Baja SAE – 2012

While serving in a supervisory role as team co-captain I focused primarily on four long-term goals: recruiting, retention, concurrent development, and system modularity.  This was a new direction for the team, and it proved much more difficult challenge than I had originally intended.

Though I vacated my previous positions as CNC/manual machining lead to focus on my responsibilities as co-captain, I was again heavily involved in design and manufacturing.  I significantly refined my previous rear suspension assembly, reducing the stack length by almost 30%, decreasing the weight by over 35%, and drastically improving packaging within the wheel well.  Much of this was the result of a more educated approach to FEA:  realistic loading scenarios taken from the suspension design parameters and previous testing experience combined with the more refined 3-2-1 method of boundary condition creation allowed for a less conservative design without sacrificing reliability, robustness, or performance.  Furthermore, as the team member with the most CAM and machine experience, I was responsible for the CNC operations on the complex rear stack.

I also provided significant expertise to powertrain design and tuning.  I was heavily consulted for gearbox design and (briefly) directly assisted with an unused compound epicyclic gearbox design.  After completing the rear suspension stack, my primary responsibility shifted to powertrain tuning.  With some help I refurbished an old, non-working dynomometer, updating the test stand and replacing an older analog control with a fully-automated, in-house developed National Instruments / LabVIEW control package.  Unfortunately, a faulty sensor left the project incomplete by our final go/no-go tuning deadline, and we were forced to instead tune via visual inspection of CVT engagement, shift point, and shift range using previous years’ experience and external knowledge as the starting point.

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