08 Jun Manufacturing Arctan: Winter & Spring Update
It’s been a while since our last lengthy update, and since then we’ve built up a good portion of our next car.
Our manufacturing cycle began in earnest over our Spring Break, when we received our car molds from Christensen Fiberglass Tooling and completed all of our carbon fiber layups. This marked our composites season, where we laid up and baked the carbon fiber aerobody shell in a week of dedicated construction time.
Prior to that, we spent Winter Quarter finishing up design work and preparing for the manufacturing phase of our cycle. We finalized the design for our chassis and sent out the carbon aluminum honeycomb panels to be water-jet cut with Keller Industries. Machining began for mechanical components, and our Composites team led the construction of the oven that we would use to bake the car molds.
With the oven ready to go and our car molds delivered via two semi trucks, we went from no car to a complete top and bottom shells in one week (always a fairly incredible sight to behold; stay tuned for a great GoPro time lapse of it all!). We carried this momentum into spring quarter, spending many hours trimming carbon, bonding the chassis, gluing inserts, and then finally onto body work. For a brief period in May, we turned the interior of VAIL into a winter scene with bondo dust, as we sanded every surface to perfection in preparation for the car’s vinyl wrap.
Meanwhile, all the interior components of the car started to come together. Alert Tubing Fabricators helped us make our roll cage in Illinois, and Bell Plastics thermoformed our front windscreen. Suspension components were machined both in house and sent-out to manufacturers such as Gonsel’s Machine Shop and Stratasys. Members of the Mechanical Team saw their projects come to fruition, from the steering configuration to seat belt mounts to door linkage. Components for our new battery back began to arrive at the shop, for which assembly is ongoing.
In late May, we delivered our completed aerobody to a vendor for vinyl wrapping. We recently received our car back, just in time to lay down our completed solar array. The Array Team has put many diligent hours into crafting the near-seamless and highly efficient, six-square meter top surface of our car.
Our next major deadline is having the car externally complete for wind-tunnel testing, which will occur in mid-June at Aerodyn Wind Tunnel in North Carolina. The Electrical and Code Teams are meanwhile hard at work integrating and installing the boards that will drive our car; following this we’ll be ready to begin a summer of testing and race-preparation.
Here are a few more photos from one of recent work sessions, about a week before leaving for the wind tunnel!
In case you missed it, WSC released the list of teams competing teams in all three classes. And stay posted for more updates from our various sub-teams about the new processes, challenges, and triumphs that have gone into constructing Arctan thus far. We’ll be officially unveiling our project’s latest car early in July, and are excited to share this continued journey!