Sunday, December 14, 2008

Uni, Part II

Last week, we got a very exciting call from Ken Wallace at one of our Platinum Sponsors; Demmer Corporation. He called to give one simple message: the monocoque plugs were done!

Here are some pictures just after the plugs came back from being machined. Over the next several weeks, team members will spend hours sanding, priming, and sanding the plugs until they are smooth enough to lay up Car 12's chassis molds.

A HUGE thanks to the Demmer family and all of the people at Demmer Corporation, especially Ken Wallace, Jeane Royale, Justin Judge, Roger Smith and Mark Lehman for handling all of the work necessary to make this very important step of Car 12, complete. Below are some pictures of the plugs taken the day of pick-up.

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Design Day

At the close of each semester, the MSU College of Engineering hosts Design Day at the MSU Union. Over the years, Design Day has grown to a two-day affair where middle school students, faculty and industry representatives gather to hear and see semester-long design projects and presentations from MSU students. We bring our newest Formula SAE representation to these events to describe and show guests the tremendous experience that this competition plays in team members' educations. Here are some pictures from both days.


Team Member & Operations Guru Josh Frontiera talks with a guest about Car 51

As you can see from the next several pictures, Sparty had quite a good time at his photoshoot with Car 51...

Operations Team Member Josh Frontiera with Sparty

Cockpit Team Member Adrienne Burger with Sparty

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trip to Ann Arbor Pioneer High School

Just before Thanksgiving, Chief Engineer Andy Rogers and I trailered Car 51 to Ann Arbor Pioneer High School to talk to teacher Bobby Klemmer's advanced mathematics classes about the importance that math and science plays in engineering. We presented to all five of Mr. Klemmer's classes about the team, Car 51 and specifically what the role of mathematics was in Team Leader Paul Strefling's design of Car 51's optimized chassis system. All of the students were very smart and had many intelligent questions for us; helping to again remind us of the importance of our role in encouraging post-secondary education, especially that of a technical nature, in our communities.

12/15/08: I've added Mr. Klemmer's very nice comments below. Thanks so much for having us, Bobby! Also thanks to Mr. Borovsky for allowing us to store Car 51 in the Auto Show for the day!

"I would like to send my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Michigan State College of Engineering and the MSU Formula Racing Team, in particular. On November 25th, Adam Zemke (Project Manager) and Andy Rogers (Lead Engineer) represented the team and Michigan State Engineering very well by conducting multiple presentations for my advanced mathematics classes at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, MI. My Calculus and Pre-Calculus students were extremely interested and impressed with the possibilities that were shared with them about the practicality of high-level math and science. Adam and Andy were very informative and knowledgeable, answering many of the students' questions and enthusiastically presenting many details of the race car designed by the racing team. My students were inspired that day, and many having been talking about formula racing since then. As a matter of fact, a couple students mentioned that they want to consider attending MSU because of the Formula Racing Team. As a teacher, I am very grateful for opportunities to show my students the relevance of studying math and science. This was the epitome of such an opportunity. Thank you very much to Adam Zemke, Andy Rogers, the MSU Formula Racing Team, and MSU College of Engineering. Keep up the good work on the race cars, and I look forward to hopefully working with you again in the future. Go State!

Sincerely, Bobby Klemmer (1999 MSU graduate)"

Go Pioneers!


Monday, November 17, 2008

FIRST LEGO League Tournament

Each November, the team brings MSU's newest Formula SAE car to the Michigan Regional FIRST LEGO League Tournament, held on campus at MSU. Anyone who is familiar with the concept of the FIRST LEGO program knows that these things are WAY cool and the kids who build them are really smart. The concept involves creating autonomous robots out of LEGO's that traverse obstacles on a course. The obstacle locations are fixed, but the participants don't know which ones await them until they get to the tournament. Each team is responsible for programming their robot to perform the course successfully. MSU has hosted the Mid-Michigan Regional Tournament for several years now. At this stage of the series, participants are only one step away from going to the Statewide competition.

We bring our race cars each year to show LEGO Leaguers and their parents alike of the educational extracurricular opportunities that are available at MSU. As I said, these kids are really smart, so the caliber of questions that we receive from them tends to be almost shockingly good. As in previous years, we had a great time and had some great conversations with (hopefully) some future Formula SAEers.


Competition Tables

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

October's Most Dedicated Team Member

Tonight, we named the first Most Dedicated Team Member of Car 12's Team. This award is given each month to non-leaders/manager team member(s) who go over and above the duties of an Introductory team member. Jordan Kozelka, MSU Physics Junior, was the first recipient. Congrats Jordan!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

YES! Expo

Each fall, the team joins the MSU College of Engineering at the Youth, Engineering & Science (YES!) Expo at Ford Field in Detroit. This event is a lot of fun and allows team members to see the impact that a Formula SAE car and the FSAE concept has on America's youth.

Budding Operations Team star Josh Frontiera represented the team very well at this event and was kept busy with questions all day by the over 15,000 students who attended. Great job, Josh!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Formula SAE California Registration

Today we completed registration for the 2nd of Car 12's Formula SAE Competitions, that which takes place at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Due to Car 51's 4th place finish at this event in 2008, we were awarded the vehicle No. 4 for the 2009 event.

California poses different logistical and competition challenges from Michigan, but also allows us to experience racing under the hot (usually ~90 deg F+) California sun; just where it was meant to be done. It is here where, unlike Michigan, cold weather isn't the limiting factor for the cars...the upper echelon of temperature is. With late June temperatures as high as they are in SoCal, keeping the race cars cool is often our hardest challenge. But the ability to push the cars to the limits of the tires is well worth the trouble.

Competition dates are from Wednesday, June 17 through Saturday, June 20th at Auto Club Speedway. Each day is free and open to the public. As with Michigan, we'll be hosting a breakfast on Saturday morning for family, friends and sponsors at our paddock. Please let us know if you would like to attend!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

From all of us on the team, please have a safe and fun halloween!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

The beginning of the Uni

Uni. Mono. One.

These words symbolize, among other things, the prefix to a singular body, or chassis, as in the case of MSU's newest Formula SAE car; Car 12. For the better part of a decade, MSU Formula SAE Teams have produced chassis based upon 4130 Chromoly Steel space frames; structures consisting of tubes that are welded together. Though the team has designed and manufactured some amazing chassis out of steel; due to rules changes for 2009, this style of chassis manufacture has become less advantageous to continue with.

For over a year now, Composite Chassis Team Leader Josh Heyden has been developing the design of what is now Car 12's full-composite monocoque chassis. By definition, a monocoque is a structural skin that supports loads that otherwise would be applied to an internal load-bearing frame covered by a skin, the latter being very similar to 2008 MSU Car 51. This type of design and manufacture, combined with modern composite techniques, allows for significant weight savings and the ability to locate inner suspension points essentially where ever best suits to generate desired vehicle dynamics performance. The downsides to this type of chassis are that it is significantly more expensive than a space frame, requires far more planning, more time allotted for manufacturing, and also the use of an Autoclave to cure. However, given some rules changes for the 2009 Formula SAE season, we felt long ago that this was a good time to transition to the monocoque technique.

Over the past few weeks, Composite Chassis Team Leader Josh Heyden has been wrapping up the design of Car 12's monocoque chassis and preparing the blocks of Huntsman Renshape that will become the plugs to make molds that will eventually generate the vehicle's chassis. At this time, thanks to long-time Platinum Sponsor Demmer Corporation, the Huntsman-donated Renshape blocks are being machined to create Car 12's chassis plugs.

Below are some pictures from epoxying the Ren-sheets together to form the blocks. We'll keep everyone updated as the most-exciting component of Car 12 continues!

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Composite Chassis Team Leader Josh Heyden and Aerodynamics Team Leader Jim Guitar drill holes to center the blocks on their respective risers

A completed block

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sponsor Drive

As the fall leaves began to change fully from green to orange and brown, we hosted one of the team's oldest traditions: the Sponsor Drive. Despite the name, the event is really a gathering for team member's families, alumni, friends, fans and of course, the people who make all of this possible; sponsors.

In some past years, the weather for the Sponsor Drive hasn't been very pleasant. Even rain and hail have frequented us. But this year, the only problems that we encountered were too much sun and too warm of temperatures. Below are some pictures of the event.


Team alum and Pratt & Miller Engineering employee Ben LeVesque with 2009 Powertrain Team Leader Drew Darling

Team alum and Pratt & Miller Engineering employee John Lankes makes the first laps of the day in 2007 Car 9

Brian Gruber (L) and Ken Wallace (R) from Platinum Sponsor Demmer Corporation take a look at the packaging on Car 51

Aerodynamics Team Leader Jim Guitar talks with his father; In-kind Sponsor Ralph Guitar from Performance Plus of Kalamzoo

Ken Wallace, Chief Engineer on our project at Platinum Sponsor Demmer Corporation

Friends from Sakor and PME

It was very sunny out

In addition to the sweet sound of the race cars, we listened to music from the Jukebox provided by Zemke Operated Machines

Thank you to all of the sponsors of this year's Sponsor Drive: MSU Pavilion, Michigan International Speedway, Zemke Operated Machines, MSU Landscaping, Foto 1 Imaging, The Center for Spartan Engineering, Mr. Craig Gunn, MSU Museum, and EZ Party Rentals.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MSU Homecoming Celebration

The first weekend of October was marked with the MSU Homecoming Celebration; consisting of Friday's parade and a tailgate for Platinum Sponsor the College of Engineering on Saturday. As the homecoming parade is traditionally experienced in sub-40 degree F temperatures and rain; we were happy to welcome mid-50 degree F weather and an overcast sky. Enjoy some pictures of Car 51 and team; the former being piloted by 2008 Powertrain and Driving Team Leader Andy Gryczan.


2009 Team with 2008 race car 51 and GM-donated race support truck

Andy with Johnny Spirit

2009 Data Acquisition Team Leader Marshall Mendoza with Car 51 Cockpit Team Leader Elizabeth Carroll

Final preparation for the parade