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Thread: Design Event

  1. #1
    I have read a lot on the design event, but I am still not satisfied. What can our team do to get the most points? How can we impress the judges' pants off? I don't see how we can do something or organize the car's system in a way that other teams haven't already done.

    So much has already been done before, its seems like all it is know is how well you can copy other team's cars. I hope that's not the case, so if anyone has any uplifting words, please spill them!

    Thanks for the help,

    Erin Urvina
    University of Alaska Anchorage
    FSAE '06 Team Leader

  2. #2
    I have read a lot on the design event, but I am still not satisfied. What can our team do to get the most points? How can we impress the judges' pants off? I don't see how we can do something or organize the car's system in a way that other teams haven't already done.

    So much has already been done before, its seems like all it is know is how well you can copy other team's cars. I hope that's not the case, so if anyone has any uplifting words, please spill them!

    Thanks for the help,

    Erin Urvina
    University of Alaska Anchorage
    FSAE '06 Team Leader

  3. #3
    Justify every single design decision you make, and back it up with physical testing. Then, present it all in a comprehensive, compelling presentation, with beautiful plots and well-indexed 3" thick design notebooks.

    And spend some time polishing the car, too. Judges like shiny things.
    Alumni, University of Washington
    Structural / Mechanical Engineer, Blue Origin

  4. #4
    so strait forward, how could you not get into design semifinals right??
    jack
    College dropout extraordinaire
    (formerly WWU Rev-Hone Racing)

  5. #5
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    Yes Erin, judges do like shiny things, and they don't like change - so copy last year's winning car but nickel plate every square inch!

    Seriously though, if you come up with a great NEW design that wins outright you probably won't have scored many Design points - the judges won't recognise your design as good (next year you might do better). But if you win outright - who cares. Design isn't worth much, you have to win Endurance to do really well.

    An inverted aerofoil underbody will work but not very well (you're other thread). Ground effects aero is possibly the best thing you could do, but you have to do it right to get it to work right. It doesn't work at all like normal aeroplane wings (it works much better) so throw away the aero textbooks.

    As a first year team you might do best with a very simple car - 600cc go-kart with simplest suspension that complies with rules - and add ground effects. If the GEs don't work just ditch them and you will still have a fast car.

  6. #6
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Z:
    Yes Erin, judges do like shiny things, and they don't like change - so copy last year's winning car but nickel plate every square inch!

    Seriously though, if you come up with a great NEW design that wins outright you probably won't have scored many Design points - the judges won't recognise your design as good (next year you might do better). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    what did you mean by "the judges wont recognise your design as good"? our car was massively different to last year (went from double wishbone to de dion rear suspension, added 2 wings, gear drive rather than chain, pneumatic shifting rather than mechanical link, completly different intake design (same material though), handmade wheels, custom sump, etc. etc.), and it won design.

    there was a theory running around some of our team that all our innovation actually helped with the design win, because the judges could see that we had designed this all from scratch (this is nothing official from the judges, so dont take it as a hint on how design judging works). i guess you can find out at this years competion, because Adelaide is only making small improvements to last years design, rather than the massive jump that we made.
    - ARC '04 member (now retired ) - Bling Bling Competition winners FSAE-A '04 (and design winners)

  7. #7
    Gug,
    In Detroit it doesn't seem to matter how much stuff a team decides to design and manufacture for themselves. The Design competition is about proving you made the best choice.

    I bet that last year we had more parts on our car that we designed and manufactured ourselves than any other team there. I also think we had one of the more innovative (at least different) cars in the competition. We couldn't do the things that Denny mentioned above and we got a poor score in the Design competition.

    I heard from two top design judges that there was only one school that could answer all the questions they had. It was Cornell. We were talking to the guys from Cornell last year as we packed up. They were disappointed because the design judges mentioned that their car didn't have much innovation. Guess what score they got.
    James Waltman
    VRI at WWU Alumn
    FSAE 01 to 05
    http://dot.etec.wwu.edu/fsae/

  8. #8
    i wasnt actually in the design event, so i shouldnt be commenting too much on what we did and didnt do, cause ill probably get it wrong...
    - ARC '04 member (now retired ) - Bling Bling Competition winners FSAE-A '04 (and design winners)

  9. #9
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    Gug, my point is that judges are human. As such, most of them have the following two weaknesses.

    1. Most people won't recognise a good idea if it is a truly NEW idea. I've just been reading about the history of flight. Back in the 1890's Frederick Lanchester (a pom who also developed many amazing automobile innovations) proposed the vortex (or circulation) theory of wing lift. This is the current, best, most reasonable, accurate... explanation of how wings work. Fred sent papers to two leading scientific societies but was rejected by both because they weren't interested in "the dreams of madmen".

    2. Most people think that to improve something you have to ADD to it - ie. make it more complicated, expensive, "shiny", etc. This is especially so amongst engineers who spend a lot of time designing new stuff, so they like to see lots of complicated new stuff designed by others.

    If a team came to FSAE with a car with a single cylinder 600cc engine, clutch and neutral but no gears, very simple tube chassis, beam axles front and rear, go-cart steering instead of R&P, smallest diameter wheels, etc. - ie. a powered up go-cart - and if it was painted brown (hey, that's what the sponsor wanted), well I reckon it might come last in Design. What have the judges got to mark!? I agree that if the team could justify all its decisions, produce detailed performance simulations etc., that they would get some marks, just not many.

    Nevertheless, I think this sort of car would be fast enough to win outright. Even faster if it had a rather simple looking (brown?) undertray for ground effects. The "innovation" on this car is that it is missing a whole lot of stuff. It has been KISSed. I don't know how many judges would recognise that.

  10. #10
    Sounds like Z should talk with Rob Woods...

    It's not the fault of the judges if they don't notice your innovation. It's your task to sell it to them, to show them the benefits and prove it's not witchcraft.

    The best way to prove your idea is a good one is to physically test it. Clean up on the track and the naysayers will change their tune.

    Our '99 car was very simple, the "standard" configuration of spaceframe, 4cylinder, 13" wheels, etc. It had good geometry, and poor shocks, but it was done fairly early and well-tested. We got 47th in design and 2nd in endurance that year, 5th overall.

    I think you'll find your team's execution is more important than its design expertise if you're looking to finish well overall.
    Alumni, University of Washington
    Structural / Mechanical Engineer, Blue Origin

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