Culver City Observer -

Culver City Student Helps Cal Poly Team Win


February 16, 2017

Left to right, Kota Ozawa, team leader Nelson Lin, Boeing Co. representative Andrew Bios, Eric Zhong, Max Weinstein and Kevin Marshall.

A team of Cal Poly mechanical engineering students ----- including Kota Osawa of Culver City ----- won first place and $4,000 at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' 2016 Student Design Competition on Nov. 13 in Phoenix.

Cal Poly's five-member team displayed a battery-powered, model-sized manufacturing system that fired paper projectiles through the air. Judges assigned scores based on the total distance traveled by the projectiles, among other criteria.

In addition to Ozawa, team members included Kevin Marshall (Edmonds, Wash.), Max Weinstein (Moraga, Calif.), Eric Zhong (Chesterton, Ind.) and team leader Nelson Lin (Escondido, Calif.). Mechanical engineering Professor Tom Mackin is faculty advisor for the team.

Cal Poly competed against 16 teams from colleges and universities around the world.

"We were competing against 200 engineers from 11 countries, all here because of their design prowess," said Lin. "What made our entry stand out was its simplicity, which we achieved by reducing the number of moving parts, together with a modular design that we developed to optimize size and mimic a real process line.

" It was through that design-build-test process that, two months into our design work, we discovered our winning idea. We had come up with a dart-shaped design - the only such projectile there - that beat out the second-place Hong Kong team by four times their score."

Also key to the team's success was its application of robotics, microcontrollers and 3D printing.

"Kevin was essentially our MVP, as he has substantial experience in those areas," said Lin.

The competition, including finalists from regional events held during the course of 2016, was held in conjunction with the ASME's annual weeklong International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition.

"The Student Design Competition challenged the ability and aptitude of this world's future engineers to design a model of a functional manufacturing system," said K. Keith Roe, ASME president. "The field of manufacturing accounts for the majority of private research and development spending and employs a significant number of engineers."

To read more about the 2016 ASME Student Design Competition Challenge, visit


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