After winning first place for Electric Vehicle at the annual Formula SAE Australasia competition in December 2022, we are now the ‘defending champions’. We are determined to showcase our expertise and skills once again this year and are excited to see fellow Formula SAE teams do the same.
Our philosophy for the M023 design has been to build upon the M022: Keep what works, change what doesn’t, and improve wherever we can. Here is a sneak peek into each subgroup and what they have been working on since the beginning of the year as well as their focuses for 2023 as a whole.
Our mechanical subgroup is led by Isabella Stevens and our driveline subdivision by Jacob Capes which altogether adds up to 20 members. They have been working together to strengthen their new members'
integration into team by upskilling them straight away. Isabella and Jacob are focusing on knowledge transfer this year as it crucial to accumulate knowledge year after year rather than learn the basics again each year. They have been training all mechanical members with our machining equipment (mills, lathes, etc) as well as on a range of softwares used for design and optimisation.
The mechanical subgroup has been working on three projects in 2023. The first one is the switch to internal nodes for our wishbone suspension as its design allows us to fabricate it in-house therefore reducing outsourcing. The second is switching from bevel gearbox steering to rack and pinion steering. Lastly the third project of a redesign of the aluminium spindle will assist in reducing the outboard mass of the car and put us in a position to innovate oiled gearboxes.
The electrons subgroup is lead by Andy Woo that manages the continuous research and development and manufacture that is being undertaken with the electronics of our cars by the 20 electrons members. There are currently three major projects underway for this subgroup. Andy has taken on the development of a carbon accumulator with a whole new cell technology as to reduce weight and improve the car’s performance.
Macgregor Jones, a senior member of the team, has been in charge of the loom manufacturing that features a few design changes. And lastly, Oscar Kippenberger, another senior member, is responsible for the multi year research and development project of developing our own inverter. The electrons subgroup has been building upon their successes each year and 2023 is no exception.
The composites subgroup are largest this year with 29 members and is led by two co-leaders for the chassis and one leader for the aerodynamic components. Callum Richards and Isaac Morris share the heavy workload that is attached to managing and overseeing the manufacturing of the chassis. Alex McGivern is in charge of manufacturing the aerodynamic pieces of the car designed by another composites member, Mikayel Dobrovolski. For 2023, the composites leaders have three main goals:
Design - Callum has been working on reducing the weight of our chassis even further. The composites structure of the chassis has been optimised to avoid any unnecessary weight that may exist while keeping the strength of the chassis. We are very lucky and grateful for our numerous composites sponsors that allow us to build an aluminium honeycomb core - carbon fibre monocoque. The chassis we are able to design is simultaneously very light weight and extremely structurally strong.
Manufacturing - Isaac and Alex have been focusing their effort in levelling up the quality of manufacturing. The entirety of the composite members have a solid base line of knowledge and skills allowing the leaders to push for more. They are pushing to develop a culture of using advanced manufacturing techniques to achieve ever better results.
Research & Development - It has been 5 years since various team members and the team itself has looked into manufacturing carbon wheels. This year, Alex has taken the lead on this RnD project with the help of many new members. Within the wider team, composites is one subgroup that allows the most creativity and we are thriving to keep chasing innovation and RnD through composites.
This year we are introducing a new subgroup to the team: Autonomous. We are starting the research and development process of designing and building our very own driverless car so we can compete in the driverless category of the competition. The autonomous team is led by Chris Graham and has a team of 12 people helping him establish this subgroup. Chris sees this year as a year to build foundations "I don't care about the house for now, I want to build strong foundations first". He and his members are creating
systems and processes to promote knowledge transfer, compatibility and sustainability of the subgroup. Autonomous has recently created the development environments that allows anyone to jump in and start working on the car straight away. Since the creation of the subgroup, the overall structure & architecture of the autonomous system has been decided and started to be built. The whole team is looking forward to see what our autonomous subgroup will achieve in the next few years!
VEHICLE DYNAMICS (VD)
The VD team is led by Bevan Tucker who is in charge of the M023 design and Michael Adolph in charge of the subgroup for the rest of the year. The M023 is the first full design cycle for everyone in the vehicle dynamics team. The main goal is to fully understand the process to be confident in the car’s design and its justification. By drawing on their experience of running the M022 and working with the drivers they are making sure they focus our efforts on the most important areas for the M023.
In addition to improving drivability and optimising performance, they have taken care to make the suspension and steering systems easy to work on. Some key improvements for the M023 are more steering range, improved suspension geometry and easier serviceability of the components.
While the M023 will continue to use pushrod suspension like the M022, all of the pick-up points have been changed. They have gone through the full process of setting all of the kinematic parameters from the ground up. The VD team has collaborated with the driveline, aerodynamics and chassis teams to ensure the design is cohesive with the rest of the car.
The VD team is excited to see how the M023 performs. Building on a competition-winning car, they are proud of the in-depth design process we have followed. Designing the upcoming car has allowed the members to build up a practical understanding of vehicle dynamics and the application on an FSAE car. We hope they can use this experience to continue developing great cars.
As a Formula SAE team, we are a group of students that design and build a car, but we are also a racing team which implies the need for business management. This is where our small but mighty business team of six comes in. Led by Cameron Rigden, the business team has tripled since the beginning of 2023 and has big plans for this year. One of their for this year is sponsor management.
We are lucky and grateful to have many businesses support us and we want to make sure that those partnerships can continue for years to come. The business team has also been working hard on creating new partnerships with other businesses that share that same passion for motorsport and engineering. Welcome to JLCPCB, Go Karts Direct, Henkel Adhesive and Fine Line Painting. We would like to say a special Thank you to Ace Motorsport that has been upgraded to the Gold Sponsorship Tier. Steve & Rachel’s small business enables us to test and troubleshoot our past and upcoming cars just a short drive away from our workshop. The business team is looking to strengthen the team’s presence on social media, including our YouTube channel, to keep our sponsors, family, friends and supporters up to date with what we are up to. And, lastly but certainly not least, Cameron has confirmed the date for our annual Tech Night, details will be coming out soon!
This article is the first of a series which aim to showcase our subgroups and the inner workings of our team.
Be sure to check in and stay up to date as they will include pictures and stories about the team and its members!