MK.5 2019-2020 SEASON
In my second year on the team I took on a more active role by joining the leadership team through the position of Mechanical Design Lead. This role entails the management of system level design for the mechanical portions of the car and the organization of all fabrication for the mechanical systems in the car. In addition to be Mechanical Lead I took on the redesign of the rear knuckles again for Mk. 5. With the position I have been able to challenge myself in both a project management role and through technical mentorship.
Our organization grew to 48 members strong during this season from our previous number of 25 members in the past season. Due to this change in size I worked on greater lines of communication with the entire team. This was also done to align with the team's top level goals to improve new engineers onboarding experience. I sought to better communicate critical deadlines to the team as in the past subteam leads and the core leadership team were the only ones aware of these deadlines. This was done through physical posters for each subteam to document fabrication and through weekly fabrication updates and retrospectives at the beginning of each week.
MK.4 2018-2019 SEASOn
Olin Electric Motorsports or OEM is an undergraduate project team that creates a formula style car every year. OEM is a fairly new project team at Olin as this was fourth iteration of the car. This means we have worked from the ground up to create every component of the car. We design almost everything ourselves except for critical components like the tires, motor, and motor controller. For this car we fabricated almost everything in our school's machine shop. In the 2018-2019 season the team focused on creating a car with a larger accumulator capacity, smaller 10 inch wheels, and a new chassis.
In my first year I was a member of the suspension and chassis subteam. My role was to design new rear uprights for the car to accommodate for a smaller wheel enclosure. I designed the knuckle based upon four critical points: the wheel center, the upper A-arm attachment point, the lower A-arm attachment point, and the toe link attachment point. The majority of design decisions focused on having a FOS of 2 around the critical mounting features of the knuckle. All of the design for this part was done in SolidWorks and FEA was done in ANSYS.
The major design challenges of the uprights are the constraints of our fabrication capabilities at Olin and the high tires forces that are applied to the inner bore. This component translates all tire forces through the suspension members of the car, thus it needs to be able to handle the worst cases possible that the car might experience. Therefore, we apply multiple force cases of full acceleration, full turn, and full braking to find where the knuckle may yield. One of the downfalls of this design is the small lever are created by the center to center distance from the top A-arm and the toe link. This distance enabled to some compliance within our rear wheel assembly to allow the tires to slightly toe in and out. This hasn't noticeably affected the performance of the vehicle, but is a feature we actively improved upon in the next iteration.
Overall, this project was a great introduction into mechanical design during my first two semesters on the team. The rear suspension assembly taught me a lot about thinking from a system-level perspective to make sure my component would function in relation to the rest of the car. The complex geometry of the car was informative in my awareness of not only thinking about what is best for the functionality of the part, but also what features would make the component easiest to manufacture later on.