Thank you to everyone who came and talked to us at the Edmonton Motor Show! It was great to meet all of you and fun to see some of our sponsors, alumni and even alumni from other teams around the world. See you next year.
There are new photos up, check them out here!
The team has been laying up the chassis over reading break and it looks awesome. There is still plenty of work to do, but it is coming along well. We passed our crash test with our carbon fiber bulk head – it was pretty impressive. All of our other carbon related tests are passed as well.
The UofA’s FSAE team will be in Hockenheim, Germany on July 30th wearing #16. Below is a break down of the participating countries – UofT, ETS and McGill will be helping us represent the Maple Leaf.
And if you hadn’t heard, we will also be in Lincoln, NB on June 19th, where we are going for revenge.
If you are interested in the project, please come to the Annual General Meeting on Thursday September 27th at 5:00pm in ETLC 1-007, here you can sign up to our mailing list if you haven’t already. In this meeting we will be elaborating on our onboarding package, which you can download by clicking this link: 2013FSAEOnboardingPackage, and talking in detail about the current year. Please read through it before the meeting and make note of any questions so that you can ask them at the meeting.
This meeting is a great place to meet the team and see the 2012 car. In the mean time, check out this video about our project! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abfrwWSsM5o&feature=plcp
There is some big news – University of Alberta’s Formula SAE team has been sponsored by Oxeon! The team is extremely excited (no pun intended) for our 2013′s car to be clad in big carbon TeXtreme checkers. Oxeon is an advanced spread tow manufacturer for the carbon reinforced composites industry and we will be using their TeXtreme fabric to manufacture our chassis. After last season’s struggles we are looking forward to implementing our new material to create a lighter and stiffer chassis.
The team is working hard at finishing design before assignments hit, but look out for a more in-depth update as well as a more formal introduction to our new sponsor, Oxeon.
When a blind man finds himself about to walk across the university campus for the first time he stops and considers what might lie ahead. Perhaps there will be stairs; there might be trees, ramps, grass, puddles and curbs. No matter how skilled he is at finding his way, his new surroundings will always provide unforeseen challenges. His first time finding his route will be frustrating, inefficient and mistakes will be made. However, with experience this man will begin to learn the hazards along his route. He will, with repetition, be able to cross the campus with ease, knowing the pitfalls to avoid and the path to succeed. His ability all starts from the first step, the first time that he decides to cross the campus.
For our team this year has been similar. It was a milestone, a first step on a long journey. On this journey we expected to have experiences that we would learn from and become stronger. We did not expect the results of the competition this last weekend in Lincoln Nebraska.
The competition always starts with a technical inspection to verify that the entry complies with all of the required rules. It was during this inspection that our car was deemed to be unfit to race in the Lincoln competition. The reason: there is an audible “crinkle” in the chassis when weight is applied to it. Technically having a “crinkle” in your vehicle does not mean that you do not pass rules. In fact, we showed from our test samples that the chassis should, in theory, be strong enough to withstand the forces applied to it by driving. However, no matter if the samples pass rules or not, if a vehicle is deemed unfit for competition by a technical inspector, then it is not allowed to compete in any of the dynamic events.
So why does the chassis “crinkle”? It is due to the very thin foil thickness of the aluminum honeycomb that was used. We did not select our honeycomb, rather the honeycomb was sponsored to the team and due to lack of experience with composite structures we did not know that having a thin foil thickness would cause an audible crinkle. The root of the problem: lack of experience.
Since we were not cleared to drive the car in the dynamic events we could only compete in the static events. The Presentation event saw a disappointing 6th place, compared to last year’s 1st. The cost event was a success as the team finished in 3rd place, which is excellent for running a carbon fiber monocoque chassis. The third static event was Design. We finished tied for 27th place in this event solely due to the fact that the chassis was crinkling. With no other word for it, the weekend was heartbreaking to many of us who have put in so much work to make this vehicle a success.
Not all was lost though. We made a very strong impression on a lot of people this year. At one point there must have been about 30 technical and design judges standing around our car wondering what was happening and trying to decide if the vehicle was fit to drive. Many of them were trying to help find solutions for the team to make it fit to drive for the weekend. Even though we could not get the car drivable, we made some new contacts and some new friends and even spent some time to helping out our sister Alberta school, the University of Calgary, to get their engine running. It was a tough weekend but we have learned more than we could have expected when we started this initiative to re-design.
What happens now? Well unfortunately we will not be attending the Germany competition this year. It is simply too much money to risk, should the Germany technical judges determine the same fate for our vehicle. Instead we will be focusing on making repairs necessary to get the car into a safe running condition and then proceeding to test it to start preparing for next year. There is a lot we can learn this summer to make next year’s vehicle even better. We will be participating in many of the events surrounding the Edmonton Indy as well as preparing to compete in Calgary at their annual Western Canadian Shootout.
We must not look on this as a failure, but rather as the successful completion of the first step in our blind man’s journey. We have made a significant impression on the Formula SAE community and teams, judges, fans and friends should know that we will be back next year, and we won’t make the same mistake twice. We will have some more pictures of the 2012 car and team up on the website soon. Check back next week!
Day one at FSAE Lincoln was totally awesome! The sun was out and we got to enjoy a cozy 32 degrees C while we were waiting our turn for safety inspections. Unfortunately we didn’t get fully inspected today as they were a little slow with the process but we should be cleared to drive by tomorrow afternoon. The long wait turned out to be almost a good thing though, as it gave us time to do a few last minute modifications to the car. We made a reinforcement for the steering column to take out a bit of the slack that we had in the steering, got better bands around our CV joint boots, and a couple other small things. The car should be in good condition tomorrow and ready to tear up some pavement!
It was a lot of fun to go around and look at the other teams’ cars today. There are some really cool designs out there and we are definitely up against some stiff competition. Some of the teams really impressed us with their cool paint jobs. One team had a car that was shaped like a shark and they had a beautiful airbrushed shark running all the way up the body. Tomorrow we will be doing static events including design, cost analysis, and business case presentation. We will be starting comp tomorrow at 7:00am and are ready for another exciting day on the track!
After 2600 km, 600 L of diesel fuel and a few packs of Red Bull, the truck and trailer have arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska. Many thanks to Mr. Sadd for allowing us to use this awesome truck.
The drive was relatively smooth, aside from some rain in southern Alberta and lots of detours around construction in Montana. We know we are not in Canada anymore when the flags are as large as the gas stations. We drove in shifts throughout the night to make it to Lincoln at 5pm, local time.