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Thread: SAE Baja Buggy build

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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    So if you were me, just making brackets and tube doors and such, would you Normalize (thanks for the new term) or quench?

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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Paul previously posted:
    "So if you were me, just making brackets and tube doors and such, would you Normalize (thanks for the new term) or quench?"

    Brackets and Tube doors aren't going to be subject to any stress or forces or at least to the same degree as suspension components or a chassis. The heat treatment won't have an effect on your doors so it's really just how impatient you are being that day and how long you want to wait for them too cool. Now if you were say making control arms I would suggest normalize over quench. Reason being is quench locks in stronger but more brittle grains where as normalizing will allow for good strength and ductility.

    Also if you were to really Normalize or Quench you would be doing it in a furnace and heating up the entire part uniformly. Its really more important for thicker plate or pipe then thin tubing.
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    Paul (March 29th, 2018)

  4. #23
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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Today we finished all the primary members and for the most part the frame other than the back which is dependent upon engine and transaxle mounting which we will tackle next weekend.

    Frame
    Last week we got the base and roll hoop welded up this week we were able to finish all the primary members with a little bit of headache. The main roll bars went on with little to no trouble but the rest of the parts became a pain. Reason being was that we were no longer notching square angles and were also meeting multiple pipes together. Another problem we had was the side roll bars when modeled on SolidWorks were one length and because of the frame being an inch or two longer than planned the side bars were a tad to short so we had to re-bend and cut which isn't the end of the work but still frustrating. I would suggest of anyone planning on doing any sort of notching cut everything 2-4" longer than expected. Another problem we were having was for the roll hoop brace but that was just due to us over thinking everything and being timid from making mistakes. The main roll bars, side roll bars and roll hoop brace can be seen in Figure 1. One of the rules pertaining to the side roll bars is that the drives elbows can not be sticking out past them. In Figure 2 you can see Mike taking a seat seeing if we should pass.


    Figure 1: Main roll bars, side roll bars and roll hoop brace mounted to the frame.


    Figure 2: Making sure the side roll bars are up to code.

    We also got the front suspension mounting bar, main roll bar brace and 5 point harness mounting finished as well. The front suspension mounting bar was by far the hardest piece to notch out of everything we've done and are probably going to do. In Figure 3 you can see the mounting from a side view of the buggy and in Figure 4 you can see a view from the front of the buggy. Figure 3 doesn't show the angle terrible well but the nose goes down 10o from the base of the buggy. Figure 4 shows the angle that the bar also had to rotate in the opposing axis. So for this piece we ending up notching the piece in the direction shown in figure 3 and cleaned up the edges then gave it some hammer love so it'd get in place. One of the biggest things I think we should have done with this is get all the notching and angles cut and adjusted before we welded up the side roll bars but such is life. This is a learning experience and I can say without a doubt we are learning a lot.



    Figure 3: Side view of suspension mounting bar.


    Figure 4: From the front looking to the back of the buggy of the suspension mounting bar.

    After the suspension mounting bars we just had to finish the main roll bar braces and harness mounting. These were relatively easier and quicker considering we didn't have to worry about mattering 4 pipes at multiple angles. The fruits of our labors for this week can be seen in Figure 5 and 6. All we have left is the rear of the buggy which I mentioned at the beginning of this post will be completed this upcoming weekend after some mock ups of the powertrain.


    Figure 5: Driver side view of the frame


    Figure 6: Passenger side view of the frame.

    Suspension
    One of the suspension members has been working on mounting brackets and after a few attempts got them nailed down (forgot to get pictures). Hopefully with the brackets figured out we will be able to dive into making all of the suspension arms next weekend and get a start on all of those components. I believed I've mentioned earlier that the front will be a double wish bone and the rear will be a trailing arm system. With some luck and skill we should be able to knock the arms out of the park considering out suspension team has spent a lot of time making them to meet our needs exactly.
    ___________
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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Got a big shipment of parts this week so we can finally starting bolting everything up.

    Frame

    This weeks goal was the get the transaxle and motor mounted. Which we got done but may have ran into some troubles being a tad hasty with putting it together but it's nothing we can't make some quick changes for. The main trouble is with the transaxle mount. One of the team members made a drawing and was able to cut some brackets out in the CNC machine but didn't think about the bolts or axle shafts when making it. But like I said it's not the end of the world and it's honestly a mistake anyone would have made. The mounts can be seen in Figure 1 and the transaxle mounted can be seen in Figure 2. Sorry about the poor photos but if you look at figure 1 you can see the rear bolt hole is almost inline with the rear frame bar which it is. This makes getting the bolt in and out a little bit of a hassle but nothing to difficult. The main problem is the axle shaft. In Figure 2 you can seen the axle mounting shaft is very close the the rear bar. We mounted an axle on it had enough room to fit but the problem is with the suspension arm mounting. It is very possible that axle will impede on them and thus breaking something. We weren't able to get any suspension components done today but it ends up being in the way we can just adjust the mounting to be closer to the driver and that will solve the problem. One we have the transaxle were we want it we will throw in some gussets for good measure.


    Figure 1: Transaxle mounts


    Figure 2: Transaxle mounted.

    With mounting both of these parts the spacing was pretty critical since we are running a CV drivetrain and we want the belt at rest to have certain amount of tension at rest. We were able to achieve this with a lot of ratchet straps and hillbilly ingenuity see figure 3. One of the rules is the engine has to be with in 15o of tilt when mounted but we just made it 0 for the eaze of building everything. For making the motor mount we added two cross bars to the rear and roll hoop then connected them with a 3/16" plate which was a little wobbly from the engine weight so we just threw an extra bar underneath for support. The other thing we did was mill out the plate with slot for mounting as opposed to drilling single holes. This will allow for adjustment of the belt and being able to say we milled stuff out ourselves for our buggy. The engine mount can be seen in figure 4.


    Figure 3: Getting the engine placement.


    Figure 4: Engine and Transaxle mounted with belt.

    The other part of the frame we worked on today was the front bumper. It didn't turn out as good as I envisioned but as long as it can take a couple taps and keep all of the important stuff safe I guess the looks aren't that big of a deal. It's not completely level or even since I was getting frustrated from making a bunch of them and them not working out, but like I said just needs to keep everything safe even if it looks bad. See Figure 5. One of the guys want's to cut out shark teeth and but them between the top and bottom which would look pretty cool but we need some where for a D-ring to latch on to so we will see. Another guy want's to throw his spare 6" light bar in there just so we can be the guys with light bars on our buggy since someone has to do it.


    Figure 5: Front bumper tacked on. We adjusted it a little bit to be more level than what is shown in this picture

    Suspension and Drivetrain
    I was hoping to get a head start on all the suspension arms but due to complications with a manufacturer we weren't able to get the models we need for certain parts and we had to have one guy spend the weekend making models for everything. Hopefully with all the models made we should be able to get everything done next week. This week at least we were able to get the majority of the brackets made for everything so not it'll just be a matter placing them in the correct position.

    As for drivetrain like stated above we got a lot of parts this week one of them was the primary and secondary clutches for the CV. Due to some mistakes with ordering the secondary the shaft input size was 0.125 to small and wouldn't fit. Luckly last years buggy had the right size secondary so we were able to throw that on for the mock up. One thing that the CV manufacturer didn't include with either clutch was the keys for them. For those of you who don't know CV clutches can either be splined or key ways. Key ways have a solid steel insert that locks the clutch in place so it can turn the shaft. With out the key the crank shaft would spin but not engage the primary clutch thus not moving the buggy. Not including keys was an odd thing but we were able to find some steel at NAPA that worked.
    The only thing left we need to finish the frame is the gas tank which should come in this week.

    Miscellaneous
    One thing we've been putting on the back burner is the siding for the buggy. Last year used sheet metal and 2 years ago these used some plastic sheets. Well this year due to having some people at tech who love carbon fiber and having an extreme surplus of it are going to make us some carbon fiber sidings and seat frame. One of the kids in our group doing undergrad research with carbon fiber is going to make us a carbon fiber seat frame which since carbon fiber is extremely strong will allow for a slim frame that will also be very light weight. Having the carbon fiber siding and seat should look pretty cool as long as it turns out like it should. The plan is to paint the buggy frame orange with black siding it should look pretty slick.
    ___________
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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Since it wouldn't let me post the final picture form this week in the last reply I've added it below.

    ___________
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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Nice! I did the baja sae 2 years ago for my senior project. I welded up the whole frame in my garage. We ended up in the 40s which was great. Cal state fullerton. Had a blast doing it.

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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Paramud previously posted:
    "Nice! I did the baja sae 2 years ago for my senior project. I welded up the whole frame in my garage. We ended up in the 40s which was great. Cal state fullerton. Had a blast doing it."

    Rock on. We're lucky since we have a good shop with everything we need and more. The team last year was 35 if I remember. They did awful in all the reports and presentions so it's our goal to do better and hopefully place top ten. We have some pretty solid people on the team so if think it's possible.
    ___________
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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Frame
    Got rid of the ugly bumper I made. Which wasn't that heart breaking considering it was very ugly, somethings look better in your head then actual reality. New bumper can be seen in Figure 1. I'm not a big fan of the look of this one either but at this point I don't think anything would look good so we will just go with it. I was also able to get the last couple engine bay roll bars in and mounted. We only need the side roll bars and a gas tank mount for the engine but I held off on making those since the main suspension guy wan't there this weekend and I want the shocks mounted up so the roll bars aren't in the way. The Engine bar roll bars can be seen in figure 2.


    Figure 1: New and improved front bumper


    Figure 2: Engine bay roll bars mounted.

    Suspension
    We were finally able to get around to making some suspension components this weekend. One of the team members being what I'd consider a master machinist milled out some stuff for the ball joints(?). The ball joint mounts can be seen in figure 3. We also took the time to make the rear trailing arms. We got 3 of the 4 arms made since one of them requires a notch that's to steep for the notcher we have so ill have to think about how I want to attack it. Suggestions would be appreciated. The trailing arms can be seen in figure 4,5,6. Not that the axle shaft is the incorrect length and we will get a proper length one but this is the only one we had laying around so we used it for modeling purposes.


    Figure 3: Ball joint mounts.

    Sorry for the poor quality photo. As you can see the team mate who made these took the chuck of steel on the right and machined each of the 5 mounts on the right manually in one of the mills at the school.


    Figure 4: Top view of the trailing arm set up.


    Figure 5: Behind view of the trailing arm set up.


    Figure 6: Front view of the trailing arm set up.

    As you can see from the front view in figure 6 we are going to need to add another arm to the front arm. It'll be welded to the top arm and mount on the hub. This was the arm I was talking about skipping for the weekend. One the model it says it needs a 70o notch and our notcher only goes to 60o. I'm either think that I'll try and adjust to be the 60 or take it to the chop saw at the 70 then cut the rest out with the grinder.

    We also have to do the front which could have been done this weekend if it wasn't for needing adjustments so hopefully those will get done this week and we can tackle the front this week as well then it's just a matter of bolting stuff up.

    Competition is coming up soon so we will need to start kicking it in to high gear but we are making good progress and should have a solid buggy.
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Got a lot done this week. Wanted more to be done but still content

    Suspension
    Got our suspension done for the most part other than some shock mounts and other little things. Last week we got the rear started and decided to change it some since the rear caster was bothering the main suspension guy. While it's not going to effect anything performance wise it does give the appearance of crappy workmanship and could lead to points off during the competition for the design portion. Due to this and some lack of communication one of the team members decided to cut one of the arms to fix this problem. That is why the rear of the buggy is on jack stands in figure 9.

    One of our biggest problems this week was building the front A-arms. Due to the anti-dive in the front the nose of the buggy is 10o down so to compensate for this we had to angle the ball joints at 20o for the caster and camber. This was extremely difficult for us n00bs to do the compound notch we gave up and just pulled out the dremel. With all the angles and bends the arms ended looking very... interesting. I'm not a fan of the look of them since they aren't completely symmetrical aesthetically but will work like designed. You can see the lower arms in figure 1. The upper and lower arms can be seen in figure 2. In figure 2 you can see the leading arm on the upper arms having the bends facing up while the trailing arm is facing down. It the look bothers me but like I said if it works then so be it. Figure 3 provides a birds eye view of the front arms showing the caster of the front. Figure 4 shows the ball joint cup welded up.


    Figure 1: Front lower A-arms.


    Figure 2: Upper and Lower A-arms.


    Figure 3: Front A-arms (sorry for the vertical picture).


    Figure 4: Ball joint cup welded up.

    We were also able to get the rear shocks mounted up so the buggy can sit under it's own power now. The shocks were are using are progressive Foxes with the rears being at 200 psi and fronts being at 150 psi. The rear mounted shock can be seen in figure 5.


    Figure 5: Rear shock mounted.

    Power Train
    Another issue we've had with our stance length (can't think of the correct terminology) is getting axle shafts that are long enough. We got some Polaris Outlaw axle shafts and they were still about a half inch too short so we had to extend them with a sleeve. One of our mentors suggested we go with a longer sleeve but we figured for our purposes our smaller sleeve should be fine. The modified axle shaft can be seen in figure 6. We essentially cut the shaft found some pipe that would fit and put 4 plug welds in the sleeve for strength. While I agree with the suggestion for a sleeve to be the complete length of the axle shaft I think for how little power our engine has and how light our buggy is our smaller sleeve should be fine. Considering last year they did the same except they didn't even use a sleeve they just groove welded the shaft together and their shaft held up fine.


    Figure 6: Modified axle shaft.

    We also mounted up the gas tank but we had no fuel line so we couldn't fire the buggy up which was a shame. There are a ton of rules regarding the gas tank that we have to adhere to so that we can compete. Some are the gas tank has to be completely enclosed and have splash guard so when mounting the gas tank we had to take all of these things into consideration. The mounted tank can be seen in Figure 6.


    Figure 7: The push mower gas tank mounted up.

    This weeks finished product


    Figure 8: Everything we got down with this week.


    Figure 9: Side by Side with last years buggy.
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

  11. #30
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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Almost there, almost there!

    Frame
    Got the last couple required piece of the frame made and welded on. We will maybe add a couple more for seat brackets or miscellaneous things. The first was the engine bar roll bar. The trouble with this piece was to keep it out of the way of the CV and the shock. The roll bar also per rules had to be in line with the side roll bar of the cab, which in our design was very close to the shock and unfortunately due to the CV I had to bend some metal but I was able to take an old piece and just copy the bend and get the pieces in. This piece can be seen in figure 1. The second piece was for the upper siding which holds the numbers and kill switch. This one was just a simple straight pipe with two notches in it and it can be seen in figure 2. The last was moving tube for the harness mount which could have been avoid had we read the rules before installing the original bar. The reason for the change was the mounts could not be above the drivers shoulders and the original bar was ~3” higher. The center lines of the two shoulder straps also have to be within 7-9” of each other and the best we could do because of the cross tube was 9.5” and even then the harness was shifted left. You can see the new bar and some mounting in figure 3.


    Figure 1: Engine bay roll bar


    Figure 2: Upper siding and gas tank enclosure bar mount.

    Figure 3: Harness mounts. If you look the drivers shoulders you can see the new mounts.

    Suspension
    The suspension was completed this week by getting all the shocks mounted and trailing arms finished. The shock mounts for the front were a little bit of a pain since the shocks are being mounted parallel with the caster of the hubs. This was solved by just giving them some hammer love to one way or another. The front shocks can be seen in figure 4. The trailing arms were also finished. The brackets one of the team members made for going around the hub was a little weak as is since we were able to bend it standing on the tire was reevaluated and fixed and is significantly stronger. I forgot to get a picture of the new brackets so I'll try and do that this week. We were also having a problem with one of the rear tires toeing out due to a wrong cut but that was fixed by cutting half way by the weld and smacking it with a hammer until the toe was where we wanted it. The final part of the trailing arms was the bottom arm or support arm. I was hesitant on doing this arm since the notch that it required was ~72o and our notcher only goes to 60o. This was solved by notching the tube to the 60o max then adding a bend to the pipe to make the angle of the notch work. The finished arms ca be seen in figure 5. The last thing to do with the suspension is final adjustments once painted and adjusting the shocks for our desired ride height. In figure 6 and 7 you can see us “testing” out our finished suspension.

    Figure 4: Front shock mount on the lower A-arm


    Figure 5: Finished Trailing arm (still needs to be welded)


    Figure 6: "Testing" out the suspension


    Figure 7: more "Testing"

    Power train/Steering/Braking
    We were able to get the engine fired up so we at least know it works. We are having some trouble with the governor since it has to be set to the 5 position and CANNOT BE MOVED (Automatic DQ). But our problem is when it’s set there it doesn’t open the throttle body what so ever so were hoping once we have the engine firmly mounted we can play around with it to do what we need. One of the things that was mentioned to us by our mentor was keeping the engine from sliding during the competition since we have it on adjustable mounts. One of our members can up with a system where we have a piece of steel mounted to the ends of the engine mount and run a bolt through it so the engine cannot move either way. It’s more easily understood what it is if you see figure 8. We were also able to get the steering figured out after 2 u-joints and a lot of machining. The biggest problem we were running into was clearance since the front A-arms mount fairly close it give little room for play in the steering. So though the use of some spacers with misalignment and an angled base mount we were able to get our steering in place. I once again for got to get a picture of the steering I'll upload some this week.


    Figure 8: Engine Placement blocks. We tapped these mounts so a bolt can be ran through to keep the engine from vibration across our mounts.

    The brakes were causing us some trouble in that running two masters did not give a lot of room for movement in the front and we were trying to space the brakes out in such a way that they’d still be comfortable for the drivers. We were able to shift the mounting as far to the side as possible allowing for us to still get the caps off but in doing so the masters had to be mounted at an angle. The pedal was also a problem since it was long for our set up and instead of using pressing it with your toe it would be more in the center of the foot. This was fixed by making a new brake pedal which was shorter than stock. See figure 9.


    Figure 9: New brake pedal

    We were also able to devise a gas pedal and mounting for our needs. I ended up purchasing a throttle cable that was a little excessive for what we’re doing but we were able to make it work. See the pedal and mounting in figure 10. The other problem the throttle cable caused was mounting to the engine so we again made some mounting for the engine side which will probably ended up working better than last year’s design. Will upload picture later this week. The last linkage we needed to worry about was the shifter linkage. Last year had a very sloppy electrical taped design granted they built the buggy in 2 weeks but this year with more time we decided to do something a little more professional. The shifter is mounted on the front along with the pedals and wheel for a better look and should be more solid. The only problem with this plan is our drivers having short arms but we can make due it needed. Will upload picture later this week.


    Figure 10: Throttle pedal and mounting for it.

    Miscellaneous
    The fire wall and numbers were also built this week. The fire wall is just made out of some sheet aluminum with some weather stripping to cover the sharp edges. See figure 11. The numbers were made out of some steel sheet which I think I’ll recut once we get some more aluminum sheet since the each number weighs probably over a pound. See figure 12.


    Figure 11: Fire wall


    Figure 12: Competition Numbers

    Things left to do
    We will hopefully get our brakes routed and bled by Thursday and then it’s off to testing and paint later that week. We’re thinking of going copper frame, black siding and maybe some different cream for the suspension (I’m not a fan). But after those two things it’s really just a matter of getting the siding on and other odds and ends and we should be ready to race.


    I have multiple pictures of various parts or if anyone wants more let me know and I'd gladly take some more.
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    No major writing just pictures.

    Miscellaneous Pictures.

    Here are a few more pictures of the front end and suspension components.


    Figure 1: Better look at the throttle, brake, steering and shifter set up.


    Figure 2: Birds eye view of the front end set up.


    Figure 3: Steering rack ends


    Figure 4: Steering rack ends


    Figure 5: Steering rack mount. Obviously it was fully welded later.


    Figure 6: Throttle set up.

    Looks a little funky since the throttle cable I purchased was overkill and not necessarily right for our application but we made it work.


    Figure 7: Seat and bottom skid plate.


    Figure 8: Reinforced rear arm brackets and mounting.


    I've returned home so from here on out I'm posting fellow team members photos until the race.

    Figure 9: Got a nice copper powder coat.


    Figure 10: Batteries mounted for the brake and reverse light along with the reverse beeper.


    Figure 11: Getting the CV cover made.
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build




    Figure 12: Fire Extinguisher mounted.



    Figure 13: Almost ready to Rock and Roll.


    Figure 14: Lastly what build is complete with out some trucker ladies!
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

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    Default Re: SAE Baja Buggy build



    Well we had competition in May and I've been a little too busy for a large update encompassing everything that happened but I'll get one up here hopefully once school starts again when I have more time.

    In the mean time here are some results on how we did.

    Sales Presentation - 76 out of 89
    Design Presentation - 68 out of 84
    Design - 44 out of 95
    Acceleration - 68 out of 77
    Maneuverability - DQ, Hit the track markers disqualifying us. Only 55 of the 95 teams were able to complete the course.
    Sled Pull - 2 out of 72,
    Suspension - 59 out of 73
    Endurance - 38 out of 95
    Overall - 49 out of 95

    Here is SAEs website with the results of all the teams
    https://www.bajasae.net/res/Competit...7-8caeb55d5d73
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

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    I don't know what to think. Part of me says - bummer, things could have been better, but the other side says - what did you and the kids learn and what would be done differently next time?

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    Jim previously posted:
    "I don't know what to think. Part of me says - bummer, things could have been better, but the other side says - what did you and the kids learn and what would be done differently next time?"

    We were all bummed about our preformance but some of it was due to weather which I'll elaborate more on in the full post. Overall I learned more doing this project that I feel could be taken into the working world then I have in my 8 semesters in college. First place or last I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I'll get into more detail in that last post about what could have been done better or where we fell short.

    What I'm also a little bummed about it they had a live feed of the event and it didn't occur to me at the time to share it here for those of you interested to watch.
    ___________
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    No loss, you win or you learn.

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    Long read that should encompass everything that happened. I'll upload pictures later in the week and reread through everything so it's all in proper English not sloppy quickly typed up by an engineering student English.

    Well the build and race has come to an end. It was a great experience which I wish I could do one more time knowing what I know now but such is life.

    Thursday
    We went down to Pittsburg Kansas for the race and competed against 94 other colleges ranging from upstate New York, California, Texas, Quebec, Mexico, Brazil and even India. The first thing we had to do was get our Paddock for parking our trailer and staging repairs. One of the competition rules is the first 25 teams get a guaranteed top 25 number for tech inspection so if they need to change anything they have more time to do so. The Paddocks opened up at 7:00 am we got ourselves in line at 5:00 am and ended up 84 in line. Apparently some of the teams camped out in line since 7:00 pm the night before to get their Paddock number. Once we got our Paddock and set ourselves up we got our engine inspected and idle set. During this time we got in trouble for our trucker ladies from event staff and were required to take them off. Since last years team did the same thing as us I guess the event staff was specifically looking for our buggy knowing we would do it again. Everyone came up to our buggy and got a good laugh out of them but I guess in this time and day it's not appropriate.

    Friday
    The next day was tech inspection which started at 9:00 am. We had one of our kids sleep in the trailer then wake up at 4:00 am to get a tech number and ended up getting 35 which was pretty good considering there was a number of kids sleeping in line. The tech inspection was probably the most stressful part of the competition. At the beginning of all this we were given a rule book which we had to follow and tech inspection was for checking all of that. The first thing we had to do was provide our weld samples which one was at a wrong angle so that wasn't a good start. We then had the frame check which we were right on the edge with everything. The rules were written in lawyer talk which none of us being lawyers took the rules as the only was for the buggy to be built. Even with being on the edge we passed everything except two members which in the rules say no bent member could be longer than 33" and we had one that was 35" so we had to add two pieces. As for everything else we passed the rest of tech except one of the judges didn't like our siding placement so that was another thing we had to fix. It's very rare for teams to pass tech on their first go around unless they've already been to competition so with only two things wrong I was fairly content. So after that we went and got a new number and got back to work in hopes that we'd make it back in line before they closed the inspection tent. We hauled to get all the pieces in and had to run the buggy back to the tent with a kid sitting in it finishing bolting everything back up. We got there in time that they wouldn't skip us and we were second up and they closed the tent for the night. That was pretty frustrating but we were second up on Saturday for inspection.

    Saturday
    We went through tech a second time and passed. One of the judges didn't like some of our siding which we changed but I was able to talk him off and got the judge we had yesterday to come check our papers for us. Once tech was complete we went to brake check. For brake check all four of your tires have to lock on either pavement or gravel which we knew would happen for us since we did it at school quite a few times. Once we passed everything we were able to compete in the dynamic events. Right by the brake check was the sled pull so we decided to do that first. We ended up getting second overall in the sled pull and was only one of four teams to pull the sled the entirety of it's length. We did so well on this from the light pole trick. You tie a strap around a light pole and have an adjustable mounting point on your rig then throttle it out and change the mounting point until your tires are just barely off the ground. After this we went over to Acceleration, Maneuverability and Suspension/Traction. On the way over torrential downpour came and everyone had to evacuate the area since a tornado touch down about 8 miles from us. After the storm had passed we were allowed to return and compete in the events. Unfortunately the entire dynamic area was in dirt so it all turn to nasty thick mud. For acceleration we ended up getting bottom ten which was kind of expected and not a big deal. For suspension we should have done really well but this is where we found out one of our major faults in the buggy. The suspension course was U and the turn was too tight for us to make. This was frustrating since no other teams had trouble with this but us and we were flying through the first part and would have on the second part if we could have turned. The driver tried reversing and turning that way but the shifter I got for us was crappy and the transaxle we were running wasn't much help either so we ended up getting screwed and not finishing the suspension course. Last was maneuverability which had some tight turns and the mud made everything worse. For the suspension and sled pull you got points for the distance and then the time you got upon finishing the event, with maneuverability it was all time if you didn't finish you didn't get any points. We didn't finish this course but from what I was seeing most teams didn't finish either so that wasn't the end of the world but still missed points. After all that we were finished up and just had to prep for the endurance race on Sunday.

    Sunday
    The mud from Saturday didn’t dry up which was expected from the “hurricane” that came through but to make it worse I was woken up at around 4 am to it rain just as hard but raining sideways this time. I’ve never seen anything like it before and could only think of how nasty the course was going to be. Well my fears turned out to be true. The field we had to walk through to get to the course was a complete swamp and the course proved to be no different. We set a couple guys up in the pits, I went about half way down the course to flag the driver for gas and another kid was standing in the stands talking to the driver the whole time about conditions. They started the race having the teams who scored the highest in the acceleration at the front and let teams out every 10 seconds. Us doing so bad at the acceleration were towards the back. The first couple laps went well for everyone then the mud started to set in. I got a call from our team member in the stands the “crew chief” saying that we were sent to the pits because of our reverse beeper was on the whole time and one of the brakes was out. I frantically called the pits and said screw reversing just cut the wire so it stops and zip tie the line so it looked like it was attached. They were able to get a patch pretty quick and we were off back to races with no more issues other than our gas cap. As per the rules of the competition everyone had to run the same engine, gas tank and gas cap as they were purchased. The teams who placed top ten last year were allowed to run a new aluminum gas tank they were testing. The problem we ran into with the gas cap was since out gas was gravity feed the gas cap had a small breather hole in the top which kept getting clogged with mud and creating a vacuum in the tank not allowing gas to flow. We weren’t the only ones with this problem literally everyone else had this problem. I didn’t know about this until I radioed the crew chief and he informed me of this. Every team’s buggy was puttering along at around 3-5mph since no one had any power and the hill obstacle I was perched up at had a line of buggies since none of them could make it up it and the volunteers had to push everyone over it. Eventually the race ended after 2 hours from being shortened from the original 4 hours because of the awful conditions. After the race all the teams were allowed to wash their buggies off and it was well needed. Our buggy had around 100lbs of mud in it and our driver couldn’t get out until we dug him out and it looked like a mold from where he was sitting. After getting our driver out and yelling at KU for doing a full detail of their buggy so we could use the power washer we headed back to our paddock loaded everything up and went to the award ceremony. Being that we placed second in the sled pull we were guaranteed money so we all went hoping for the $500 check and the trophy. Well sad news for us the money was sent to the school so our plan of going to the bars to blow all of it as fast as we could was ruined but nonetheless we all took shots out of the trophy to celebrate LOL.

    Monday
    Packed up and headed home. When checking out Texas A&M offered to pay for our rooms since we did so well but the real motive was to get a bigger budget next year for their buggy.

    After thoughts and things that could have been done different
    First of all I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I had a blast through all of it other than the meetings that went on too long but besides that it was great. I feel like I learned more doing this than I have in my last 4 years of college. College is great for learning theory and all that stuff but when it comes to practical knowledge, critical thinking and adjusting to things with a strict deadline college falls short. The only thing that I found truly frustrating about the whole experience is not knowing about this when I was a freshman and only being able to this my senior year, but that’s how it goes.
    As for things that could have been different. The long meetings all first semester. All we pretty much did was talk about BS and not get anything done so we had to haul second semester to get the buggy done. One of my biggest suggestions to next year’s team is to get started first semester on building it. At least just the primary members of the frame if nothing less. Second is to get more test time with the buggy. If we had more time to test it we could have figured out that our turning radius was virtually nonexistent and that trying to adjust shock pressure is a bad idea if you don’t know what you’re doing. Next would be to ask questions about the rules to the committee. This is something none of us were aware that we could do and would have made tech inspection a lot less stressful and could have possibly made a difference in our weight distribution and turning radius. Next would be to design a smaller buggy. Our buggy was an effin monster truck compared to other schools and ended up meaning no one could pass us on the endurance course but it also lead to our buggy being +100lbs more than most other schools. Next would be to get a different shifter, man was it irritating having a purchased part not work worth a #*%!. The last would be to look into build their own gear box. Most schools did it and ended up making them tiny and light weight while still functional.

    I was disappointed in our results at the end of the competition but in retrospect there wasn’t a whole lot we could have done to prepare for the inclement weather. Plus the knowledge I gained from this was invaluable even if we came in last in everything.

    I’ll get pictures uploaded later in the week once I harass everyone to upload all the pictures they took.
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

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    Chalk it up to a learning experience, you will find many of them through the years. You had fun, learned a few things, and lived through it; what more could one ask for? Thanks for sharing.
    ___________
    “I’m happy to be here, but still a little sad to be here too. Sometimes it’s better to travel than to arrive.” — Robert Pirsig

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    This was the first time I saw the finished product since I had to come home before we finished.


    Waiting in line for Engine Inspection. This was the first time getting to see all the other schools buggies. Couple schools still had to put there buggy together but as long as you had your engine mounted and kill switches hooked up you could do engine inspection.



    Got all of the sponsorship stickers on the buggy. We got Longmont Printing to make all of these for us. They were great to work with and did an excellent job I highly suggest them for anyone looking for stickers to be made.
    ___________
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    Had some late night work the first night. We decide to bleed a little bit of the pressure in the shocks off but we soon found out that using a tire pressure gauge is a big no no. We ended up almost blowing out the shocks so learn from us. Get a proper shock pressure gauge or be like me and just pose by the shocks and not actually do anything.


    Like mentioned in the long post above we missed one member during our tech inspection (Friday). We had to grind the powder coating down, try to cut and notch (notching an angle with a power drill is awful) the pipe to the proper length and angle. This was the only thing that failed during our tech inspection but due to the part it took us a while to fix it with the tools and equipment at our disposal.


    Right before the inland hurricane hit (Saturday).


    Getting set up for gridding (Sunday).
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

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