Duke University Motorsports is a student group that designs and builds open wheel, single seat race cars to compete in the Formula SAE competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The team consists of Duke students from both Pratt and Trinity, in all classes. The purpose of the team is to provide students with a way to gain practical design and manufacturing experience in a fun and challenging setting.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2015 Car Frame Jig

It's been a hectic few weeks with first semester coming to a close. We knew we needed to make significant progress on the car before leaving for winter break if we wanted to stay on schedule. After making one last push after finals, we are happy say that the 2015 car frame jig is completed! Our plans moving forward include tack-welding the rest of the frame tubes in place and sending it off to get professionally welded. Once we come back from break, we hope to finish assembling the suspension and start machining the wheel assembly components.

Thanks to Keith Sobb for creating this quick video of our progress! Didn't remember to start video taping until later in the process and then the batteries died but, nonetheless, it captures the just of the work. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Parent Weekend and Meeting Jackie Stewart

This has been an eventful week for us so far! Parent's weekend was last weekend and we brought out the car to E-quad to talk with parents about the types of student groups are on campus and how students are taking advantage of this! Below are some of the best pictures we took!

Getting to know freshmen and parents alike!

Future Duke Engineer in the making!

We also had the great pleasure of meeting Sir Jackie Stewart AKA the "Flying Scot". It was an honor to get advice from such a legend and we have definitely taken to heart all the advice he has expounded. We cannot thank him enough!

Everyone listening intently to what Jackie Stewart has to say!

Team Photo with the great Jackie Stewart!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Driving Day

Last Weekend we had our first driving day of the semester. We got a chance to give all people who worked on the car last year to take a drive this time around. We also got some of the new freshmen involved in the car as well. Here are some of the pictures taken!

Mentally Preparing Himself

About to Launch!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Getting the School Year Started !!

It's been a busy month with great progress being made! We've had our annual introductory meeting with the new members in the club. No one can say no to barbecue and we had a great amount of people show up. Everyone got to see the garage and last years car and we started talking about our goals for the upcoming year!

Everyone surrounded on the car learning about the different subsystems that make it up

Stuart is so excited about grilling!

The next week we got the ball rolling quickly and went straight to work on the new car! We started with teaching welding and milling to all the new members and had everyone cutting or drilling something in no time. We've got everyone excited for the upcoming year and we're ready to hit the ground running!

Freshmen learning from Emily the Master Machinist on how to properly mill

Measuring and cutting tubes that will be used for the a-arms and pushrods 

Keith: welding our new weighing set up

Thursday, January 2, 2014

EGT Amplifier and Fan Controller PCB 2014 designs

Although we had a great PCB design for our EGT Amplifier that has been reliable, I made some layout changes that would make the final SMT soldering much easier. Instead of the double sided board previously built, the new layout is now all on one side so the whole board can be SMT soldered in one go. The header holes were also made larger so that the wire we use can properly fit through the holes. Last year we had to cut the wire diameter in more than half and that led to a very poorly soldered connection. The header holes on the Fan Controller were made larger as well. I just got the boards from OSH Park and they look great!!

The updated design for the EGT Amplifier board that is one sided and has larger header holes

Click below to see more pictures of the PCBs and stencils...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2014 Frame Manufacturing

So we've had a lot happen since our last blogpost. We will be posting a lot more frequently about the teams progress, so expect weekly to biweekly updates!

That being said, our current design has changed quite a bit from what we had in the summer as some of our design goals had to be pushed back a year. The first objective was for us to build the frame. This year we decided to weld the frame ourselves (props to our master welder Costi Shami). After designing the frame exactly how we wanted in CAD, I used VR3 Engineering - Cartesian Tube Profiling to manufacture a laser cut kit with all the tubes that make up the frame. This made assembling and welding the frame so much easier. Even the camber block points were laser cut! We'd like to thank VR3 Engineering for a fantastic frame tube kit!

Cost has been hard at work welding away and we are almost done with the frame! Here is a photo of Costi and the frame from a few weeks ago:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Aero Design Progress 2014

Earlier this summer, I did a lap time simulation study earlier this summer to understand the sensitivity of lap time on a number of parameters (including mass, power, downforce, drag, and mechanical grip).  The results of the lap simulation showed mechanical grip to be the most important parameter, followed by downforce and then mass.  Since there is a limit as to what can be achieved with mechanical grip, past those limits aero is still the biggest enabler for decreasing lap times.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2014 Architecture

After about 3 weeks, we have a basic vehicle architecture for 2014.  This has been a pretty intense period, as three weeks ago the car was a blank assembly.

The highlights:

  • 10 inch wheels - affects packaging for WHUBs, suspension, and frame primarily
  • Narrower track (~46", front and rear)
  • Smaller wheelbase (60")
  • Complete frame redesign - no rear box
  • Lower occupant positioning - CG focused
  • Lots of downforce
Once again, the focus will be on mass, aero, and mechanical grip.  All of these need to be understood on at least a high level to design an architecture, as many of these enablers and decisions will drive packaging.  For example, originally I started with a rear box because I thought diffuser design would dictat my suspension points, but with CFD I've found that I can actually get better downforce with a shorter diffuser (more on why that is in another post).

So let's take a walk through how to set up an architecture:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Recap of 2013 Motorsports Car: Intake

I must say that I still haven't full recovered from the tornado that was the month prior to competition, which is why I haven't had the opportunity to update the blog. However, we did take a lot of pictures of the design and fabrication processes, so I would like to go through all of the progress we made as a team building our car, named OD-13.

Just a quick note: I apologize for any redundancy regarding the pics that may occur...I just want to make sure I cover everything, because there is a large gap in the blog.

I'll start with the intake:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Suspension packaging

The great thing about a brand new design is the design latitude.  The bad thing about a brand new design is... the design latitude. Making everything fit properly is never an easy task, and often requires you to take a step back and look for some very creative options.

With the help of susprog, I think I've finished the first iteration of the suspension packaging. 

The front was relatively easy - I was able to get the motion ratios required and the ARB packaging with pullrods without too much issue.
 The rear on the other hand is much more difficult because of the addition of a driveshaft, frame limitations, aero limitations, and rim clearance.  However, everything fits, the min clearance at static is slightly less than 0.1" (cutting it close, I know), so a lot of the success of this design relies on good tolerances and properly jigging parts during construction.