edit source]

I am Dylan Mercier, a mechanical engineering student at Michigan Technological University. I am currently an intern for Wes-Tech Automation Solutions in the Chicago area and am part of the Open Source Hardware Enterprise at MTU.

Interests[edit | edit source]

Electronics Cars Automation CAD

Experience[edit | edit source]

  • I have built a printrbot simple metal, a DIY 3D printer that is low cost with a medium build plate that is fully upgradeable.
  • Worked on multiple large assemblies in Solidworks, Inventor, Autocad and NX
  • I have been an intern at an automation company called Wes-Tech Automation Solutions where we design and build automated assembly lines and machines for larger companies.

Enterprise[edit | edit source]

Semester 1 Fall 2019

Recyclebot Industrial v2:

    Starting the fall of 2019, our team, consisting of Matt Lekity, Garrick Ensminger, Colton Nelson and Nicki Gallup started a new revision of the current Industrial Recyclebot. The scope of the project was aimed to make it more user friendly, easier to build, and cheaper to source parts. My task as the mechanical design lead was to redesign the machine to incorporate the new ideas and parts that were going to be implemented. The first revision to the machine that is expected to be completed by the start of spring 2020 is the extruder and hopper assembly. The previous iteration had many flaws in this design, where the PLA granules started melting inside the hopper which caused the machine to jam. This problem meant it had to be taken apart and be cleaned multiple times before it can be used again. This was fixed by lengthening the pipe between the extruder nozzle and the hopper by 4-6 inches, which prevents the heat from the heating elements from creeping to the hopper through the pipe. Because this assembly needed to be revised, the entire hopper sub-assembly needed to be changed as well. One of the goals of this project is to make it simple for anyone to build with simple hand tools or common electrical tools. This means that the hopper design needs to be changed as most DIY enthusiasts will not have access to the tools needed to recreate the original design. This meant that the hopper assembly needed to be changed to be made of mostly 3D printed parts, making this sub-assembly easily replaceable and cost effective. These parts were designed to be bolted together, making cleaning and installation easy. This task of redesigning the hot end of the machine is the most involving in the project, while the electrical team carried out the task of automating the process from start to finish, wile also combining each of the existing control boxes into a single arduino.

Semester 2 Spring 2020

Recyclebot Industrial v2:

    Continuing with the Recyclebot Industrial v2 project for the fall of 2019, the team now consits of Matt Lekity, Colton Nelson, and Kyle DeRoche. This semester the goal was to finish the project fully including testing and fully 3D print the robot by the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this was not possible so the goals have been altered to work around this problem. The first half of the semester was spent redesigning the hot end of the assembly, which included redesigning the hopper as it was difficult to reproduce without specialty equipment. Because of this, the hopper was designed to be 3D printed as the previous hopper design costed half of our total estimated cost of the robot. This hot end was also redesigned to accept a stepper motor in place of the large DC motor that was driving the robot before as the DC motor was unable to be controlled or slowed down. This caused me to create new parts that will allow the stepper motor to be used, all of which can be 3D printed using PETG filament. After the hot end was designed, the parts were printed and assembled onto the base board using hardware that was bought or supplied in the lab. This hot end is completely ready for testing for when instruction resumes in the Fall. The second half of the semester was spent finishing the CAD assembly of the rest of the robot. Due to the pandemic currently happening, we were unable to physically finish printing and building the robot, so my focus was shifted to completing the entire robot so that it can be printed right away in the Fall of 2020, and be ready for testing immediately. The rest of the redesign consisted of the completion of the cold end, where the vertical tensioners were redesigned to allow more advisability for the user, allowing them to be raised, lowered, and shifted around on the board. Safety covers were also made to prevent injuries due to the hot and moving parts in this robot. These covers were placed over parts that can pinch, burn or cut the user, as safety is the priority in this project due to the amount of heat that is being outputted by the heaters. Each part was also prepped for printing, so that the team next semester can print the parts right away and start building the robot and testing it. The final part of my semester was spent creating a final bill of materials (BOM) that contains ever part needed to recreate the assembly, including screws, bearings, nuts, etc. Documentation was also created to direct the team next semester to where different parts are located and where everything can be found.

CAD assembly for the hot end of the robot including the redesigned hopper
3D printed hot end

Semester 3 Fall 2020

Recyclebot Industrial v2:

    Throughout the fall of 2020 semester, the Industrial Recyclebot has been fully designed and built. Previously the hot end of the robot was built and bolted into place, and this semester the cold end design was completed and updates have been made to increase safety. These updates to the CAD design include covers that prevent users or objects from touching the motor driven moving components such as the direct pullers and spooling mechanism. These components will pinch fingers, cut fingers, and pull on objects and could cause harm. Because of this, multiple covers were made to eliminate this risk, as the only way to access these components is to remove the covers. A cover was also made for the hot end of the robot to prevent burning of hands, arms, hair, or foreign objects. Because the hot end of the Recyclebot achieves very high temperatures, a cover was designed (but not printed due to printing limitations) to prevent the barrel or heating elements from being touched. The second cad update has been a slight modification to the layout of the assembly. In order to reduce prototyping costs, previous materials were reused, meaning that the base board that each component is bolted to has also been reused. Because of this, the layout of the robot has been adjusted and can be seen in the picture below. The flow of the design stays the same, but possesses a much smaller footprint.
    After the Recyclebot was designed, the components for the cold end were printed and assembled on the board. These components include everything after the barrel of the robot. The Recyclebot is fully capable of running now, and only minor improvements can be made to finish the project. I have also worked with another member of the group to start wiring the electronics to the Arduino controller, which will be used to drive the robot. This wiring has not been completed and will be finished the following semester. The picture below shows the built robot excluding the cover over the barrel of the hot end, and does not include the control box completed due to the incomplete wiring. The mechanical design portion of the Recyclebot is 100% functional, and 98% completed as there are accessory components that can be added to increase the safety and visual design of the robot.
Recyclebot Industrial v2 fully printed and built

Semester 4 Spring 2021

Cinematography Quadcopter:

This semester I started my senior capstone project, the open source cinematography quadcopter. I was the project lead, where I was tasked with creating and managing a budget spreadsheet, ordering parts and components, and designing the quadcopter. Before starting my design work, I researched different methods to build the quadcopter, and found the MultiWii program. This program allows an Arduino Uno R3 to be utilized to fly the drone. Using this program, I determined the proper components that would be needed to build the quadcopter. I determined that the motors would need to be overpowered in order to carry an additional payload in the future and chose the Emax MT2213-935KV motors. These motors are 935kV motors which are paired with 30A ESCs and a 3S LiPo battery. This combination allows the quadcopter to carry a payload almost double its weight without struggling due to the lack of lift. Once these key components were determined, the size of the quadcopter needed to be determined. Because of the possible additional payload in the future, a smaller quadcopter would not generate enough lift, so I determined that a 10" frame was appropriate for this use case. Because the goal of this project is to create a cinematography drone, the RunCam Hybrid Micro FPV camera was used to capture these photos and videos due to its 4K resolution and onboard microSD card.

Working closely with the other members of the team, I designed a frame capable of the 10" propellers, motors, and other components, ensuring that each component would fit properly onto the frame. Each of these components were created with weather resistance in mind, as the quadcopter could encounter unpredicted conditions during flight. Because of this, a cover was developed in order to protect the essential components. Each component was created using FreeCAD and additional open source plugins, specifically A2Plus and FEM. A2Plus handles the assembly portion of the design work, where each part was added to an assembly to confirm alignment with other parts. Once these parts were designed, I proceeded to start printing each part using PETG filament to prepare for assembly next semester.

The weekends of the semester were spent creating the wiring harness and testing the code. As a team, we were able to successfully gain an output from the IMU giving us values for our pitch, roll, and yaw while bench testing. Due to the nature of troubleshooting, extended delivery times due to covid, and shortage of components, the wiring harness was not finished completely, but the correct wiring diagram was determined for continuation next semester. It was also determined while assembling the wiring harness, that multiple components were lacking some of the features that were necessary in the MultiWii code that was being used. Because of this, multiple components needed to be ordered before the wiring harness was able to be completed.