As we’ve shared before, 2015 is one of the most pivotal seasons ever for GFR as the cars are being completely redesigned. A drastically new suspension system and aerodynamics package will be complemented by a completely new carbon fiber monocoque which doesn’t share a single part or any geometry with the previous design. Painstaking measures were taken to ensure total compatibility and synergy with all new systems and we are very anxious to see the cars come together!
In creating the new monocoque, new carbon fiber molds were necessary as they will make our two cars each year and will be used for several years to come. Of course, we could not afford the expensive tooling material on our student budget, but were blessed to have a very generous donation of prepreg tooling material courtesy of Technology Marketing Inc. (TMi) from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. After machining, sanding, and polishing two Renshape plugs (a Huntsman product, also donated), the molds were fabricated completely in-house at OSU, just in time to keep the monocoque manufacturing on schedule.
Update: Overseas, our friends at OSU have made a lot of progress since our last update. The first composite chassis was completed, the first major shipment of parts from Germany to the USA arrived, and the students are working hard to get the cCar assembled and running for the first time. It’s an exciting process as students from both the US and Germany have worked for 6 months designing and manufacturing parts, and finally get to see the fruits of their labors! Many late nights were needed in the machine shop to ensure all of the parts needed for a race-ready car were complete. After checking dimensions and tolerances, lots of welding, heat treating, and plating was done in preparation for assembly.
With any all-new design, some minor issues and interferences are to be expected, but for the most part all of the parts and systems came together in perfect harmony. During OSU’s week of Spring Break, the team members went from a bare composite chassis to a completely assembled car! As you read this, the car will be running for the very first time, with testing and driver training beginning almost immediately. Suspension and aero tuning will be a major priority, and we look forward to using the comprehensive data acquisition package on the car to compare physical data to our the simulations ran during the design phase.
While the cCar was being assembled many components for the eCar were being manufacturing simultaneously. The second composite chassis is nearly finished, and many other components are being duplicated for the cCar’s electric twin. Since the eCar deadlines are later than the cCar’s due to the early combustion competition in Michigan, a lot will have been learned from the first build and assembly process, and minor changes and adjustments can be made in order to improve the overall quality of the second racecar. The demanding testing and manufacturing schedule will keep the team very busy, but the team will also be preparing for the next big shipment which will bring the new chassis and many parts over to Germany in preparation for eCar assembly.