Students at Purdue University have gone from the design phase for the Indiana bicentennial torch to assembly. Work on the first 18 flagship torches has begun, which includes electronics that Purdue says have never been used before in a torch relay.
The pieces of each torch are made of ultra-lightweight aluminum-lithium from the Lafayette operations of New York-based Alcoa Inc. (NYSE; AA). Small interior pieces were made with 3D printers. Purdue says Alcoa has donated nearly $100,000 in materials and labor.
"This is a tremendous collaboration that we’ve had," said Timothée Pourpoint, head of the torch project and associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue. "For several months, I had weekly teleconferences with engineers at Alcoa, looking at designs and looking at how to best manufacture the torch rings, which are quite complex. We’re also using their latest and greatest alloy, which saved us about 10 percent in weight."
The final version of the flagship torch weighs just under five pounds and stands around two feet tall. The torch will feature GPS and camera functions with WiFi, which the university says have never been used before in a torch relay. The electronics were handed by the Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
You can see more of the torch’s assembly by viewing the video below: