Category Archives: Updates

Fairing Update

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.

Velocity Pathlines, No Crosswind

Velocity Pathlines, No Crosswind

Velocity Pathlines, Crosswind

Velocity Pathlines, Crosswind

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.

Hatch System.

Hatch System.

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.

Rider Protection System (RPS)

Rider Protection System (RPS)

Full Fairing

Full Fairing

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.

1 Quarter of the CNC machined Fairing Mold

1 Quarter of the CNC machined Fairing Mold

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!

 

 

 

Fabrication!

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.

Frew welding the frame

Drew finishing up a weld.

The (almost) finished frame.

The (almost) finished frame.

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.

Our team-built welding alignment jig.

Our team-built welding alignment jig.

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.

Gel coating the original seat: step one of the mold making process.

Gel coating the original seat: step one of the mold making process.

Ride the Drive!

Ride the Drive 2013!

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!

Summer Design

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.