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 3, 2011

Making wing end plates in the Universal Laser Cutter

We are starting to build the wings for the car which means we need to make the end plates for both wings (things that go on the sides of the wings). To make those we decided to make the molds out of foam core. You can first model them on Solidworks as you can see in the figures below:
Front Wing
Rear Wing End Plate
Once you have a Solidworks file you have to save it as DXF file so that the programs in the laser cutter can open them. Save all your files to a flash drive and take it over the to the computer connected to the laser cutter.
Once you are at the computer you can open DXF file with Coral Draw. This will open you file which should look like the outline of your part only. Make sure that you select the page size to be 18" x 32" which is the universal laser size and that your lines are red (this means that the laser should cut through your material and not just engrave it). Press print and your part will be sent to the VLS 6.60 program that controls the printer.
Here you will be able to change the setting in the printer, for foam core we found that 86 % power and 20 % speed is optimal for cutting the foam core.
Make sure to turn on the universal cutter and the exhaust system and put your foam core in and ready to cut. Press the green play button and the machine will do the rest as you can see in the video below:

You can also see pictures of the finished products out of the laser cutter below:

Foam core end plates

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