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 scroll down to see our recent progress.
2014-2015 Electric Car Team
2013-2014 CHS ECar Team
2011-2012 CHS Ecar Teams
2012-2013 CHS ECar Teams
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In these past weeks I have been working on my electronic skills. I first learned what different components of wiring do. After I learned about electronic components I started to solder. At first my soldering was pretty pour because I had little experience in the mater. After a few tries I learn some tricks to getting a great solder. This week I learned a lot about electronic components and about good soldering.
This image happens to be an old rear fork. The rear fork is what holds the tire in place so that the tire spins. I have been modifying a car as you all know, this time I have to make new rear forks so that I can get a better tire into the car. That is the picture on the Left.
The picture on the right is of me and my Friend. He needed help making a support for his truck. So he made a part and I am helping him replace that part and make new ones. The parts he has made are for stability.
Coulter has made his car nose on Solidworks and attempted to use the wind tunnel program called Floworks that is on Solidworks to see the air flow. However the nose and the Floworks did not get along very well and wouldn’t give any results. Because we are running out of time for the first race (April 4th), Coulter will learn a new program to make the nose model frame on the cnc mill in the woodshop. This program is called Cut3D. He has only just started learning Cut3D by watching videos on how to use it. He made a model square with a hole in it to learn how to make slices in Cut3D. He will hopefully learn quick and begin building the actual nose mold.
For assembling the chain, I needed a few things. First off, I needed to have the tire and gear sprockets lined up, an already assembled link of chains that could fit on my car, and a master link to connect the two ends. First, after lining up the gears, I received a chain and master link and began putting it together. I had to take off the end links to cut it down to size and to make it possible to connect them. Then, I put the master link through the ends and connected them. Finally, after everything was all connected, I put it on the gears and lined it all up again to put it in place.
In the image below you can see I have found a new way to secure the batteries. It has taken me about 2-3 days to finish making the parts. I have had some trouble with upside-down welding because we don’t have the proper gas for it but we metal workers can do anything if we put our mind to it.
In the next image you see some of my practice welds. I had to learn to do some small fillet tacks to make my steering lever system work. Finally after a full semester of working my steering is complete. Now it is time to work out the side effects.
The part that I just finished was the motor mount and hooking on the motor. First, I hod to find/make a 90 bend in a piece of square tubing that would be used for the motor mount. Then I had to tac weld it on to the car and make it level. After I was finished with that, I received the motor mount plate and tacked it on to the newly leveled bar. Finally, after the plate was tacked on, I obtained a motor, put it on the mount, and put the screws in. Currently I am working on removing the motor and plate because it was welded on the wrong side of the bar and the tire chain will not be square and straight.
For the past few weeks, I have been working hard on building the cars overall covering(side covers, new boa-tail, and windshield) to maintain and create more aerodynamics. What I learned for the boat-ail was that you have to get the right holding so as you heat it, it doesn’t tare on the bottom; it tends to rip. I came up with a solution by using hot glue as a holder, so it prevents this. The windshield was a struggle; getting the metal bends to work and having to cut the plastic to its right fitting size. Once it was done, I was relieved. For the side covers, all I did was cut out new ones; this time I cut it better so it could fit more aerodynamically. It was a fun process and i learned a lot about AERODYNAMICS!!!
The wind tunnel tests that we did were inconsistent which made our results less then ideal. Earlier in the year Coulter learned how to use Solidworks to make the car models. Now he is at that point, he will make two models and then he will use a very special feature in Solidworks to test them, a virtual wind tunnel. He doesn’t know how to use this wind tunnel program, but he will eventually learn how. Once that is done he will be one step closer to making the actual mold for the nose. These pictures show Coulter designing the car on Solidworks.
This week I worked on a few different things. I mounted the seat into the car with a few tacks. The seat went in smoothly. A few things that were done to mount the seat into the car, two uprights, and two hooks.
We then started to mount the inside switch. We descovered that the switch plate was at a bad spot. I then had to to grind off the 5 welds that we holding on the switch plate. So there was a lesson learned, if you are going to tack an experimental part put very small welds. Well that is all for this week this is Dean signing off.
This week I have been working on the back wheel of the car that I’m making. I first started by finding a site that could explain to me how to put the spokes correctly in the tire to make it the strongest that it can be. I then had to true the wheel, that process took a few hours to complete but it was one of the funnest parts. Once I had the wheel trued I then had to add the free wheel and sprocket. In order to attach the free wheel to the sprocket I had to drill and tap holes for the bolt I was using. I found these two weeks to be the best so far because I like building bike tires and I learned how to tap a hole for bolts.
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The next two projects that I took on for our car, along with the help of Dean Hovinghoff, was the seat and the back rest. For the seat I had to make two hooks out of 1/4 inch round stock and two pieces of bent square tubing. Dean and I then had to figure out where we were going to position the hooks to where the seat would go. After we obtained a seat from Mr. Hipskind, we welded the hooks to where we wanted them, and fit the seat to the hooks. The next thing we worked on after the seat was situated, was the back rest. The back rest is just an arched piece of 1/4 inch round stock that is welded behind the seat and will later get a piece of foam wrapped around it. Currently I am working on the interior switch plate.
In the photo to the left you can see me in bubble wrap. I have been working a tiller system make-up to improve the steering. This steering has been taking me a while to finish. My other picture is the placement of the brakes and the throttle. I needed to find a spot to place these two items because without them we would not be moving at all or be able to stop. The “Tiller System” is a hard project to do but I believe that if you put your mind to it anybody can accomplish it.
After making a cover for car 169, I started to make safety locks for when a person is in the inside of the car(inside access only). The purpose is to hold the cover in place better, so it won’t fall of during a race(that would be bad). First, I cut out three flat pieces of metal, about and inch and a half in width and length. Next, I cut a fork like design through the metal on one side and repeated for each piece of metal. After that, I clamped them to where they needed to be and tacked them on. For the locks, I just cut out pieces of tire and created little knotted parts. That’s it, your done!!
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These weeks I have been working on my welding skills, the mirrors and putting together the car. The type of welds that I have been working on is call pipe to plate welds; this is where you fillet weld around the circumference of the pipe to a plate of metal. I have also been working on building the mirrors, this included grinding and wire-brushing a piece of galvanized metal until it was no longer galvanized then welding a washer one to it then welding a ¼ round stock for extending the mirrors from the car. I have also been working on putting together the rest of the car. It is finally starting to look like a real car.
The car nose models are now done and are now ready for the wind tunnel tests. The wind tunnel is made out of cardboard with a black inside which is very good for the tests we will do. Right now Coulter is creating a pulley system to measure the drag forces on the car. The system will have a spring scale and 2 pulleys. As well as a pulley system there has to be something to make the nose models move to get the drag forces. To do that we will make a car to put the models onto. The wind tunnel tests will probably be seen in the next post.
In the photo below to the right, you can see a bent bar. I had to bend this bar in order to make this steering system work. It was easy to bend it. All I had to do was heat up the iron and bend it approximately 90 degrees.
My next thing I had to do was fix my steering. It was off and the ends were angled towards my stomach. Which couldn’t be good if I were in a accident. It means I had a chance of getting impacted in my stomach. So my teacher and I talked it over and we both agreed to re-angle the handles more of a downward angle.
This is where the front axle attached to the fire wall had to be positioned.
This part I’m holding is the brake stop nest to the king pin.
These past weeks I have been working on installing the front axle and I have been working on the brake stops. To install the front axle first I had to attach the fire wall frame to it. Then I had to measure from the back roll bar in order to make it to be perpendicular to the side rails. For the brake stops I had to mill out a square 1/4 inch piece of bar stock that is approximately 5/8 inch in length and width. The brake stop will stop the brake from rotating with the tire when you apply the brakes it is a small but very important item for the car. These were both fun to do and they both gave me new challenges to deal with including having to be level and in the right positions.
In part 1, Coulter told us about finishing the tutorials on Solidworks and getting 10 facts about the design. Now, after a few weeks, he has made some 3D models out of foam. The first thing to do is layout the measurements of the car, the control measurements (ones that will stay the same) will be the car length and height, boat tail length, and firewall height. The nose will be the thing that will change. once the design is put on to the foam then we cut out the design on a band saw. Once that is done there is one more thing to do, sand. Using a very fine grain (220-300) sandpaper, all the edges will be smoothed out. After that you might think that it is done, well it isn’t, it has to go through a series of tests for aerodynamics, that will be explained in the next part.
For the past three weeks, for our car, I have been working on finishing up the kingpins. After I had finished tapping the holes in the kingpins and milling the holes for the attachment to the kingpins i started putting it all together. I would have to say that this was the most delicate part I have had to work on yet. It was very difficult to hold up the kingpin right in place (leveled and square) while dean tac welded it together. In the picture above of Simon and I, Featuring Erik of course you see where the kingpins are going to go. However, in the other picture of just me, you see me actually leveling the left kingpin.
This week I have been working on the front axle fabrication and assembly. The first part of this project was I needed to measure and calculate the size and shape of the part. After I finished rough drafting the part I then rough cut out the pieces that make the parts. Then with the rough cut parts I finalized the pieces and welded them together.
Coulter did the tutorials on Solidworks, but he was not ready to build the nose yet. He then had to get 10 facts about aerodynamics for the new nose design. He learned some new stuff that he did not know before. For example he learned that a dimpled surface is more aerodynamic than a flat smooth surface. Another thing was that there is a high amount of air pressure on the front end of the car. With these facts Coulter will make several 1/10 scale models to see which one is the best for the real nose design (more will be told in part 2).
I recently added a boat-ail to car number 169. Next, I started by cutting out shrink wrap to the desired shape of the boat-ail. Start by taping the cover to the edges of the boat-ail and make sure it has extra shrink wrap that over lapse(the wrap will shrink, so it is good to have extra). Next, set up your heat gun and start heating the plastic how every you choose to do it, but make sure you get all the wrinkles out of it. Same process for the sides, only what I did, I took the shrink wrap and wrapped it from one side of the car, under the bottom and up to the other side. Repeat the same heating process to the plastic and your done.
In the photo to the right you see me welding. I currently just got my fillet skill. I’m proud to say that i know have a skill in which i can do work in.
Also i have done a lot of fillet tacks so my steering system has been put together.I need to finish it, and then get my skill so I can fully weld out my car.
The next piece for our car that I started working on a week and a half ago are the kingpins. The kingpins are the joints that go in the front of the car for the wheels to make them able to turn. First I cut two pieces of square tubing to 5 3/8 inches on the chop saw. After cutting them I grinded, squared, and leveled them until they were square and about the same length as each other. Next I cut four pieces of O-A metal with the O-A torch to the width and length of the tops and bottoms of the kingpin pieces. After cutting those pieces I grinded them to make them flat, smooth and level with the sides of the kingpins. Next I welded those four O-A cuts to the tops and bottoms of the kingpins. Then I squared them again and got them checked by Mr. Hipskind. Finally after getting them checked I moved onto drilling holes in the center of the tops and bottoms of the kingpins. Currently I am still drilling with the mill, but soon I will finish and move onto the next piece of the car that Mr. Hipskind has to offer!
Hi my name is Dean Hovinghoff and I have been working on this year’s new electric car. Two of the things that I have been making are a wheel and roll bar. The roll bar was a challenge because i had to bend it by hand. The wheel took a while to make because of all the spokes and adjustments that I had to make. The wheel helped to teach me to be patient.
So long and till next post,
Piece number three of front axle.
For this post, I will be talking about the bottom assembly of the car, I will also be talking about the front axle. The first project of this year for me was the bottom assembly. After I finished that project I started working on my front axle
The bottom assembly took the longest of these two project. The first part of this project was drafting out this part on a ply wood board. After finishing drafting this I bent two 45 degree bends in opposite directions. After we fixed and errors that occurred during the bending processes we then welded on two rear forks to hold the back tire. After we welded that piece I started to work on the front axle.
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For this post, I will talk briefly about how I made a boatail for car #169. For the lower part of the tail, I cut out, clamped, and tacked two angled metal pieces to the lower part of the car(just above the motor). After it was in place, I finished by welded out the part so it would stay secure to the car. Where the angled pieces meet, I cut out 1/4″ round stock piece and tacked it there(as level as possible, going in the vertical direction). Next I cut out two more round stock pieces, from the roll bar, I tacked them so the ends met with the vertical piece(tacking that to finish). I also added extra support stocks so that the boatail would be stronger. Now that’s a boatail!!!
Coulter is back for his 2nd year of Electric Car as well as Shawn and Erik. Coulter will be working on car #242 this year. He has already made is list of15 things to improve in the car. The biggest one he will do is putting a new nose on to the car. This project will push his building and geometry skills to their maximum. At the time of this post Coulter is working on Solidworks, a program to help him with sketching the car nose before building begins. He is doing good at the moment and he hopes to get started on the nose soon.
The pictures hear of Simon and I (Dean not pictured) show you what us new guys have done so far for our car. We first learned how to use the mill and bend tubing accurately. The mill was used for us to make very precise and accurate slots in the metal for our rear forks. After we finished those activities we drew on a piece of plywood the layout for the frame of our car. Then we bent 76″ long pieces of square tubing and fit them to the plywood. Next Simon and I, while Dean worked on the roll bar and fire wall, practiced tac fillet welds and tac butt welds to attach the rear forks to the upper frame. After our practice welds looked good we tac welded the rear forks to the upper frame. Now currently Simon is working on the front axel and I am working on the king pins. I will kept you all posted on how are team is doing and how we are progressing.
In the photo to the right you can see a “bushing” that I have placed inside. In the firewall I drilled a hole up to 5/8″ outside diameter so the bushing would fit. This is my first project as an advanced guy. I’m trying to replicate a steering system.
In the photo above I am working on my fillet skill (welding) to get the bushing secured inside it. I know it is bad but it was my first time so I’m planning on getting improved from there.