Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wrap Up

The following post written by the faculty advisor:

The 2010 IMSTEA Super Mileage Challenge went well for us in spite of some weather related and illness issues. Rich had the car done with plenty of time to spare. We tested everything a couple of days ahead of time and it was all systems go. When we left on Sunday morning the weather was looking a little wet with little chance of improvement in the forecast. It continued to rain all day Sunday, which meant the cancellation of the outdoor turn and braking tests that the cars normally have to go through at tech inspection. Also, because everyone was trying to stay dry, I didn't get the chance to see many of the other cars in the competition like I normally do. Our car breezed through the inspection process with nothing needing to be worked on.

Senator Lugar made an appearance and addressed the group. It was a little hard to hear him due to the acoustics of the Vincennes University airplane hanger, but it was a nice pep talk to the group about the importance of the work the students are doing working towards the goal of reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil. As always, the nice folks at Vincennes fed all the team members with hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings.

Since this was to be my last year of involvement with the high mileage project, I bought a for sale sign and taped that to the car with all the contact information prior to leaving Sunday morning. It paid off with Vincennes university buying the car at tech inspection, with the agreement being they would take possession of the car after the conclusion of the competition on Monday. That was a relief - I wouldn't even have to transport the car back home!

Monday dawned cold and rainy and our team captain was sick as a dog. I think he had a touch of food poisoning. I felt real bad for him but he toughed it out and made it through the day. IMSTEA was using a new timing and scoring system this year and had a few problems with it. The first race didn't go off until 9:00, rather than the normal 8:00. Rich got our car out in the second wave but unfortunately, he lost count of the laps and pulled in too early. We got three more runs in, or so we thought, before cutting a tire and ending our day. About that time the weather improved but we were all pretty much ready to turn the car over to Vincennes, so we posed for the team photo and called it good. We had two young ladies from the school yearbook come down with the team on Monday, so they took the official portrait for us. I'm anxious to see what they come up with when the yearbook comes out.

The results for most teams were much lower than normal this year. I'm sure the windy weather and rain were the primary culprits. Mater Dei was the big winner again with 1004.02 miles per gallon followed by Warsaw High school with 775.31. The scores dropped off considerably after that with the next ones being in the 400 range. Our official mileage was 120.94 mpg. That included a DNF score for one run that we thought was good. Our highest was about 180. Not good but there were four unlimited class cars that did not complete even one run. There were 39 schools entered.

All in all, it's been a good run. We've had some great sponsors and supporters - thanks to all of you. I've had the pleasure of working with some very fine young men and women - thanks also to you. The biggest roadblock to my continued involvement is time. The project takes a lot of my non-school time and due to other commitments, I just don't have that much time to give. Thanks everyone and remember that petroleum reserves are finite - we are going to run out. Use our resources wisely.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This week we have already begun the final steps on the car's assembly. The new sprocket has been machined because the one from last year was damaged in the wreck. We have removed the axle to place the new one on. We received our Mono-Kote. This is going to be used as the outer shell of the car. It is lightweight and aerodynamic, which is perfect for this competition. Once the axle is placed back into the car, all that is needed to be done is the outer shell, rear engine cover, and the wheel covers. After this, the car is ready to be tested and improved if needed. With around a month left, we should have plenty of time to get this car ready for race day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making Progress

Well, we are finally back to making progress on the car again. Rich has been working on it every second he can get the last few days. Our piece of aluminum finally came in and Rich has already fastenened it to the car. This piece is used as the floor of the car. We are mounting two braces for support where the most weight will be applied by the driver. Once this piece is completely installed, there are only a few details to be done. One thing we are waiting on is a piece for the axle to be machined. This piece was damaged in last years wreck. Another thing we are waiting on is the Mono-Kote we will use as the outer skin of the car. Other than these, the end of the building stage is in sight.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Well, we are finally back into the swing of things. Now that all the paper work is completed and we received our acceptance letter, we have resumed work on the car. The past couple of weeks Rich has made a few adjustments. He has modified the rear end design of the previous year. The rear end is just sheet metal that comes to a point in the back to help the car be more aerodynamic. It also has a hole in the back for the exhaust so it does not fill up the engine compartment.

Today he is working on mounting the side view mirrors to the car. IMSTEA requires the mirrors to be a minimum of 7 square inches for each mirror and a mirror on each side of the car. Hopefully he will have the mounting plates fabricated by the end of the day and maybe even have them mounted to the car.

The sheet metal for the floor is ordered and Mr. Mengel is working on machining a piece for the drive train. We still need one new tire and then other than putting on the Mono-Kote covering, the car should be pretty close to done.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

End of The Semester

The past week has been pretty hectic with the end of semester finals and all, so it has been hard trying to find time to come up with a post. Now the finals are done and it is the last day before break.

Recently Rich got all the wiring run and ready to be hooked up. We have pretty much finished the proposal with the exception of the drawings but those should be completed by the time we come back from break. Once we come back we'll be working diligently to finish the car, so Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tail Section

This week we made some pretty decent progress. We have the fire extinguisher hose to direct it into the engine compartment ready to be put in. The past couple of days Rich has laid out the design of the rear engine cover. We laid it out using cardboard in order to get the basic shape of it. We are designing it so that it will be aerodynamic as well as removable to make servicing the engine easier. As of right now, we have our minds set on constructing it out of fiberglass. We also have a couple of people working on our proposal and our design drawings. These are pretty well finished but they need a few revisions to make them more professional looking.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gas Tank & Fire Extinguisher Mounts

Because it was a short week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we didn't get a lot done but Rich got the gas tank mount made and installed. The tank has to be easily removed by the inspectors at the competition. Rich and I also figured out where to mount the fire extinguisher and he got the bracket made and welded on for it. The extinguisher is mounted so that if there is a fire in the engine compartment, all the driver has to do is pull the pin and squeeze the handle. The dry chemical powder goes through a hose and comes out a nozzle aimed at the engine and carburetor. Mr. Mengel is going to pick up the hose this weekend for us.