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Thread: How to make the design event better.

  1. #21
    I'd not be unhappy to stick to FSAE-A - the competition is in a very difficult place right now - though if the discussion generates learning that can be applied elsewhere, so be it.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bird View Post
    p.s. I was the nong who suggested and designed the Design Video. I think the motive was explained at the time - we didn't want to waste valuable time in the 15 minute design presentations doing top level overviews.

    I never saw the design video as compulsory, rather as an additional opportunity to impress and communicate with the judges. The one-take restriction, as for the restrictions on props, were imposed so as to limit the time and expense of the video shoot. I was hoping that the teams might give a quick overview of what they wanted to achieve with their designs - particularly what areas they considered to be important, and what areas were less important.

    As for dropping it because it has been poorly done - well a lot of teams do poorly at the Endurance Event. Should we drop that too??

    If it helps delineate between teams - then why not leave it in??
    Don't drop it, it's a good thing. Some of them are hysterically bad though, as in the students look like deer in headlights. For 2+ minutes in one glorious take.

    It might need some criteria around it though I'd suggest multiple takes just so they can put more effort into talking about the project and less into ensuring the manage one (glorious) take. And if they can run through some key bits of the design as it's there in front of them it'd be great too.

    I'd think if it's something done capably it should be able to serve students for more than just the competition: sponsors, interested parties etc...

  3. #23
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    Good call GTS. It did need more explanation. And maybe no more than 5 different takes?? Agreed the car would be a good prop.
    Geoff Pearson

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

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

  4. #24
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    I like Mitch's idea of a variable points allocations. We dont want teams dismissing areas outright, but it would be good to have some flexibility to suit different teams' design interpretations.
    My thoughts.
    * Break the car into a number of subsections (e.g. chassis, suspension, aero, ergo, etc)
    * Prior to the event, the teams nominate the number of points each subsection is worth, within a set range. e.g ergo might be between 5 and 10 marks. This will reflect their team's design prioritizing. Their justification is assessed in the design management section
    * judges score each section in terms of percentages (0-100%), final points per section is points weighting x percentage
    Geoff Pearson

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

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

  5. #25
    Geoff,

    I like the idea of prioritizing but in my experience you need to "fix" a couple of things in order to make that work.

    We developed our own motors since 2011, so naturally we were really strong in that area of design. We always had the "motor guy" in our design team. At about 2/3 of all DE, no judge was able to ask the motor guy questions about motor design because it is a very unique area. Sometimes it was "what power/torque does it have". That was about it.
    At -I think it was FSG 2012- the "powertrain judge" just asked "What is the critical temperature of part A,B,C,D...." that was powertrain judging.

    So if you have to make a desicion to weight your design areas, you have to know what kind of judges do you get. Sometimes you are lucky and get the "one" expert in the whole DE judging team in your cue. But most of the time you have a problem in a specific area.
    At an event like FSAE-A it could probably work because all teams get the same judges.

    The next "problem" is, that most judges that I had as a participant didn't really care about the "area of design" they should focus on. Most of the time the judge which introduced itself as Aero judge started with 2-3 Aero questions and afterwards asked about basically every detail of the car, from tires over torsional stiffness to powertrain data. If this judges is only grading the "Aero section" but takes the whole "experience" into account, it probably gets complicated.
    I don't want to take the freedom away from the judges though, to ask something from other areas which could be interessting to get the overall impression of the team.
    How is that handled at FSAE A?
    -------------------------------------------
    Alumnus
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

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

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bird View Post
    I like Mitch's idea of a variable points allocations. We dont want teams dismissing areas outright, but it would be good to have some flexibility to suit different teams' design interpretations.
    My thoughts.
    * Break the car into a number of subsections (e.g. chassis, suspension, aero, ergo, etc)
    * Prior to the event, the teams nominate the number of points each subsection is worth, within a set range. e.g ergo might be between 5 and 10 marks. This will reflect their team's design prioritizing. Their justification is assessed in the design management section
    * judges score each section in terms of percentages (0-100%), final points per section is points weighting x percentage
    If this were to work, it'd be amusing to see teams nominate their own weightings (because I've a fair idea what'd happen next )

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianH View Post
    The next "problem" is, that most judges that I had as a participant didn't really care about the "area of design" they should focus on. Most of the time the judge which introduced itself as Aero judge started with 2-3 Aero questions and afterwards asked about basically every detail of the car, from tires over torsional stiffness to powertrain data. If this judges is only grading the "Aero section" but takes the whole "experience" into account, it probably gets complicated.
    No such aero problems at FSAE-A We guarantee 15 minutes of aero, which some of you are quite good at answering.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulianH View Post
    I'm asking myself if this is a FSAE Australasia forum right now... It is impressive how you guys from down under are able to discuss here.
    I agree Julian, it's nice to see some introspection on the part of the FSAE-A design judging organizers. I hope the other major FSAE/FS design organizers will join in.

    Last but not least: The scoring categories. I want to have a real "Main Concept" category where I can give points on how the team choose the concept and what they have done with it. So far this is not well judged in the DE.
    And yes, throw out stuff like "creativity" or "style". It is stupid.
    Not necessarily stupid, but necessarily inconsistent per the peer-reviewed research I've referenced previously.

    I think nearly all competitions are decided on the track. So yes, the fastest car probably is going to win the competition if they don't make an error. In 2013 GFR placed 13th in DE and won Germany... by 80 points.
    It is possible to win the competition without scoring well in design, but it certainly makes it more difficult! Julian, your example shows something even more important and germane to this topic, and that is the inconsistencies in design judging and design evaluation criteria between competitions. With the same car, design team and design report, GFR combustion's 2013 design placings were:

    1st at FSAE Michigan
    13th at FS Germany
    2nd (1st combustion) at FS Austria

    This pattern repeated in 2014. With the same car, design team and report, GFR combustion:
    4th at FSAE Michigan
    20th at FS Germany
    1st at FS Austria
    3rd at FS Spain

    The design judges at FSG are obviously looking for something different from the car and team than the other competitions. Also, the design priorities of the FSG design judges do appear to not match those of GFR combustion.

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianH View Post
    Geoff,
    I like the idea of prioritizing but in my experience you need to "fix" a couple of things in order to make that work.

    We developed our own motors since 2011, so naturally we were really strong in that area of design. We always had the "motor guy" in our design team. At about 2/3 of all DE, no judge was able to ask the motor guy questions about motor design because it is a very unique area. Sometimes it was "what power/torque does it have". That was about it.
    At -I think it was FSG 2012- the "powertrain judge" just asked "What is the critical temperature of part A,B,C,D...." that was powertrain judging.

    So if you have to make a desicion to weight your design areas, you have to know what kind of judges do you get. Sometimes you are lucky and get the "one" expert in the whole DE judging team in your cue. But most of the time you have a problem in a specific area.
    Another example of this problem, the 2014 GFR c-car had one of the highest levels of aerodynamic downforce per kilogram vehicle mass of any car in FSAE/FS history. Our design judging queue at FSG14 had no aerodynamics judge.

    I'd like to expand on my post from the FSAE-A 2013 design judging thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by bob.paasch View Post
    This process is expected of FSAE teams by the design judges, and I would expect it of the FSAE/FS design event organizers as they design the design judging process. Who are the customers, and what do they want? Prioritize those qualitative customer requirements, and develop a measurable set of quantitative engineering requirements by which any proposed design judging processes can be benchmarked against the existing process.
    Who are the customers/stakeholders for the FSAE/FS Design Event? The organizers themselves, certainly, but also the student design teams that participate. Also, the companies that supply the design judges, as Julian mentioned many of them are looking for students to hire. The universities that support the teams, and the faculty advisors that mentor the students.

    What do the stakeholders want? The organizers want a score for each team, with manageable resource (especially time and money) requirements.

    What do the students DE participants want? They want a fair and transparent process. What is "fair"? They want to know the evaluation criteria, they want a fair chance to perform and prove their knowledge, and they want feedback on their performance in order they can improve. They almost always want to know why and how the teams that placed above them did so, and that the design judges had good logical reasons for placing the teams the way they did. To me, that means the DE and Design Judges must employ a consistent set of criteria for judging the "goodness" of the vehicle and the knowledge of the team. Those criteria should come from the Design Objective, as stated in the rules:

    A1.2 Vehicle Design Objectives
    For the purpose of the Formula SAE competition, teams are to assume that they work for a design firm that is designing, fabricating, testing and demonstrating a prototype vehicle for the non- professional, weekend, competition market.

    A1.2.1 The vehicle should have very high performance in terms of acceleration, braking and handling and be sufficiently durable to successfully complete all the events described in the Formula SAE Rules and held at the Formula SAE competitions.

    A1.2.2 The vehicle must accommodate drivers whose stature ranges from 5th percentile female to 95th percentile male and must satisfy the requirements of the Formula SAE Rules.

    A1.2.3 Additional design factors to be considered include: aesthetics, cost, ergonomics, maintainability, manufacturability, and reliability.

    A1.2.4 Once the vehicle has been completed and tested, your design firm will attempt to “sell” the design to a “corporation” that is considering the production of a competition vehicle. The challenge to the design team is to develop a prototype car that best meets the FSAE vehicle design goals and which can be profitably marketed.

    A1.2.5 Each design will be judged and evaluated against other competing designs to determine the best overall car.
    The design criteria for the vehicle can be summarized as performance (as measured by the FSAE/FS events), ergo, aesthetics, cost, maintainability, manufacturability, and reliability. I personally think aesthetics should be thrown out as inconsistent and unmeasurable. Whilst other criteria could be added by the design judges and/or organizers, such addition is contrary to the rules of the competition and inconsistent with proper design process. The goal of the student designer is to design a product/system/vehicle that meets the published rules and with "goodness" measured against the published criteria. Sorry students, but adding a feature, creative or not, that doesn't make the car faster, cheaper, more ergonomic, etc. is a waste of resources and should be penalized as poor design process.

    A fair and transparent design evaluation process evaluates the design process as presented by the student team, with the car as final proof-of-process. Given the stated Vehicle Design Objective above, the most important criterion is performance, with ergo, maintainability, etc. as additional design factors. Performance and cost are explicitly measured in the competition, and one design can be directly compared to another using the common currency of competition points. A fair and transparent design evaluation process would include specific criteria for ergo, maintainability, manufacturability and reliability, and a method for comparing design tradeoffs in these areas with performance and cost.

    As always, I welcome comments.
    Last edited by bob.paasch; 01-14-2015 at 06:00 PM.
    Bob Paasch
    Faculty Advisor
    Global Formula Racing team/Oregon State SAE

  8. #28
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    The thing that I find disappointing about this event is that the teams don't really progress in their understanding of engineering from year to year. Each new team comes in and the same projects are handed out. So the FSAE project becomes a series of component-driven tasks - some design chassis, some design wheels and hubs, some design pedal trays etc. The marks breakdown in the rules drives this too. We think of this firstly and foremostly as a parts design event.
    I was looking at the Curtin Uni car at FSAE-OZ 2014, and it was one of the best examples of quality control and race preparation that I had ever seen. Fasteners all correctly fitted and marked with paint, beautiful lockwiring, and from what I saw their raceday management seemed spot on. It made me wonder why we can't accommodate such excellence in the Design Event.
    What I am thinking is with the abovementioned flexible points allocations for design, each team could nominate their own "feature" category, where they pick an area of engineering and present a special presentation on it. Maybe a two to three page report on it, plus a five minute presentation on, say, the saturday night to an open audience. You could even steal 25 points off the presentation event to facilitate it.
    We then have an enticement to think more broadly (maybe presentations on pit management, OHS breakthroughs, vehicle dynamics, or whatever. We all see something new, and there is some enticement to break out of the same old "we have redesigned our pedal tray to be lighter and stiffer than last year" mindset.
    Geoff Pearson

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

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

  9. #29
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    )

    Forgot to close bracket in previous...
    Geoff Pearson

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

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by bob.paasch View Post
    The design judges at FSG are obviously looking for something different from the car and team than the other competitions.
    We came to the same conclusion; however in our case we *think* we know what they require. We are building an e-car, and for some reason lack of major self-developed e-components, albeit justified, costs us lots of points, at least based on feedback...

    Quote Originally Posted by bob.paasch View Post
    Sorry students, but adding a feature, creative or not, that doesn't make the car faster, cheaper, more ergonomic, etc. is a waste of resources and should be penalized as poor design process.

    A fair and transparent design evaluation process evaluates the design process as presented by the student team, with the car as final proof-of-process. Given the stated Vehicle Design Objective above, the most important criterion is performance, with ergo, maintainability, etc. as additional design factors. Performance and cost are explicitly measured in the competition, and one design can be directly compared to another using the common currency of competition points. A fair and transparent design evaluation process would include specific criteria for ergo, maintainability, manufacturability and reliability, and a method for comparing design tradeoffs in these areas with performance and cost.
    Could not agree more! Maybe (in order of preference): Performance, manufacturability, a method for comparing design tradeoffs in these areas with performance and cost, ergo, maintainability, reliability...

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