Thursday, August 27, 2009

Logic Supply

Big thanks to Logic Supply who donated the computer for Car 12! The computer is utilized as an on-board Telemetry Computer which reads in the data from our Data Logger and Engine Controller Unit (ECU) via the available USB ports. Utilizing the on-board system allows the team to increase the efficiency of testing sessions with the ability to review engine parameters and various other data channels in real, time via a USB radio modem, without having to sacrifice the conditions produced by simulated endurance sessions. Additionally, trackside engineers can diagnose any conditions or problems without driver distraction. This compact unit is light and easily packages into our chassis and electrical system, thereby minimizing the weight added to the car and demand on the electrical system. As an investment, the future of our telemetry computer will involve remote adjustment of control systems with prescribed parameters to help us understand how our car responds to our engine control systems and quickly determine how to adjust our control systems to give us the fastest times on the track. Our telemetry computer gives us the advantage we need to take home the 1st place trophy.

Go Green, Go White, Go Fast!

Josh Frontiera

Saturday, July 11, 2009

2009 Traverse City Cherry Festival Parade

Gorgeous weather, excited bystanders, and a very enthusiastic team of MSU students, alumni and supporters barely paints a picture of the kick of to the 2009 Cherry Festival Parade earlier this morning. The team joined the MSU Alumni Association, MSU Dance Team, and Sparty as we marched through downtown traverse city and local neighborhoods.

Car 51 ran perfectly all morning thanks to a strong effort from new team leaders who performed an clutch swap the week prior which involves removing the entire engine from the Car. Team members performed a "Nascar" like pit stop performance in the middle of the parade due to a faulty shifting bottle. Again, a big thanks to the guys over at Hagerty who were kind enough to let us use their facilities throughout the parade and helped organize the event.Go
Green, Go White, Go Fast.
Josh Frontiera

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hagerty Family Car Show

Today the MSU Formula Racing Team attended the Hagerty Family Car Show in downtown Traverse City. Although the theme was UofM vs. MSU, it made for a fun and energetic atmosphere. Car 51 was displayed next to UofM's 2008 Solar Car, both of which drew a tremendous amount of traffic.

As always the questions came rolling in about the program, its affiliation with the University, and what exactly we do. Events like the Hagerty Family Car Show are exciting because it allows team members to talk about all the work they have put into the race car. More specifically, what they have learned from their experience designing, manufacturing, and testing the car.

After the show is over, the team will be rushing Car 51 back to the shop where it will undergoe a clutch replacement and have several of it's systems checked over so that it is ready to lay down rubber in the streets of downtown Traverse City as it partakes in the 2009 Cherry Festival Parade.

Big thanks to all of those at Hagerty who created the fundraiser for the MSU and UofM teams. We really appreciate all the help guys! Visit the Hagerty website for more information and check out the Car Show Video!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The meaning behind Formula SAE

Normally, I try to blog from a central point of view of the team. However, I felt that this update would best be spoken from my personal experiences.

A couple of weeks ago, a few team members took Car 51 out to it's latest educational outreach event: a celebration signifying the end of Race for Reading month at Okemos, Michigan’s Edgewood Public Montessori school. During my tenure with the team, I've been privileged to attend several outreach events and to speak with many students about the importance of pursuing collegiate education and what role Formula SAE has had in mine. Bringing a race car along to visually emphasize the 'cool' activities available hasn’t ever hurt such a presentation.

Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, I couldn't personally present at this event. But I was able to help pick the car up, so I stopped by to do so.

Walking into the school library, I saw a very moving and quite adorable sight. Team members Ankit Mathur, Adrienne Burger and Lauren Heitzer were still in the midst of answering questions after their last presentation. This one happened to be to some first graders, and by the looks of them, not more than 6 or 7 years old. There were about 10 or 12 all gathered around Car 51, some with their hands raised, asking questions about the car and who built what on it. They asked about all sorts of things; the colors, what this piece did on the engine, why the tires didn't have tread, and what parts Adrienne, Lauren and Ankit personally made.

Since I am usually on the other side of the presentation, it struck me that I really didn't know what it felt like to just sit back and watch. There is only one word for it: inspirational. Team members have been presenting at schools and hosting work shop tours for quite some time, but I guess that being in front of the crowd much of those times prevented me from fully realizing (or forgetting over the course of time) what a direct impact these events really have on their audiences.

The importance of Formula SAE falls inline with the mission of it's sanctioning body: to educate today's and tomorrow's society about mobility. I think that when you participate in FSAE (or any one of SAE's collegiate design series competitions for that matter), you realize quickly the educational benefits to yourself, your teammates and your competitors. But it's easy to forget or simply overlook the importance that your team and your work play in your community.

This observation made me re-realize this. Those little kids, the future (hopefully) Spartans of our university...our team…our world were so enthralled in this piece of machinery that was, for all practical team-purposes, just a retired race car. But to them, the word 'retired' didn't mean a thing. They possessed an innocence that only allowed them to think about the possibilities that still could exist. They thought about things only in a current and future state of being, and in that sense, only what could be; not ever what would limit or prevent. They are the ultimate optimists.

This was an amazing experience, truly a moment that defined something great.

As I was only an observer here, the credit for this occurrence goes to those who captured the audience's interest, primarily Adrienne, Ankit and Lauren. Additional accolades should be paid to Car 51’s team. These people: team members, sponsors and the teacher's who invited us to Edgewood Montessori, are the facilitators of the young audience's questions that fascinated me that afternoon. I’d like to say thank you to all of you.

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Car 12: it's COMING

Team members continue to work hard to get Car 12 finished; relinquishing their personal lives in order to finish fabrication. Take a look at the various areas that are currently works in progress.

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Aero Team Leader Jim Guitar sands one half of the molds for Car 12's rear chassis box

Powertrain TL Drew Darling welds part of Car 12's exhaust together.

Associate Member Adrienne Burger sands Car 12's radiator shroud

Car 12's side pod plugs after priming, sanding and the first half of the fiberglass molds being laid up.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Side pods are back!

Tonight the plugs came back for Car 12's sidepods. Team alumni Jon Luckhardt's uncle was kind enough to offer up the services of his business to do the machining based upon Aero Team Leader James Guitar's design. In record time, the plugs went from blocks of Huntsman Corporation Renshape to the sculpted plugs that you see here.

Thanks to Huntsman Advanced Materials and Jon and his family for their generosity and support of our program!

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Spring Break Team Dinner

Yesterday, Cockpit Team Leader Hillary Gregory kindly made dinner for everyone who have up their spring break to work on Car 12. Thanks HIllary!



This is one of those real world, less-than-flattering shots of someone. In this case, Powertrain Team Leader Drew Darling.

Associate Team Member Scott Smith enjoys some pop before he heads back into the machine shop.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hours of Operation

Team members continue to leapfrog from class to the race car shop each day to work on Car 12. In case some of you aren't familiar with the average work schedule of an MSU Formula SAE Team member, it goes something like this:

Monday, 5-6 pm: arrive at shop
Monday, 12-3 am: leave shop, barely still awake

Tuesday: Repeat Monday's schedule

Wednesday: Repeat Monday's schedule, include General Team Meeting at 7 pm

Thursday: Repeat Monday's schedule

Friday: Repeat Monday's schedule

Saturday, 10 am: arrive at shop
Saturday: 10 pm-3 am: leave shop, barely still awake

Sunday, 10 am: Team Leader's meeting
Sunday, 11 am: fabrication starts
Sunday, 10 pm-3 am: leave shop, barely still awake

Additionally, all procurement of supplies and sponsorship relations, plus any shipping and receiving of outsourced components, are handled during business hours each weekday.

Here are a few pictures of some of the fabrication that has taken place during these hours and more. Enjoy!


(L to R: Brakes System Team Leader Erik Stitt, Wheel Assy TL Steve Schofield, Chief Engineer Andy Rogers, and Associate Brian Smith working on the uprights for Car 12.)

Brakes System Team Leader Erik Stitt assembles one of the fixtures for Car 12's uprights

Chief Engineer Andy Rogers gives some technical directions to Wheel Assy TL Steve Schofield and Powertrain TL Drew Darling

Upright: A Work In Progress


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Most Dedicated Team Members: January & February

A tonight's general meeting, the first Most Dedicated Team Members 2009 were announced. As has occasionally happened in the past with this award, we had a tie. Both Scott Smith and Brian Smith worked extremely hard during January, seemingly never leaving the shop. Though this was the case with many people, it was felt amongst senior team members that both Scott and Brian had really distinguished themselves over and above everyone with the time they put into the team and their constant positive work ethic during this month. Congrats to both!

February was a busy month for the team and for Mike O'Brien, the March 2009 Most Dedicated Team Member. Consistently throughout this heavy build month, Mike was at the shop fabricating. His work ethic and productivity set a good example for both new and old team members alike and helped motivate others to work harder. A huge thanks to Mike!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Progress on Car 12 continues

It's been a little while since we posted up pictures of what team members spend the vast majority of their time doing: fabrication. Here are a few pictures highlighting the many late nights that have carried through into early mornings for team members of the past few weeks.

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Cockpit Team Leader Hillary Gregory and Associate Team Member Adrienne Burger work together to manufacture Car 12's all carbon fiber steering wheel.

Removing the VARTM material from Car 12's undertray (L to R: Brian Smith, Andy Rogers, Hillary Gregory, James Guitar, Jordan Smart, Jordan Guitar)

Associate Andrew Mozer works on some of the finishing touches on Aero Team Leader James Guitar's undertray for Car 12.

A few frontal impact attenuators, post testing. Physical testing of each Formula SAE entry's front impact attenuator is required by SAE. The design, manufacturing and testing of these pieces and the corresponding fixture to test them with has occupied many hours of Cockpit Team Leader Hillary Gregory and Associate Adrienne Burger's time since the late fall months.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Uni: Part V

Car 12's molds are back from their second cure at Pratt & Whitney AutoAir's autoclave, and are currently being prepared for the third and final section prior to being able to being able to be used to actually manufacture Car 12's chassis. A huge thanks to Pratt & Whitney and team alum Kevin Mead for generously providing the autoclave usage to make Car 12 possible!

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

North American International Auto Show

The team just wrapped it's 4th time exhibiting at the North American International Auto Show; one of the largest and most prestigious showings of automotive design in the world. For the last two weeks, team members have road-tripped down to Cobo Hall in Detroit to show off the last three iterations of MSU's Formula SAE cars.

This year, we were proud to center our display around the team's Go Clean environmental campaign. Contrary to many of the questions that we received during the NAIAS simply surrounding biofuels, to Go Clean is about far more than just running cleaner fuels. To us - 'greening up' the automobile is about doing everything that we can to remove our team, our manufacturing, and of course the final product - Car 12 - from the environmental impact equation. Have a look at the Go Clean website and learn more!

The team would like to extend an extra special thanks to all of the companies who made our 2009 NAIAS possible. Without the help from all of the generous people at the North American International Auto Show, especially the dedicated Director of Exhibit Compliance, Marilyn Doebler, our NAIAS displays would never come to fruition. The team would also like to thank Eric Flynn and Paul Kokesh of EPJ Logistics and Tonic, for all of their help to sponsor and transport our display items. Additionally, we would like to thank Mike French of The George P. Johnson Company, Dan Reske and Colleen Weir of Motor City Electric Company, Ed Guile of ASAP Printing, William Van Cleve of Foto 1 Imaging, and especially the Tanari Family, Bobby Whiting and Chris Michelin of Convention and Show Services. It is because of all of these individuals and companies that our display in Michigan Hall was made possible.

If you didn't have a chance to see it in person, take a look at the pictures below for a tour!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Most Dedicated Team Members: November & December

Due to the the two holiday breaks and final exam week playing havoc with our schedule, we got a bit behind in awarding the most dedicated team member award for November. As school just resumed, post winter break, we decided to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone and award both team members' awards tonight.

For November, the Most Dedicated Team Member accolade went to Josh Frontiera. Josh spent many hours handling and staffing outreach events for the team as well as playing an active role in manufacturing Car 12 all month long. Due to his commitment and abilities to put the team ahead of many things in his life, it was easy to see that he deserved this special recognition. Congrats Josh!

The month of December is marked by a strong push in manufacturing - something that is necessary to keep the progress of the car going and take advantage of the lack of schoolwork during MSU's winter break. Because of this, we knew that December's Most Dedicated Team Member was most likely going to be someone who literally lived at the shop over break. We were pleasantly not surprised when that person was Adrienne Burger. Adrienne spent almost more hours at the shop over break than there were in the break itself! The team is truly indebted to Adrienne and those who follow in her footsteps. She serves as an excellent ambassador to all who want to be successful in the realm of Formula SAE. Congrats Adrienne, you have definitely earned this recognition!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Uni: Part IV

Construction of Car 12's chassis molds has begun with the first layer of pre-preg carbon fiber tooling, donated generously by the nice folks at Cytec Engineered Materials. Many thanks to Bill England for his help in getting us the material to make Car 12's molds possible.

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Chief Engineer Andy Rogers and Aero Team Leader lay the Cytec tooling carbon fiber to make Car 12's chassis molds

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Car 12 manufacturing

Manufacturing for Car 12 has been going on for quite some time now, concurrent with the ending of the Design phase. As the spring semester ramps up, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the hard work that team members have been doing at the shop.


Associate Team Member Brian Smith works on one of the manual mills

Cockpit Team Leader Hillary Gregory works on the mold for Car 12's seat insert

Associate Team Member Adrienne Burger and Cockpit Team Leader Hillary Gregory work on vaccuum bagging one of Car 12's many composite components

Associate Team Member Andrew Mozer turns down a steel piece on the LeBlonde lathe