2013 NDSU Baja SAE car
The Baja car is a single-seat, all-terrain, sporting vehicle. Our senior design team will design and build a vehicle that will compete against car from other schools at the 2013 Baja SAE Series competition in Birmingham, Washington. To be eligible for competition in Birmingham, the Baja car will need to comply with strict safety regulations outlined in the 2013 Baja SAE Rulebook. The vehicle will be judged against other schools in terms of speed, handling, ride, and ruggedness over rough terrain and off-road conditions. In addition, the car must be reliable, maintainable, ergonomic, and economical. The car will be measured by its performance in dynamic events which include an acceleration event, a traction event, a maneuverability event, and an endurance race. Points will also be awarded to teams with a good design report, cost report, and sales presentation. The goal for the 2013 competition is to place in the top 25 by improving the design of last year’s 40th place vehicle.
Each component of the Baja vehicle will need to be designed to optimize performance on an off-road terrain. The frame design has been successful for past years, so most of it will be kept the same. The center of gravity should be as low as possible, so the motor should be dropped to a lower level. The frame will have to accommodate for this change. With the lowered motor, the entire rear frame behind the firewall will need to be re-evaluated. The entire car will be modeled in Solidworks CAD software. Clutches have been a major topic of discussion in the Baja vehicle. The current clutches are full-size snowmobile clutches built for engines with much more horsepower than the 10 hp engine we are constrained to. Because of this, two new companies are being investigated: Gaged Engineering and CVT Tech. Both companies make a smaller clutch that is optimized for the mini Baja competition. These smaller clutches will hopefully minimize losses and help us utilize every ounce of power from the motor.
The current rear suspension turned out to be very successful, so few changes are being considered. A trailing arm setup was used as opposed to an A-arm like the front suspension. The current setup includes a set of Fox Shox that are too stiff. Prior to competition, softer shocks and springs will be tested. Nose diving off of jumps is always an issue that is typically caused by the rear suspension setup, so this problem of shock rating will be addressed during testing. Because of the variability of the competition, a fully adjustable shock will be used.
The front suspension is another small change that will be addressed. The current A-arm setup has bends in the middle of the upper and lower A-arm. This bends proved to be a weak point at competition as they became bent with the rugged terrain. One idea to prevent this is to use a true A-arm setup with no bends in the members. We want to reduce any stress concentration that may be happening by reducing the number of bends in the members. One other change is to change the pitch of the front suspension to a more aggressive angle. This will allow the vehicle to move over large objects at higher speeds with minimal damage. Before any changes are made, the frame and suspension will be modeled and tested with ANSYS simulation software.
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