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unevolved
unevolved Dork
1/8/12 11:13 a.m.

Would it be inappropriate to show off the work we're doing in Formula SAE this year on this board? I think some members on here would find it fascinating, and I'd love to put up a link to our Facebook page (not the favorite on here, yeah, but it's really a great way to keep in touch with other teams around the world) but I don't want to come across as spamming.

ditchdigger
ditchdigger Dork
1/8/12 11:18 a.m.

Put it here or else!

I can't think of cooler cooler or more grassroots than FSAE

Donebrokeit
Donebrokeit Reader
1/8/12 11:25 a.m.

+1

ditchdigger wrote:

Put it here or else!

I can't think of cooler cooler or more grassroots than FSAE

Keith
Keith SuperDork
1/8/12 11:29 a.m.

I'd actually like to see a rundown of this every year in the magazine as well. FSAE is very cool. And go ahead and post the Facebook page as well, ignore the background noise.

unevolved
unevolved Dork
1/8/12 11:38 a.m.

Okay, here's the backstory.

We did rather well in FSAE from '99 to '08, then decided to try our hand at Formula Hybrid, because FSAE was becoming rather stagnant. We did pretty well in that, almost comically so, and have decided to come back to FSAE for the foreseeable future. While we were "gone" in FH, the quality of teams has significantly improved and there's a lot more international teams competing stateside. So we've really got our work cut out for us. This year's car, dubbed AMR-14 (14th car we've made, one per year since '99), is pretty different from what we've done in the past. Since we haven't done FSAE in a while, we're dealing with a much lower vehicle weight, so we're starting over on a lot of things.

While four-stroke engines up to 610cc are allowed, we're going with a YFZ450R. Yes, we'll be making less power, but some back-of-the-hand calculations tells us we'll be 100-120 pounds lighter than a comparable 4-cyl car for the lighter engine and all that comes with it (lighter exhaust, intake, mounts, axles, etc).

We're focusing on light weight this year, but contrary to popular belief, you don't need a carbon chassis to go superlight. We've got some brilliant guys on Chassis Team this year, and they've managed to design a steel-tube chassis that weighs 60lbs and is strong enough for 2G lateral acceleration, 5G bump, and 1400+ ftlb/deg.

Right now, our Solidworks model is weighing in at 283lbs, but that's missing a few things like seat, paint, dacron, nosecone, etc. Even with Solidworks' notoriously conservative weight estimates, we're hoping to come in below 330lb dry. If we hit the 300lb mark, I'm going to owe several people on the team their beverage of choice.

Here's a render of the car from right before break:

Vitals: Yamaha YFZ450R

Drexler Formula Student differential

Brembo P2.34 calipers

Tilton 77-series MCs

Ohlins TTX25 Dampers

Hoosier 18x7x10 LC0s

Keizer 10x7 Aluminum barrels, custom centers

Here's our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/texasamracing

I'll keep updating this thread and answer any questions anyone has.

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
1/8/12 12:16 p.m.

Why the big canister in the intake tract?

unevolved
unevolved Dork
1/8/12 12:22 p.m.

It's a plenum. We're required to breathe through that little 20mm retrictor just after the throttle body (to keep power from reaching astronomical levels that engineers are wont to do), and that plenum helps "smooth out" the pressure spikes of the single cylinder motor and keep draw across the restrictor more consistent and therefore more efficient.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w SuperDork
1/8/12 12:27 p.m.

Awesome. I kept joining our FSAE team, but between working full time, school full time, wife and kiddos couldn't ever keep involved.

Thanks for sharing.

Taiden
Taiden SuperDork
1/8/12 12:54 p.m.

Love that you're doing a build thread on your teams superwedge. We are a first year team and we are all starting from the very beginning. It's pretty stressful and it's rough feeling like you're working towards a loss due to lack of experience. Sounds like you guys don't have this issue.

I'll be watching closely. I had originally pushed for a thumper, but engine team decided on the some flavor of r6.

unevolved
unevolved Dork
1/8/12 1:22 p.m.
Taiden wrote: It's pretty stressful and it's rough feeling like you're working towards a loss due to lack of experience. Sounds like you guys don't have this issue.

That's the exact wrong attitude to have. Look at the results from Michigan last year. If you even finished the competition (i.e. don't forfiet or withdraw) you'd have beaten 22 teams. And if you finished every event with a perfectly average score, you would have finished 26th out of the 99 finishing entries. It's not about setting the best time when you're starting out. It's *always" more important to have a B car with an A team. It doesn't matter how super trick your suspension is if you shatter a carbon fiber A-Arm by hitting a cone in endurance and can't finish the event. Just show up, finish every event and you'll be able to hold your head as you'll likely be in the top half of teams there.

Taiden wrote: I'll be watching closely. I had originally pushed for a thumper, but engine team decided on the some flavor of r6.

Lots of teams do very well with the 4cyl motors, especially if they're running aero. There's really very little difference in historical finishing order between different cylinder counts.

I'm happy to help you with whatever you want, and I know several other guys that are willing to help out as well. It's rough starting a student race team from nothing. I know, I've done it. But it's SO worth it. I'm graduating with an abysmal GPR, but thanks to my involvement, I got a pretty sweet R&D job at a defense contractor I'm really excited about. Aside from that, it's fun a hell. There's a reason our team has been back at school since Jan. 2 working in the labs, and it's not for all the hot chicks running around the engine lab.

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Reader
1/8/12 2:02 p.m.

FSAE is super cool and It's awesome that you are involved. Extra bonus points for turning something this cool into a professional job opportunity.

From the model it looks like the front tires are bigger than the rears; true or not?

David

unevolved
unevolved Dork
1/8/12 2:18 p.m.
DWNSHFT wrote: From the model it looks like the front tires are bigger than the rears; true or not? David

Nope. You're not the first person to notice that on that render, either. Solidworks, by default, doesn't model perspective. Our guy that made that render didn't turn on perspective, so it becomes an optical illusion that the tires are different sizes. They're all the same at all four corners.

stroker
stroker HalfDork
1/8/12 5:38 p.m.

I wish FSAE was more compatible with roadracing than autocross. That, and it were sized to big guys like me than little bitty people...

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
1/8/12 5:48 p.m.

That's pretty cool! That Drexler diff: who is the US distributor?

unevolved
unevolved Dork
1/8/12 7:04 p.m.

I think the reason the competition focuses on autocross is to keep costs down. These cars have a 610cc and 60" wheelbase limit, I can't imagine how much it would cost to stay competitive with a 2000cc, 80" wheelbase limit or something like that. At the speeds we're operating at now, the benefit of full-aero cars is debatable, if the cars were operating at road race speeds the cost would increase exponentially.

As far as Drexler, I'm not sure if there is one. I know our DT guys are interfacing directly with some people in Germany.

stroker
stroker HalfDork
1/8/12 8:13 p.m.

In reply to unevolved:

I guess that's my point, if the cars were RR spec WITHOUT all the aero crap and extra displacement they'd be really cool. I mean, if you take the restrictor off then you've got something like a F500/600 car waiting to happen. I'd think a racing class like that would have dozens of participants every weekend at the local SCCA event.

MitchellC
MitchellC SuperDork
1/8/12 8:20 p.m.
stroker wrote: I wish FSAE was more compatible with roadracing than autocross. That, and it were sized to big guys like me than little bitty people...

The liability is a lot lower when the speeds are kept at bay. It has been years since I have been involved, but the competition is a lot more than simply designing a fast car. The presentation and cost are both a bit part of the final score... just like in real life.

chaparral
chaparral Reader
1/8/12 8:32 p.m.

The super-tight corners and low average speeds are also there to make your design decisions more difficult. What can you get away with? Is it worth its weight?

Oh yes, the weight thing. There's no minimum weight. That's the best rule in the whole rule book.

unevolved
unevolved Dork
1/8/12 8:40 p.m.

Yeah, we did wrote a lap sim in MATLAB this year to justify a lot of the kinematic decisions, and then use said lapsim to quantify a weight loss into a point gain, then weigh the cost of acheiving said weight loss against the penalty we take in cost report to see if there's a net gain or loss.

And yes, we're huge fans of the lack of minimum weight.

aeronca65t
aeronca65t Dork
1/9/12 6:21 a.m.
unevolved wrote: I'm graduating with an abysmal GPR, but thanks to my involvement, I got a pretty sweet R&D job at a defense contractor I'm really excited about. Aside from that, it's fun a hell. There's a reason our team has been back at school since Jan. 2 working in the labs, and it's not for all the hot chicks running around the engine lab.

Exactly! It's great to read this.

I'm a tech mentor on ~our local FIRST Robotics team~ and even though it's high school, it's the same deal. Grades of our most dedicated students tend to take a dive during "build season" (right now) but (technical) learning goes way up. As a guy who's been teaching for a long, long time, I think FSAE and FIRST are the types of things we need to do more of in our schools.
I'm also the faculty rep for our (community) college SAE chapter. But we don't "keep" our students long enough (2 years) plus we don't have the cash to really develop a reasonable FSAE team.
As a result, we are ~doing our own thing~, competing against some local schools in our own, simple, low-cost contest.

Everytime my students talk about transferring to some four year school, the first thing I ask is: "Does it have an SAE team?".

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
1/9/12 6:31 a.m.
unevolved wrote: I think the reason the competition focuses on autocross is to keep costs down.

I suspect it has more to do with having people who don't necessarily know how to drive a racing car seeing road racing speeds in an experimental buggy of their own design whilst exposing the school's pink underbelly to wrongful death lawsuits.

Clay
Clay HalfDork
1/9/12 7:22 a.m.

I just read a e book on Amazon that chronicles the Oklahoma FSAE team and their build. I was looking for a cheap e book to try my Kindle app and it was .99. Not a bad read. It reminded me of why I didn't get more involved on my school's team. It really is all or nothing when it comes to grades and job opportunities. All of the main team members had horrible GPA's but their job opportunities came from FSAE connections. It sure looked like fun though!

chaparral
chaparral Reader
1/9/12 8:26 a.m.

Our PAX index is already .989 on bigger-than-we-compete-on autox courses. Maryland FSAE took home outright FTD at Solo Nationals last year.

If FSAE schools were given a requirement that the driver's feet be behind the wheels, and were told to go roadracing with our generous aero rules and no minimum weight, we would probably lap as fast as Star Mazdas, maybe even Formula Atlantics. If you think that's ridiculous, look at how well a 400-lb, 75 hp FSAE car matches up to a 900-lb, 220+ hp A-Mod car now... There's no way any school would take on that liability, and no way any advisor would let students who made a major contribution to the program drive the cars as a reward.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair SuperDork
1/9/12 10:14 a.m.
Clay wrote: All of the main team members had horrible GPA's but their job opportunities came from FSAE connections. It sure looked like fun though!

I've posted this tidbit before, but it bears repeating: when HR sees FSAE on resume, that resume goes to the top of the stack.

Type Q
Type Q Dork
1/9/12 10:37 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
unevolved wrote: I think the reason the competition focuses on autocross is to keep costs down.

I suspect it has more to do with having people who don't necessarily know how to drive a racing car seeing road racing speeds in an experimental buggy of their own design whilst exposing the school's pink underbelly to wrongful death lawsuits.

I imagine it's hard enough to get liability insurance for the events already. Imagine you were not a gear head, working for an insurance company and SAE calls you up. "We are having a bunch of 18-24 year old, mostly male, college students design and build race cars. Then were going to get 80 or so of these cars one place and turn these same students loose to drive them as fast as possible. Many of the cars are untested and a significant number of the drivers and mechanics will be sleep deprived."

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