2017 Dragster Design
Materials: Balsa Wood (Car Body), ABS Plastic (Wheels), Aluminum (Axles), Nylon Plastic (Wheel Spacers)
Manufacturing: Roland MDX 540 Rotary Axis CNC Mill (Car Body), ERIS Delta 3D Printer (Wheels)
Design Software: Solidworks, SRP Player (Mill)
Time Frame: August 2016- February 2017
Dragster Design is a Technology Student Association (TSA) event where competitors design and build a derby car according to strict specifications. Cars are propelled by a 12 gram CO2 cartridge and race in a head-to-head, double elimination tournament. The specifications (length, weight, height, location of wheels, etc.) change each year to prevent the re-use of designs.
The design for this year changed drastically from the 2016 design due to rule changes. Cars were allowed to weigh even less, but they were required to have all four wheels exposed. I decided to create a car with two arc shapes connected by a thin mid-section. Several other designs were considered but they performed poorly in virtual wind tunnel testing done in Solidworks Flow Simulation. After milling, the car body was finished with sanding, silver spray paint (nicknamed "Silver Bullet"), and a shiny clear coat. The aluminum axles were polished and then the whole car was assembled.
This was my first third year competing in the event and I placed Fourth at State (did not compete at Nationals). As a veteran of the event this year, I mentored a younger TSA member competing for the first time who placed First at State.