Quarter-Scale club builds, competes tractor

Every year, students get together with the Quarter-Scale Tractor Team and build a tractor from the ground up.

Students are in charge of the design, building and fundraising for the tractor, said Tia Muller, president of the Quarter-Scale Tractor Team.

After the tractor is constructed, it is taken to an international competition in Peoria, Illinois where more than 30 teams from the United States and world compete in two different classes, “X” class and “A” class.

“X” class is where the team can make improvements to the tractor they built from the year before and compete. “A” class is for the completely new tractor they built that year.

Competitions include durability, maneuverability, a technical inspection, design judging and design presentation. In 2015, the Quarter-Scale Tractor Team placed fifth overall in the “X” class.

Though the team tends to draw in mostly agricultural majors, it is open to all majors, Muller said.

“We would love to see any majors that are willing to join,” Muller said. “But we’re always looking for electrical engineers.”

Alex Koepke, an agricultural and biosystems engineering major, has been part of the team since his freshman year.

The team also provides opportunities for professional development.

“It’s a good resume builder, and it’s just fun,” Koepke said. “You make a lot of good friends, you have a good time and you get to see a lot of interesting stuff at competitions.”

Muller said competitions offer an opportunity to not only display ideas to industry leaders and professionals but also a chance to make connections and network.

“It opened doors for me,” Muller said. “I’ve signed two contracts for internships because of Quarter-Scale.”

Quarter-Scale meets Mondays and Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. in Agricultural Engineering building.