Sunday, March 28, 2010

Competition Results

Well it's been a long 4 days, but we've made it through!

There was a lot of trouble with getting the engine running properly but we did manage to get in one successful run. We consumed 17.8 ml of fuel and received a score of 1324 miles per gallon. We almost didn't make our second run, but Northern Arizona University offered us their spot in line! The officials had the line closed off because of time, but because of NAU's generousity, we were able to make another attempt. All was looking good until the last lap, when a gust of wind blew our fairing off. We told Tim to keep going, but he couldn't because when the fairing blew off, it also hit the external kill switch. It took us a while to figure out that the kill switch was hit, but once Tim was able to switch it back, he floored it around the rest of the track at wide open throttle. When he came in, we were 8 seconds over the time limit. We ended up using only 0.02 ml more fuel than our first run, so we wonder how much we could have saved if Tim didn't have to floor it around half of the track. The top fairing is pretty beat up from flying around and the bottom fairing cracked earlier in the competition, so this might be the Black Widow's last leg....

Well, it was a great learning experience for our young team. We look forward to coming back the the 2011 Shell Eco marathon. Congratulations to Laval University for another win and an impressive 2488 miles per gallon!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Eco-marathon 2010: Tech Inspection and Practice Runs

Thursday (tech inspections) and Friday (practice runs) have pretty much come to a close, and here's where we stand.

We spent all of Thursday and most of Friday getting the engine started. It turned out there were several problems with it that we weren't aware of (most of us had been focusing on the Urban Concept vehicle). You'll have to forgive me (Bob) if these technical details aren't 100% correct, I'm a computer engineer, not a mechanical engineer.

From what I understand, our first problem was that when the engine was reassembled (we took it apart to clean it after competition last year) the camshaft gear was put in backwards, causing gas to spray out the intake manifold. Once the engine was rebuilt correctly (with the help of our spare engine for reference), we still had problems. It turned out to be a slightly bent push rod, and the fact that the push rods were completely tightened to the rocker arms. You need about 10-20 thousandths of an inch gap between the push rods and rocker arms so that the valves can close completely.

After a day and a half of engine debugging, it finally started:

Once the engine started, we got it idling decently and rushed to tech inspection to try to get the car passed Friday night. We successfully passed tech on the first try, although we still need to get our second driver to clear the cone slalom so that he can drive. We'll try to get that done right when tech opens tomorrow morning at 9:30am.

Our goals for the rest of Friday night include tightening up the spark timing at higher RPMs, repairing some small cracks in the monocoque body, and adjusting our steering to un-Zoolander our car (it doesn't turn left very well). We're hoping to hit the track for the first competitive run of the day tomorrow morning at 10am.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Houston in 1 week!!!

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posting! It's been a mad house over here with finals happening THIS week. Some exciting things happened the last couple of weeks that are worth noting:

Gabe and Verent got invited to bring the Prototype vehicle down to the ECO:nomics conference in SB. Here are some pictures from the event. (Sorry, resolutions are off. Please click pictures to view the full image)

It's funny though...I'm not sure anyone at the conference was supporting cap and trade.

Don't be too disappointed, our car was there also.

Also, we've been hard at work at getting the prototype in top shape. It's been rather neglected the last few months, but we're kicking it into gear now! Or should I say kicking it into sprocket? (haha, don't mind me, I'm an engineer)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Week 9 Updates

For those of you who missed the article, here is the link to that:

KSBY, a local news station also featured us on the evening news last week. Seems we've been getting a lot of media attention recently!

The aluminum wheel centers mentioned a couple posts ago have been thinned down a bit. We're done manufacturing all 4 of them as well.

The new material came in to re-do the front axles, and the design for the rear axles is done, so that will be started this Saturday.

Tomorrow, Gabe and Verent are headed down to Santa Barbara for the ECO:nomics conference put on by Wall Street Journal and sponsored by Shell. They'll be showcasing the prototype car down there. It should be exciting! The President of Shell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, and President of Walt Disney will be there, just to name a few! Check out more on the conference here.

Pictures to come soon! We're all working hard and with finals coming up in a couple of weeks, there isn't much time to get on here and update.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week 7 Victories and defeats

Much more progress has been made on the foam. We're close to ready for creating the fiberglass mold off of the foam part.

We also machined the triangular spline pattern into the front spindles today. Perfect fit!....

except our fatal flaw: the bolt holes are the wrong spacing. The brake disks can't mount to these properly. This might set us back a couple of weeks.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Urban Concept becoming a reality!

So we got some major work done on the foam plug, wheel centers and front axles this past weekend. Take a look at some images of what we did on Saturday.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Meeting Times for Winter Quarter

Meetings for winter quarter are on Thursdays from 12pm - 1pm in 13-109. Work days are on Saturdays at 10am in the hangar. We'll need all hands on deck as we shape foam, lay up carbon fiber and fiberglass, and complete construction of the Urban Concept vehicle.

The design portion is relatively finished at this point. The chassis is built, the engine is running, and the seat layup has been done. Time to focus on the fairing, wheels, steering, and electronics! In addition, will be making some minor tweaks to the prototype to fix some problems from last year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meeting Times for Fall Quarter

Meetings for fall quarter are on Thursdays from 11am - 12pm in 13-109. Work days are on Saturdays at 10am in the hangar.

Design reviews for the Urban Concept car will most likely take place on December 3rd. Stay tuned for a time and location.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

CP Supermileage Sweeps Egg Drop Competition

One of our members decided to make some impromptu egg drop protectors for an egg drop competition on campus. A few hours of work ended up securing us 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place with prize money totally $1,000.

There appears to be a future for this team in egg drop competitions. Keep checking back for an official announcement of our national egg drop tour!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CENG Press Release/Cal Poly News Center Post

A couple more on campus publicity postings are up.

The College of Engineering has a press release up at There is a small error on there because I made earlier on the blog that they copied. Obviously, we won 3rd place in the Advanced Technology Award not the Advantage Technology Award.

The news center has an aggregation of links at