In our Metalshop classes, we build race cars to drive in the Electrathon America Racing Series!! How cool is that?!?
Each student team builds a car from the ground up to travel as far as possible in one hour on only 72 lbs. of lead acid batteries. We race against lots of other students and adults in towns and on race tracks all across this country on the weekends from March to July. We learn a lot and have tons of fun! This website documents our building process. Please leave comments and/or questions!
Please click on a team below to see their recent progress.
2010-2011 CHS Electrathon Team
Arney Castro, Branden WIngard, Angel Maldanado
Austin Morris, Dustin Comer, Cabot Roe, Matt Petty
Lane Munyon, Jake Walker, Nick Hardisty
Kalie Brunton, Sam Schwarz
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These first two pictures are of the on/off switches brackets I built. They are used to place the switches on the car. They were simple to make: the flat-rectangular on I made by laying out the shape, cutting it with the power sheer and drilling out the hole, but the second one was a little more complex because it’s angled and we used a plasma cutter to make the hole.
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We have recently been making a lot of progress in the last few weeks. Now we have got our plastic for our windshield and seems like it will work perfect for what were doing. We are also on our second layer of Bondo. I just finished sanding and laying the second coat to our nose. Right now we are working on how we are going to hold both of them down and have began to make brackets for them. In weeks to come we hope to have the nose painted and ready to race in the upcoming weeks!
Lately on our electric car, we have accomplished proper steering handles by Angle Maldonado and Arnulfo Castro is working on several harness plates. Steering handles are positioned on both sides of our electric car, on the upper frame. The geometry of the steering handles is an important part when crafting them because one would like to be comfortable and have enough room to move within the driver’s seat area. The harness plates are very helpful in holding the driver down in the seat of the car for security. The harness plates are made out of 1”x2” metal plates with a drilled hole. Without the steering handles, it would be extremely difficult to steer our electric car and without the harness plates we wouldn’t have a safe, secure place to sit in our electric car.
I started with my nose covered in terry cloth and covered it in resin to make it nice and hard. I had to wait 24 hours for it to dry. When it was finished drying it was very sharp. So me and my team mate Lane Munyon took turns sanding it. It took us about 2 class periods of sanding it to make it not so sharp. The reason behind us making this is to make our car more aerodynamic. And now it is ready to bondo to fix up the imperfections.
Our team is doing well so far, we are almost completed with the car just a few more things to be added on. The pictures shown are what the car looks like two days ago. We added the nose on to the car; Matt also just added the floorboard of our car. Cabot was working on the cross bracing for the car but is now done. Dustin put on extra support in case of rolling so the driver is not injured, and Austin put on the seat belt mounts. The team is now working on doing some practice welds then we will proceed to weld out the car and hopefully put on the electronics.
In the first pictures shows the motor sketch. It shows how the wires are put together and where there connected. I sketched this by looking at the real motor while it was connected. In the second picture it show me how I was taking the motor apart. After taking it apart I will have the chance to put it back together. I will be doing that by looking at the sketch that I made before taking the motor apart.
In the picture that you can see is our windshield.
Our windshield is one of the most important feature of our car because it makes it more areodynamic and hopefully it will make the car go further with less energy. To start we first made the frame for the windshield out of one quarter inch flat bar. After we finished the frame we drilled holes in it every 6-8 inches to put the rivets to attatch the windshield.Then we streched lexan over the frame and clamped it to the frame. After that we drilled holes throught the lexan and rivited it to the frame.
Saturday, April 13th, 2013 was our team’s first race. Unfortunately, only one car was able to make it. Adv. Team 2 took its car to its first race since the integration of its new steering system, and it did well, placing 17th in anywhere from 40-50 cars. Hood River has many steep hills and sharp corners, so, while many cars’ batteries were drained fairly early on, we managed to last until the final two minutes, which is one of this car’s best runs in its history! Because of this race having only one heat, Kalie drove while Sam took pictures. 598 of them, to be precise. Here are some of the best captured moments from the race.
It’s kinda hard to see, but between the square tubing there is a long piece of round stock. The importance of this piece of round stock is to support the car while driving. Its a piece about 56 inches long, and with four 120 degree bends on it. There are two of these, one on each side, and without them,we would be in big trouble when we crash.
We have finally got our nose on our car! Matt Petty is the one who assembled it, and now it is welded on and ready to be reinforced with the same material from before. The nose is made out of square tubing.
In the first picture Angel Maldonado is making the steering arms to connect them to the upper frame so we can steer the car. Angel cuts tubing and drilled holes in the middle of them then cut arms out and has to actually connect the handles to the arms then weld them on. Angel had to cut a hole on top of the steering arm so we have a way to connect the top hole of the steering arm to a part we have to make that connect to the king pin. In the second picture Brenden Wingard is practice threading holes so he then can thread the holes on the king pin caps so we can connect the front wheels on. When Brenden was practicing threading he had to make sure the threader was straight so he wouldn’t make the hole at an angle. Brenden hopes to get that part done quick so he can move on with the car.
One of the main modifications that we are making to our car to make it better is to build a boat tail. In the pictures you can see the boat tail frame. We also stretched plastic over it to make it aerodynamic but it is hard to see. The frame is simply made out of some quarter inch round stock and one inch angle iron to make it stronger. The plastic that we stretched over it is very thin and when we heated it up it shrunk so it is very tight. After we get it set perfect we will start searching for a lighter material for the frame.
These are going to help connect the wheels via tie rods, along with the steering handles.
we will use these to maneuver the car when we drive.
Steering is a difficult system to setup on the car. You have to make precise decisions on how and where the parts are going and being put on. For the steering system we had to make exact cuts into some of the parts and drills holes through some parts. For example we had to find an exact point for the steering arms and drill through so the tie rods would attach to one another. An important part on the steering system is the steering handles. We use the handles, that will be attached to more tie rods, to steer the car.
The process of enclosing the car is moving along nicely. In the picture on the left is our cardboard mock-up of the (soon to be) plastic covering for our boat tail. On the right is the paper model for our windshield. We are using paper to get an estimate of the size and shape of the sheet of plastic needed for our windshield. The windshield will be a thin, bendable sheet of plastic in a flexible metal frame, and will be secured with pins while racing. Right now, as they are, the mirrors are in the way, and will need to be moved. I’m considering mounting them to the windshield itself, once completed.
In this pictures I am sketching the car handles. This sketch has three different view sides to see all the things the handle has to have. This will be used to drive the car. We will build them to where is conferrable for our hands.We will also make good welds so that it wont break when were driving.At last hopefully we will be done with everything and we will have time to drive the car.
In one of these pictures you see our almost finished windshield frame. In the next few days it will be ready for some plexiglass and then it will be mounted on the car! In the other picture you see our cardboard nose covered in a towel like material. This is the second step to for making a fiberglass nose. Our woodshop teacher Mr. Hadley will be coming over to help Nick start the fiberglass process on it. These two parts when finished will help greatly with aerodynamics which will hopefully help us win some races this year.
This mount is used to attach our motor to our car. I made it by cutting a piece of tubing and bending it at a 90 degree angle. The next step I need to do is to weld it on to the car. On my first attempt I welded the tube too high and had to cut it off, which was hard to do. After I reweld the bar to the frame I need to weld the plate that the motor bolts on to lower then it was. After I get it welded on and the rest of the team completes the motor activity I will mount the motor onto the car.
In this picture I am holding one of the sides that I made to make the car more aerodynamic. I made it out of plastic cardboard. The first thing that I did to make the side is made a cardboard model of it and taped it to the side of the car so that it fit just perfect. Then I cut it off and laid it out on a sheet of plastic cardboard and traced it out with a marker. After that I cut it out with a knife and it fit perfectly on the side of the car. Then we applied it to the car.
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The first photo is a piece of plastic that we will use for our sides of the our car. It is made the same way as cardboard but is made of plastic. It is also a lighter material which will make a difference in a long run. The piece of metal to our left is part of a frame for a plexiglass windshield. This will make our car way more aerodynamic. We are also using the lightest but strongest materials possible for this build.
In This picture angel Maldanado is making the roll bar and the firewall which connects to the front axle which Arney Castro made. The roll bar is a easy thing to make because you put it on a half circle cut out of wood and bend it around it and put pieces of round stock next to it so when he bends it it doesn’t move or fling out and hit someone.Next thing on the roll bar is to have Brenden Wingard sit in the car and make is so he has enough room for his helmet and a inch above his head then weld it on the frame of the car.The front axle is a easy part to make and the firewall is easy to make but the end caps you have to weld on is tricky because you have to have them the same distance on every side of the cap that the wheels will fit right on and not be tilted. The next thing angel has to do is weld the front axle which the firewall is connected to and there has to be a couple of inches of the firewall sticking above the top frame. we found out that the rollbar has to made around the tallest person on the team which is Brenden Wingard.
Figure 1 – Angle Sketching Figure 2 – Angle Welding the Fire Wall to the Axle
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Last year, our goal was to design a car and get it rolling. However, having finished that, our goal for this year is to perfect last year’s design. That I was why I am starting work on enclosing our car with a body to increase aerodynamics. First, I sketched these scale drawings of our car and drew what enclosing it might look like. The next step is to mock up a body with cardboard, and then build the final thing out of corrugated plastic. We already have side panels and a nose made of the same material, so the most important things I will be focusing on are the boat tail end of the car and a windshield.
Jake Walker started to wrap the nose in cardboard and duct tape so we as a team could start to make a body. So what I (Nick) am going to do next is take the mold and wrap it in a cloth. With it wrapped I will then put a type of epoxy on it so it will become rock solid, that’s my plan anyways. Then I will buff it out and make it smooth and paint it. When it is all said and done I hope to have a nose that is aerodynamic; if it works I really want to make the entire car enclosed.
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Right now, Dustin Comer is breadboarding the electric system for our car!!! Each of these batteries weigh about 36 pounds each. Each member of our team will put it together, but Dustin is doing it first. In order to build it, one must have experience with electric wires and electricity it self.
Our first wheel is finally on, YAY!! Austin Morris was the one who constructed this very important part of the car. It took a little while, but its finally on. Now all he needs to put the other wheel on the other side, but we have had some difficulty with the king pin on that side. We will get it right though.
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In this picture Brenden is leveling the car base. If we don’t level the car base we cant move on with the car. What hes doing to level the base is attaching wire from the bottom of the plywood to the car base.
In the second picture I’m making sure that the axle plate is the right size. I will attach the two axle plates to the side of the axle. The axle plates have to be 1/4 inch apart of the ground.
Before the torque arm is added.
After Austin has added the torque arm.
I am now working on the torque arms for the car, What are torque arms? A torque arm is a metal arm attached between a drive axle assembly and the vehicle frame. Its sole purpose is to prevent the driving wheels from trying to rotate the drive axle assembly relative to the vehicles frame under acceleration and braking. Thus the torque is pacified so the brakes do not spin when applying force to the wheel to slow the car down. In order to make the two arms I needed I had to cut out metal to proper size for fitting, then I welded it on to the king pin.
Since we are modifying our car from last year, instead of building a whole new body, we have been doing minor adjustments. Recently, we have changed the driver’s switch mount to a more accessible position and have been working on the brakes. The brakes are tedious to adjust. There are four brake arms with springs (of various springyness, so no one adjustment is the same for all) with brake pads that need to be as close to the wheel’s rim as possible without rubbing. Such a position is for easy braking but smooth rolling. To adjust the brakes, there are three main points we can play around with: the angle and proximity of the brake pad, the tightness of the cable running through the brake arms, and barrel adjustment on the brake handle.
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Here, we are working on the axle on which our steering wheel is mounted. In this shot, we are drilling one of the areas (we are planning on having two settings for the wheel, one for each driver) where the steering wheel will be mounted. The steering wheel will be mounted below the axle of rotation the motor is on, and will be attached with a sprocket and chain system. The mechanism is intact, but needs to be adjusted.
I have been working on moving the switch because when it was at its old position whenever i would hit a bump in a race my arm would hit the switch and shut the car off. So I moved the switch above where we sit ( look at picture) so it will give us more room while we are driving and it is easily accessible. I am also having to rewire the switch to the E.S.C. I also have to rewire both switches to connect to each other.
Austin looking quite impressed with his tire.
Austin Morris is putting on the wheels. The wheels are obviously an important part to the car because without them the car won’t work. The wheels were somewhat difficult to put on because of the process that was needed to put them on. Austin had to drill a hole into the kingpins large enough so a bolt could fit through it. The bolt is the axle that the wheel goes on.
The axle plate is placed in the bottom left side of the car. He is making one out of the four axle plates. Arnulfo is making sure that he makes the right measurement so that nothing goes wrong when using the car.The axle is used to put the steering wheel on so that the wheel spins good.
This is a model of the windshield Frame that I’m currently building. I did this as a test to see how it would work. I am currently building the frame that will go on the car. Once the frame is built we will put plexiglass to act as a windshield. This will also make the car more aerodynamic!
These steering levers are another important piece to the car, without them the car would not be able to turn. The levers are two 7 1/4” x 1 1/4” bars with two holes drilled in each.Later they will be attached to the steering arms so that we will be able to turn the wheels. Also there will be handles that will be welded on, so we can grip them.
Angel is measuring the firewall to construct a sketch for him to go off of for the real thing. He will first have to find the measurements for the car and make a sketch of it and then make another sketch that is to scale to use as a comparison. The firewall is made of 3/4″ square tubing that consists of four 45 degree angles. The firewall is their partly to secure the batteries and to keep your legs from coming out of the car when you are flipped or in any type of incident.
Kalie grinding off the old steering wheel.
To the left is Kalie grinding of the old steering wheel. We will still be keeping the majority of our steering system, but we are attaching a new wheel and shaft so that we can gear our steering. Our new steering wheel will be at an improved angle with a better potentiometer and better brake handles. We were hesitant to hack away at our old steering wheel, but it had to be done.
In this picture Arny Castro is using the Chop Saw to cut 3 1/2″ by 2″ Rectangle tubing and that’s where the wheels in front are going to be sit on and be secured to the car. The Axle is a part we need, because if you don’t have a front axle, you will not be driving the car anywhere so you need it. We need Arny to finish the part so we can get the axle and keep moving along on the car on the frame and be able to make other parts on the vehicle. The reason we are building the part is if we didn’t have the front axle we wouldn’t have a way to put the wheels on the front and the steering for them on it.
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Here we are working on building a enclosed nose for our electric car. This nose in the picture is made purposly out of cardboard because it is just our model for the real one. The main purpose of the nose is to make it more aerodynamic so that it we will use as little energy as possible. Wiith the nose and the boat tail the car should be very aerodynamic.
We have finished all the parts of the steering system (the steering wheel, the steering shaft with a sleeve for the sprocket, and the part which holds the shaft and allows it to rotate). This is us before we welded the assembly to our car, testing the smoothness of the steering. Because of the bushings, the steering is very smooth. Now, all that’s left to do is test it!
Here we are turning the steering wheel to feel its smoothness.
Me and my partner Jake just finished the boat tail that we used cardboard to construct. We will soon use this as a mold so we car make an enclosed body for our car. We are currently working on enclosing the nose of the car. We will soon have the whole car enclosed!!!
Can you imagine this small piece of metal saving your LIFE!!!!! Thats right, this is the rollbar, it is placed above the driver about an inch from his head. The main purpose of the rollbar is make sure the driver does not hit his head on the ground while racing. Dustin Comer, one of the awesome team members of Team 1, made this extraordinary part for our car. As you can see in the picture, Cabot Roe is now trying to mount the rollbar on the car.
This is the firewall and front axle. The firewall was made by Dustin Comer. The end caps and the axle was made by Matthew Petty. Matthew has already welded the end caps to the axle. The next thing he is going to do is weld the firewall to the axle as shown in the picture to the left. Right now he only has it clamped where it will go. On Monday 12-10-12 he will be checking once more that he is perfectly square. Then he will tack weld them in place, and finish weld them shortly after. After he has finally welded them together he will move on to the next step. In the pictures below is were some of the welds will go.
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Rear Forks are one of the most important componets of the vehicle because it is the part that holds the wheel from not going out of the car. Brenden Wingard is making sure that the part is the correct length so that he can run a mill through the middle of the part. Once he has run the mill through the middle we will be able to put the wheel on the rear forks. Hopefully with our help Brenden will finish the part in time and we will be able to keep going with the car.
We are advanced Team 1!
Nicholas Hardisty and Jake Walker are working on enclosing the car. We decided to attach the boat tail first because Lane Munyon which is another member of our team is working on make a new steering system. He will be posting pictures later. We are using tape to hold the boat tail up so we can take measurements so we can make some supports for the tail.
Austin Morris’ King pins
The car needs tires to turn in order to work efficiently. Here Austin Morris has the pieces he is going to weld together to make the king pins. King Pins connect the tire to the steering arms so the car can turn properly. The kingpins are but a small part that will work together with other pieces put into the project to hopefully build a great electric car.
The frame is made to protect the driver in case of any collision from any direction. Angel Maldonado is bending a 3/4” square tubing to a 45 degree angle to fit the design of our electric car. This pipe will be positioned on the bottom left side of the driver. When the frame is finished it will hopefully, be able to withstand a collision and keep the driver safe.
Dustin and the steering arms
Steering allows the car to make turns. Dustin Comer has made two steering arms for their car.The arms must be perpendicular and be nearly identical for the car to turn properly. The arms attach to the steering levers so that the car can turn.
We want to modify several things on our car this year. One of the modifications we want to make involves the steering system. Last year, our steering system was complicated. Though it was based on a steering system we observed on the Cloud cars at the races, the system was unprecedented for our school, which meant that we designed every aspect of it. As a result, some parts of the system were not ideal.
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