Saint Martin’s student engineers show off multi-terrain vehicles

April 18, 2005

Lacey, Wash. – As part of their senior project, three teams of Saint Martin’s College mechanical engineering students have built dream recreational vehicles – something fast, fuel-efficient and able to travel on land and water with equal ease.

The first team built a hovercraft, the second a hydrofoil and the third, an experimental amphibious craft. The public is invited to come see these machine marvels in action April 22 at the Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave.

Each team of graduating engineers will give a presentation from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by a vehicle demonstration in the parking lot and a water trial at a local lake.

Taking part in the presentation will be first five senior engineering students from Saint Martin’s extension program at Bremerton’s Olympic College. Launched in summer 2003, the program is a cooperative venture that enables engineering students graduating with an associate’s degree from Olympic to complete a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering degree through Saint Martin’s without moving or commuting.

The twenty Saint Martin’s College seniors spent six months designing their vehicles and six months building them, mostly from scratch, says School of Engineering Dean Anthony de Sam Lazaro. The students were free to come up with any design they wanted but had to meet strict guidelines, among them building a one-person machine that could travel up to 60 miles per hour but still get between 65 and 80 miles to the gallon. Incredibly, all three machines are powered by lawnmower-sized engines.

“Since it is a recreational vehicle, it should also be fun to drive,” de Sam Lazaro said.

Every year, the graduating mechanical engineering class is required to solve a real-world challenge using teamwork and skills learned during their studies at Saint Martin’s. In 2004, students built an aircraft drone that could take remote photographs. The year before, seniors built a cooling system for biohazard suits worn by soldiers in Iraq.

For more information, please contact the School of Engineering at 360-438-4320;

Anthony de Sam Lazaro
Dean, School of Engineering

Deanna Partlow
Media Coordinator, Office of Communication