Framed! and other Fall Quarter Updates

It's been a busy quarter of recruiting, designing, and welding these past few months. While we've taken on around 20 new Motorkittens, the Motorcats have simultaneously been working on their individual designs.

So far, the most outwardly visible progress has manifested in the jigging and welding of the frame. It's gone from a giant box of coped and bent tubes from Cartesian into a rear roll hoop and transformed into a fully tacked creation, all before winter break!

Armando and George persuading the rear roll hoop to fit properly.

We decided to more fully utilize Cartesian's bending abilities this year, which helped to simplify jigging.

A little Chicago winter breeze can't stop Joe.

The newest pizza delivery service, coming soon to a town near you!

6 days

We’ve been chip chip chipping away at tasks on the car. There’s so much to be done! We’ve been divvying out ‘small tasks’ to everyone who is not directly attached to a design project, while the people who are designing finish up their parts or start manufacturing them. This way, everyone’s been designing and building at a freaky fast pace, and Knuckles looks more and more like a race car.  

John tried out the new Haas which was set up last week, and he machined out rear uprights! Mike has been water jetting our front uprights and tabs, so hopefully we’ll have some pictures of that to show you soon. Thanks for checking in!

John's/Knuckle's shiny new rear uprights

John's/Knuckle's shiny new rear uprights

Charging into 2014

It’s 2014, and we’re getting ready for the Blizzard Baja race at Michigan Tech on February 22. The car is still mostly in boxes scattered around our engineering building, but John and Mike have been incredible as they train teams of eager, brilliant freshmen how to do complicated design, modeling, manufacturing and testing work.

Our designs for the gearbox, suspension, shafts and axles are complete and we’re ordering parts rapidly. We’ve got some freshmen helping weld the frame and others from the class of 2017 taking on the skid plate, steering system and firewall. Everyone is working hard and taking advantage of the lack of school work at start of the quarter. Still it will be a tough race against the clock to get a new car racing by the end of February. But if anyone can do it, we can.

NU Baja secures Boeing, Ford, and McCormick funding

This past week Boeing, Ford Motor Company, and the McCormick School of Engineering announced that our team will be awarded a total of $9,500 from their companies and groups! 

These funds come at a great time as the team has just finalized our gearbox and frame designs. All of the tubing for the frame has been cut and coped by Cartesian Tube Profiling this past week, and the gears for the gear box just arrived today. Additionally, we’re purchasing our skid plate material, tires, rims, batteries and tail lights, new safety gear, and our hub materials. The freshmen on the team are taking charge of individual projects – making their own drawings, determining what sort of materials they need, and soon, they’ll be making their own components of the car. As soon as the frame comes in, we’ll be wrapped up in the welding of it, but overall, the design is cruising along.

John and Mike for the Win!

John Taseff and Mike Jastram, our chief and senior engineers have officially finished our frame and gear box designs! After months of slaving over maths and FEA analysis, we have our two largest car components finished. We recruited 15 new team members this year, but up until this week, most of the details of our designs have been in a standstill until we could define the major components of our car. We have focused on training the new members on the process for designing a part, and getting them up to speed on their CAD, sheet metal, mill and lathe skills. With the overall dimensions of the frame and gear box defined, we can press forward and distribute smaller projects to all team members who can now work within the established dimensions of the car to complete individual projects.

Summer design, feat. Knuckles

August has been a busy busy month for Baja on campus! We kicked off summer work sessions on July 24. Since then we’ve been working our way inward: starting with the full-vehicle dimensions such as wheelbase, then moving inward through the design of tires, wheels, and all the unsprung components. After that, it was on to the beast that is front and rear suspension design, followed by steering geometry and damper design. Once we had tentative designs for these elements, we were able to start sketching in the nose frame to support them – which (inevitably!) led to a complete redesign of the front suspension configuration in the last week. Now that we’ve got a reasonably solid draft of the front half of the frame, it’s going into FEA this weekend, while other team members digging into the design and packaging of both the driveline and the braking system.

Our most recent frame draft for 2014 NU Baja (aka KNUCKLES)

Our most recent frame draft for 2014 NU Baja (aka KNUCKLES)