Publication Date

Spring 2021

Document Type

Final Report

Embargo Date


Problem Statement

This project and assignment was brought to our attention by Dr. Potter and Dr. Natalie Mueller. Dr. Mueller is an archaeologist and a paleoethnobotanist who specializes in the historical ecology of north America and the origins of agriculture. She is currently undergoing research on domestication of plants and subsequent evolution of agrobiodiversity since the ice age. The seeds are extremely small as well are the batches of seeds. In order to orchestrate research on these seeds, the seeds go through a process of threshing and winnowing. Dr. Mueller already had a design and prototype built for the winnowing process so when given the option,the decision to make a thresher occurred. Threshing is separating grain from a plant. For example, think about taking the seed off of a sunflower seed. In Dr. Mueller’s case, these seeds are around the size of a poppy seed. Originally in order to thresh the seeds, they were rubbed against metal mesh with sandpaper. This was an exhausting and long process. The idea was to make it an easier, more efficiency, and quicker process. The following report shows the growth of ideas and concepts that lead to a prototype and a final product. The final product reduced the time, energy and effort needed to thresh the seeds with the barrel method. Due to busy 3D printers, our final 3D design was not able to be prepared by the final deadline but the final product works well enough. With more adjustments and the3D printed design, the thresher will allow for Dr. Mueller to cut her threshing time by 1/5

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering Design Project (MEMS 411)