Rookie Tales from Formula SAE: Day 2

Alex Van Overbeeke-Costello is an intern in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab and a passionate member of the UMass Lowell Formula SAE team. Recently, she joined her team in Barrie, Ontario  to represent SOLIDWORKS and compete in Formula North, where 45 teams from across North America showcased their small, formula-style vehicles. All Formula SAE vehicles are  conceived, designed, fabricated, and developed by students. Learn about Day 1 here.

The second day of competition is mainly the static events: design, business presentation, and cost presentation. However, if you are a newer less mature team, you also are extremely focused on passing through tech finally. During Tech, The tallest driver is put into the race car and has to go through scales. Our car weighed in at a whopping 757 lbs with driver. One goal we have is to reduce this for next year. In this photo you can see Austin, one of our seniors. He was a huge part in the design and manufacturing of the braking system.

Part of competition is the cost report and presentation. Since our car is so low budget, we actually came in 3rd in cost! This static event is mainly scored on the completion and detail of a cost report which is done months prior, as well as the actual price of the vehicle. Our car was the least expensive at competition. In fact, our car was about 9.5k which was about 2k less than the next cheapest car.

Probably the most stressful part of competition is design. It is worth the most amount of points. It also really puts everyone on the spot. I represented the chassis/aero team. I explained as much as I could. Mostly what I explained, was that this car was designed several years ago by now graduated students. I explained that we were really looking to learn as much as possible with this car so that it can be better for the next competition. My judge was extremely professional and helpful. He told me every question he would ask so that next year I can come back and answer every one. He told me he likes the creativity behind some of the budgeting choices that we made but that we needed to clean and tighten everything up. I am extremely excited to show the judges how much we improved at competition next year.

After having passed the visual inspection, we were finally permitted to put fuel in the vehicle. This was an emotional moment for everyone. This was the moment that pushed us farther than we had previously gone last year. We were finally allowed to drive the car. This allowed us to go on to the next step, noise, tilt, and brakes.

One of the scariest parts of technical inspection is the tilt test. Here you can see our driver, Austin, being lifted up to 45* to test for roll. The car needed to go up to 60* in order to pass. This was quite scary but luckily we passed! After tilt came noise. If your car can get up to a certain rev and still stay under 110dB, you pass. We passed this too!

Discover what happened next at Formula North and stay tuned for Day 3!

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman is a SOLIDWORKS Education Contractor, Social Media and Marketing. She has a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and recently earned a Certificate in Web Development from MassBay Community College. Sara is excited about utilizing this blog to combine her two passions, writing and technology.