Tallinn University of Technology

Gregor Randa, a student of CPS (cyber-physical systems) in Tartu College took part from the Enginaator competition and won a category. Take a closer look into Gregor's experience! 

It was a month of February when I received a familiar looking letter- “Enginaator is back!”. Not too many questions were raised so I just had to gather up the boys and go compete. A couple of days later our team was signed up and we just had to anxiously wait for April the 16th- the start of Enginaator.  

Unfortunately everything changed when the global pandemic hit. All events were either cancelled or postponed. Enginaator indefinitely fell into the latter and the only info that was given out was that they hope to carry out the competition in the summer. It was three months since we first registered when they notified that Enginaator will be cancelled. Instead, there would be an individual virtual competition. At first I was dissapointed, since I rather see myself as a team player but still, after a while, I decided to sign up to the competition in the category of mechatronics.  

The event took place on the 6th of June on the Guaana platform and all the materials needed for it were given to us 2 days earlier. The following things were given to me for the competition: a cardboard box that had a knife and a little plastic bottle inside of it. A can of Red Bull and a bottle of Vytautas.  

Gregor Randla võistluse alguses
Gregor Randla võistluse alguses

The competition was divided into two parts- a task within the category one chose and an extra task. In the mechatronics category the task was to design a 3D-printable emergency brake for an elevator. It had to be placed, with pregiven dimensions, into a L-shaped opening which had holes on the top and bottom surface in order to attach the device. Furthermore there were holes on the sides as well where you could choose from which one a solenoid would hit the device in order to activate it. It was all put into a vise where it was later tested with an minature elevator model. What made the task difficult were the restrictions on the total weight of the materials- 45 grams. The following parts of the task were evaluated:  

  • Activation time of the device 
  • Durability of the mechanical strike 
  • Documentation on how to assemble the device and show it’s open position 

The task seemed to be rather tricky. The most crucial part to me seemed to be the fact that the brake of the elevator should work on both sides and not just one. It took me over 8 hours to figure out how to do it, which left me 2 hours to solve the extra task.  

Avatud mehhanism ette antud rakises
Avatud mehhanism ette antud rakises

The extra task was to build a bowl out of 4 pieces of board paper what would store as much water was possible. In a rush I managed to make a bowl that stored 6,12 litres of water. Water had to be added with a 340ml container which was given to me. After finishing uo the task, I had to quickly run inside to upload the files- I only had couple of minutes left. The files were sent on exactly 10 hour mark so the only thing I had to do was to wait for the results.  

After 10 days my phone rang. I had already forgotten Enginaator by that point and it came to me with a big surprise that I had scored a hat trick- in a strong competition like this I had the chance wave the flag of TalTech Tartu College high and bring the victory home for the third straight year- even if only in one category out of four. In conclusion I was a little bit dissapointed that the competition was not carried out in it’s usual format however I still feel that the tasks were interesting and they really put me to the test. Enginaator is an excellent way for Estonian students to compete and I hope that the competition will be held for many years to come and even bigger than it is now.