Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall Mid Semester Update

Welding Tutorial with Dave Digiulio
    Whats up Formula Hybrid fans and supporters? The team has been hard at work and I can't wait to do a little show and tell for you. Besides design, much of our efforts over these past few months have been spent on new member education and integration. In fact, we've held more programs for new members this year, than we have ever held in RPI Formula Hybrid history. Our young leadership team, consisting of mostly second year students has really stepped up to the plate, providing tutorials relating to nearly all major aspects of our project; including CAD design, machining, welding, and subsystem education.

    One new teaching tool that we are particularly proud of is our, "What is Racecar?" series. "What is Racecar?" is a series of weekly seminars, held before our general meetings. Each installment is given by a different sub-team leader with the intention of educating both new and existing team-members about their area of the project. By the end of the semester we plan to have provided seminars on drive-train, high voltage electrical, suspension, driver controls, data management, and the Formula Hybrid Competition.

What Is Racecar? Seminar - Jordan
    We plan to use last year's car throughout the end of next semester as a practice tool for our drivers as the new car comes together. In order to safely drive our car on school property, five of our leaders participated in a fire safety course. We gathered some helpful fire safety tips and at the end of the course, we were able to shoot a class A fire extinguisher at a pretty sweet propane fire simulator.

Fire Safety Training - Szymon
Fire Safety Training - Larry
    The necessity to move last year's car became apparent as designs were finalized, funding began trickling in, and we started ordering parts for this year's car. So, on a chilly Monday night, our prized race car was lifted from its resting place in the Johnson Engineering Center and rolled across campus to its current location in our shop in the Ricketts building. Maneuvering the car around the buildings' tight corridors and up and down several sets of stairs was a great team building activity and at the end we were able to snag our first official photo of the new team.

Navigating a Staircase in the Ricketts Building
2013-2014 Formula Hybrid Team
   Hope you've enjoyed this post, stay tuned for a detailed design post coming soon. For more information on the team or about how you can contribute, contact me, Taylor, at scicct@rpi.edu. Have a great week!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

NRB Hybrid Go Kart

Electrical Routing in Solidworks
 After about a good week's worth of work and staying up till 2-3 o'clock in the morning, we had a very successful NRB (Navigation Rensselaer and Beyond). NRB is all the events welcome the freshman to Rensselaer and helping them get settled in their new environment. For our contribution we take a few freshman and put together a Go Kart, which we later take apart and have them assemble. This should help keep growing the team after our seniors graduated. Starting out this project ran into a lot of roadblocks. We planned all summer to make a brand new cart with electrical wiring and everything buts Sam, Kyle, and I decided that we didn't have time to weld the chassis to implement this overall design.

Original Go Kart Design
Deciding to just modify the old go kart chassis we used in previous NRB's we went to work. After a few nights of hard work, we got the cart to a state where the we could take it apart so the freshman could rebuild it for the first day of the NRB.

Checking the Etek Position
David after Mounting the Steering Rack
Finished Kart!
Mounting the Battery Box
Kart in pieces

After the incoming freshman put the go kart back together there were a few discrepancies that had to be rectified as pointed out by our advisor Casey Goodwin.  We then took the kart to JEC to make the necessary additions, and made sure that it would be able to handle the abuse of the following day. Despite a small miscommunication about getting the track reserved and some minor chain tensioning, the kart ran well. All the Freshmen had the opportunity to take it out for a drive, and we saw a lot of interest  in hybrids and our team. Overall the NRB and the new go kart was a great success and is a prelude of the successes in the season to come.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Post Rollout, Pre Competition

After a brief scare that I lost my memory card with all these pictures, I'm happy to say Rollout was a lot of fun and really helped give us exposure to our colleagues and supporters. We were able to get our car in a ready-to-show state and during a beautiful afternoon, exhibited The Heron to all who walked by or wanted snacks.

Our awesome cockpit featuring bolsters grown by Ecovative Design.

Our race car wouldn't be possible without you!

Even though we were ready to show off our race car, there was still a bit more work to do to make it race ready. A year long effort to make a custom differential finally concluded after we picked up the two parts from Raloid Tool Inc.
The differential, made to hold gears from a Torsen University Special

The outer housing that seals the unit
First time assembly was tricky
But well worth it to see the differential finally assembled, here with the sprocket carriers

Drive train components

The Formula Hybrid International Competition is this week from April 29th to May 2nd at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Just in case you didn't know, admission is free. See you all there!

Friday, April 19, 2013


Rensselaer Formula Hybrid Official Rollout
Wednesday, April 24th 4pm-7pm
RPI Student Union East Lounge/Patio

It's time for us to show all of our supportors, sponsors, and followers what we've accomplished this year.
Come by and see our team in our full glory. 
We would like this event to be an opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has helped us this year. We appreciate all the support this year.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2 Weeks!

We've been getting lots of work done, and there's lots of work to do. Here are some recent updates.

The race car in "rolling chassis" state was brought down to Ecovative Design in Green Island. A few of us had the pleasure of working with Gavin McIntyre and others to pack bags of their Mycobond "Regrind" into the chassis to use as seat bolsters.
Grinding the Mycobond so that it can be put into bags for application
This biocomposite needs to grow in a clean environment. Look at the science!

The bags were stuff and molded to shape in the cockpit

Thanks to Dave for being our human mold

Final set up of bolsters
Ecovative's material takes a couple days to grow, or colonize. We duct-taped the bolsters in place and left the chassis at their warehouse for a couple days. Once they are done growing, they get popped in the oven to dry then they are good to go. I'll update pictures when I go get them tomorrow.

A lot of work was done on the turbocharger. Last Sunday, we brought the car with the complete turbo system to Rensselaer Motorsports dynamometer to see how it would go. There will be a big update of the complete system soon, but I'll discuss it a bit here.
By the rules, if we have a turbo, we are in the modified engine category and all of our intake air must pass through a 12mm restrictor. Furthermore, all throttle bodies must be upstream of the restrictor. This combination means that when the throttle is closed there is a large pressure differential on each side of the turbo, which was sucking in a lot of oil through the turbo and intake system and depositing it inside the engine. Until we can figure out an appropriate way to deal with the oil pressure, we have decided to work on the car in it's Naturally Aspirated state. Luckily we were able to do a tuning session in NA, and are working on optimizing the ECU and fuel injection.

Turbocharger all hooked up! It looked pretty good.

We tried adding an oil pressure regulator but it did not solve the problem
Doing a tune back in naturally aspirated state

There was other good news too. We were able to get our telemetry working! Through XBee technology we were able to wirelessly communicate with the car from a laptop. We will be making more XBee modules and fully utilizing this feature.

In these final weeks we are concentrating on polishing our electrical system and getting ready for technical inspection. Stay tuned

Monday, April 8, 2013

Field Trip

With competition in 3 weeks, we've been incredible busy. This last weekend, we were able to cool down a bit, and a few of us went to Team Manager Taylor's house in CT to paint the chassis. His father, Vinny of Accurate Auto Repair, offered to paint for us in his garage, and it turned out great!
First though, we had to dissemble the car, weld on all final mounting tabs, and strip the paint. It's easy to forget how many bolts it takes to hold a car together.
President Sam and His Gnarly Rear Suspension
Race Car mostly dissembled. 
Diff Tabs

Cool heat effects in the new bellcrank supports

Stripped and ready

 Before and after pictures

Just look at it! Fresh.
Ready for the ride back in Dave's truck

A lot of progress has been made in other areas too.
We've hooked up a new ECU and we're able to talk to it. It's a Performance Electronics 1 donated to us by the FSAE team.
Exhast flange welded and connected to turbo

Intercooler and routing for the turbo has been connected
New placement of radiator and intercooler

Coming up, tomorrow we are going down to Ecovative Design to use their innovative product to "grow" us a seat our of a mycelium and corn biocomposite.

In other news, Raloid Tool Company Incorporated has agreed to manufacture the differential for us. This is great news because it will finally finish our drive-train for the year. Delivery date is April 19th, and I'll have plenty of pictures up.

This past week, we've had a lot of opportunities to work with people outside the team that have supported us. I want to take this time to say Thank you to all of our sponsors! Your contributions are incredibly helpful to the team, and we hope to honor that by performing well at competition. Thank you.