Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect

 Test driving has been going well so far! It's exciting to see Chopper del Sol running again and performing well. We've discovered plenty of useful details along the way that need some tweaking. Since the weather has been reaching the high 90's, all four of our drivers are also getting plenty of practice. Thus far, we have used the MIT track at Steinbrenner stadium to practice the driving technique for the FSPG event. We also have conducted miniature tests for scrutineering at a nearby parking lot such as the figure-8 test and slalom course. Check out our experiences below:

Testing the acceleration at Steinbrenner stadium!
Dillon chats with Tom during test driving at the parking lot.
Tom checks the brakes before Dillon starts the car.
Kelly bikes around the solar car.

Lunch break!
Our new sandwich club!

Practicing for the slalom test.

The Figure-8 Test requires that any driver be able to complete a figure-8 around two 6m radius circles in less than 18 seconds.

 The Slalom Test requires that any driver must be able to weave in and out of a 126m course with cones every 18m in less than 11.5 seconds.

Countdown: 10 days!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Counting Down the Seconds

Sorry for the late blog post! Things have been getting pretty hectic around the shop in preparation for our first test drive. However, almost all the electrical and mechanical components are ready to go! We predict to take our first test drive later today or tomorrow.

One of our recently assembled electrical components is our shiny new steering wheel. Kai Cao, an MIT graduate student, designed and built it for electrical organization and driver compatibility. It now includes all the basic driver commands such as turning signals, emergency lights, speedometer, etc. Check it out below:
So shiny! And the handles have comfortable grips. 
All of the inside electrical components of the wheel.
A closer look at the main hardware. 

Chopper del Sol is almost complete thanks to these guys:

The electrical team works on the printed circuit boards.
George and Dillon are machining kevlar composites for body attachment pieces.

Dillon prepares to CNC machine canopy attachment pieces.
Kai analyzes some code on his laptop.

We also were shown on the ABC Chronicle tv show last Thursday night! The episode featured how people used alternative energy fuels and methods to efficiently power vehicles. Check out the video on their website here:

20 days left until ASC! LEZZ GOOOO

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Great Start

The basic mechanical system is complete and drives like a dream! We took the bottom half of the car outside today and pushed it manually to get a feel for the car. Although we only tested in the back alley of our shop, the steering was easy and the car rolled smoothly. We plan to test the entire car including the electrical system this coming Tuesday. Here are some pictures and a video!

Chopper del Sol's mechanical system basking in the sun.

Bruce and Dillon bring out the car for some testing.

Dillon pushes Julia around in the car.

Go! Go! Go!


Dillon is focusing very intensely. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

32 Days Left

The weather in Boston has been dreary and rainy all week, so we've decided to start testing early next week. Until then, we've been working on many details to improve Chopper del Sol. One of those details is the composite body. The body has all its components attached, but needs a lot of sanding to make its edges smoother. On the mechanical side, the suspension system is complete and the braking system is nearly done. The brake caliper mounts were CNC machined today and will be attached to the uprights soon. On the electrical side, the array board has been modified and its pcb (printed circuit board) came in the mail today. Its assembly is in the works. Below are some pictures of these processes:

Dillon is preparing to CNC machine the brake caliper mounts using HSMWorks.

The CNC mill is being prepped.

The CNC mill is doin its thang.  

Rose examines the pcb layout to determine which electrical components need to be assembled.

 Rose is picking out the correct surface-mount resistor.

Time to solder everything!

 Part of the array board CAN code.

 Rose is comparing codes on the shop computer.

Top half of Chopper del Sol.

The nose is currently being sanded after adding micro. 

 Only one more month until ASC! GET PUMPED.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

ASC Update

Hi everyone,

We hope your summer has been going well! In preparation for ASC, we've been working around the clock and will have Chopper del Sol test driving in a couple of days. Here's some pictures of what we've been working on:

Dillon and Rose are sanding the fairings for better aerodynamics! And for character building.

The suspension system is lookin sweeeet.

Our drivers are trying to fit into the chassis and discussing where to put the electrical switches.

We would also like to thank our new sponsor, Panasonic, for supplying us new batteries!

New Sponsor: Cabot

We would like a give a big shout-out to one of our greatest new sponsors, Cabot! Cabot is a materials company headquartered in Boston that mainly supplies rubber, carbon black, inkjet colorants, and a variety of other industrial grade products. They have been a huge help in the process and we are grateful for their support!