Team Bath Racing Gets a Lead on Manufacturing

    Posted by John Moseley on Oct 14, 2013 8:30:00 AM

    TB Mould V4[8] resized 600

    This is Part 3 of our series on Team Bath Racing, the Formula Student team sponsored by 3Dconnexion. Click to read Part 1 and Part 2

    Since we last heard from the Team Bath Racing (TBR) teams at Bath University, term has started and the 2014 team now has to juggle five subjects worth of lectures with preparing for exams and the Formula Student competition. The 2014 team has moved from the design room into the main workshop, which was vacated by the outgoing 2013 team following their last race of the season in Germany.
    “It’s an exciting time as we move on to the more practical side of the project,” says TBR14 project manager, Dave Turton. “This next stage presents a new set of challenges. We’ve set ourselves a target of having parts manufactured before Christmas, plus this is when we start recruiting new team members to help with testing and manufacturing—and to build future generations of Team Bath Racing.”

    Season Finale

    TBR13 had a disappointing end to the season when they had to pull out of the endurance race in Germany due to an engine problem. Germany has the most competitive Formula Student event in the world with all the top German universities taking part, backed by big name sponsors like Audi and Volkswagen. Despite the engine failure, TBR13 did well overall—coming joint top out of the UK teams for design and third in fuel efficiency. 

    “Three of us from TBR14 went to Germany to shadow the 2013 team and see how the competitions are run,” explains Dave. “Speaking to the outgoing team and the judges we came up with some ideas for additional features to build into the 2014 car for extra design points, mainly around the chassis geometry and ergonomics. We were looking forward to hitting the workshop.”

    Design Optimization

TBR14 has inherited the 2013 car for testing, which will help further refine the 2014 car. The chassis has been the main focus over the summer. The team has been pushing hard for new sponsors and support from industry is still going well. Materials technology experts Cytec have sponsored the team with some top-grade carbon fibre for the chassis.

    “Over the summer we made twice-weekly trips to our machining sponsor Crosby Composites to machine the pattern board,” says Dave. “One of the team, James Garlick, had to learn Delcam in order to program the CNC milling machine tool path. The 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro has proved really useful in Delcam, making it much quicker to maneuver the part.”
    The 3D mice provided by 3Dconnexion have also played a key part in the monocoque design. TBR14 designer Jimmy Bichard is somewhat of an expert 3D mouse user having worked with one on placement at Red Bull Racing and then again while designing the monocoque for the 2014 Team Bath Racing car.

    Monocoque V2[1]“The main advantage of using a 3D mouse is the ease and speed at which CAD models can be manipulated,” explains Jimmy. “Unlike a standard mouse, the SpaceMouse Pro allows you to pan, rotate and zoom all at once, which gives a much more fluid feel to modelling and means the model is always in the orientation you want it to be.”
    Jimmy uses the buttons on his 3D mouse to quickly flick between modelling and drafting modes, negating the need to select menu items or remember shortcut keys.
    “I love the solid feel of the device, the ergonomics of the palm rest and the quick access buttons,” he says. “I now find if I don’t have my 3D mouse with me I will still reach out for it whilst using CAD, which is quite a strange sensation but goes to show that it’s becomes second nature to work with one.” 

    Design Becomes Reality

Having locked down the chassis geometry following small iterations from feedback at the recent competitions in Silverstone and Germany, TBR14 can now concentrate on making the patterns.
    “The chassis is the longest lead time component on the car and the ultimate goal is to get the molds for it completed before Christmas,” says Dave. “We have made the male pattern for the bottom half of the chassis and the top half of the chassis, which is the cockpit opening area, is getting machined as we speak.”
    Next, the team will move on to finite element analysis (FEA) to finally prove their designs using the FEA tools built into NX, as well as Altair Hyperworks. We will continue to follow their progress. You can show your support for the team by following @TeamBathRacing on Twitter and liking the Team Bath Racing Facebook page.

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    Tags: Engineering, 3D Mice