+ Reply to Thread
Page 9 of 10 FirstFirst ... 7 8 9 10 LastLast
Results 81 to 90 of 94

Thread: How to make the design event better.

  1. #81
    I haven't been back to this thread in a bit, but it seems the conversational train has taken the path of arguing for/against high value/ill-represented components and production numbers in FSAE competitions and building to the 'intent' of the rules.

    The intent has been stated, is mentioned at every single competition, is on the home page, in the rules, etc: teach these kids how to learn how to run a project and how the real world works.

    Aside from this, points are allocated to different categories to ensure that the students become aware that there are compromises. The students, who take it as 'this is a competition, and we can teach ourselves how to best manage our internal and external relations to produce that thing that needs to win competition as dictated by the rules'. Goes for all SAE competitions.

    Between the various SAE competitions (not sure if it applies outside of this) cost and the static events have such a low impact on the overall outcome of the competition. When teams start to abandon the cost event because it's more worthwhile to make that thing do whatever it's supposed to do even better for, what some people claim is, an uncompromised solution, some people throw fits. "Hey, you're supposed to work within the intent of our rules! You're supposed to compromise your solution."

    Well, if that is someone's argument, then someone needs to restructure the rules or point allocations. I recognize that on the cost report that Swiftus and his team built a car which costs almost 2.5x that of my team's car I understand that we're both working within the constraints of our own finances and product development ability with slightly different goals, but continuing for demonstration sake... 2.5x!!! That's the difference between a production Malibu and Corvette! Where does that get us with a simple subjective points analysis?

    Hm...let me do the math...yep...carry the one...uh huh. I see. About 30 points out of 1000 at Michigan was the gap in cost between first in cost and first overall for cost scoring. Other competitions like FSG actually benefit a GFR style car because of the difference in scoring.

    So, we've seen the demonstration of dumping all comforts of exotic materials and high dollar components including aerodynamic devices, it doesn't get you very far. However, good design coupled with good management and better materials is something I would trade the rest of the program for based on the current rule set. To continue, presentation shouldn't be that difficult to sell a top 5 car. Someone always wants to be the best, and if they can buy it, less work on them, just justify how you're going to get an Arabian prince or oil tycoon in the car, justified. (Not saying it's easy, just that there's a market).

    On track performance? If you can run your car fast enough, the amount that is gapped on other competitors more than makes up for the cost deficit of ~30 points max.

    Fuel efficiency? Well, if you are able to gap those who do well on fuel economy by far enough, then you can actually come out on top again. So, no deficit for building a 40hp - max hp engine/motor, sacrificing fuel efficiency for going faster. Even assuming that a GFR style car or an AMZ style car scored 0 in fuel efficiency, there were still cases where it wouldn't have mattered and they'd still be 1st.

    Essentially, if you can outdrive the rest of the competition as those typically on the podium have done (top 3-5), then the rest of the competition becomes simple. compromise competition report cost and fuel efficiency to have the fastest car on the grid because that's what the current rules dictate based on points allocation. If that's not the intent, then maybe it's time to change the intent or change the point balance.


    Jay, you mention the Baja car being quicker than 1/2 the field. You'd be surprised at how many parts we share between our Formula and Baja cars.
    Kettering University Vehicle Dynamics
    Formula SAE 2010 - 2015
    Clean Snowmobile Powertrain 2012 - 2015

    Boogityland 2015 - Present

  2. #82
    Jay,

    Cost tables are due for some revision where they don't actually ensure parity.

    I've no problem arguing scale costs at a supplier end, I'm suggesting that we're not actually getting parity at our end.

    FSAE rules (US derivative set) places a limit at 1k/year production. That's pretty tight for automotive production - that's boutique levels of production. It's very definitively a curious number for a reason. Your arguments hold up at typically 60k units/year in automotive. Automotive types wrote the rules, so I hope you can understand their intent.

    You mention 3D printers - I've no problem with them, they've been part of my day job for 8 years. Some teams have turned up with 3D printed parts at FSAE-A. "And how to you plan to build these at 1,000 units a year?" "Oh, we'd probably buy a few more RepRaps". It doesn't quite work that way. This is an area where our intent doesn't match our cost rules. Again: time to revise. No biggie. This happens all the time. A few of us at FSAE-A had a small fit with the state of the EV competition as the barriers to entry are still too big - those of us arguing are all ex-EV industry.

    Jay, we are not talking at different ends, and MCoach I agree - it is, potentially - time to revise points allocation, as it's too easy to move away from the competition's original intent to one of simply making a fast car.

  3. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by GTS View Post
    it is, potentially - time to revise points allocation, as it's too easy to move away from the competition's original intent to one of simply making a fast car.
    I think this is the pure essence of all these discussions!

    Discussing "what is in the intent of the rules" and "what isn't" is very exhausting and random. We have to make "the car that fits the intent of the competition best, wins the competition" the ultimate solution.

    In the last years (my competitions were from 2010 to 2013) for us, the "engineering desicion" always was: "Let's build the car that gets the most points and wins. How we get the points is secondary."
    We never cared about "ah this is maybe not good for an week-end racer". So therefore, yeah maybe broke the intent of the competition in order to win the competition.
    I know that several people disagree with this logic (Sam Collins, the editor from Racecar Engineering and Judge in the UK for example) but that was our approach and it was successful -for what we wanted to be successful-.

    If the "FSAE community" (and hereby I mean "us" the interessted alumni and the rules commitee and everybody around this) want to change this "school of thought" by the top teams, then yes: Changing the point allocation and thereby shifting the points distribution towards cost efficient designs, we should do that. And not just pointing fingers and shouting "that's unethical, you rich -what ever curse word- steal the competition" if a team sweeps a competition with an expensive car.

    So maybe we should add that to the agenda of the "FSAE Vatican Council" and then figure out the aspects on how to "bring the competition back to its intent".
    Last edited by JulianH; 01-29-2015 at 06:23 PM.
    -------------------------------------------
    Alumnus
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

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

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  4. #84
    Been following the thread and was wondering about adding in a few non-engineers to the design event. My thinking behind this is for a vehicle that's marketed for the "weekend non-professional" racer, having the best aero package and carbon fiber-everything won't do any good if the vehicle isn't able to be repaired during an event (please note none of that is directed at any team, just a gross exaggeration). So bring in a few racecar mechanics, autocross racers, hillclimbers, etc. who have experience servicing racing vehicles and will look at things differently than an engineer.

    Just a thought, carry on the discussion.

  5. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by tromoly View Post
    Been following the thread and was wondering about adding in a few non-engineers to the design event. My thinking behind this is for a vehicle that's marketed for the "weekend non-professional" racer, having the best aero package and carbon fiber-everything won't do any good if the vehicle isn't able to be repaired during an event (please note none of that is directed at any team, just a gross exaggeration). So bring in a few racecar mechanics, autocross racers, hillclimbers, etc. who have experience servicing racing vehicles and will look at things differently than an engineer.
    This is not a bad idea, however getting the right weekend racer would be hard. Let me explain:

    The problem is in whole the concept and vision of the weekend non-professional racer buying these cars is flawed. If they are as non-professional/unskilled/middle class middle management wage slave as we are lead to believe, would they be buying a low volume single use single seat car only for autocross races or would they use a production car like a MX5 with off the shelf tune up parts? I think we often don't give our "buyers" enough credit for their skills. Especially when they would have driven to the track in a car full of wiz bang acronyms like ABS, ESP, PDA, LOL etc, why can't their "race car" have trick parts too.

    I would often argue with people that a composite chassis is no harder, and some times easier, to repair than a steel tube and generally ends up stronger. Both have a minimum required set of skills be it welding or laminating, both have surface prep. Both need some equipment however a for a tube frame it's a welder costing $100's to $1000's, for composite a repair kit like this one for $50ish http://www.carbonmods.co.uk/products...epair-kit.aspx. Untrained people are using these kits at home all the time to fix boats, so why couldn't a racer?

    Where I am in Auckland, New Zealand we have a lot of boat builder, thus a lot of composite resources and thanks in part to free trade agreements cheap carbon as I mentioned before. Making a composite production car makes sense given our skills and resources. We don't however have alot in the way of fast CNC machines or laser sintering outside of research groups. So when we went to FSG and were asked in cost why our machining took so long or why we didn't sinter parts we had to reply that we simply couldn't in our country. Conversely I know that for some reason carbon fibre is very expensive in Australia, to the point it is cheaper to buy it from NZ.

    (Man, I know what the point of my ramble is meant to but I can't think how to word it right. So bear with me....)

    Not only do different unis have different resources but moving to the fictional mass production phase different countries have different resources/strengths. So a design to one group might be cost effective, but to another it is seen as a expensive design. This makes a single cost marking schedule and dollar values hard to implement. I do like the "explain why what would be the changes between prototype and production?" and "explain manufacturing in your region?". Having to explain the way you have considered cost reduction is also a good idea.

    There used to be the rumour of the team that costed their ECU by opening it up and pricing it resistor by resistor. The cost report part of the event is too easy to cheat and too labour intensive for both the teams and the judges for the number of points on offer.
    Brent

    3rd world solutions for real world problems.

    UoA FSAE 2004-2008

  6. #86
    I completely agree with Julian.


    It seems like there is disagreement about the scoring formulas representing what a "weekend racer" would like. I agree that this is likely not the case, I do not see this as a problem, whatsoever.


    No matter whomīs interests the scoring formulas represent, the engineering design goal is to win most points overall at the competition and main influence will be dynamics and cost score. With this being clear, I can setup tools to validate my design decisions - like a lap time simulation that results in competition points. I recently posted a plot of the FSE endurance/efficiency scoring formulas, things like that I can base a design on, it is the best I know about what a weekend racer wants, because it is what the rules tell me.


    So, my baseline is clear, any decision should lead to more points in dynamic events + cost score. And, last but not least, I need to document what I do and how I take my decisions, to defend my design in DE.

    But, as we all know, it is not quite that easy. Despite limited experience, it is normally money and time that will be the limiting factors. To me, this was and is one of the great things about FSAE, there is no hard limit and others have shown before, almost anything can be done. If I can design it and find a sponsor, I can build whatever I can justify with more points, using the tools I got available to backup my decision.


    If I got good engineering, I also need good marketing to not be at the resource limit right away...

    --> FSAE is not "just" an engineering design competition, it needs many things around the engineering to be successful. Ultimately, you are limited by "real world resources" which are not directly related to how good of an engineer you are. To me, thatīs a big part of what makes FSAE so great.

    _________
    ------------

    Now, what does all that mean specifically for the DE? In my opinion, to judge about engineering, the product really is of minor importance - because it will be limited by real world resources, not by what engineering could do if there was no limit. Big Bird mentioned it some pages back, maybe you need to "zoom out a bit".

    Why not step further back up the process and have judging teams based on the design process:
    Problem framing
    Concept development and selection
    Analysis and validation
    Manufacturing and delivery
    Performance

    If all judges follow the same logic, accepting that a high score in dynamics and cost is the overall design goal and the limit is real world resources, things seem not so complicating to me anymore. The rest is about how well a team / student can make the judge believe that what was build (or not build), was the best use of available resources to maximize points (and that reasonable effort was invested to explore new resources).

    At the end, any team can reach a reasonable score in DE, however, due to real world resource limitations, dynamic event score might not be enough to win the competition. A thing that can help to get around this, might be an iterative design approach... As long as you can justify why you did not change a part - because there was another one that gave more points / resource invested - this should not hurt DE score, but improve performance in dynamics - assuming there is no judge that got other expectations what FSAE is about, which you canīt know about before the event, making it irrelevant for the design process.


    The whole "weekend racer" aspect is in my opinion only relevant for the business presentation. For DE, only the numbers resulting from the scoring formulas are relevant, as only those represent preferences of the fictional "weekend racer (or someone else, I donīt care)" in a measurable way.

  7. #87
    Just to clarify, I wasn't attacking our Oregon State/ DHBW friends over here.

    To back up Moke, there's a guy here in Michigan I've run against whose got a really fast A Mod car. Composites? I don't see a problem with them being on the cars and this guy is one of my favorite examples of a weekend autocrosser.
    I asked him about his wings last time I saw him and he told me that he called up Simon McBeath, said he runs an autocross car, drag doesn't matter, send the biggest wings that fit his package. He shelled out a few thousand dollars and wings showed up on his door step. He bolted them on and went racing. Didn't even think twice about the price.

    It's an autocross car. Assuming the mounts are strong enough, what do you expect to hit? There shouldn't be that much in the way of repair.

    Here's he and his ridiculous car:


    I also completely agree with sekl. The rules dictate how the customer is (in very complicated way) weighting what they want in a car. How much do they value speed over cost? How much do they care about how much fuel it burns. This is shown in the points that are presented to us and how much we get. The more points, the more likely they are to buy the car. Seems reasonable.
    Kettering University Vehicle Dynamics
    Formula SAE 2010 - 2015
    Clean Snowmobile Powertrain 2012 - 2015

    Boogityland 2015 - Present

  8. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by JulianH View Post
    Discussing "what is in the intent of the rules" and "what isn't" is very exhausting and random. We have to make "the car that fits the intent of the competition best, wins the competition" the ultimate solution.
    Correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianH View Post
    In the last years (my competitions were from 2010 to 2013) for us, the "engineering desicion" always was: "Let's build the car that gets the most points and wins. How we get the points is secondary."
    We never cared about "ah this is maybe not good for an week-end racer". So therefore, yeah maybe broke the intent of the competition in order to win the competition.
    I know that several people disagree with this logic (Sam Collins, the editor from Racecar Engineering and Judge in the UK for example) but that was our approach and it was successful -for what we wanted to be successful.
    And this will happen from time to time, and rules need to be adjusted to reflect this.

    Aerodynamics is a great example. Rules were adjusted to promote new thought. Now they need to be adjusted... to promote new thought (among other reasons).

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianH View Post
    If the "FSAE community" (and hereby I mean "us" the interessted alumni and the rules commitee and everybody around this) want to change this "school of thought" by the top teams, then yes: Changing the point allocation and thereby shifting the points distribution towards cost efficient designs, we should do that. And not just pointing fingers and shouting "that's unethical, you rich -what ever curse word- steal the competition" if a team sweeps a competition with an expensive car.

    So maybe we should add that to the agenda of the "FSAE Vatican Council" and then figure out the aspects on how to "bring the competition back to its intent".
    I don't want to keep on nailing the point with unobtanium, Julian, run whatever you can cost though organizers need to be mindful that 'unobtanium' needs to be something that other competitors would readily have access to, and that is broadly accounted for in rules in terms of what compromises including it in a design should bring.

    Join in via Skype if you will.

    sekl;

    No one doubts that maximising points wins competitions. It's not that that's being argued, it's whether the points structure actually reflects the intent of the competition. There's a gap here and this is what's being discussed.

    No, students and faculty cannot be held to ransom for skirting the intent of the rules but being within the legality of them. Rules can be made better, and interested stakeholders can be reflective about what they're seeking from their involvement. I would stress - as a former educator - that winning really isn't everything. The intent is what it is with good reason.

    I've no issues with teams using what they can explain whether last year or last decade's part or a bold new italic. In the interests of equality, I've a personal interest in seeing a change log year to year (easier for judges, formalises knowledge transfer to a degree for students) and in limiting competing teams sharing design work, because the application of it at FSAE-A in 2013 was particularly saddening from both an educational and competitive point-of-view. That's just me.

    I don't agree with your assertion that the competition should be resource limited. There are student project-based learning competitions that cater to that - FSAE was never intended to be as much - and frankly the majority of FSAE cars aren't the last word in overall performance. Take this as you will - I appreciate many will disagree with it vehemently - though I'd suggest a reality check relative to why we're here, and embrace the notion that there are significant performance gaps even in top running cars. This is simply because students are themselves resource-constrained (in needing to be... students) and because students don't actually know everything there is to know about designing a car to the brief intended. Neither is a cardinal sin. The "brown go kart" argument is especially valid - there's the possibility to build cars of phenomenal performance compared to what's currently in the competition, though these are about as beyond-scope as suggesting that organisers should be comfortable with resource limitations being significant determinants of performance. FSAE is very deliberately a student competition where the design brief well exceeds the available resources to complete it. We should not seek to entertain additional disparities beyond this, no matter how possible they may or may not be.

    This

    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    The whole "weekend racer" aspect is in my opinion only relevant for the business presentation.
    Not correct. If rules don't match intent, we need to change one or both.

  9. #89
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Melbourne Australia
    Posts
    760
    I hope the below makes sense...

    When a competition, or ruleset is new, there is little "prior art" to refer to and competitors are forced to assess the event from first principles (or synthesize ideas from similar comps). A new competition attracts more "first principles" analyses and solutions. "Zoom out" perspective, as sekl so eloquently put it.

    When a competition matures and there is a greater volume of info known about how to be successful, it becomes easier to reach the top through anecdotal knowledge, copying, legacy designs etc. Also, once a known successful concept exists, separation between the teams tends to come from refinement. "Zoom in" perspective takes over. And once popular opinion zooms in on a successful solution, focus turns to detail differences - and this is when we start to "need" electropnuematically spark eroded titanium fibre Schrader valves.

    Now unis already do "zoom in". They have whole sweatshops of PhD students focussing on microcrystalline structures of welds and vortex shedding from side door trims. What they fail to do well is teach "zoom out". Most lecturers at uni are zoom in types and really struggle with open design tasks. FSAE was initially conceived because grads weren't work ready. It wouldn't exist if it were not different from uni.

    So I think more "zoom out" is needed. Change points allocations. Change track layouts and average speeds. Change the event. Put it on dirt - speedway one year, mx track the next, beach race the next, mud run the next. OK, so maybe I am being a bit too fanciful and "blue sky" here. But as soon as teams start to think of themselves as "aero teams" or "single cylinder teams" or "carbon tub teams", you know the event is at a stagnation point. Teams are more about protecting and delivering their own solution than they are about working through design process. Keep teams guessing about the best concept - and first principle analysis will follow.
    Geoff Pearson

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

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

  10. #90

    Geoff, you've got it.

    "Zoom out" engineering (oh boy, we're coining our own terms here now) is emphasized in another competition series that I participated in during high school. FIRST Robotics and their associated leagues host yearly regional competitions where several thousand teams compete. Every year the game is different. The game pieces may change from year to year, the goals of movement may change, the ground surface may change, etc. How points are allocated also changes every year. There is always bonus points for the game and teams have to analyze whether it is worth attempting to go after those with their design concept. The game is revealed in January and the robot must be crated and post marked by some 6 weeks later. Design and build seasons tend to happen simultaneously to be able to accomplish the goals in that condensed time scale. Teams are supported by volunteers that are able ro teach but not design it for them.

    Its relevant and echos your proposal, however I'm not sure how it could be carried out on FSAE level. A dirt track year would put the competition on its head for some people but I would guarantee that you still see SAE or research papers pop up like "race rubber to Eldora Speedway surface interaction".
    Kettering University Vehicle Dynamics
    Formula SAE 2010 - 2015
    Clean Snowmobile Powertrain 2012 - 2015

    Boogityland 2015 - Present

+ Reply to Thread
Page 9 of 10 FirstFirst ... 7 8 9 10 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts