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In 2016, Trinity University Motorsports (TUMS) and a senior design team started Trinity’s path to compete in Formula SAE. Since then, preparing the car for competition has been the objective of the project. The work that was done before this year’s team took over included the design and fabrication of the frame, selection and mounting of the engine, and some progress on each of the following: steering, suspension, wheels and tires.
This year, the team was tasked with delivering a fully functional car with the hopes of being able to compete in the June, 2020 FSAE California Competition. To meet this goal, the major work items remaining were the design and implementation of the following subsystems: cockpit, ECU, and powertrain. In addition to those tasks, this year’s team had to improve and complete the steering, suspension, wheels, and braking. Finally, all of these subsystems needed to be integrated together to achieve a driveable car.
This year, significant progress was made toward completing the car. Unfortunately, work came to a halt in March with the announcement that Trinity University was closing down due to COVID-19. Since the closure of campus, our project requirements have changed from delivering a functional car to delivering documentation that will allow next year’s team to compete in next summer’s competition. This new goal required the current team to write four manuals to be provided for the next team as appendices to this report. The manuals are as follows: Test Plan Manual, which outlines what tests the next team should perform and provides an overview of why and how to perform them; Test Results and Analysis Manual, which gives detailed instructions regarding the test setup and execution, as well as the collection and analysis of data; Assembly Manual, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to finish the remaining assembly tasks for the car; Competition Manual, which is a brief summary of our advice and recommendations for how to prepare for the competition.
The work that this year’s team was able to complete brought us very close to obtaining a functional car. This year, the team successfully redesigned and implemented the rear suspension so as not to get in the way of the axle. Alignment bars were then installed to keep the rear tires oriented straight ahead. The team planned and assembled the brake lines such that all that is left is to mount the calipers onto the rotors and fill the brake fluid reservoirs. The steering system was redone in order to satisfy FSAE guidelines, which state that the top of the steering wheel must be below the top of the front hoop of the frame. This required a new steering column mount be designed and fabricated as well as moving the rack and pinion mounts further toward the front of the car. A metal seat pan was designed and fabricated which also acts as a firewall, and a temporary seat was fashioned out of foam. The pedal assembly was mounted to the floor of the car, and the brake pedal was connected to the brake lines while the accelerator pedal was connected to the throttle cable. Intake and exhaust systems were designed, fabricated, and implemented successfully onto the car. A speedometer was made using an arduino and a magnetic tachometer sensor. Finally, the team assembled most of the powertrain as well as the ECU and wiring harness.
There is still some work remaining for the next team. These future tasks include installing a seat, optimizing the cockpit and dashboard, finishing the ECU/powertrain integration, mounting the brake calipers to the rotors and connecting them to the brake lines, and extensive testing and driver training.
McDaniel, Jonathan; Omegara, Kelechi; Ramirez, Jesus; Rodriguez, Jose; and Thompson, Matthew, "Formula SAE: Final Design Report" (2020). Engineering Senior Design Reports. 41.