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, April 28, 2012

Progress update, end of April

We're getting close to competition now, and things are moving along.  A lot of the work now is in testing and tuning, and after yesterday's trip to NCCAR, I think the suspension is pretty much set for competition.  We're also working hard on getting the bodywork done.  The molds are almost ready for the layup, so hopefully over the next week we should have bodywork finished.

 Video of Paul Harraka driving the FSAE car.  His help was invaluable in getting the suspension tuning set in a very short period of time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Testing at Goodyear Proving Grounds

We went to Akron, Ohio to visit Goodyear's proving grounds on Saturday.  Goodyear is nice enough to host us (and other FSAE teams) at their proving grounds on a number of weekends every spring, and we chose this past weekend to visit.  Unfortunately, it was cold and raining all day, but we at least got some good engine tuning in.

Here are a few videos from this weekend:
Testing 1

Testing 2

Bowling with the car...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

EAC Banquet Pictures

Last Saturday we went to the EAC Banquet. We would like to once again thank the EAC for all of the support they give us year after year. We would also like to share some pictures from the event:

John Glushik with the car and some of the team members 

Dean Tom Katsouleas with the Car

Thanks for the picture John!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Making Bodywork, Part 2

We're a few steps closer to completing our bodywork now.  All the molds are put together, and we're done with the initial sanding of two and a half of the pieces.
Our five mold pieces, slathered with epoxy/talc filler and waiting to be sanded.
Pictures and updates after the jump.

Active aero in action

Unfortunately, my phone sucks at taking video, but this is the best clip we got today of the active aero in action.

 Unfortunately, one of the radiator tabs fatigued and broke today, so we didn't get very much running time.  But I'm pleased to say the engine tune is in a much better place than a couple weeks ago and the car drives well.  It's a bit loose right now, but we'll do some more tuning once we get to Goodyear's proving grounds.
Wing angle vs position - red is full downforce, blue is minimum drag
Above is a plot of wing angle from the GPS plot.  Seems to work pretty well so far, but plenty more tuning to go.  I did realize today from looking at the data that my longitudinal accelerometer axis is reversed - oops.  If you look at the graph above, you can see this clearly (the course is clockwise) - there is less wing angle when braking before the corner and lots of wing angle accelerating out of the corner, the opposite of what should happen.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thank you Goodyear!

Thank you Goodyear for your continued sponsorship of our FSAE team.  We've received this year's set of tires and are looking forward to visiting the Goodyear proving grounds in Akron, Ohio on the 21st (next Saturday).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Making Bodywork, Part 1

We've starting making the bodywork for this year.  There is foam everywhere in the garage now, and we're less than 1/8 of the way done making the molds.
The first few pieces of the bodywork molds
Because of budget constraints, we're making the bodywork molds ourselves this year on the mill.  They will be milled out of small blocks of foam (due to table travel constraints on our mill) and glued together.
It's snowing in Durham, NC

Over the next couple weeks, I'll do a reasonably detailed writeup of the process.  The first steps are to prepare the bodywork molds from the CAD models.

Aero Updates

Aero updates: we now have a really big rear wing.

Seriously though, we ran with active aero for the first time today.  Needless to say, there a lot of tuning to do with active aero, but it does work, it moves, and the accelerometers don't seem to be too bothered by the car vibration, which is great news.  Sorry there's no picture or video of the active wing yet, but it does move well and responds to lateral and longitudinal accelerations surprisingly well.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

First Aero Test

We had our first test with aero yesterday.  My first words after driving the car with aero: Holy S***!  This thing is fast.  We saw 1.9g in the parking lot.

Aero and Active Aero Progress

Aero and active aero are almost done now.  The actuator is now attached to its link solidly now, and the last step on the active aero part is to tune the PID parameters on the motor controller.  We finished putting together the rear wing yesterday too, and so after a little bit of sanding/trimming, the rear wing will be finished.  The last step will be to put together the mounts, which are all done, but just not assembled.

Rear wing put together

More pictures and process discussion after the jump.

Random Pictures

Someone stole our chairs.  This is now the most comfortable chair in the garage.

Apparently someone thought my car needed more downforce
Someone tell Yoshi that the carbon fiber goes into the vacuum bag, not him