Our first test day at Goodwood Motor Circuit was a great success. After a frantic effort to get the car ready during the week, we arrived early, sailed through scrutineering and DG1 was one of the first cars on track. Joshua from Hurst College, an experienced Go-Kart driver took DG1 out first and set an early lap time that placed us well up the field.
Disaster struck after 45 mins when we dropped the chain and needed the recovery vehicle to bring us back to the paddock. We went to work on fixing the problem. Liam, Daniel & Emmanuel from The Eastbourne Academy helped to identify and fix the problem. A small adjustment to the real axle and the drive cog on the electric motor spindle put it right. DG1 was now running better than ever before. Better meaning quieter. Alignment of our drive chain meant less energy loss or transference as noise. Energy cannot be created or destroyed but only transferred. Any energy transferred into heat or noise is a loss of motion energy and that it was drives us forward faster.
In total we lost 57 minutes of track time and the lunch break was upon us. This gave us more time to further explore some of the mechanical features of our car.
Nathan, Chichester High School for Boys, took DG1 back on track at the start of the afternoon session and set our fastest lap time. Congratulations to Nathan.
With little time left we had to resort to a single lap per student which meant we would not record a further flying timed lap all afternoon. We dropped down the rankings as the day progressed but we remained in a podium place for newcomers.
We dropped from 18th to 26th out of 33 teams. This is still quite impressive considering we had never run the car before. It was nice to see so many Solutions inc. partner schools competing. Below are the lap times.
Creating aerodynamic body panels for our Digital Genius F24 race car is now underway. We used the shape conceived by students from Eastbourne Academy and Hurst College with modelling foam before starting on the individual panels.
Aluminium is a light weight metal. Much lighter than steel. We chose thin sheets of aluminium as these can be more easily bent into shape. Each flat aluminium panel was cut to size by our metal supplier. They come coated in a thin green coloured protection film that we will remove later.
Placing an aluminium panel on the chassis we check it is the right size. We then temporarily clamp the panel in place, so that it does not move, while we mark out lines to indicate where the panel needs to bend.
Bending thin aluminium sheet panels does not require any complex machinery. We lay the panel on one wood pallet and place another on top where the edge of the pallet lies along the marked line. We bend the panels using our own strength being careful to make sure we are bending along the marked line. (You should where gloves for this).
Some of the panels require more preparation as we need to cutout sections before we do any bending. We use a cardboard template so we can check the fit. Once we are happy with the template we can transfer the details onto the panel.
We lay the cardboard template on top of the panel and double check we have it correctly placed. The top edge of our template should match the top edge of the panel. We run a pen around the holes and transfer them on to the panel.
To cut the panel we first drill small holes in the corner of each cutout section. These small holes need to be big enough to insert the Jigsaw blade. We then cut the remaining shape using the Jigsaw. We use a blade designed to cut metal. Normal wood cutting blades will not do.It takes a few minutes to cut each hole in turn. Once we have cut out all the sections, we check our work, placing the panel back on the chassis. Everything looks good. All the holes are in the right places. Now we can start bending this panel too.
Currently we divided the body into five panels. Two for each side of the car plus a bonnet. We chose five because it is always best for the panels to meet at the chassis structural members. It is also easiest if each panel is not too large to handle/fit/remove.
The best way to get started with designing new components for our car is to use a CAD app. 123D Design is a free app available for iPad, Mac & Windows. It is better featured on the Mac than iPad. I have not used the Windows version. 123D design is made by Autodesk – a World leader in CAD software.
Learning 3D skills with CAD is an excellent way to prepare for a career in architecture, engineering, product design, aerospace, motorsport & fashion. With the rapid growth of 3D printing, the demand for individuals with 3D skills is certainly set to increase.
Why not try and create your own steering wheel. Here’s one I made earlier – as an example.
Students from The Eastbourne Academy recently visited Hurst College to see the progress their students have made on the race car so far. After a very warm welcome and tea from Hurst, everyone helped to shape the car by sanding down the foam body, adjusted the brakes and steering, took measurements and even got to have a test drive!