Peoria, Illinois Competition

Check out our latest post to see some shots from the Peoria Baja SAE Competition

Rock Quarry Stop Over

The team couldn't resist this rock pit while travelling to Illinois for the competition!

Monday, 26 May 2014

The 2014 Baja

The trip to Peoria Illinois is getting close and the 2014 Baja is coming together.

The design process of the 2014 car was highly iterative, meaning the car was completely re-designed about every 2 weeks.  There were lots of crazy ideas, like a 5-link rear suspension, that ended up getting scrapped, but helped prove that what is going on this car is as good as it can be.  The 2014 Baja has a new front suspension, gearbox, re-designed back suspension, and hundreds of small things to help save weight.

The 2014 chassis was the first chassis to feature out of plane bends.  The out of plane bends allowed the main part of the roll cage to be made from a single bar and also allowed for the front suspension to have caster.  The front of the chassis was widened to help improve driver comfort.  The rear of the chassis is shorter to improve rear suspension and powertrain mounting.

The drivetrain of the 2014 Baja features a completely new gearbox to improve torque and reduce weight.  The engine was set-up on a dyno and this data was used to create a Matlab model.  Using this information a final drive ratio of 12.25:1 was selected as this gave the best balance between torque, gearbox size and weight. Higher reductions were considered but were discarded because higher drive torque would exceed the limit of tire grip.  This year the brake calliper was mounted directly to the gearbox to help reduce weight, makes mounting easier, and improves alignment between the calliper and the brake disk.

For the first time in 3 years the front suspension was redesigned.  For any suspension nerds out there here are the parameter changes that were made for 2014:
The design values were achieved through the following methods: SimMechanics, inverse dynamics, Kinematic loops, SolidWorks and back of the envelope calculations. Simulations through SimMechanics/Simulink were conducted to estimate forces.  The biggest change is the caster of angle  so that there is much greater recessional travel to make going over logs and hitting big rocks easier.

The 2014 rear suspension offers a 2” increase in ride height,a 9 lb weight reduction, and better handling characteristics. The new bearing carriers are 60% lighter than the old ones.

There are lots of other small changes that will help make the 2014 Baja the best that Memorial has ever made, like an aluminium steering rod, improved shifter and very light body panels. The car is almost together and we're really excited to head off to Illinois next week!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

CBC and Testing

Hello all,

This last weekend was a pretty awesome one for Baja.  We went out to the Bay Bulls Test Track and laid down some driving for CBC. You can click here to watch the video.

And we didn't stop there but had one of the most solid days of testing in Mun Baja history.  At the end of the day we still had a car with suspension, steering, brakes, tires and driveshafts, which is more than we can normally say.

It was a chilly Newfoundland day and by the end of testing the whole team was shivering.  After driving you were soaked.

This day of testing was truly a testament to how robust the 2013 Baja is, we were less than easy on it and it still just kept on going.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Rochester 2013 Recap

Hello all, it has been quite a while since there has been quite a long time since there was a post on here but that is going to change.  In the 2013-2014 season we plan to have monthly updates that will go into depth with one system or subsystem of the baja.  First of all is an unapologetically late recap of the 2012-2013 season.

This year Memorial Baja went to the SAE Baja Rochester competition, where RIT did a great job of hosting and also helping out almost every team that ran into troubles.  We had a rough start to the competition when our tech inspection time conflicted with our design presentation time.  This set us behind going into the dynamic events day, when the only thing that was actually wrong on the car was a small plate that attached to the fire extinguisher.  To sum up the team after the static day in one word it would be rattled.

The second day, and the entire competition, was saved by one thing: Jared not skipping legs day.  There was trouble getting the back brakes to lock up to pass the brake test, and things were getting desperate.  I don't want to say just how desperate, because no self respecting engineer would ever do something stupid like adding burrs to the brake disk... or cover it in glue.  At the peak or our desperation Jared stepped up to try and get the brakes to lock up and one severely bent brake pedal later we were past brakes and onto dynamic events.

Calling it dynamic events is being a bit generous, it was more of dynamic testing.  It was the first time that the 2013 car had actually been driven, and besides a couple of small things that broke the car performed really well.

This year marked a first for Memorial Baja, it was the first time that the Baja ever had to come in for gas instead of something breaking that forced a pit.  The endurance race went close to perfectly, after the testing and tweaking during the dynamic events the baja really pulled through when it counted.

Overall the car outperformed expectations and was a large success for all involved.  For the first time ever we left a competition with a running car that can be incrementally improved upon instead of having to make many massive changes.  There is still lots to be done, but the foundation has been laid where the future teams can build the next winning racer.  A large thank you to all of our sponsors that allow us to continue Memorial Baja year after year.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Testing the 2012 Baja

To test how the 2012 Baja performs the team set out to the Bay Bulls test track twice this fall.

Both days were large successes, with no large problems becoming apparent with the design.  The only things that were broken during testing were the skid plates, and two rear tires.  None of these were issues with the Baja so much as team members riding it a bit harder than it was intended.