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Thread: The ever popular diet

  1. #1
    My team went to comp this past year out west. We took our first real car. We had an idea of what to expect, but one thing that caught us off guard was the weight of other cars. I'm not asking for you to give up your team's bread and butter for weight loss, but what are some areas that you can typically lose pounds. We are in the process of designing our 08 car and trying very hard to lose weight. Any major area we should look into? I'm not sure if anyone will respond to this seeing as it's a pretty competitive field, but any general ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Just for background purposes, our car weight was 533lb without driver. We are eliminating the dry-sump system (yes we have weighed this decision, and do not take it lightly) and are going over every other system we have. Once again any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Nick Gilkey
    University of Louisville

  2. #2
    Every little bit counts. Every fraction of an ounce adds up.
    Last year we set a weight savings percentage goal and met it. Every part/system on the car had to be XX% lighter than the one on the previous years car.
    Setting and meeting goals, and a near obsession with weight-savings is how you can stick to that diet. (All while retaining the reliability to keep the car together)

  3. #3
    lets see... chassis, powertrain, electrical system, body and any thing else related to those systems. I dont see how you can take your design and make it as light as a number listed on the forum without some type of analysis. Whats stopping you from making it lighter without this information?

  4. #4
    Assuming you're set on a wheel size and engine size...

    Take a look at the weights of all your sub-systems, and try to identify where you can save some weight. Do a little benchmarking to see where you need improving, and where you're doing ok. Very easily (except maybe on the pocketbook), you can save a bunch of weight by identifying off-the-shelf components that will save you weight (especially wheels, engines, dampers, and stuff you wouldnt think about like batteries).

    From there, assign a weight savings budget for every sub-system, and work towards that. You'll find it easier to meet a goal when it is very clearly defined.

    Also note you can save a lot of weight by clever packaging: using brackets for many purposes, arranging your suspension mounts to exploit existing tubing or monocoque planes.

    Then look at the rules for minimum wall thicknesses: try to minimize the length of tubes with a minimum wall thickness.

    Then the devil is in the details: properly sizing components and such. I doubt most of your gain will come here though.

    Matt Gignac
    McGill Racing Team

  5. #5
    Find a small, short Asian female driver and design the car around her....make sure shes good looking too for the rest of us.
    Mike Duwe
    UWP Alumni

    Former Drivetrain Leader and Team Captain

  6. #6
    size your fasteners properly. Even the best teams out there use stuff that's WAY too big (I'm talking 5/16" rod ends on pushrods!). I have never seen a FSAE suspension that wasn't overbuilt (including mine). PSU is probably the closest to doing it right IMO.
    "Gute Fahrer haben die Fliegenreste auf den Seitenscheiben."
    --Walter Röhrl

  7. #7
    Put alot of speed holes.
    Phd - Materials Science
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Former FSAE Windsor 08 Body team
    Former Supermileage Windsor 09 Body team

  8. #8
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by flavorPacket:
    I have never seen a FSAE suspension that wasn't overbuilt (including mine). [QUOTE]

    Found one.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJL4-wGPjCo

  9. #9
    If you post pictures of your car we would probably be able to give better suggestions. But from my experience I would first focus on drivetrain and suspension since rotating and unsprung weight is most important. Then just pay attention to all of the small details on the car. Insignificant things quickly add up to a lot of weight. For example we used 1/4in fasteners on almost everything on are car just because we had a lot of them. We dropped a significant amount of weight by using rivets and tiny fasteners on many items.
    Chris Meissen

  10. #10
    I absolutely agree about incorporating the right mindset regarding weight. During my build, one guy said I was going overboard, "It's only a pound." Yeah, that's exactly how people end up fat, too. Every single ounce matters! Also, if you have 24 suspension bolts, and each one is "only" two ounces overweight, that's three pounds over! Also, trim your bolts so they have the minimum thread out past the nut. Any longer and it's throwing performance way for no reason except laziness.

    And agreed about getting an Asian girl driver - of course I like Asian women!
    Tube-frame, carbon composite-shell, Honda-powered, mid-engine Mini: www.kimini.com.
    Buy my book: How to design and build a mid-engine sports car - from scratch. http://www.kimini.com/book_info/

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