Thursday, September 4, 2014

Website

Hey everyone, a version of our very own website is now up. For now it is a very basic format but soon we'll be expanding it. You can check it out at http://formulahybrid.rpi.edu/ .

Saturday, August 30, 2014

NRB 2014

Greased Lightning

A hands approach to engineering is an experience that the Rensselaer Formula Hybrid team wanted to bring to the forefront of the Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond or NRB experience with the incoming freshman class of 2018. Collaborating with the Douglas Mercer ’77 Laboratory for Student Exploration and Innovation for the electrical part of the build, members of the hybrid team worked together with the freshman to assemble and build a hybrid go-cart in one day. Complete with 205-cc Briggs and Stratton combustion engine, Etek-RT Motor, 24-volt system with regeneration, battery voltage monitoring circuit, and 2-axis accelerometer data logging; this project was quite an undertaking.

Members from the hybrid team used their precious summers to both fix and modify the cart in order to get it ready for the event. Some of that preparation is in our previous post here. In addition, collaboration with the Mercer Lab helped bring more electrical design into the kart, with battery monitoring and data logging. Team members put long hours into assembly and testing of the cart as well as taking all the way down to a bare frame so the freshmen could rebuild it.

The Tear Down

The day started out with normal operations and safety procedures, but after that was finished the incoming students walked into our shop to find a fully dismantled and go-cart. With extra pieces scattered around the workbenches the students had to figure out how the cart went back together bolt by bolt.

Figuring it Out

Coming Together
Photo/The Polytechnic
Credits: Newman Wu

                In addition, some students that expressed interest in the more electrical part of the build headed up to Mercer Lab. In the lab, the members of the team introduced the new students to microcontrollers, breadboards, basic circuit analysis and design, and working with the awesome top of the line tools that the Mercer Lab provides for all students to use.

Introduction to the Lab

Fun with Electronics!!!

Thinking about Resistance

First Time Soldering

                For the data logging, the hybrid members and new students worked with an Arduino Nano, Accelerometer, and a data logging shield to interface with a micro SD card to capture the forces at play. To design and implement the battery monitoring circuit, hybrid members explained a voltage divider and accompanying formulas so the new members could design and implement the divider. The new students accomplished a divider that pulled low amperage, outputted a voltage no higher than the Arduino could take, and had relatively high resolution without previous knowledge beforehand. Accompanying that was a buzzer to alert the driver during a run if an under or over voltage situation occurred.


Learning about Racecar

Learning about Racecar pt.II

                After taking a break from lunch, the hybrid members introduced to the Mercer lab to the new students. There all the students learned about how the department and Doug Mercer built the lab for student projects and was free to use. After the presentation of the battery monitoring and the data logging, one of the hybrid members; Eric Briggs, gave a quick overview of internal combustion engines so all of the member could had a better idea of how their cart, as well as our car works.
                At the end of the day, the team had not only put together most of the systems but also did it quickly and efficiently, coming together and problem solving when something did not quite fit. Later the hybrid members ran the go-cart in order to check for any safety concerns that the build team did not accounted for. Although the cart was supposed to run the next day, the team decided that the rain was not suitable to run in. Re-scheduling to a later date, the cart performed exceptionally.
With a bright sunny Saturday, the team joined again to run timed trials with the cart. Running a pretty standard course the freshmen ripped apart the course (in the best way possible). All in all it was a great experience for the incoming students as well as for the formula hybrid team.

Preparing the Course

Preparing the Cart

Anticipation


Because Racecar

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Welcome Fest 2014


It's that time of year again! On August 22, Formula Hybrid made its annual appearance at Rensselaer's Welcome Fest event for first-year students.



The DCMS made the trip down the hill unscathed. The team would like to give a special thanks to all the volunteers who helped carry it in and out of the shop. After rolling the car into position and putting our high voltage battery pack on display, we pulled out our cool new flyers and prepared for the students.


Before the event started, the team was honored with a special visit from the Honorable Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, who greeted everyone on the team and took a picture with the car! We will update with the picture if we are able to receive a copy.


After the speeches concluded, the car began to start attracting visitors and curious students. We had a great time talking with the new Freshman class and letting people know about the team. We hope to see many of them again at our first team meeting! That's all for now, so we'll finish with a few more pictures of the DCMS:










Friday, July 18, 2014

Go-Kart Testing Day

July 5:

The incoming freshmen better be ready, because their kart is amped to go, fuzzy dice and all. Pictured below, the crack Formula Hybrid summer team got the fast mover up and running in preparation of NRB, where incoming students will have to orient not only themselves, but an entire race kart, from the frame up.



               
Starting from the morning, the kart was carefully looked over and evaluated by our own Jordan Yamada and Chris Lamplough. After asserting that it would not spontaneously combust (when handled by freshmen), Jordan and Chris found the worn wheels warranted work. The best solution, they found, was a simple mint chocolate chip shake, fresh from the auto section of our local hardware store.

               
Once returned from a lunch, they were joined by their fellow engineer Ben Mizera, to help restore the tires to their former functionality. Firstly, the forward wheels were fed a filling helping of their favorite slime, pumped to pressure, and spun for good measure. Then the rear wheels, after a brief fight with an axle, where given the same treatment, with only a gentle application of brute force. Once the wheels where placed, pumped and pacified, the performance pedigree of a kart was rolled outside…

               
Where she purred. The crash course crash kart careened up and into north lot, piloted by Chris, to help the wheels fully digest the slime they had just ingested. And before the eyes of the team, God, and a Public Safety Officer, the kart not only failed to explode, but turned and burned (rubber) as demonstrated by Jordan in his trial run.

video

video


              
Now with the kart fully operational, all that is left to do for the Formula Hybrid summer team is a nice afternoon with a few mint chocolate chip milkshakes
(Tire leak repair fluid).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rollout 2014!



On May 10th, the Rensselaer Formula Hybrid team officially unveiled our newest car to the RPI community: The DCMS!

Both the electrical and mechanical teams worked hard in the days and morning preceding the event to ensure the DCMS was safe and prepped for an awesome demonstration. After rolling the DCMS out to North Lot for its presentation, the team was rewarded with two amazing test runs. Proving its capabilities as a well balanced hybrid vehicle, the DCMS completed the rigorous testing only using its high voltage system. As a send-off for two of our longtime members, Ricky Willems and Sam Putney were chosen to drive the runs.

Check out an on-board recording of Sam Putney's run here

Check out an on-board recording of Ricky Willems' run here

Our test drives also produced valuable acceleration data for the team. This data is being used to validate and investigate the dynamics of our vehicle. The lessons documented here will allow us to optimize and innovate for future Rensselaer Formula Hybrid car designs.

The success of the DCMS is due in large part to the support of our sponsors. Their donations of time, funding, resources, and products were indispensable not only to creating the car, but also to producing the outstanding experiences and opportunities that our team members benefit from. Rollout was our chance to publicly give back these contributors. On behalf of the entire team, we extend our deepest gratitude to those who have helped us come so far this year. We hope to achieve even more in those to come!







Sunday, June 8, 2014

Second Place in Video Competiton

RPI Formula Hybrid Takes 2nd Place in Video Competition


After Recouping from the strenuous work of competition some of the team member Ricky took inspiration from the car and the team and wrote a song. Also with Sam adding accompaniment with his banjo the song was a hit with the judges.

 From the Official Formula Hybrid website, "Rensselaer Formula Hybrid Team took second place with the Best Original Soundtrack for their video RPI Formula Hybrid Song 2014. RPI's song creatively expresses the student perspective on how to balance the Formula Hybrid life with having a relationship. Well done!"

The song can be viewed here!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Competition 2014

The Rensselaer Formula Hybrid team Takes 6th Place in Formula Hybrid Competition
By Jordan Yamada
               
This year at the 2014 Formula Hybrid Competition RPI’s team placed 6th overall among other colleges. The competition requires teams to design and build an open wheel racecar with a hybrid internal combustion and electric drivetrain, while following strict safety criteria. The team worked year round to get to competition, and despite an entirely new leadership comprised of mostly sophomores, a relatively young and small team, and a complete redesign of the car, managed to build and design the DCMS (The name of this year’s car). The team is entirely student run, from getting sponsors to support the project to the engineering behind the car.

What makes this team special from other teams is the interdisciplinary relationship between the mechanical and electrical parts of the car, the size and dynamic of the team, and the challenge of the project. In the team photos we took at competition we have eight students from the MANE department, and five from the ECSE departments, and one from the Lally school of management although there many more who could not make it. A quote from one of the team members goes,

“I also wanted to be on a team project where I could learn more about interdisciplinary design, because if you want to do anything really amazing you can do it alone, but it’s going to be so much better with a friend” (Jordan Yamada Electrical Engineering 2016).

 In addition, the dynamic of the team is different from most others as one of the new members points out,

“Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t really know what to expect. I found that the Formula Hybrid team is small enough that I can contribute and know everyone, while also applying my coursework to actual situations.” (Chris Lamplough Mechanical Engineering 2017).

As another team member points out,
               
“I had tried formula SAE [another car team] previously, and I found that that crowd wasn’t quite right for me. Additionally, SAE’s system is already so well optimized that I knew I would probably not get that much flexibility in the one thing I love the most: engine building and tuning. Formula hybrid has given me an opportunity like nothing else has given me and for that I am truly grateful” (Eric Briggs, Aero/Mech  2016).

Lastly, the team the challenge of Formula Hybrid is enormous. The competition travels into territory that most engineering teams and cars have never gone before. Out of the many teams that compete, only a few cars actually ran during dynamic events. Placing in the competition shows tremendous progress for the team, and with hard work will do even better in the years to come.

Michel Royce and the team

Michel Royce giving advice

The co-presidents

Ricky and Kyle before design review

The team on the podium

Moving the Car

The Team and the DCMS
  
Sleepless night one

Sleepless night two

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A New Semester

    The spring semester has officially commenced here at RPI. We've been as busy as ever here at Rensselaer Formula Hybrid as we transition from the designing portion of our project, to the building part. I want to first share with you some photos that were taken just before winter break during one of our testing sessions. This particular day was great fun and ended up being a wonderful team building activity as well.

    You'll begin by seeing us inching through hallways and down stair cases, holding the car up ourselves. This is the only way we can get the car in and out of our shop. It's crazy, but we always seem to orchestrate it just right.






    Next, you'll see the car as we prep it for a run.








    Soon after the test day, we all went home for the holiday break. One of the projects that was still in the works, even though classes were not in session, was the chassis. Over the break we received a box filled with laser cut tubes from Cartesian Tube Profiling, which would need to be welded together into a finished chassis.

    Over the past few weeks, our mechanical team leaders have been hard at work jigging, tacking, and welding the chassis together. It is still not entirely complete, but in the photos below, you will be able to see a fairly complete cockpit area.





    Thanks for checking in Hybrid fans. Visit us again for an update in the near future.