In April, we published Part 1 of our series on Team Bath Racing, the Formula Student team sponsored by 3Dconnexion. You can read it here.
This is Part 2 of the series.
It's been a busy time for the Formula Student team at Bath University. Team Bath Racing 2013 (TBR13) unveiled its car at a lanuch event in May attended by over 400 guests, and Team Bath Racing 2014 (TBR14) has finalised the concept for next year's car.
The TBR13 car had its first test drive on 20 June and one of the drivers was TBR14 manager, Dave Turton. Another member of the 2014 team driving for TBR13 is Alex Summers, an accomplished driver and previous British Hillclimb Championship run-off winner. Alex is shorter and lighter than Dave, which highlights an interesting design challenge for Formula Student teams.
One Size Fits All
Formula Student cars are designed to suit the weekend racer. They have to safely accommodate a 95th percentile male and a 5th percentile female, which means finding a driving position to suit tall and short drivers.
To meet this challenge, TBR14 created an adjustable framework made from aluminium extrusions so they could test out seating and pedal positions, as well as the angle of the seat, before applying them to the CAD model.
The team is designing in Siemens NX using 3Dconnexion 3D mice. Five members of the team have previous experience with NX and 3Dconnexion 3D mice, having used them on placements with Williams F1 and Red Bull Racing.
“One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is helping other members of the team learn NX with a 3D mouse,” says TBR14 manager Dave. “They’ve all picked it up really quickly and have been comfortable navigating models within a day or two.”
In terms of learning curves, it’s not just new engineering tools the team has had to get used to. The format of the competition requires students deliver a complex and integrated product in a demanding environment. Successful teams must demonstrate strong project management and business skills, which TBR14 did successfully at the 2013 Formula Student competition at Silverstone earlier this month, when they took first place in the Class 2 Business Presentation event.
Efficiency and Productivity
Demonstrating a head for business also means bringing the right sponsors on board. One of the key aims for TBR14 is to get the 2014 car built early to allow for longer, more rigorous testing. This has involved approaching sponsors who can have a direct impact on efficiency and productivity.
“Our motto is: 'Do it once, do it right,'” explains Dave. “Every link we’ve made with industry has been to improve our efficiency. Whether it’s using 3Dconnexion 3D mice to help us model faster and get the most out of NX, or the adjustable driver rig so we can quickly iterate ergonomic driver positions, or securing CNC milling time to produce patterns for the monocoque. Everything is geared towards increasing productivity and getting things right first time so we have a better chance of fielding the most competitive car next year.
"All of the work is still done by Bath students, and this is something we pride ourselves on, but the infrastructure improvements gained from partnering with industry means we can do more and learn more.”
Stay tuned for more updates as we follow TBR14 on its quest to become the first UK team to win the Silverstone Formula Student event. The team came fifth in the Class 2 Design event at Silverstone, with judges saying the design looks like a strong contender for next year. Next month we’ll hear about the team’s efforts to manufacture the composite chassis.
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