One of our sponsors, Coastal Enterprises, wrote a great feature on the process we used to fabricate the carbon fiber fairing. Check it out here!
On Thursday, April 10th, the team put the finishing touches on the vehicle, dubbed Udder Domination, and then packed everything up into a U-Haul and made the long drive from Madison, WI to Orlando, FL. We arrived Friday afternoon with enough time to make some last minute modifications, check out other team’s designs, and pass our safety inspection with flying colors!
Later that night we presented our design to the judges and did a few practice laps in the parking lot to get comfortable with the vehicle. Then, it was time to get a few hours of sleep before waking up at 5:00am the next morning to compete in the drag race.
The drag race was held on a 200 meter flat course on the beautiful University of Central Florida campus. In this event, teams demonstrate the acceleration and top speed of their vehicles by going head to head against other teams in a double elimination tournament. Unfortunately, our lack of practice combined with the sensitive controls caused some stability issues that prevented us from reaching top speed. We were not able to meet the qualifying times for the men’s or women’s drag event, so we watched the other team’s compete and soaked up some Florida sun.
The endurance race was on Sunday and consisted of 2.5 hours of continuous racing! The course was about 1.5 miles long and featured many obstacles to test the practicality of the vehicles, including speed bumps, grocery pickups, a slalom section, and hairpin turns. Our chain derailed at the start line but once we got the vehicle up and running, it handled the obstacles with ease. After about 16 laps, the chain got caught in the front wheel so Lucas had to carry the vehicle across the finish line. It made for a very exciting finish!
Although a lot of little issues prevented us from scoring as well as we had hoped, we were really happy with how the vehicle turned out this year. It weighed 65 lbs (20 lbs lighter than last year!), and was the most aerodynamic vehicle we have ever made. We plan on getting some more practice this summer and will try to break our goal of going 50 mph on flat ground.
Thanks to the University of Central Florida for hosting and to every company and individual that helped us with the project!
The team is again making a carbon fiber fairing for the vehicle. After a semester of design and CFD analysis, the results are pretty interesting. This year’s fairing has 33% less drag than last year’s in windless conditions. We also ran a simulation of the fairing in a 9.4mph crosswind and found that, in this scenario, the fairing acts as a sail and actually pushes the vehicle forward.
The fairing this year will feature a large front hatch, which contains the windshield as well as a rear hatch for grocery storage. The front hatch will be asymmetrical to allow the rider to have easy access in and out of the vehicle.
The fairing will also have a reinforced section, which includes the roll bar and safety for the rider’s legs. The design is very close to a monocoque design, which integrates the frame into the fairing to reduce weight and may be the direction the team takes in the future.
The fairing will be fabricated using a fiberglass female mold. The fiberglass will be layed up and shaped around molds made from polyurethane tooling board, which was donated by Coastal Enterprises with the help of the Missouri S&T Human Powered Vehicle Team. The molds were beautifully CNC machined by Sub-Zero Inc, which saved us days’ worth of sanding. Once completed, the fiberglass molds will be used as the female mold for the final carbon fiber layups.
This year we have greatly improved our fabrication techniques, allowing us to better control the final shape, smoothness, and weight of the fairing. Hopefully these improvements will allow the team to reach its goal of a top speed of 50 mph.
Huge thanks to Coastal Enterprises, Sub Zero, and the Missouri S&T Human Powered Vehicle Team!
After spending the majority of the first semester brainstorming and refining the design of the vehicle, we are now getting our hands dirty. Zach taught welding seminars to get the team ready to build the frame and other related projects. First, some time was spent preparing and machining the tubes, but then we put on our masks and TIG welded them all together. This year, we selected 4130 cromoly steel for the frame material due to its excellent strength and ease in producing strong welds.
In order to hold the frame together while it was being welded, we created an alignment jig. The configuration of extruded aluminum and machined pieces is fully adjustable so we can use it for future frames.
This year we decided to reduce the weight by creating a one piece, carbon fiber seat. We used a comfortable bicycle seat from a production recumbent as the mold.
The 2013 vehicle, “Perpetual Mootion”, was at Ride the Drive yesterday! The event is put on every summer by the city of Madison, where selected streets are closed to cars for the afternoon to promote cycling in the Madison community. The ride was a blast, the weather was fantastic, and the vehicle got a lot of compliments. Thanks to all of the volunteers that made the event possible. We can’t wait for next year!
The team is always striving to improve on the previous year’s performance. We have outlined the following goals for our new design to improve our scores at the competition: faster top speed, stable riding, lighter total weight, higher aerodynamics, and more responsive steering. In order to meet these goals the vehicle will be fully faired with a carbon fiber mold and have a deployable “landing gear” to help the rider balance at low speeds. The vehicle will also feature brake light, mirrors, and a trunk to make it more practical for daily tasks.
After an impressive showing at the 2013 competition, the team’s focus this year is streamlining last year’s design to create a faster and lighter vehicle that will be easier to operate. Goals for this year’s bike include reaching 45 mph on flat ground, total weight of 65 lbs, 25% more aerodynamic than last year’s fairing by reducing frontal area, and making the bike adjustable to fit team members ranging in height from 5’3” to 6’4”.
We plan to start fabrication in October, compared to February as in previous years. This means we are designing all summer long.