Team: The RoadRunners
Role: Powertrain Engineer
Duration: January 2012 - June 2014
Advisor: Prof AK Babu and Prof Bhaskara Rao
Institute: Vellore Institute of Technology, Chennai - India
The RoadRunners is an engineering project team which designs, builds and races off road vehicles for BAJA SAE collegiate competition. The competition is broken down into static events and dynamic events. Static events consist of design, cost report, sales presentation and technical inspection. Dynamic events comprise of maneuverability course, an acceleration track and a hill climb. At the ends, there is a 4 hour endurance race, where participating teams race together.
Spacecrafts fascinate me, especially mission control and the team celebration after a successful launch. BAJA SAE provided an opportunity to live this experience: develop a design into a product under engineering and resource constraints through team effort. The stakes were high since the car simply had to get built! Period.
BAJA SAE was my first opportunity to be a part of the complete product development cycle - design, build and test through collective collaboration. It was an exciting and daunting time since this was a startup - we were the first team from our college. It provided an opportunity to approach engineering problems from cost, sales and ergonomics point of view. A typical day would comprise of SolidWorks FEA simulation of gears, selecting flux for MIG welding, coordinating logistics to import transmission components and fundraising.
I faced and navigated challenges which all organizations encounter. BAJA SAE has been the most challenging (consequently, most memorable) experience till date
Money! (like most startups, we engaged in extensive fundraising efforts)
Conformance to BAJA SAE design rules and SAE safety standards (Eg: no engine modifications, top speed limit, fuel inlet design, rollcage material testing )
Design for X (X: cost, weight, performance, endurance)
Recruit and mentor the next generation to ensure continuity
Only first time team to use Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Successfully completed 4 hour long endurance race
Secured 65/120 teams and 22/48 for first time teams
Transmission assembly - spur gear, belt drive, shaft, bearing selection and chain drive calculations
2D/3D engineering drawings, BOM in SolidWorks CAD
FEA analysis using SolidWorks Simulation
Project specifications to meet SAE standards
Troubleshoot mechanical issues using DFMEA and Root cause analysis (RCA)
Welding process selection and planning
Cost analysis and weight optimization