A Busy Week and an Empty Workspace

If you were to have walked into our workspace this past week, chances are you wouldn't have seen anybody. The CAEN (computer) lab was empty, no electrical engineers were to be found in the electrical bays, and the main shop floor was uninhabited - save for our mule car.  Yet, this past week has been our busiest week of the summer so far.

Almost everyday this week, we've been sending two groups of team members out to manufacture different portions of our vehicle. Denny, Tyler, Michael, and Ian - our 2015 race electricals - spent most of their week at GM's Warren Technical Center welding a battery pack for our next vehicle. 

The battery pack is broken up into modules and cells - there's a certain number of cells in a module and a certain number of modules in a pack. To arrange the cells in a module we 3D print brackets that safely lock each cell into position. 

photo by  epik studios

photo by epik studios

Our Makerbot Replicator 2Xs helped in speeding up the process of designing and printing the brackets. With the Makerbot 3D printers, we were able to test a variety of designs and better optimize the final layout of the brackets. 

photo by  epik studios

photo by epik studios

photo by  epik studios

photo by epik studios

Almost everyone else who wasn't welding at GM was at Roush sanding and manufacturing the molds for our next car. With all parts of the car coming together, things are getting pretty exciting in Ann Arbor! We're going to have some big news in a couple weeks that we can't wait to share. If you're curious what the name of Michigan's next solar car is going to be, what it's going to look like, or where we're going to be testing in the United States; stay posted!

Notes from the Project Manager

The year is shaping up to be pretty eventful for us. As many of you may know, 2015 is our 25th Anniversary of racing solar cars - it's hard to believe that our first car, Sunrunner, raced in 1990. We're incredibly lucky that we have such a rich history: 25 years of stories, failures, and successes that we can build on. The 25th Anniversary is going to be a common theme you'll see in all our media this year. We've got some pretty big plans for 2015 and we can't wait to share them with everyone.

A lot has been going on this past week, both in terms of our next car and the team. Last Wednesday, we unveiled our 2015 race crew - these 20 guys and girls will be taking the summer and Fall semester off to manufacture, test, and race Michigan's next solar car!

Video by EPIK STUDIOS

crateToBMore

This week we also received all our machined plugs from Ford - they've been a tremendous help; our plugs were made with tooling board donated by Axson and DUNA-USA. It's an indescribable emotion to see the machined plugs for the first time; Jiahong and Ryder, two of the team's aerodynamicsts, were in awe - they both spent months perfecting the aerobody in Siemens NX. To see their creation in person for the first time was an unbelievable feeling! 

semiLeaving

Two days ago, we sent a crate with supplies to Baltimore - the crate contained tents, lights, and other various equipment that we'll need in Australia. Today, we sent our semi-trailer on its way as well, where both the crate and the semi will begin the several month sea journey to Oz, courtesy of Höegh Autoliners.

It's hard to believe that there's less than 160 days until the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge... each week from now on will be busier than the last.