After a full school year of planning, building and experimenting, our Pneumatic Lab team completed their capstone project. They presented the final product – three pneumatic lab setups with guides – at the Purdue Polytechnic Tech Expo on April 27.

Reflections on the project

MET230 experiment

Students experimenting with the labs in MET 230.

At our last update, the labs were being tested with students currently taking MET 230. Felicia Shadoan, the team’s budget manager, identified that experience as one of her favorites.

“The most fun/rewarding part of the project was putting all the final pieces together for each lab and testing them in a real classroom environment,” she said. “We got a lot of feedback from students on what we were doing right or how we can make improvements.”

Team secretary Justin Laird and project manager Bryce Greenman agreed with Shadoan’s view that the end of the project was the most fun, both commenting on the excitement of seeing the labs work.

“It was neat to see students interact with our lab kit and provide valuable feedback. Asking students questions and listening to their responses gave us a better understanding of the perspective of the student,” Laird said.

The team’s leader, Jake Parsons, thought the fun came at the beginning, when the team was introduced to the hands-on potential of pneumatic power. “The most fun part of the project was definitely the Florida trip. Dan [Cook, Proportion-Air’s president] had many different set ups that we got to play with.”

And the hardest part? All four offered different answers. Shadoan mentioned the learning curve for the team, as not everyone had experience in pneumatics. Overall planning was the hurdle for Greenman. Parsons thought the last five weeks of the project brought the biggest challenges. For Laird, scope adjustments in the first semester that allowed the team to focus on fewer labs, but at a deeper level, proved the most difficult aspect.

Given the chance to reflect on the entire process, the students pointed out the electrical as something they would have approached differently.

“Were we to start again from the beginning, I would have finalized our labs sooner and gotten to work on the electrical and physical design sooner to account for mishaps and design errors,” Greenman said.

Parsons agreed. “We wouldn’t have underestimated the length of time it takes to do all of the electrical work. We spent an extra 2 weeks on the electrical side of the project than what we originally scheduled for.”

Future plans

Pneumatic Lab team with final poster

The Pneumatic Lab team at the poster final, from left: Dr. Jose Garcia, Jake Parsons, Bryce Greenman, Justin Laird, Felicia Shadoan and Proportion-Air’s Ross Grinvalds.

Three of the team members will graduate this weekend – Greenman, Shadoan and Laird. Greenman will move to New England to take an electrical engineer position with General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut. He’ll join a team that designs communication and control systems for the main propulsion machinery in nuclear submarines. Laird has accepted a manufacturing engineer role with Caterpillar in West Plains, Missouri, starting in early June. Shadoan is still looking for a job, focusing on engineering or technical sales.

Parsons will spend the summer interning with Stanley Security. He’ll return to school in the fall for his final semester and a December graduation.

Their work will remain at Purdue University for use in future fluid power courses.


The staff at Proportion-Air thanks our student team; their adviser, Dr. Jose Garcia; Garcia’s graduate assistant, Jacob Torres; and the capstone staff at Purdue Polytechnic Institute for their dedication to this project.

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