Career and Technical Education classes at Lincoln County High School have made it possible for students to be involved in a Reverse Engineering Project, which allowed them to redesign, build in safety features, and fabricate a set of tractor splitting jacks and track system.
Reverse Engineering is to analyze a product with some design changes and modifications. With the assistance of the machine shop instructor, welding instructor, agriculture instructors and CTE office personnel, Jentry Helums, Zach Snoddy and Abby Williams were able to fabricate, paint, test and present their project in four different contests across the state.
With instruction from Randy Anderson, Jentry measured, cut, drilled, and machined numerous parts needed for this project. Don Bukar instructed Jentry and Zach as they started the process of laying out and welding the components of the splitting jacks.
In the agriculture shop, Tim Bradford instructed Zach and Jentry as they designed, cut, and welded the eight-foot section of track that support the jacks and allow them to roll to insure proper alignment. Accurate measurements and placement of the parts were very critical in the operation of the jacks.
Abby was responsible for the documentation of the project as she combined Jentry’s log book, took numerous pictures, helped create and filmed a short video of the project, and assisted in the writing and typing the information for the presentation poster. Abby was also responsible for the title of the project, “It’s Safe Jack: A Safer Way to Split a Tractor.”
On March 12 the students put the tracks to a test as they made preparations to separate a tractor. This separation was performed with the supervision of Tim Bradford and Jennifer Snoddy, ag instructors, Junior Bartlett, a mechanic with 50 years of experience, and Vann Bradford, materials specialist with NASA.
Junior and Vann carefully watched, instructed the students and complimented them on having a redundancy plan built into their design. On the following day, Jentry, Zach and Abby painted the splitting jacks and track in the paint booth at Lincoln County High School and documented this with pictures.
On March 26 the team presented their project in a contest in Gatlinburg at the State FFA Convention. This contest is based on the same idea as the popular TV Show Shark Tank. They placed second in the state and were advised by the judges to get patents on their special bracket designs for separating different types of tractors.
On March 27 the team entered their project in the Agricultural Power Structural and Technical Systems at the Tennessee FFA Convention in Gatlinburg. The team placed first in the state, which made them eligible to be one of 12 teams across the United States to be chosen to compete in the National FFA Contest.
In April the team entered their project in the Agricultural Science Fair Jackpot Contest at Tennessee State University in Nashville. The team placed first in this contest.
In August the team received notification of being chosen as one of twelve teams in the nation to compete in the National Agricultural Power Structure and Technical Systems Contest. They will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., where they will compete on Oct. 24-25 in the National Contest.
The team also entered their project at the Tennessee State Fair in September where they received a first place ribbon.