A Midsummer Night's Team

A cool simulation image from the aerodynamics team. Not the best outcome as the car is excessively titled downwards, however the aerodynamics team is currently working on a newer and more accurate simulation!

In the spirit of Pokémon Go, please enjoy this hastily GIMPed (not Photoshopped) animation. Guess we'll have to wait to know if it was super effective or not.

Crunch Time

Shakespeare pun in the title and a Pokémon reference? What an odd juxtaposition. But yes, it's over half way through the summer and just about a month until reality hits us that we've got a class at 8am the next day. Combining this with the fact that some team members on campus are starting to go on short - and well deserved - vacations for varying reasons, there really isn't that much "usable" time left this summer. So we're sort of in a crunch for time in order to get as far as we can on the car, but just as importantly, to produce the things we promised we'd show off at Quad Day in the demonstration area by the MCB building (*nudge nudge* stop by please).

general tl;dr - Team members being on and off campus due to vacations makes things a bit difficult to coordinate and the rush to be ready for Quad Day sets in.

Subteam tl;dr

electrical tl;dr - most efforts are focused on a usable dashboard and subteam leader is out on the American Solar Challenge with his undergraduate alma mater UC Berkeley (@CalSol good luck!)
solar tl;dr - making more solar arrays for testing
aero tl;dr - fixed the problems with the new simulation machines so they're more accurate and are looking into automating the entire simulation process from start to finish
mechanical tl;dr - enjoying some great Flextop locknuts from Locknut Technology, receiving foam molds next week and both the suspension for the mock chassis and wheel steering mechanisms are coming into fruition


There seem to be a lot of different little projects going on, but they mostly all lead to being integrated on the dashboard. Even better is that we're working with greater and greater levels of independence, but are still combining all our results together well! The dashboard represents one of the major milestones since it combines both the electrical and mechanical teams into the same project. And what better a way to learn than interdisciplinary work?

A simple, yet elegant, 3D rendering of what our dashboard and steering wheel might look like some day soon. 
Actual circuitry is (depending on who you ask) not as pretty as a 3D rendering might be, but it sure is useful! The above boards depict the dashboard control, lights, and steering all connected and working together.

The result of trying to fit an electrical team schedule and mechanical team steering wheel design on the same white board.


We've been working on the stylishly named "The 99", a set of solar cells that compose a sub-array of an actual array. "The 99" only accounts for 1/5 of what its full array will be. Unfortunately, making sub-arrays will most likely be the only thing solar will really be doing for a while (as there are a LOT of  them to make), so at the very least, we have a fun time doing it.
How do the pros get so good at soldering? By challenging themselves of course! What's a bigger challenge than soldering on top of packages on top of  a rolling chair in a confined space while wearing an uncomfortable suit?
The squad assembles. Not perfect in rank and file, but close.
Sometimes we have so much fun that we have to take a break.


We switched from compute optimized clusters to memory optimized clusters which solved all of our problems. The memory optimized clusters have been able to handle extremely dense meshes which should be improving our accuracy tremendously. Also, simulations are running in almost no time.
For the future, we'll be focusing on automating this entire process, from mesh to final results. We have a software in mind at the moment that should be able to help us with that. This should free up a ton of time on our small aero team for people to focus on applied aerodynamics instead of the computational side of things.
Besides the stress tests mentioned last time, we also successfully ran a simulation of the vehicle in cross wind. The images below are from this.
As I am a mere writer from the mechanical team, I don't really know what's going on here. I hope to one day, but these are just cool.


We've been anxiously waiting to hear updates about the machining of our foam, and our hopes have been answered. For now, the plugs are scheduled to be completed by next Friday which means we can finally get to work on them again. But in the mean time, we've been working on the mock chassis.
The body is basically done, but that was the easy part. The harder, more involved portion, is the suspension and steering wheel system that, assuming it's done to expectations, will be the same set we'll use in the actual car. So the stakes are high, but so is our enthusiasm and determination. There will be a lot of machining, water jetting, and general building of stuff in the weeks to come. And with the help of the Flextop locknuts from Locknut Technology, we're sure to be safe and secure.

You don't really come to appreciate the magic of machines until you have to drill 48 holes in various metal pieces by turning a drill press. The above is the mounting system for the car's suspension (e.g. wheels).
We've evolved to achieve flight. This means that Houston, we have no problems. When finished, neither the mock chassis nor the car will actually be this high off the ground, but it's good to know we can lift it this high. 

Attempts to finalize the design of the steering system involve a lot of erasing, straight lines, and unfortunately at the time of this picture, question marks, which have since then been unquestioned.
The current plan for the steering system involves various carbon fiber tubes, aluminum universal joints (U-joints), an in-house designed steering wheel with appropriate electronics attached, and, the most legit part of the system, a quick release system used by F1 cars that will allow for the removal of our steering wheel in the event that the driver needs to quickly get out of the car (i.e. emergency).

Thank you again for reading. We hope you've enjoyed it. If anyone reading this is on a team competing in the American Solar Challenge, then we wish you the best of luck! Till next time, enjoy the rest of this waning summer.