le beam: solar umbrella

Group Project

JAN 2022​

CHALLENGE: Design a solar powered object for our industrial design class at UC Davis.​ 

TOOLS USED: Illustrator, Rhino, 3D Printer, Laser Cutter 

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Once we decided to create a solar charging station for social use we began by researching our solar panels and the required amount of energy it takes to run our necessary pieces. 

It takes about 25 watts of energy to run a standard table fan.
It takes about 50 watts watts of energy to charge a laptop.
It takes about 2-20 watts watts of energy to charge a cell phone.

We decided to combine two different solar panels.

One for aesthetic: Dye Sensitized Solar Cells

The other to gain more energy: Sunpower solar panels

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We were inspired by metal umbrellas seen at restaurants such as IN-N-OUT. After trying out many iterations we came to a flattened pyramid shaped umbrella. We combined the two types of solar panels. The Dye Sensitized Solar Cells are clear colored window-like panels that allow for light to shine through and create beautiful colorful light effects onto the user. However, the Dye Sensitized Solar Cells do not generate the amount of energy we wanted to power a charging station, fan and LEDs. We decided to add in Sunpower solar panels as well to have a substantial amount of energy. 

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We moved on to CAD modeling the solar umbrella with Rhino.

The umbrella provides features such as a solar powered charging station, fan, LED light, and a nice shady resting place. The Dye Sensitized Solar Cells are individually colored pink, aqua, green, and yellow.

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After we were satisfied with our model, we moved on to creating a 3D printed model and a laser cut model. 

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