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Site last updated: 2/17/10

Providing Students Professional Experience, Education and Fun

ASABE (the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers) is interested in providing students from all engineering disciplines professional experience, education, and fun. ASABE organizes a national student design competition based on the concept of designing, fabricating, and testing a quarter scale pulling tractor.

The design competition is arranged to be both educational and fun for the students. There are four main judging categories: a written design report, a team presentation, an individual design judging competition, and a performance competition. The performance competition, the highlight of the event, is comprised of a multi-stage tractor pull using a progressive-resistance sled.

Through involvement in the competition students gain practical experience in the design of drivetrain systems, tractor performance, fabrication techniques, analysis of tractive forces, weight transfer, and strength of materials. In addition they also develop skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, fundraising, and testing and development.

Design Experience and More

One of the primary concerns of industry leaders today is that engineering students of all disciplines are entering the workforce with too little practical knowledge or design experience. Student design competitions and projects are an invaluable way to prepare students to be effective professional engineers when they enter the workforce In the Quarter Scale Tractor Design Competition students are challenged to harness the torque of a specified stock engine in order to maximize performance in the pulling event.

Design Fundamentals

Design fundamentals such as strength of materials, statics, weight transfer, and power transmission are major factors considered as the student engineers design the tractor's frame, drivetrain, hitch, clutch, weight-brackets, steering components, brakes, and operator station. Although the size and shape of the quarter scale tractor is similar to that of a typical lawn and garden tractor, very few parts are used directly from a commercial machine.

Fabrication Techniques

Student engineers gain practical design experience by participating in this project, they will also obtain valuable experience as they fabricate, build, and assemble their own designs. It is no longer acceptable in industry for design engineers to simply throw their design "over-the-wall" and assume they can be easily manufactured. Through hands-on experience with numerous fabrication processes, students gain an awareness of the capabilities and potential pitfalls in the design for manufacturability.

Time Management and Team Environment

With a project of this magnitude, the student engineers' skills in communication, teamwork, and time management will be greatly challenged, and developed through necessity. By working on this project, a student engineer can show potential employers that they can excel and perform under adverse condition and pressures.