Thursday, January 30, 2014

DATC Opens their doors to the Utes Motorsports Program

This week the Utes Motorsports team got together and made the journey up north to DATC. Head composites instructor David Sligar was nice enough to give us our tour of his facility that he has allowed us to use while manufacturing the Composite Monocoque for our chassis.

Once the material arrives from General plastics and gets machined by Janicki the team will be calling this facility home for the following weeks. The team will be prepping the mold, laying the outer skin, and laying the core and inner skin all in this facility.

The team will have the luxury of using their large center blow autoclave for curing our composites.

We would like to say thanks to DATC for the awesome opportunity to use their facility. We will be posting some photos of the process as soon as we get underway so don't forget to check back often.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Utes Motorsports Gains Valuable Support from Industry

We know it has been a long time since our last post. We apologize greatly but we are hard at work getting ready for competition this year.

Since the Winter break we have obtained valuable support from key members in industry.

Nationwide Company Hexcel has provided us with a bunch of Carbon Fiber Prepreg to be used on the chassis. This high tech material they have provided will allow the team to build a high caliber performance vehicle. Without this donation the team would have been hard pressed to come up with the funding to purchase this material so their donation is greatly appreciated.

Local Hands-on Education specialists from DATC have been kind enough to open their facility to the Utes Motorsports Program. With their hands on knowledge and world class facility they will assist us in taking this product from a twinkle in our eyes to a full complete chassis.

General Plastics out of Washington has been very nice to offer us a high temperature low density tooling foam. Without this donation the team would have had a very difficult time building the mold and curing it properly at the temperatures.

Industry leader Janicki has offered their expertise and massive 5-axis mill in order to machine our mold to precision accuracy, saving the team days and offering a much higher level of accuracy. 

 Local company Technology Marketing Inc.(TMI) has graciously offered to make their industry expertise and materials available to the team. With their help we are confident we can make a chassis that is worthy of the block U and bring praise to the U of U mechanical engineering department.

Please keep checking back we promise to update the blog far more often. You should see some pretty exciting things coming about in the next couple weeks. Also if you have not already please check us out on facebook for even more updates and real time pictures of the team at work.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

FSAE Leaders Dominate 2013 Mechatronics Competition

The beautifully crafted cover of one of the winning robots.
You may have heard about how busy the junior year is for M.E. students at the U.  If you are still finishing your lower division classes you probably take an extra summer class or two just to to lighten the load when it comes.  Or maybe you just thought to yourself, "Hey, the whole curriculum is busy, it can't be that bad...."

Well... unfortunately, it is! Junior year is easily the crux of the Mechanical Engineering program, and what better way to wrap up the year with a triumphant victory in the Mechatronics competition.  Pouring countless hours and sleepless nights into a project that has minimal overlap with traditional M.E. applications like Formula SAE might not sound like much of a party, but some of us students have the attitude that if you're going to do something you give it you're all.  Brad Apgood, Cameron Blaylock, Gabe Gray, Aaron Jorgenson and Brett Sampson helped lead an alliance to an impressive victory during last Tuesday's design competition.  These exceptional students are giving a good indication of the quality of leadership, intelligence and technical ability that will help to continue the progress of the FSAE program here at the U.  Now if we can just get finals over with so we can help finish the car!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Design Day 2013

We had another successful design day. While we weren't able to get as far as we wanted, the response to the 2013 design changes were positive. We want to thank our sponsors for helping us throughout the year. We will be taking a couple weeks to get through finals and graduation ceremonies before the 2014 team continues the progress we have made.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Update, Finally.

Sorry for the lack of updates. We have been in a mad rush trying to get things ready for design day. After many long days we finished tacking the frame tonight and took it out for finish welding.

Thanks to everyone who helped put in the long hours cutting, grinding and welding to get the frame to this point!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Exclusive Tour at Miller Motorsports Park

While the Seniors are hard at work fabricating this year's car and feeling the pressure of looming deadlines, the Juniors took a break from a busy semester to take advantage of a unique opportunity and get an in-depth tour of one of Utah's premier racing garage's, RaceCo, located on-site at Miller Motorsports Park.

RaceCo has a highly skilled staff who have done everything from karting to racing in the 24 Hours of LeMans.  They run a huge, fully-faceted shop, and were gracious enough to give a detailed tour of the entire facilities and share tidbits of their vast knowledge and experience living and breathing motorsports.  Along with an on-site machine shop over a dozen service bays, the folks at RaceCo maintain racing and high-performance street and track cars, provide pit-crew services including race engineers, perform data collection and telemetry as well as driver coaching and other services.  In fact, during our visit, members of the team were on track at the 12 Hours of Sebring!

On site during the visit were several ProMazda cars (formerly StarMazda), an Indy car from 2002, a twin-turbo Viper and a heavily modified Nissan GTR, not to mention a beautiful, historic Brabham Formula 1 car (pictured above).  The opportunity to crawl around and inspect these cars, covers off, was a remarkable experience and will benefit the team immensely as we continue to advance the Formula programs on campus.  To top it off, the day ended with some team members running hot laps in a track built WRX with others being offered the opportunity to be invited back and help support race weekends this summer working in the pits.  What a day!

Special thanks from all of Utes Motorsports to Cole Powelson and the crew for their hospitality!
Visit to learn more about this incredible company.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Priorities, Priorities

With the ambitious task of designing an all-new racecar, priorities and sacrifice have been the name of the game.  The juniors have been busy conquering the infamous U of U junior year while coordinating and preparing for the 2014 car, leaving the seniors with the heavy lifting.  As a result, our blog has been MIA.  To our sponsors, supporters and future team members:  we’re sorry we left you hanging!  So much has happened over the last couple of months.  Here’s what you’ve missed:

Progress and Updates

In recent posts we tracked the progress of the team’s 2013 Senior Design project, specifically the transformation of a carbureted KTM motor into an E85 drinking, fuel injected, turbo-charged beast of an engine.  However, progress with the engine was greatly decelerated and the majority of the focus shifted to designing and modeling the rest of the car in SolidWorks in order to meet other deadlines.  As anxious as everyone is to get the engine running, there are so many other aspects of the car that also need attention if the car is going to perform well at the competition this summer.  Many parts and components have already been ordered while some machining and fabrication has begun.  A custom engine stand was designed to get the engine on the dyno independently of the chassis and engine prep has resumed.

In October, the Science and Engineering Career Fair was held in the Olpin Union Ballroom and the Formula U team was in the spotlight, with last year’s car being displayed front and center.  Our two largest supporters, Williams International and Williams, were given prime placement at the event (we know how to take care of our sponsors!), each receiving more foot traffic than any of the other companies present at the event.  The team also gathered a staggering amount of attention from students of differing fields of study, especially from freshman and sophomore engineering students.  The future of this program is brighter than ever!

Much engineering analysis has been done since we last posted.  A considerable amount of finite element analysis was performed on the design of a carbon fiber chassis and on the restrictor for the intake.  Another extensive FEA study was done on the exhaust to study the effects of unequal length headers on a single cylinder engine with twin exhaust ports, such as our KTM.  Hopefully we will be able to get a summary of these studies on a future post.

Team Philosophy Changes

The last three years have seen the resurrection and evolution of the University of Utah’s FSAE program and has understandably had its share of difficulties.  Each year has introduced motivated and capable students with new, exciting ideas but has perhaps lacked the proper structure to facilitate correlation with undergraduate and graduate program objectives.  In order to better align the FSAE design competition and Formula U team with department courses and objectives the team will move forward with an iterative design philosophy.

The scope of the FSAE program and racecar design is enormous, almost overwhelming.  Designing a new car every year can be a more work than a full-time job!  In the future teams will be encouraged to focus on a few key areas and proceed with redesign of other areas of the car only once sufficient progress has been made.  An example of the effects of this change in philosophy is with the current chassis design.  The tough decision was made to forego a composite monocoque this year in order to focus on the powertrain.  A chrome-moly tube frame will require much fewer man hours to design and fabricate, allowing for more development of other important areas of the car.  Next year one of the main senior design projects will be the creation of an all-new carbon fiber monocoque, integrating with many of the components developed for this year’s car. 

We anticipate that these changes will be of considerable advantage to the students, benefitting their classroom education while allowing more time for deeper engineering analysis complimented by practical application.

As always, we appreciate all of the encouragement and support!  Stay tuned for future updates.