C-PRIZE Guest blog: VorTech

Ben MacLaren, from the team soon-not-to-be known as VorTech, says progress on their C-PRIZE entry has been good so far.

The first few weeks of the C-PRIZE have passed in a bit of a blur – I’ve witnessed first-hand a great deal of creative thinking, many long nights at the design desk, and many conversations around the office water cooler about the C-PRIZE. first thing we did after the winners’ presentations was put together a project schedule, with timelines so short it provoked some of the team to stunned laughter. We’ve managed to keep to it so far though, and long may that continue.

A great deal of validation work has gone in to our mechanical design; we’ve been looking to optimise the power-to-weight ratio, and further reduce the risk of unexpected rapid disassembly. The design is now looking really solid.

This has enabled us to begin acquisition of parts in earnest. So far we’ve got our hands on the GPS equipment, which we’ve tested in a number of locations around town.

GPS test

GPS test

We’ve also received a motor for prototyping, which we will need to modify on a lathe in the next couple of days, and our carbon fibre aerofoils.

Carbon fibre blades

Carbon fibre blades

In other good news, one of our four team mates has decided not to move to Canada after all, so we have an unexpected surge in manpower! Pity the other guy still hasn’t turned down his PhD scholarship at Cambridge really…

Motor disassembled ready for modification

Motor disassembled ready for modification

The other main issue on the agenda is our name choice. VorTech sounded good at first, but we’ve since found out there was a company called Vortec that made revolutionary wind turbines in NZ in the nineties. Unfortunately, while their ideas were revolutionary, they didn’t work and the company went bust owing a lot of people money… not a company we want to be subconsciously associated with.  This discovery has led to a few brainstorming sessions, but no outstanding company names have arisen yet! Look forward to our big re-brand over the next couple of weeks.

VorTech is one of six teams vying for the inaugural Callaghan Innovation C-PRIZE – an annual challenge designed to solve problems facing New Zealand’s leading technology export sectors. Visit cprize.nz to find out more.


About Callaghan Innovation

Business. Technology. Success.
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