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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Progress Update 1-17-12

This past weekend has been productive.  We're definitely moving at a much quicker pace than last year, which is essential given the design changes for this year.  There were a few "oh crap" moments followed by "phew" moments shortly after (phew!) and everything is going to plan more or less at this point.  Details after the jump...

Resolving an "oh crap" moment

The first thing we did Saturday was to pick up the frame.  It looked pretty good, but we had to make sure that everything fit into the frame.  We send out the frame to get welded, and the drawings we send with the frame usually aren't the greatest.  So I had my concerns with the rear frame tubes and the drivetrain - and those fears were realized when we tried to test-fit the drivetrain.  The location of those tubes were about an inch off of where they were supposed to be.  Two options at this point - push the drivetrain out, or cut off the offending tubes and redo them.  After rigging up the drivetrain to see how much we would have to move it, we found that we would have to move it over an inch from its nominal position.  This would have been bad news for the tripod angle, so we made the determination to cut off the tubes and redo the rear frame tubes.
The engine
Costi getting ready to weld the first engine mounts
Meanwhile, we also test fitted the engine that night.  We had a couple of complications, mainly regarging clearances where I had made changes to the frame, which was worrisome for a little while.  We did manage to make the engine fit just fine, but it will be slightly off of where it is in the CAD model, but it fits, it comes in and out, and the valve cover can still come off while in the car.  We did decide to use the other mounting points on the engine, mainly so that we could still get the engine in and out of the frame easily in case we needed to.  However, the other engine mounts are threaded holes, so we will have to wait until the bolts come in from McMaster before we can finish mounting the engine.
Costi welding an engine mount
On Monday we went ahead and implemented our frame fix.  We cut off the four tube that were out of place, and cut new ones to put into the frame.  Things went surprisingly smoothly, and we were able to finish putting in the tubes in about 6 hours.
New tubes in and welded
Final drivetrain fitment check
5 of 8 a-arms are welded - just waiting on a couple more inserts at this point.  Tabs are getting welded on to the frame, and most of the suspension tabs should be on there by the end of the week.  The next step will probably be the steering rack mounting, the steering column mount, and making the new seat.

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