Campus: CSU, Long Beach -- May 07, 2001
First-Year Team from Cal State Long Beach Hoping It
Has the Right Formula for Indy Competition
Tucked away in an Engineering Technology workshop, a group of Cal State
Long Beach students has worked diligently day and night for months,
creating from scratch the vehicle it will enter in the 2001 Formula
Student Association of Engineers Indy competition.
The event, the largest SAE competition with 125 schools from all over
the world scheduled to attend, takes place May 16-20 at the Silverdome
in Detroit, Mich.
"As a first-year team it's been a battle for us in many ways,"
says Justin Cileo, a junior mechanical engineering student heading up
the group. "It's been hard to recruit people to work on this without
a first car to show them. We do, however, have a core group of individuals
that are very involved in the design and manufacturing."
The first-year group has a lot of obstacles to over come, many of them
financial. They believe those barriers will ease after the CSULB's initial
year of competition.
"Next year when we have something to show we will be able to get
more outside support and more interest from individuals wanting to work
on the project," says a confident Cileo. "The outside money
is the hardest thing to get. We've gotten excellent support from industry
in parts and materials. Caltime Metals has provided the tubing for both
ours and the Mini Baja cars, free, 100 percent."
So, with or without outside support, the group has steadfastly moved
the project forward, sometimes working on it from the early morning
hours to well past midnight. Don't ask where they spent their spring
vacation. That much-needed break from school allowed them to accelerate
the "catch up" phase of their project. The effort has been
well worth it, according to Cileo.
"We have learned so much on this project in the last eight or nine
months it has blown my mind," says Cileo. "I have read four
or five books, including outside of class about design and techniques.
I by myself have sat down and learned modeling programs and computer
programs and we're learning analysis. It's amazing. My head is just
overwhelmed. I'm loving it and it's incredible."
While the (off road) Mini Baja race car team at CSULB has been in existence
for a number of years, the idea to compete in the Formula SAE road race
was conceived just last spring. It wasn't until the summer of 2000 the
decision was made to move ahead with the project.
"We didn't get started building it until late last fall because
of money issues," says Robin Miller, the other main team leader.
"We needed money before we could actually begin. We've been fortunate
though, because the majority of the parts, if they are not donated we
have gotten an awesome deal."
Working with a 610 cc, 4-cycle a piston engine, the group does have
intake restrictions limiting the power they can produce, but they will
still be able to achieve between 70 and 80 horsepower.
"We'll have a car that does zero to 60 in just over three seconds
with top speeds of 70-80 miles per hour," says Cileo, "but
that's because or the course restraints. If we were on a difference
course, this car would have the ability to do over 100 miles per hour.
But because of the competition we are in, we have it geared for top
speeds of 70-80 miles an hour, with really quick acceleration."
In addition to the actual competition, the main objective of SAE is
to have competitors create car that can be designed and produced for
less that $30,000 retail. The vehicle needs to be able to sell to multiple
buyers at an economical price, be able to perform well, and will be
easy and affordable to maintain.
Each team is required to create a manufacturing process, kind of a virtual
factory, that maps out an assembly line and put it all together and
present why and how the car was built and how four vehicles can be produced
per day for an undetermined number of days.
"You want to build it for less that $30,000," says Miller.
"If you can build a high performance car for a lot less money,
it looks better to prospective panel."
The team plans to run the car hard at least twice before it heads to
Michigan. That way, if something needs to be fixed or adjusted, it can
be done before the competition.
"We don't expect any problems, but you have to anticipate them,"
says Miller. "I'm very excited. I think it's going to do really
well. Anything that would break would be easily fixable. The idea of
racing is to make it as light as you can without overbuilding it and
making it too strong. Hopefully we didn't make it too light."
"Our goal is to be the number one, first-year school," says
Cileo. "There are university's working with budgets between $50-60,000
with 50-60 people working on it as part of a class project. They have
huge teams and histories that go back 25 years in the competition so
we are up against some pretty good, experience competition."
In addition to Cileo and Miller, the remainder of the team is sophomores
Timothy Dalton, Brian Schoepfer, Khoa Ton That, Dillon Sandoval, Ricky
Torres and juniors Oladele Adajare, Brett Felsher, Eddie Anderson, and
Kirt Dyess. All are mechanical engineering majors except Anderson, who
is majoring in electrical engineering.