Project-Based Learning プロジェクト ベースト ラーニング

What is PBL?

Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Project-based learning is offered in the “Flying Robot Project”, a part of “Creative Engineering Projects”. Junior and senior undergraduate students, as well as graduate students are welcome to join the project. An important goal of the project is to offer a chance to students to put in practice the knowledge they have gained in lectures to build and test their own aircraft. Following a PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle, the students analyze and solve an assignment, and validate their answer. During the aircraft building and flight test phases, the students work in teams, where discussions about the progress of each task helps the students develop their leadership, management and organizational skills.


Creative Engineering Projects (Undergraduate)

Creative Engineering Projects (Graduate)








Activities Reportactivities "Project-Based Learning" Report

  • February 06, 2019

    2018 Winter Semester Flying Robot Project Team D Article 3

    The update of the blog post was delayed due to busy for a while, but the flapping machine was completed successfully. We would like to describe how we created it. At first, we began making main wings. We selected “DOUGLAS LA203A AIRFOIL”, airfoil whose trailing edge is close to a straight line, designed 3D parts based on the shape, and molded them. These ribs are skewered with square pipes of CFRP and the ribs are fitted with a balsa plate and a needle shaped CFRP rod for keeping the airfoil. Ball bearings were applied to joints in the main wing for smooth rotation. These ball bearings are fixed to the square pipes of CFRP using acrylic parts cut out by a laser cutter. Careful work was required because ball bearing and acrylic parts were bonded together by using an adhesive. Newspaper was affixed to the ribs as the surface of airfoil of the main wings. Next, the body of our aircraft is based on three CFRP pipes as the axle supported by square pipes of CFRP. When we made this support component made of square pipes of CFRP, we had to cut out square pipes with an accurate length and assemble them into an appropriate shape, so we needed to work carefully. This component was made by arranging square pipes on paper on which the pre-designed shape was printed in full and combining them with adhesive. Regarding the tail wing, after making its shape with balsa wood, paper was attached to the surface. The steering systems were made in the same way, and a hard tape was used for that joint. Finally, as for the drive system, the gears were designed by making full use of the CAD software and cut out from the acrylic plate with a laser cutter. The gearbox supporting these gears was also made by using the laser cutter. Regarding the positional relationships and interference of gears, their shafts and gearbox, extreme caution was required at the time of designing and making. Above this gearbox, we installed a brushless motor with a worm gear at its tip to move the drive system and servo motors to move the steering system. As a large load is applied to the brushless motor, we fixed it firmly with screws, and fixed firmly so that the worm gear and the related shafts would not shift. For output to the main wings, light balsa bars were applied. The servo motors were connected with the steering system with carbon rods, and straw-like pipes were provided on the way, so that the force was reliably transmitted.

    Tohmu Yoshida

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  • December 12, 2018

    2018 Winter Semester Flying Robot Project Team D Article 2

    Last our activity gave us a supposition that birds would get not lift but thrust by flapping. Our flapping flier aircraft’s main wings must play the role of acquiring not only lift by the speed but also thrust by flapping motion, so the main wings can be folded at wing-body junction and 38% position in span length and link mechanism moves the wings. Moreover, the trailing edge of the main wing is made of bendable material and flapping motion of the wings makes winds backward like a Sensu fan. Link mechanism requires a lot of gears because it is moved by a brushless motor that has high speed rotation and low torque. Required gears have various restrictions about strength and size, so we need to make the gears ourselves. We must not use commercial item but design a gearbox to fix gears optimally and make it ourselves for weight saving. The body of our aircraft must be durable to flapping motion and support the gearbox, a brushless motor, a speed controller, a receiver that receives signals from a propo, Lipo battery, and servomotors to move steering system, and a tail wing with aircraft behind, so its structure is made of CFRP pipes. The tail wing is made of balsa wood and paper, and the shape is V-tail to resemble the appearance of our aircraft to a bird. To design and make the gearbox and ribs of the main wings ourselves, we use 3D-printer and laser cutter. The 3D-printer outputs parts made of ABS plastic and the laser cutter shaves wood and acrylic. We create CAD by “inventor” in order to do more detail design.

    Tohmu Yoshida

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  • December 12, 2018

    2018 Winter Semester Flying Robot Project Team D Article 1

    Design Concept
     Our team decided to create a machine which flies by its wings flapping like a bird because we wanted to challenge unusual creative project. We had to understand how birds fly, so watched many videos showing flying birds or flapping machines on YouTube. They suggested that flapping wings give thrust instead of lift. We also read some blogs about a flapping machine. Pioneers in the development of hand-made flapping machines have high skills and expensive machines for processing and production while we didn’t have them, so we set up an aim to design a flapping machine that we could make even with our own skills and tools. Although a typical aircraft in the Flying Robot Project flies with thrust of a propeller driven by a brushless motor, our flapping machine would convert the fast rotation of its motor into a high torque with many gears, change the rotation with the torque into a reciprocating motion and fly with flapping by the motion. We needed to design not only features and structure of ordinary aircrafts but also “system for flapping” such as flapping wing structure, gears and a box that supports them in wing-body junction. We had established the design concept as above by the week. The next week we needed to design what the structure of the flapping wings were.

    Tohmu Yoshida

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  • November 28, 2018

    2018 Winter Semester Flying Robot Project Team C Article 2

    Today, our team tried using a laser cutter and a 3D printer.
    When we used the laser cutter before, we cut balsa wood and plywood board, so we were worried if the EPP, which we use for this project, can be cut as well as the design as well this time. As expected, since EPP shrunk at the same power and speed as those for balsa wood and plywood board, we adjusted the value many times, and finally we managed to find an appropriate value. After that, we cut some parts used in the main wing and in the box for things, such as an ESC and a battery and a Pixhawk and so on. While combining parts like a puzzle, we were careful to use EPP as small as possible.
    At the same time we tried using a 3D printer. We had used 3D printers before, so we were able to set it without any problems. We made the base parts of the motors. We were surprised that the size was smaller than we had expected.
    Also, we made a part of a box using the parts which we cut with the laser cutter. We took a picture of this parts.
    Through today’s work, we gradually realized the whole size of our vehicle. Though there is so much more to be learned about control and materials, we would like to keep learning and work hard. Next week, we are going to cut all parts that we need.

    Saki Hasebe

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  • December 12, 2018

    2018 Winter Semester Flying Robot Project Team C Article 1

    This week, our team made ribs and two main landing gears of an airplane. We decided to use EPP(expanded polypropylene) whose size was 2mm and 20mm as one of materials. The reason why we decided to use EPP for landing gears is that EPP is soft and it would be expected to absorb the impact load which the airplane receive when it lands. Moreover, its weight is lower than plywood, which is helpful for reducing the weight of the airplane. We were worried about overload because we used CFRP(carbon fiber reinforced plastic) for body axis, so its property was very attractive.
    Firstly, we made ribs using a razor cutter. EPP(2mm) was easy to be cut, so we used low power of the razor. The razor cutter could cut EPP precisely, so its shape was as good as we expected. Most of people think 2mm is too thin to keep the shape of the ribs. It is true, so we used CFRP between the ribs so that the ribs would not buckle under load.
    Secondly, we made the landing gears. We also used the razor cutter. EPP(20mm) was thick, so we increased the power of the razor. As a result, we are also able to cut EPP(20mm) easily. However, as the picture shows, the parts of gears melted. This is because the EPP is cut easily and the razor can cut materials precisely only near the focus of razor. So, the gears were asymmetric. However, we decided to use them because we planned to use plywood as reinforcements and the gears could stand steadily.
    Next week, we will make the skin of the airplane and the body of the airplane. In particular, the wing skin is important because it makes lift and this enables the airplane fly. We will also use EPP for reducing the weight of airplane.

    Takuma Yamamoto

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