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Thread: How to make the design event better.

  1. #31
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    Thanks Julian,

    In regard to the comment about needing the right design judges if teams could self-prioritize, it would only work I think if we were to do the abovementioned Design
    Event retreat two weeks before the event. Then we could make sure that we knew in advance what judging expertise we needed in advance and recruited accordingly.

    I've been thinking more about it and self-prioritizing could be a really interesting exercise and could inspire some innovative designs. Of course, we would set minimum values o the allowed range, and would put a high minimum value on engine systems to encourage work in this area. But the variable weightings in general would make the teams a little more proactive in driving their designs and understanding and owning their decisions.

    Cheers!
    Geoff Pearson

    RMIT FSAE 02-04
    Monash FSAE 05
    RMIT FSAE 06-07

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

  2. #32
    Bob,

    I agree that it is a problem that different competitions are looking for different things in DE.
    For us, it was always FS UK with a stronger focus on "simple manufacturing" and the rest of the European events looking for more "oh yeah, that's awesome".
    But you experienced the "special statics" in the UK 2011, if I remember correctly...

    Do you know if the strong difference in design scoring (especially in Germany) is a "GFR thing"?
    We -and our competition- always placed very comparable throughout a year, so I am not an expert how this "problem" is in the combustion world.

    I talked to a lot of judges last year (in order to prepare myself for my turn in judging..) and I think there is one "GFR specific" problem out there: (From an outsider perspective, because all judges are basically outsiders!) You dominate the performance part of the competition with a perfectly figured out car that is evolved since 2010-2011 with nothing really changing besides a bigger aero every year. A lot of judges do really have a problem with that ("They don't know why their car is fast, the "Chris Patton"-generation made the car fast and they are just sticking to it" and so on). I also witnessed a judge in the FSA finals that placed GFR last "because they show up with the same car over and over, that is not the spirit of the competition"... So maybe that explains why you especially have a "fluctating" DE placing.
    What is your desgin feedback in Germany the last three years? You won Design in 2011 and afterwards dropped significantly but I'm sure that your preparation is roughly the same.

    As I was never at FSAE Michigan, I have to ask from the outside: I heard -especially from the German GFR guys...- that the US teams are significantly worse prepared for DE compared to the "big" German teams. Is that true? E.g. Michigan 2012 only GFR and ETS (with a reputation of very good design) made it in the Top 6. All German teams that made the trip basically placed in the Top10.
    In 2014 at FSG, we had Washington, Akron and OSU in a good position.
    Would you say that DE in the states is different compared to say FS Austria (where you place comparable...)?
    -------------------------------------------
    Alumnus
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

    2010-2011: Suspension
    2012: Aerodynamics
    2013: Technical Lead

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  3. #33
    Bob, I was wrong in our offline discussions. I was adamant we don't score innovation in the Australian competition. I was wrong, we do. I advocate throwing it out as an explicit criteria. If something is innovative for good, demonstrable reason, then it'll show up in the other criteria, period. I'd delete the aesthetic requirement whilst we're at it as that much is subjective. Any car that wins its competition is beautiful.

    We have some critical problems in communicating what the competition is about and in establishing what a good DE looks like, there are three key reasons (my observations):

    1
    Many students (and some faculty) don't actually appear to read the rules. They're not actually aware that FSAE is not a competition to build a quicker car than last year at all costs. FSAE is not motorsport. The number of people getting to competition after a year's investment to discover this much at DE... is frankly staggering. Many have zero idea of the Vehicle Design Objectives. Zero.

    2
    Good DE are not communicated openly and transparently. Part of it is the feedback against the rubric, part is lacking communication, part is simply not recording the DE for review. If you asked the 2nd placed team what separated them from the 1st in DE, there's literally nothing to point to beyond the headline number.

    3
    Having judges pull a car out and point out what's wonderful about it doesn't actually reflect the design event (it's not a replacement for (2) above) - the point of which is to "to evaluate the engineering effort that went into the design of the car and how the engineering meets the intent of the market" - this is very different to judging a design in lieu of its designers. To this end, cars that are little-modified can be a real problem - we're supposed to test the design process applied, and often students have no idea of as much with a broadly-inherited design. We end up with something that runs very much contrary to the intent of the competition.

    Which is why I'm less interested in the cars getting faster year-on-year - it's not a metric that suggests an improved quality of graduate. If they do get faster, great. If not, not the end of the world.

    We also need to be aware that whilst much can be improved on the event side, providing complete closure on a design loop in a year-to-year manner that encompasses prior learning is not the organizer's responsibility. If students can't be stuffed with first principles, evaluating prior efforts or both, that's not the organizer's problem. It simply becomes our job to judge the effort that ends in a delivered design. I'd like to see a criteria added for incorporating prior learnings into design delivery.

    I don't agree with the reranking of what's left with performance first, because against the design brief they're all important. A car with a phenomenal performance envelope is, guess what, not likely to have that much explored if it's got crap ergo, and won't last a weekend of whatever it's intended if it can't be readily serviced. Even in F1 these factors are all considered broadly to contribute to having and extracting performance. We can have a more qualitative go at how it's all assessed. FSAE-A 2014 was a case in point: students (perpetual or otherwise) in the competition can say what they want, however not one of the top 3 cars appeared particularly easy to drive. Each had some severe performance deficiencies (yes, even the winner) that simply ranking the entrants against a stopwatch doesn't easily reveal - all that gives is a relative indication of performance on the day. The competition exists to judge a relative performance potential of the student groups involved - not the car on it's own.

    I'm a little concerned about giving points for a car that's completed to a high standard. We already automatically take away points for cars not completed to a sufficient standard to get them through the weekend - either they fail scrutineering or something goes terminal over the weekend. Taking Curtain 2014... yes, a very well-finished entrant however I'd be more interested in picking apart their beautifully-finished-but-not-equally-beautifully-executed aerodynamic package as opposed to any review of their fit and finish...

    ...however were BB's observations made transparent and shared, it could well become a standard.

    We need more transparency.

  4. #34
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    Hi GTS,
    I probably didn't explain myself too well. My fingers are like bratwurst at the moment, and i tend to cut my explanations a bit short.
    i wasnt so much advocating build quality as a criteria. I just like the idea of a seperate floating feature category that the teams can use to highlight something special they have done. In Curtin's case, i put the build quality under the banner of raceday preparation.
    This points allocation could be used to feature, for example:
    - component lifing systems
    - service manual preparation
    - raceday / pit management
    - test rig development e.g. tyre testing
    - material development
    - design for sustainability
    - design for manufacture
    - team developed manufacturing techniques
    - human resource management
    - team developed OHS procedures and tracking
    Run the presentations as an open session and we all learn something new.
    Geoff Pearson

    RMIT FSAE 02-04
    Monash FSAE 05
    RMIT FSAE 06-07

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by GTS View Post
    ...To this end, cars that are little-modified can be a real problem - we're supposed to test the design process applied, and often students have no idea of as much with a broadly-inherited design. We end up with something that runs very much contrary to the intent of the competition...
    Quote Originally Posted by JulianH View Post
    You dominate the performance part of the competition with a perfectly figured out car that is evolved since 2010-2011 with nothing really changing besides a bigger aero every year. A lot of judges do really have a problem with that ("They don't know why their car is fast, the "Chris Patton"-generation made the car fast and they are just sticking to it" and so on). I also witnessed a judge in the FSA finals that placed GFR last "because they show up with the same car over and over, that is not the spirit of the competition"...
    GTS and Julian - I think it can be very difficult to convey the importance of small design improvements when a judge enters a DE with the mindset of "It must be all new!" This preconception is very difficult to get around when our priorities are not aligned with whichever judge happens to have the disagreeable preconception.

    Why must it be all new? There isn't anything in the rules which says it must be all new (except for the 2nd year rules for FSAE-A and Brazil S6.15?). And even in that case, my interpretation from reading that rule was the intent is that the student understands the design process and fundamentals of the previous design if they choose to keep it. I know last year's GFR DE team had a very good understanding of anything that was left 'untouched' from a previous year which ended up on the new car. It is not within our team philosophy to let that happen without good reason. Nearly every component of last year's car was rederived to see if it was still a good idea. If we settled on a very similar concept to a previous year, why should we be faulted?

    I bet more than 80% of last year's car was different than the 2013 car. The fact that it remained unseen to the casual observer is not something worth penalizing. Engineering Peacocking is an issue in the DE and it would be nice to see if there is a reasonable way to manage its influence.

    GTS - I know you are not interested in cars getting faster year-on-year but it was a major factor in the 5 years from 2009 to 2014. Every year the top and midfield have gotten faster. We can track how much they get faster beyond the accel and skidpad events because we can reference the relative speeds of our new car against the old one. (All of the GFR combustion cars chassis are still in running condition, requiring an engine and ECU to be replaced in the car). If we know our newest car is faster than the old car by some %, and at competition our closest competitor is nearer than that %, bringing back the previous year's car would not result in a win at the competition. The previous year's car would have been slower than the new field of cars.

    Some design development had to have been done to move the goalposts, no?

    I am a lover of really odd factbits. Ask anyone on our team and they will tell you I know some of the most useless information in the world and am proud of it!

    One of my favorites in the automotive world is the development of laminated windshields. Nowadays if a pebble jumps up from under a truck and hits your windshield, it'll crack only one side of the glass and make only a very localized crack. If X-Man Hugh Jackman gets thrown into your windshield at a high speed while in a confrontation with Magneto, the entire sheet of glass may break, but I'll bet it stays in one piece. It'll look like a wonderful blanket of mosaic glass, all shattered and cloth-like.

    Windshields didn't start out being so wonderful. They were made of plate glass and shattered at the first sign of trouble. You could get a windshield in 1905, it just was going to break soon after rolling off the showroom floor. By the 20s they were laminating plate glass with a urethane layer in between the panes. This helped keep the entire window together if a pebble were to impact the outside. A larger impact would still shatter the backside and send large shards of shattered glass into the driver's compartment though. By the late 30s they had innovated with tempered glass (useful in WWII planes since it was so much stronger for its weight than plate glass). Tempered glass was the bee knees for 30 years. Then the US Government decided flying glass shards were making a mess of accidents. Culminating with the 'big bumper' rules, a part of the safety push was the mandatory implementation of seat belts and quickly 3 point seat belts (I guess an engineer point out that a body isn't fully constrained by a line, and doing so simply creates a very nice pivot point about a person's waist). They also pushed for better safety glass to be used in windshields. The strength and shatter resistance of the windshields increased greatly in a very small number of years because of this demand.

    They have been adding UV protection and glare prevention to windshields since then. No more sun-dried dashboards of the 60s-70s-80s. And I don't know who at GM thought up the blue line at the top of the windshield, but I guess that could be considered a user improvement if not very aesthetically pleasing.

    (TLDR) Sorry for the long example, but the point is that windshields have existed for more than 100 years. Nearly as long as cars have been going fast enough to bring tears to the driver's eyes. Is the innovation or engineering design development easy to see or obvious? No. Was there a sweeping change in the implementation of the windshield? In the first 50 years of car development for sure! 2-part windshield and folding windshields and vertical windshields and wrap-around windshields and extremely raked windshields and tinted windshields. These implementation design changes were easy to see and easy to comment on. Eventually everything settled down and the second half of the windshield's story is that of design improvements that go unseen to the casual observer. Better glass, better lamination, additional protections like UV ray protection, incorporation into the aerodynamic design of the vehicle, different mounting techniques. These later design developments are just as magnificent as figuring out that you should simply have a windshield! They just aren't as 'obvious'.

    When a design matures, much of the 'fundamentals' become obvious to the design improver and the less 'obvious' advancements they make are what they become proud of. If an observer were to ask the windshield design improver why windshield, then the improver is going to be driven to get through the 'obvious' stuff and take the observer to the non-obvious improvements. The 'obvious' fundamentals are still well known to the improver, but in a time crunch it may be impossible to get past the fundamentals and into the improvements within the allotted time. After this, the observer will walk away from the conversation saying 'Its the same windshield as last year! Psh.'

    We did not make it to design finals at FSG. Our car concept looked like the same windshield from last year. However, because of the addition of the UV protection and a better incorporation into the aerodynamic design of the vehicle, our latest windshield was not only the most reliable on track, but it also was the fastest on track.
    Jay Swift
    Combustion Powertrain
    Global Formula Racing 2013-2014

  6. #36
    Jay,

    yes, the problem is, that design judges are not able to see "your" new windshield.
    I only judged GFR in the Austrian Design finals... in aero.. so the area where the most obvious changes happened from 2013 to 2014. Phil was quite good, not the best but yeah, it was good.
    So I'm cannot say if it is true that you are basically running your 2011 car with freakin' huge wings.

    When I had to guess, then what would help is a new monocoque... You can't tell me that your 2011 solution cannot be topped. There are a lot of monocoques out there that are better than the GFR solution and you are still sticking to it. I understand how much work goes into building new moulds: Zurich is building a brand new monocoque every year. But just this "school of thought" is maybe a point where the judges jump to conclusion: "Ah, they don't change their monocoque of the dominating car of 2011, and the engine is still the same, and the tires are the same... soo what is it?"

    And you "lost" the FSA Endurance against an electric car by 1.8seconds, maybe a "GFR wake-up call"? To be honest, I am sure that at the moment your concept is the fastest for a combustion car. TU Munich showed their performance -sadly only in the last quarter of the season- with their brand new concept. So I can understand that you are not going to change your concept "for the sake of changing". The 4WD electric cars are in the same situation right now. They have basically done everything, so the top level concept stays the same.
    I don't know how you can't win over "those" judges that go into Desgin thinking "ah those bloody GFR guys". That's the subjective human problem, that Z is always talking about... Maybe Geoff or GTS have an idea...
    -------------------------------------------
    Alumnus
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

    2010-2011: Suspension
    2012: Aerodynamics
    2013: Technical Lead

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by JulianH View Post
    When I had to guess, then what would help is a new monocoque... "
    I think I saw some pictures of a mould a few days ago
    Daniel Muusers
    Formula Student Team Delft
    2010-2015

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bird View Post
    * Break the car into a number of subsections (e.g. chassis, suspension, aero, ergo, etc)
    While it isn't easy to define, there is also a need for "integration" -- I've seen a few cars over the years that had reasonable components and yet were obviously crap overall. I gave one team a design review the day after judging and told them their car looked like a lot of science projects bolted together. As we discussed their poor team showing in design, it came out that they lacked a strong/experienced chief designer or chief engineer to coordinate all their individual efforts.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by DMuusers View Post
    I think I saw some pictures of a mould a few days ago
    Yep

    https://www.facebook.com/TeamGFR/pho...type=1&theater
    Jay Swift
    Combustion Powertrain
    Global Formula Racing 2013-2014

  10. #40
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    Good call regarding integration Doug. I hope within all the other garbage i have scattered all over these forum boards, I have made my views on the need for whole vehicle integration and holistic design pretty clear.

    In Oz, we presently have four judging teams, for design management, vehicle dynamics, structural design, and powertrain / electronics. These are broad categories, and the Design Management group's directive is to assess whole vehicle integration and top level design. At least, that is the principle. In review, the event probably looked like a lot of science project assessments bolted together. We need a strong/experienced chief designer or chief engineer to coordinate all the individual efforts.
    Last edited by Big Bird; 01-15-2015 at 04:12 PM. Reason: didnt quite like the expression on the original smiley face...
    Geoff Pearson

    RMIT FSAE 02-04
    Monash FSAE 05
    RMIT FSAE 06-07

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

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