Ben’s Cycle bike parts became part of a NASA-sponsored design contest when students from Auburn University built a Human Exploration Rover.
Mechanical engineering students from Auburn called Ben’s Cycle to place an order for four sets of Shimano XT M770 series inner chainring bolts.
“We found Ben’s Cycle online, just googling for the parts we wanted for the cheapest price,” said Jonathan Waddell, Lead Drivetrain Engineer. “We appreciate your quick shipping and interest in our competition and look forward to doing business with you again!”
Ben’s Cycle Bike Parts Form Drivetrain Section
Waddell, who will be going to flight school with the Navy after graduation, said the Rover needed to be lightweight and durable. “For some applications we experienced greater stresses than a typical bike so we had to made our own parts. But if there was a part that saw similar forces to a bicycle, we considered using it. Bicycle parts have the advantage of being proven designs for their respective applications,” Waddell said.
A couple of months ago, we placed a rather odd order. Perhaps this was because we are rather odd bicycle customers. You called to confirm our order and we clarified. Our team was designing and building a Human Exploration Rover for a NASA competition, often incorporating bicycle parts into that design. – Jonathan Waddell, senior mechanical engineering student at Auburn University.
Additionally, NASA TV put a 360 video on the rover:
Auburn Team Ride Bikes!
Most of the 12-member team ride bicycles (a couple roadies, but mostly mountain). Other team members have future jobs in vehicular design, nuclear, manufacturing, the Air Force, and petroleum fields.
The 2016 Human Exploration Rover Challenge was held April 8-9, 2016, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala
This is the full team:
Charlee Lipham, Team Lead
Jonathan Waddell, Drivetrain Lead
Zach Pruitt, Drivetrain
Daniel Flores, Steering Lead
Kaylee Wynn, Steering
Micheal Knotts, Ergonomics
Richard Reinink, Wheel Lead
Ethan Greer, Suspension Lead
Antonio Hill, Suspension
Tyler McCafferty, Chassis Lead
Paul Drensek, Chassis