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Thread: FSAE Australasia 2017

  1. #11
    Z,

    thank you.

    My suggestion about 4WD is not a pathetic decision. It is by far the best solution according to our numbers.
    We are refining our lap time and event point simulation since 6-7 years now and a lightweight 4WD car is by far the best solution.
    With the electric motors you can limit the extra weight of the 2 front motors to basically one dual inverter and maybe 25% of the motor weight which probably amounts to 5-6kg and you can save a good amount of batteries due to recuperation.

    And if you have seen the 4WD cars in action, you know how they can be thrown around a track.

    The only thing I give you is that you create more EMC issues with HV cables running through the car.

    I know that you have some random magic in your back pocket that we have never seen but I trust our numbers so far.

    I'm sure the Zurich guys are super happy to run your fantasy car that you think is a better option for Monash in the simulation tool!
    -------------------------------------------
    Alumnus
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

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

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  2. #12

    I'd go differently

    Z,

    I tend to look at things from different perspectives.

    The competition ran exceptionally smoothly given that around a month ago there was essentially no competition. The effort behind the scenes to get it up and running at all has been herculean at times. A few people have invested personally to significant ends - they really didn’t have to - and so whilst it’s easy to criticise… we shouldn’t.

    Atop this some might note that this is the first time the Australian competition has been held in lieu of a local automotive manufacturing industry. Which, regrettably, has also diminished (vastly) the size and scope of research and design resources in Australia. Which means universities - most of them - have shifted funding from FSAE teams, which means less faculty support, etc etc. Many universities here have excellent final year students that some time ago would have been in FSAE though are now guided towards other projects. Resources to finish the cars at many local universities simply don’t exist as they did 12 months ago. Some teams you’d consider strong have their funding in doubt next year.

    And yet there were some exceptional 2nd/3rd year students in the mix, and the organising committee is off fundraising with renewed effort and focus, and there’s efforts to significantly restructure the Australian event itself.

    For what it’s worth hosting a good party is not hard unless you plan to do it at a motorsports park in a metropolitan location under noise restrictions, and then it’s damn near impossible. You’re not the first to suggest this though and moving the event is very much on the cards.

    So on the whole - both as a former educator and industry type person - I’m happy with it. As you may be aware, the organisers will soon send out an email asking for suggestions for next year. Participate. We’re working on some initiatives to help level things - some may get up, some won’t, it’s ultimately a volunteer-driven event. As ever we’re going to try a bit harder.

    Sure, the standard of vehicles wasn’t as good as last year’s (at least I didn’t think so) There are better and worse years to this end. At one end we have students struggling to put it together in one year, at the other a car honed over many years. Neither are perfect. They’re different strategies to attempt and extract educational value from the same event, and obviously if FSAE world rankings and winning competitions are the order of the day then one strategy among these will likely dominate. Scott has done a world-class job over many years in building a culture at Monash around the FSAE program, and I would suggest any gaps between the teams’ performance (albeit winning) and their ultimate potential (which is significant) doesn’t concern a lack of local competition or any lack of any (significant) effort on Scott’s part.

    I tend to go a little differently here and suggest that:

    - FSAE isn’t really a motorsports competition - happens too infrequently
    - It remains a great way for students to partake in and experience a large-scale engineering project
    - Lap times, lack of FWD and whatever else doesn’t stop our graduates kicking ass globally, and
    - The last point is really what it’s all about.

    I could expand this in detail though let’s suggest that success is a byproduct of many things, and we’ll leave it at that.

    I hope to see you all next year.

    PS The ‘specialty prizes’ exist to acknowledge sportsmanship, much as people do in real motorsports.

    JulianH

    How you feel about accel times over 4.2s is about how I feel about the tone of your posts. Or cheap criticism more generally.

  3. #13
    GTS,

    I take that. It was not very well written.
    Still, I stand by my point that the Australian e-Car competition (and if I remember correctly RMITe was one of the first electric cars globally) has been "at sleep" while it exploded in Europe. And catch-up should be done if the goal would be to be competitive.
    100% agree with you though that the competition is not about the best performing car if we look on a larger scale. "Developing kick ass engineers" is absolutely the goal of FSAE.
    -------------------------------------------
    Alumnus
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

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

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  4. #14
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    Julian,

    I hope you realise that my use of "pathetic", and the "", was with reference to my comments on the feedback video, and your "Go big..." comment.

    But then again, every time I hear students talking about "...going 4WD", there is definitely a strong stench of Pathos in the air!

    So, ... should I really try to help Zurich here? Hmmmmm...

    How about the common claim that a 50:50 weight-distribution is "ideal"? (<- A good example of Pathos at its most pathetic, if ever there was one.)

    So, ... what is your (Zurich's) weight-distribution? If it changed significantly, either moving forwards or backwards, then would 4WD still be best? Could such changes make the car lighter, or would it get heavier? (Is "Go big..." really better?)

    And what about that all-important grip-multiplier of Cz.A? And how does the battery-killer of Cx.A change, if the weight-distribution, and hence also Cz.A, changes?

    Ahhh, so many questions, so much boring calculating to do, with numbers, and figures, and blah, blah, blah...

    Yep, best leave that stuff to the Nerds, while we real men "Go BIG, with 4WD, and ... a TURBO!!!"

    (PS1. Show me Zurich's sims, and I will show you where they are wrong.)

    (PS2. Accel-time of 4.2 seconds IS too slow. Agreed! I have been saying such since 2002. Even on the low-ish grip Calder track, most teams should be under 4 seconds. But, it seems, most everyone is happy with the same-old same-old.)
    ~~~o0o~~~

    GTS (Ric...),

    I won't quote any specific sections of your last post, but most of it is the same sort of thing I have heard too many times from football clubs who are at the bottom of the ladder. Sadly, in my younger days I played for many of those clubs, and, for me, it certainly weren't no fun!

    Yep, we would lose every game of the year, and at the end-of-year presentation night the Club President gets up and says "All things considered, ... this was a hugely successful year!" Whenever I hear such comments I know, for sure, that things WILL NEVER GET BETTER. Such comments are a guarantee of eternal under-achievement.

    If the SAE-A really wants this competition to produce "better educated young engineers", a goal that I fully support, then they really should approach the problem OBJECTIVELY. Say, like Engineers! That is, they should establish some sort of metric that can be used to measure how "successful" they are, in any given year.

    Two examples of a metric that puts an objective number on "How successfully did we educate this year's students":
    1. Percentage of teams that score "performance" points in ALL dynamic events. (Note that completing one lap at walking pace, as WSU did this year, does NOT count!)
    2. Percentage of Oz-Teams in the top-20 of the World Rankings. (Or top-10, or top-50, etc.)

    This is supposed to be an Engineering event, so I think it reasonable that it be assessed in an engineering manner.

    Less "feel-good" talk (= Pathos), and more numbers (= Logos).

    And no more of the current acceptance of mediocrity.

    Z
    Last edited by Z; 12-12-2017 at 09:05 PM.

  5. #15
    Z,

    I'm out of the game actively since 2013, so I am not the best person to provide you with answers on the Zurich car.

    With "Go Big" I never meant a "big car" or "big XYZ". I meant it more in a sense of "let's try something". A bit more risky.
    But I am still convinced that our Aero had quite a good Cz*A back in the day and probably still today. I know that you have this magic undertray that can create CzA of a full Aero package without Drag but so far noone was able to build that in real life.
    The 2017 Undertray of Zurich is as massive as it gets with a battery pack in the back. Still nowhere close to your ideal.

    The students here either are failing or the theoretical numbers are not that achievable.

    On all other things, the new generation with data is able to help out. I think your position of "show me and I show you where you are wrong" is very comfortable. I like that position as well. But showing the other way round would help at some point as well.
    You have very big claims and they are admirable but I still think many of your assumptions are not achievable; at least we tried many of them and they all did not yield the results. From the undertry design to a 70%R weight car.

    Therefore I stick to my claim that a lightweight 4WD car with decent aero is the best option with the current set of rules.
    I know that "that is what is working" is not a valid argument and I know that you will not believe the guys from Formula One (which work with Zurich on a weekly basis) are smarter but so far the consensus holds.
    So now I can just claim that "our concept" is the logical choice backed up with calculations and figures and boring stuff (and exciting on-track testing / data gathering to be fair) and your claims are just gut feelings...
    -------------------------------------------
    Alumnus
    AMZ Racing
    ETH Zürich

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

    2014: FSA Engineering Design Judge

  6. #16
    Z (Erik...)

    First things first - if we're at Calder next year we have to get to a better pizza joint than we've been at the last two years. Way too noisy for discussion, way to trendy for the likes of us

    Logos for 2017 was simple: the event ran. Really it was that hard. SAE-A is down to a single part-time staff member at the moment. Full recovery mode. I can't say enough nice things about the people that made it happen so you and I get to judge and students get to partake.

    I don’t disagree with much of your post. It is hard to compete with teams overseas objectively when our students are not always at the same level (very few Masters entrants), sponsorship is a significant disparity and universities are winding up support for ‘traditional’ automotive streams. More Logos? Two teams this year didn’t have university support for a place to build their cars, and three teams that have traditionally competed very well are in doubt to have university support at all in 2018. We have a bit of an opportunity with electric vehicles and better use of CAE - many universities baulk at the investment here - as organisers we’re trying to get a few things going to help and level the playing field per se, it won’t be cheap and there is zero money down here. Uphill battle.

    It’s not for the SAE-A to tell universities here how to run their teams either. Universities ultimately educate, the SAE-A just runs an event to broadly the same rules as done overseas. I’d personally love to hurdle the event (car must be ready by date x, 200km testing must be done by date y, etc) though again, these are university matters, and we honestly don’t have that much leeway to change rules from international norms. Personally I think this is an area where you and I could team up to badger the organisers a bit as a little bit of guidance I think would go a long way… way too many teams arrive without turning a wheel in anger. One of my alma maters is in it’s third year of an incomplete dynamic showing, and it’s sad. From an aero perspective I’d include deflection tests in scrutineering because if you can’t build it and test it you really shouldn’t try racing it. We can each yell ‘till we’re blue in the face on these forums but that only makes us angry older men with keyboards, we’ve this nice opportunity now from the organisers to take in any sorts of suggestions for 2018, I’m happy to draw up a list with you and whomever else on this forum. Again - SAE-A can’t educate but it can guide.

    There are elements afoot in our competition that I don’t like. Not enough Ghetto First Principles, too much Monkey See Monkey Do. You might want to kill the design event (still!), I want a Ghetto First Principles score.

    Somehow despite the lack of international competitiveness the competition produces some world-class grads that have gone onto great things. So we can’t be too draconian.

    JulianH

    Thank you. Some of our students put together world-class e-powertrains… unfortunately they’re doing it as graduates overseas and in power transmission locally. You’ll also find down here that in most Australian university electrical, software and mechanical engineering are disparate faculties, with different funding, academic credit rules, etc. Often the EE work is an errant student or two working well into their spare time for zero credit, and more often an ME that’s stretching beyond their common 1st year subjects. There is very little sponsorship (if any) for cells and the stuff is expensive down here. Industry involvement is scant and at most universities academic support is similarly so - almost no academic is paid to run/administer FSAE. Resources are generally limited.

    I would personally love to have students make and break motors, packs and the like in the spirit of getting somewhere. I’ve done as much after university though it took moving to a new continent, at which point (like most Australians) I discovered the world was very large, engineering was taken very seriously elsewhere, that there was actually money for the stuff I’d studied and that my skills were competitive with the best the world offered… and slightly enhanced by having going through uni pulling miracles on zero budget. But I was a long way from home then, and now that I’m back home I don’t work in automotive engineering. It broadly doesn’t exist here anymore.

    There are guys in F1 that work with Zurich on a weekly basis, and that’s great. The only three ex-F1 guys that see the entire Australian competition turn up once a year to judge aero.

    Australia will get back there. It will just take time.

    We can distil this over a 4.2 second run, though really there’s so much more to it. I hope you understand.

  7. #17
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    Julian,

    ...You have very big claims ... your claims are just gut feelings...
    All my "claims" are based on real observations of real stuff that really works out there in the real world. Really!

    Like my long held claim that 30 kW (40 hp) is available per square centimetre of restrictor area, which all FS-ers said was BS. Until I spent one minute googling the umpteen prior-art examples.

    Or my claim that an FS-car can win with Direct-Acting-Spring-Dampers, which was again ridiculed because "... these cars absolutely MUST have Push/PullRods&Rockers...".

    Given that the myth of "...we cannot win without P/PR&Rs..." was debunked so long ago, it is AMaZing how many teams still run them, yes? Surely a design decision driven purely by Pathos?

    Z

  8. #18
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    The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY.
    =============================

    (For you young-uns who don't believe a masterpiece can be made on a miniscule budget, click on this...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFa1-kciCb4
    Read the comments to get a taste of the dialogue. )
    ~o0o~

    The final results have finally been released,
    http://saea.com.au/2017-Results
    ... so let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

    As a brief overview, the competition this year was split into two separate divisions of C- and E-cars, unlike last year where all results were combined. Personally, I preferred the all-together approach, because it makes the dynamic comparisons easier, and this write-up would be shorter.

    Sixteen C-cars entered and competed, of which ONLY 5 scored "performance" points in all dynamic events. Mark = 31% = FAIL!

    Nine E-cars entered and competed, of which ONLY 4 scored "performance" points in all dynamic events. Mark = 44% = FAIL!

    Overall, 25 cars entered, and ONLY 9 managed to "... drive 30 kms...". Mark = 36% = BIG FAT FAIL!!!

    So below are some of the highlights, and lowlights, of the cars I had time to look at. Note that because of the unnecessary and onerous burden of my performing the utterly useless function of "DJ" (more on that below), I did not have time to look closely at all the cars.
    ~~~o0o~~~

    Part 1. The GOOD.
    ==============
    The Clint Eastwood in this spagetti-western, held at Calder Park, December 2017, was undoubtedly Monash with cars #66 and #E65. First place in almost every event in both C and E divisions. 'Nuff said.
    ~o0o~

    Honourable mentions to:

    2nd C-Place - #10 Wollongong.
    New engine this year, going from their previous, comp-winning, four, to a turboed single. As a result they were late getting the car running (eventually N-A only), which is BAD. But (!), this team also runs an almost independent "race division" that throughout the year took their old car to track, and thus learned how to properly set-up a car, drive it, and so on. Hence, moderate success. Only "moderate" because 225 points behind Monash's C-car!
    ~o0o~

    3rd C-Place - #14 Curtin.
    As always, a very well-built car, but in previous years it has been oh-so "last century" in concept. That is, four cylinders, spaceframe, and 13" wheels. This year they swapped the 13s for 10s, which didn't hold them back any, despite the car still being quite heavy (= claimed 215 kg, still waiting for real weights...).

    Next year there are much bigger changes in the air, but it is up to the team if they want to talk about that. I hope they simplify everything else, in order to get the new-concept finished early enough for sufficient Testing & Development. More T&D this year would have put them well ahead of 'Gong.
    ~o0o~

    4th C-Place - #63 UNSW.
    In past years this team has had too many DNS/Fs. This year they ran quite reliably. Yes, they have been busy at the test-track with old and new cars throughout the year!

    A simpler car (= toss all the junk), earlier build-finish, thus even more driver-seat-time, will have this team higher up the ladder in 2018. (BTW, Albert, in case I wasn't clear enough at the Driver Swap day, your method of torsional-testing the car is right, provided you use the right numbers, and your explanation of the problem of over-constrained torsion-testing was spot-on.)
    ~o0o~

    5th C-place - #101 Melbourne.
    Sorry, didn't have time for a good look.
    ~o0o~

    6th C-Place - #15 ADFA.
    Ahhh..., well even Clint did a lot of bad things in that movie.

    In recent years ADFA would aim for a small, simple car, but nevertheless would usually "...failed to proceed" in the dynamic events. This year the car was much bigger (= massive in every direction), more complicated (= stupidly expensive PRs&Rs, and a TURBO!), but ran very reliably.

    The most surprising thing is that despite their claimed weight of 220 kg, and the ~60 kW turboed-510cc-single spinning the rears most everywhere on track (because only ~50%R!), they came a very close second in Fuel-Efficiency (96/100 points)! The really baffling thing here is that ADFA got that good FE result while having relatively slow lap-times, typically around 1:35s against the ~1:15s of the fastest cars. Also worth mentioning that their lap-times were quite consistent, and the drivers seemed to be pushing the car very close to its limit. So something very wrong VD-wise, somewhere.

    Note that I am NOT steadfastly against turbos. I actually like them. But mainly because they allow a lightweight, low-vibration, engine (eg. a 250 cc single in FSAE) to give "adequate" power, whilst also having exceptionally low fuel usage. As long as you can make them work reliably, as ADFA did this year, then go for it.

    Anyway, if ADFA toss all the unnecessary junk (= PRs&Rs), slim the whole car down from XXXL to maybe just L, keep the now reliable turboed-engine, but squash it up to the rear-axle for better R%, and KEEP THE OVERALL RELIABILITY (= much driver-seat-time), then they will also climb the ladder.
    ~o0o~

    2nd E-Place - UTS.
    This team is also climbing the ladder, and have leap-frogged the usual past E-winner of RMIT-E. UTS's focus seems to be on energy efficiency, which is good. Their dynamic times were also very good, especially for a car with no aero, which is also a good sign.
    ~o0o~

    Bad news next...

    Z

  9. #19
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    The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY (continued...).
    =======================================

    I will keep this as brief as I can...

    In the movie, Lee Van Cleef, playing the baddie, was known as "Angel Eyes". Sadly, in my discussions with the some of the teams below, I felt more like I was talking to a "Rat With A Gold Tooth"!



    Peddling bulldust, blarney, and bare-faced lies, does NOT maketh a good engineer. Used-car salesman yes, politician maybe, but engineer NO.
    ~~~o0o~~~

    Part 2. The BAD.
    ============
    C-Car - #12 RMIT.
    I didn't get a close look at this car, but why bother? It is all but identical to the turboed-500cc-Genesis-engine, carbon-fibre-monocoque+wishbones+wheels++, 3-D-printed-titanium-everything-else, custom-CF-fully-stressed-transaxle, 2015 and 2016 cars, which HAVE NOT TURNED A WHEEL in three years of competition. Well, they managed a few acceleration runs one year, before the transaxle broke.

    This team is in freefall. They should be locked up for stealing taxpayers money!
    ~o0o~

    C-Car - #111 Griffith.
    Griffith was a first-year team in 2015 and finished middle-of-ladder, mainly by completing Enduro. In 2016 they improved to 8th place out of 32 entrants, including 1st-place in Accel, and a very close 3rd in Enduro (321.9/325 pts). So, could we expect onwards and upwards in 2017?

    Well, the New Management's stated goal was "incremental improvement". The "increment" was clearly very small, because their 2017 car was, like RMIT above, all but identical to last year's car. Fair enough, last year's car was a reasonably good design, just finished too late for proper Testing & Development. So, was the plan to finish the car early, get in lots of T&D, and perhaps aim for top-3 overall?

    Well, RWAGT made it clear that he wasn't at Uni to learn how to change wheels! Furthermore, I recall mention of "...performance goals of top-3 in Accel, top-5 in Enduro...". Clearly, the aim was to stand still, or possibly slip backwards a bit. So no surprise when they claimed that the car was driving ~4 weeks before comp, though no evidence of how hard it was being driven. So, what were the actual results, on track?

    In Accel-Event the Griffith car was SIXTH fastest of the 14 cars that managed to turn up. Interesting to note that they spruiked this result on Facebook as "2nd-place", by ignoring the four E-cars in front of them. Similarly, they were 8th of 12 in SP, 12th of 16 in AutoX, and only completed 7 laps in Enduro, and very SLOW laps at that.

    What about the Static Events? Again on Facebook they boasted "...a massive improvement in static events...", when in fact they went backwards, with 241 points in 2016, against 233 points in 2017. Fact is, they should have gone backwards even further, especially in Design. Despite DE being on Friday, namely before the dynamic events on Saturday and Sunday, I could see a poor performance coming, and there was no good excuse for bad dynamic performance given they had a whole year to polish a provenly good car. But they spent the whole year treading water. So I gave them very low points for my CI&Management section.

    They sensed this, and protested to the DE Captain saying that the judging was not at the scheduled time or place. True, everything was running late, so I agreed to finish talking to them as they pushed their car back to the pits. So DE Captain granted them a re-assessment, and sent over two much younger judges, who, frankly, swallowed RWAGT's BS, and gave Griffith a much higher mark for that section. The squeaky wheel got the grease!

    Anyway, to any prospective employers reading this, DO NOT EMPLOY these dimwits because they will send you broke!
    ~~~o0o~~~

    And finally we get to...

    Part 3. The UGLY.
    =============
    C-Car - #29 Western Sydney U.
    What to say? Last year, after spending TWO years building their car (started at beginning of 2015!), they managed to pull off a feat unprecedented in the Western world. They managed to get beaten by ALL the Indian teams at the Oz-comp. They came dead last.

    This year they spent even more of their vast resources, which I know they have, because I visited them early in the year and saw what they have to play with, and they again turned up with essentially the same, rusty (!), car as last year. However, it was now actually running, albeit only at a walking pace, so they beat one Indian team. Yes, second last place, so they claimed success!

    Honestly, everything this team has done in the last three years is WOEFUL!!! Including their pathetic attempts to BS me by telling me they have "...driven the wheels off the car..." in testing. Another one for future employers to avoid like the plague.
    ~o0o~

    Enough for now, ... I have to go outside and vomit...

    Z

  10. #20
    Would add that it's pretty incredible that AFDA gets a car together with 2nd and 3rd year students.

    Would also add that UTS did actually have aero. Wing-wise they didn't have a Batmobile, though they had good justification for what they had, and the simulations were spot-on.

    Please RMIT-C, if still around next year just run the same car with a lot of testing. As in... finish it. And what happened to the engine? Sounded amazing in prior years, sounded ill in '17.

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