Morehouse College Relay Torch
A creative partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College to honor and celebrate 150 years of excellence.
Veronica Spencer, Design Lead, Georgia Tech
Eli Brand, Engineering & Ergonomics, Georgia Tech
David Gamero, Engineering & Electronics Integration, Georgia Tech
Joshua Von Holtz, Engineering & Flame Wrangler, Georgia Tech
Jared Mitchell, Flame Modification & Fueling, Morehouse College
James Stukes, Website Development & Electronics Integration, Morehouse College
Dr. Katherine Fu, Georgia Tech
Dr. Willie Rockward, Morehouse College
Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts, historically African-American college in Atlanta, GA that was established in 1867. In continuing their longstanding educational partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse commissioned a special commemorative torch that was designed and fabricated by an interdisciplinary team of students from Georgia Tech, with support from Morehouse students.
Goals of the torch:
- Survive a 150 mile run from Augusta to Atlanta while maintaining the original flame.
- Contain a camera capable of live-streaming content.
- Contain a GPS tracker for accurate torch location.
- Have an elegant and commemorative stand to mark the occasion and the torch creation.
The gyroscope subassembly was used to stabilize the flame and the fuel source during the relay. Because we lacked the time to develop the liquid-gas most commonly seen in Olympic Torches, we used gel fuel. Based on the popular anti-spill baby bowl design, the gyro successfully contained the fuel source.
The Design Journey
Everyone on the team came together to assist with fabrication. Not only did we construct the torches themselves, we also developed an ecosystem to support the torches for the planned relay logistics.
Parts for the gyroscope assembly were made by the Machining Mall, and the torch bodies were powder coated at Snyder Cycles. We also purchased custom enamel medallions sporting the 150th Anniversary logo. Aside from that, everything was fabricated and tested at the Invention Studio at Georgia Tech, utilizing our waterjet and sheet metal tools.
Credits and Acknowledgement
There are many people who helped us develop this project, and we are thankful to those who provided support and guidance throughout the process. I'd specifically like to highlight the following, but know that this list is far from complete.
Dr. Samuel Shelton, for sharing your knowledge of torch design with us, and for advising us along our journey.
Dr. Katherine Fu, for shepherding the GT team and keeping us on target
Montgomery Machining Mall, for assisting in the final fabrication, and for providing advice
Snyder Cycles/Hot Shots Powder Coating, for being patient with us about our unusual use case
Yiran Zhao, for helping us fabricate stands and keeping us company during the grind
Shirley Zachery, for moral support and telling us to get sleep
The Invention Studio at Georgia Tech, for teaching me how to make cool stuff and for giving me a place to do so
Emily Orton and Sarah Selim, for being our photographers during parts of the fabrication
Chris Bartlett & Kaylin Broussard, for providing design advice and assisting prototyping
Kuttler Smith, for helping us brainstorm design changes