CAD/CAM Engineering Technology students were assigned the task of designing a ramp for use at the newly constructed university swimming pool. The project included several design constraints. First, the ramp had to be removable from the pool, preferably by 2 individuals. The ramp also had to be long enough to sufficiently reduce the slope enough for senior citizens, to enter and exit with ease. When the length of the ramp was increased, thereby reducing the slope, the weight of the ramp became and issue. When the length of the ramp was shorten, causing the weight of the ramp to be less, the slope of the ramp exceeded what most senior citizens would be willing to navigate. Material selection was also a concern. While mild steel would have been more than adequate, it would have required painting to exist in chlorinated water.
Like most design projects, the first step to arriving at an acceptable design was the use of free hand sketches. Several different designs were considered before the final design was selected. One other design utilized a center support. The final design was a freestanding ramp that used the railing for added support.
The next step was to construct a 3D solid model of the ramp. This was done in Inventor 5.3 and CATIA V5 R8. Stress analysis was also performed on the ramp using CATIA V5 R8. The ramp was designed to support 500 pounds. Once the design was complete, Cedar Welding and Fabrication, a local welding and metal fabrication facility, was commissioned to construct the pool ramp. Because the ramp would be submerged in chlorinated water, the material of choice would be stainless steel. This did increase the cost significantly. The finished ramp stands 3 ft tall and 16ft long.
The decking on the ramp is made of fiberglass sprayed with a non skid coating. The fiberglass decking is secured to the pool ramp using small aluminum strips. When the ramp was complete, the pool ramp was picked up from Cedar Welding and Fabrication and delivered to the CNC machining lab where CNC students created small aluminum strips used to attach the fiberglass decking to the ramp. CNC students attached the fiberglass decking to the ramp. Technology Education students delivered the ramp to the pool using an instructors 16ft car trailer. Gaining access to the pool proved to be a challenge. Eventually, one of the center posts was removed from an exterior door allowing the ramp to be delivered to the pool. The ramp was submerged into the pool replacing a set of fiberglass stairs. The ramp has been used for an extended period of time and has made it possible for senior citizens to enter and exit the pool with ease. The CAD/CAM Engineering Technology faculty would like to thank the pool facility staff for providing CAD/CAM Engineering Technology with the opportunity of designing and building of the pool ramp.