UI Marching Band Mobility Platform

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The Beast Logo
Team Name The Beast
Duration Summer 2019 - Fall 2019
Faculty Adviser
  • Mathew Swenson, Ph.D., P.E.
  • Edwin Odom, Ph.D., P.E.
  • Bill Magnie
  • Selso Gallegos
  • Spencer Martin, M.M. / Lionel Hampton School of Music
Team Members
  • Ali Alghubari
  • Mohammed Almomen
  • Nicholas Brubaker
  • Christopher Douglas
  • William Skidmore

It is the goal of the University of Idaho Mechanical Engineering Department to design and fabricate a "Band Mobility Platform" (BMP) for the University of Idaho Marching Band as a continuation of the "Band-Beesten" legacy. The BMP will be an electrically-driven, remote-controlled stage that enables a variety of otherwise stationary performers to perform with a stunning light show in coordination with the marching band.

Problem Definition[edit]


The Band-Beesten legacy was ignited way back in the 2011-2012 academic year with Dr. Odom and the music department to remove the University of Idaho Marching Band's drummer's burden of carrying the drum set during performances. Since that day class after class of mechanical engineering students have worked to further refine and develop this product to levels unimaginable at the time.Team Drum Roll
Front page 3.jpg
In 2013-2014, the students succeeded in developing what the previous class could not. They eliminated the need for human power with a "ballbot" powered drive system. The "ballbot" consisted of three motors attached to the ball of the "ballbot" allowing for full translational movement of the ball as dictated by the walking motion of the drummer. The Band-Beesten Experience
In 2014-2015, the next class senior design students developed the design into an RC controlled triangular platform with onmi-directional wheels. The triangular platform was capable of reliably supporting and moving a load of 250 lbs. Band-Beesten
The following year, the platform was modified to accept both the drumset and paino. Band-Beesten


Small Scale Model to Demonstrate Project Feasibility

  • Primitive Circuitry and Motor Control Algorithms
  • Laser Cut Wooden Frame and Bolt and Spring-Bolt Suspension System

Full Scale Prototype

  • Refined Circuitry, Motor Control Algorithms, and Recharging System
  • Aluminum Frame with Independent Suspension System and Variable/Modular Wheel Positioning
  • Fully Function Performance Activated Lighting Arrangement

Modeling of Finished Design

  • 3-D Model of the Frame and Suspension System
  • Structural Analysis of the Frame and Suspension System
  • Circuit Analysis on the Power-Control System

Experimental Results/Design Validation

  • Translational and Rotational Speed
  • Stability Under Static and Dynamic Loads
  • Battery Duty and Recharge Cycle Periods


Functional Requirements

  • Motion shall be controlled via remote control by a pilot not located on the platform.
  • The lights of the BMP shall be controlled by the musician located on the on the BMP via regular playing of the applicable instrument which activates shock activated piezoelectric sensors.

Mechanical Requirements

  • The design shall be able to support,translate,and rotate a load of 1500 lbs.
  • The stage shall not exceed a length 9 ft nor a width of 7 ft.
  • The total system shall weigh no more than 500lbs.
  • The design shall have a universal mounting system to accommodate a drum set, piano, and a txalaparta.
  • The system shall have a life cycle of years with no component failures.
  • The platform shall translate at a marching pace of 160 steps per minute with a stride of 23 in.
  • The wheels shall remain in contact with the Kibbie Dome field terrain and support equal loading at all times.

Electrical Requirements

  • During operation the voltage shall remain at 24V. The total amps constantly consumed by the system should not exceed 30 amps.
  • The PCS shall be designed with a capacity to operate the entire BMP for a minimum of 15 minutes on a single charge.

Software Requirements

  • The software shall be capable of receiving RC input signals from a maximum distance of 70 yards and input signals from the instrument-mounted sensors. The software shall be capable of distributing power from the battery bank to the PCS, motors, and lights as received by the RO and performer.
  • The RO shall utilize a standard radio controller with joy sticks for controlling the left-right and forward-reverse translational movements of the BMP. The performers will control the lights via the drum set and/or the piano.

Environmental Requirements

  • The Product is expected to have full operational capabilities in environments with ambient temperatures of 32F to 100F.
  • The PCS shall comply with the UL 1642 standard for lithium batteries.

Cost Requirements

  • Cost to build a POC prototype shall not exceed $1400.

Design Considerations[edit]

Frame and Suspension Initial Concepts[edit]

Concept Depiction Movement Qualities
4 Wheel Flex Frame Initial Design with 45 Deg. Wheel Offset
  • Favorable for Rotational Motion
  • Equally Unfavorable Translational Motion in Both L/R and F/R Directions
4 Wheel Independent Suspension Initial Frame Design with Centered Wheels
  • Favorable for Both Translational and Rotational Motion
  • Unstable Load Support
4 Wheel Independent Suspension Design with 90 Deg. Offset Wheels
  • Favorable for Rotational Motion
  • Unfavorable for Translational Motion Due to Control Complexity
6 Wheel Symmetrical Independent Suspension Frame
  • Favorable for Translational and Rotational Motion
  • Unfavorable Due Initial Budget Restrictions

Final Conceptual Design[edit]

Modular Variable Wheel Quantity and Offset with Independent Suspension

  • 4 or 6 Wheel Modular Configuration
  • 3 Offset Positions
  • Independent Suspension
Full-Scale Assembly
  • 4 or 6 Wheel Modular Configuration
  • 3 Offset Positions
  • Independent Suspension with 4-Bar Linkage
  • 80/20 Modular Frame
  • Universal Mounting Points
  • AC Plugs for Instruments
  • Under-Surface Power Control System
Wheel-Suspension Assembly w/o Wheel
  • 4-Bar Linkage
  • Coilover Strut
  • Easily Removed from and Re-Attached to 80/20 Frame
  • 8:1 Gear-Box and Motor
Frame Top Surface
  • Non-Slip Surface
  • Universal Instrument Mounting
  • Personnel Mounts to Secure Performers
  • AC Power Outlets
Bottom of Frame
  • Nissan Leaf Batteries and Power Control System Brains Under-Surface Mounted

Project Learning[edit]

Frame and Suspension[edit]

Asymmetric Double Wishbone
The first design iteration was an asymmetric double wishbone frame with three points of contact between the frames and the ground, even load distribution would be assured via flexing of the frames. The most notable problem with this design was the asymmetric frame and wheel positioning would prevent smooth forward and reverse translation. The second most notable problem with this design was that the frame would have to be fine tuned for a very specific stiffness to act as both a suspension and safe support structure.

Six Wheeled Symmetric Double Wishbone
The second design was the same concept as the previous design double frame except the wheel placement was symmetric which would allow for unbiased translational movement. This design better meets the customer requirements as translational movement is a higher priority than rotational movement. However, the problem of the complex frame still persists.

Six Wheeled Single Frame Independent Suspension
The third design was to eliminate the double wishbone frame for a single frame with independent suspension to reduce the cost the design and the complexity of the development. The single frame independent suspension design allows for the same even load distribution as before but with design better for manufacturablity, for the much of the suspension is able to be purchased off the shelf.

Four Wheels Variable Offset
Next we reduced the number of wheels to 4 to further reduce costs, complexity, and weight. This creates a greater challenge for designing for both translational and rotational movement while maintaining stability. Several wheel configurations were considered including perimeter centered perimeter parallel, corner positioned perimeter parallel, corner positioned 45 deg. offset, and corner positioned 90 deg. offset. Ultimately, it was decided to use corner positioned wheels with variable offset.

Four/Six Wheels Variable Offset
Lastly, it was discovered that reducing the number of wheels to 4 would place too much force on the wheels under full intended capacity. To solve this problem, it was decided that the wheels would be modular with variable positioning allowing for 4 or 6 wheels to be used with variable positioning possible for the 4 corner mounted wheels.

Small Scale Programming and Circuitry[edit]

Signal Receiving
As per the customer requirements, the system shall be controlled by a pilot using remote control; this presented the problem of how to interpret the signal from the receiver. Using an Arduino Uno, attempting to quantify the signal as pseudo analog measure of voltage intensity proved to not be possible. It was discovered that the signal is entirely digital and required a measure of the period between high (5V) pulses. This pulse width varies linearly depending on user input allowing for simple quantification.

Signal Processing
Reading the signal from the receiver created an additional problem for processing the signal. The measure of pulse width requires a pause in processing to count the time between pulses which distorts the signal once too many inputs are being read at once. This led to the discovery that the maximum number of inputs readable from the receiver is 2. This problem suggests two viable solutions: use a controller with more processing power or create a control algorithm can translate and rotate the platform with only two input signals.

To distribute power to the DC motors, H-Bridges capable of controlling two motors each were used which placed restrictions on safe current levels. The TI-L293D H-Bridge has a current limitation of 600 mA, and the current drawn by our motors was measured to be vastly below this at 1.4 mA each. Despite the safe levels, H-Bridges were rendered inoperable after more than 20 minutes of total run time. This means that to build a fully operational early control system that wont burn up 24 volt motor controllers with heat sinks will have to be used for the small scale proof of concept.

Final Design[edit]


Team Members[edit]

Ali Alghubari

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Najran, Saudi Arabia
Responsibility: Manufacturing
Email: algh3229@vandals.uidaho.edu

Mohammed Almomen

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
Responsibility: Documentation
Email: almo3456@vandals.uidaho.edu

Nick Brubaker

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Kennewick, WA
Responsibility: Frame Assembly
Email: brub8655@vandals.uidaho.edu

Chris Douglas

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: New Castle, PA
Responsibility: Power Control System
Email: doug7623@vandals.uidaho.edu

Will Skidmore

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Sandpoint, ID
Responsibility: Wheel-Suspension Assembly
Email: skid9753@vandals.uidaho.edu

Additional Documentation and Information[edit]

Project Schedule[edit]

Notable Dates[edit]

Controls Proof of Concept: 07/16/19
Final Design: 07/22/19
Small Scale Build: 08/02/19
Wheel Assembly Prototype: 08/24/19
Fully Assembled Prototype: 09/18/19
Validation Completion: 10/16/19
Delivery to Customer: 10/22/19
Game Day Demonstration: 11/02/19


Snapshot 1
File:Project Schedule The Beast Su-Fall 07-21-19.pdf
Snapshot 2
File:Project Schedule The Beast Su-Fall 08-02-19.pdf


Snapshot 1
File:Budget Su-Fall 07-21-19.pdf
Snapshot 2
File:Budget Su-Fall 08-02-19.pdf

Meeting Minutes[edit]

Team Meetings

File:1 Monday 06-17-19.pdf
File:2 Wednesday 06-19-19.pdf
File:3 Monday 06-24-19.pdf
File:4 Wednesday 06-26-19.pdf
File:5 Monday 07-01-19.pdf
File:6 Wednesday 07-03-19.pdf
File:7 Monday 07-08-19.pdf
File:8 Friday 07-12-19.pdf
File:9 Monday 07-15-19.pdf
File:10 Monday 07-22-19.pdf
File:11 Monday 07-29-19.pdf
File:12 Wednesday 07-31-19.pdf

Mentor Meetings

File:1 Tuesday 06-18-19.pdf
File:2 Tuesday 06-25-19.pdf
File:3 Tuesday 07-02-19.pdf
File:4 Tuesday 07-09-19.pdf
File:5 Tuesday 07-16-19.pdf
File:6 Tuesday 07-23-19.pdf
File:7 Tuesday 07-30-19.pdf

Customer Relations[edit]

Client Interview

File:Product Requirements(1).pdf

Design Validation
File:Beast Design Validation Plan.pdf