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Thread: 2015 FSAE Michigan

  1. #41
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    JustNutsandBolts,

    Expecting that the cars chosen as design finalists should finish all events is different to expecting them to the fastest. I would say it is completely reasonable to expect that the best designed cars meet their design targets.

    Likewise, cars that do well dynamically and perform poorly in design should be rare, as they clearly meet the intended design goals.

    ...

    Extending my thoughts on the design judges assessing reliability ...

    Just as a little quiz which of the following questions are you likely to hear in a design event:

    1. What turbulence model did you use in your CFD, and why?

    2. What measures did you take in your design to ensure your tyres wouldn't leak during running?

    The first would be regularly asked, but has little bearing on overall performance, even though it does provide indication of how knowledgeable the students are. The second is of much more vital in the design, and the answer will show how well students approach problems.

    Why is it that there is such a focus on the minutiae, but so little on more important problems?

    Kev

  2. #42
    I do agree with the points you have mentioned, but it seems many arguing parties in here are forgetting the driver experience and testing the car as a team are huge factors in placing top 10 in this competition.

  3. #43
    Similar discussion is going on here: https://www.facebook.com/RacecarEngineering

    go down a couple posts


    title is:

    Is Formula SAE/Formula Student getting out of control in terms of costs or are the rules too stable?
    Is the best engineering winning or simply the biggest budget?

  4. #44
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    When the "top" designed cars don't finish, then it isn't a case of the drivers...
    ex-UWA Motorsport

    General team member 2013-15, Vehicle Dynamics Team Lead 2012
    Project Manager 2011, Powertrain minion 2009/10

  5. #45
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    I would use GFR as a benchmark for "how much budget does it takes to win" (for obvious reasons). I would think there are at least a dozen US teams that have similar or higher budget. Nothing I've seen on GFR's car is super trick fancy unobtanium. They're just using their resources better.

    Even if there was a clear case of the team with the most money running away with every competition, that kind of thing is impossible to regulate in this type of competition. The biggest resource advantages you can get are usually free to the team. Access to university machinery, access to good testing grounds, industry support with machining, etc. You can't buy any of that stuff with a bigger budget, it's just a matter of which school is fortunate enough to have them, and which team can keep the best connections in industry.
    Last edited by JT A.; 05-19-2015 at 12:57 PM.

  6. #46
    This is my first year competing so I am not sure if it is normal to wait so long for official results. Is this normal?

  7. #47
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    Johan,

    Thanks for the link to Andrew Wong's FSAE-M-2015 pictures. Much appreciated! I can feel my insides warming already...

    Also, I recall seeing that GFR had a very fast first Skid-Pad run (first lap ~5.1?? sec) ... but knocked over four cones. Second run they knocked over even more. Last two runs I guess they played safe. Their first run, with 4 x cone-penalty, was ultimately their best time (IIRC).
    ~~~o0o~~~

    Further to DESIGN EVENT. What is it about???

    It honestly remains a complete mystery to me.

    Here I must agree with Kevin, Nick, JTA, above. Broadly speaking, the cars that do best in Design should also be placing near top in most of the Dynamic Events. After all, is that not what the students are being asked to "design"? If not, then what?

    As a good example, it seems that GFR chose to build a quite cheap car that does well in Cost and Fuel (small cheap engine, simple other stuff), but has to sacrifice some points in Acceleration. However, the fact that this "cheapie" also cleans up in AutoX and Enduro suggests, to me, VERY GOOD design! (Mostly due to good, but still cheap, aero.) So why only a 70% Design score?

    (BTW, a GFR-like car with even simpler engine-drivetrain, simpler suspension, and much more BLAT-ish undertray, = very "brown-go-kart"! )

    So, CAN SOME DESIGN JUDGES PLEASE PROVIDE SOME FEEDBACK on what Design Event is measuring?

    Z
    Last edited by Z; 05-19-2015 at 09:15 PM.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Z View Post
    Johan,

    Thanks for the link to Andrew Wong's FSAE-M-2015 pictures. Much appreciated! I can feel my insides warming already...

    Also, I recall seeing that GFR had a very fast first Skid-Pad run (first lap ~5.1?? sec) ... but knocked over four cones. Second run they knocked over even more. Last two runs I guess they played safe. Their first run, with 4 x cone-penalty, was ultimately their best time (IIRC).
    ~~~o0o~~~

    Further to DESIGN EVENT. What is it about???

    It honestly remains a complete mystery to me.

    Here I must agree with Kevin, Nick, JTA, above. Broadly speaking, the cars that do best in Design should also be placing near top in most of the Dynamic Events. After all, is that not what the students are being asked to "design"? If not, then what?

    As a good example, it seems that GFR chose to build a quite cheap car that does well in Cost and Fuel (small cheap engine, simple other stuff), but has to sacrifice some points in Acceleration. However, the fact that this "cheapie" also cleans up in AutoX and Enduro suggests, to me, VERY GOOD design! (Mostly due to good, but still cheap, aero.) So why only a 70% Design score?

    (BTW, a GFR-like car with even simpler engine-drivetrain, simpler suspension, and much more BLAT-ish undertray, = very "brown-go-kart"! )

    So, CAN SOME DESIGN JUDGES PLEASE PROVIDE SOME FEEDBACK on what the DE is measuring?

    Z

    Or....this might really make your head spin, Z- McGill = GFR in DE score. McGill had 0 run time on their car going into MIS....ever.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful car, but.....yyeeeeaaaah
    Trent Brown
    Suspension/Frame
    University of Michigan-Dearborn

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by apalrd View Post
    If you tell the judges that cost is one of your design goals, and justify all of your design decisions to both performance and cost, there should be no penalty in design.
    Should be - but history shows us different. How often does design for manufacturing come up in design?

    IMO, design should go something like this:
    1. This is how we decided our requirements for a part
    2. This are the requirements.
    3. This is what we wanted to design
    4. This is what we could actually afford and make
    5. This is why our compromises are acceptable.
    6. Next part.

    But for the most part, both students and judges skip over #3, and if it is brought up it leads to pointless juvenile bickering over why they had to go to #4, and forget to discuss #5.

  10. #50
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    Over the 9 design judging events I participated in as a student, the most frustrating thing was how common it was to go through an entire design event without talking about the design of your actual car. You might be thinking "what the hell would you talk about in design other than the design of your car?" Well it generally fell into 2 categories:

    1) The "pop quiz of RCVD" style of design judging. Lots of very generic questions that don't provoke any thought, and aren't specific to your car at all. "What happens when you have positive caster and you steer the wheels? What does KPI do? What does shorter FV instant centers do?" If they did ask anything about your actual car, it was just "Tell me X number from your spec sheet" but not any question about why or how you designed for that value, which is really what matters. If you tried to stop and explain the how & why, they would usually interrupt you because they had to keep plowing through their list of questions. From what I remember these judges typically were from the older crowd and I usually got them at Michigan. The really frustrating thing was when they would come back for the design feedback and point out specific criticisms of your car, leaving you thinking "Well I wish you would've brought that up during the design event"

    2) Data overload. Now don't get me wrong, data analysis is a very important part of the design process. But sometimes (especially in design finals in Lincoln) they treat it like it's the only part of the design process. A couple different times we had at least 7 or 8 floating judges come around who specialized in data acquisition, so we spent 90% of design finals talking about data. Every judge or pair of judges would come by and ask us to show them the same thing we just showed the last pair. Data judges were extremely over-allocated. Now like I said, data analysis is definitely important and it's something that a lot of teams are lacking. But it's important to not neglect the other parts of the design process. Why should a team put any effort or thought into designing a car properly when you're going to be judged only on what you do after the car is built. Why call it "design" event when 90% of what they're judging you on is your ability to test setups and collect data? Why design a car at all? Just build last year's car, strap it with sensors and test the hell out of it if that's all the judges want to see.

    The best experiences I've had in design were with judges that asked us how we actually came up with the design for our car. And they evaluated our design methods from a general engineering standpoint, not racecar specific. Things like:

    -What were your goals? How did you develop those goals?
    -How did you quantify or predict that your design was achieving those goals
    -How did you prioritize different aspects of the project? Did you distribute effort and resources appropriately?
    -What simulation tools did you use? Were they commercial/public or did you develop your own specialized tools?
    -How did you validate the simulation tools that you used? How much confidence do you have in them?
    -What physical tests did you do to guide your design?
    -Did you validate your final design? Did it meet the goals you set?

    Those type of questions actually made the design event fun and educational. Compared to the first example I gave where I walked away wondering "how the hell do you form an opinion of our design quality based on the mundane questions you asked?"

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