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Engineers: Feasibility of an off road buggy senior design project?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by mikey_d05, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I was bored out of my mind in drafting today and my mind started to wander...and I started thinking about my senior design project.

    Setting up a double triangulated 4 link front and rear that performs well is a pretty good challenge, along with link material selection. Link geometry, lengths, spring rates, vehicle weight, shock valving, and durability would all come into play plus a couple of other variables. For those who have done a senior design project or are doing one current, is this a feasible project?

    Lots of machining, stress analysis, computer testing, and of course real world testing :D would be involved, but it's something I'm really into so it'd be a very enjoyable project as well as benefit either me or a fellow off roader in the end.

    The school does mini-baja every year so I think I could probably get through to my profs...and if I had a tube frame or very mean looking vehicle to put it under I think it'd be more likely to work out...

    Just thinking up crazy ideas while in class...anybody think I could pull this off when I get to that point or is it all a pipe dream?
     
  2. randy88k5

    randy88k5 1/2 ton status

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    What type of equipment are you gonna have access to? And where is the funding gonna be coming from?
     
  3. ryan22re

    ryan22re 1/2 ton status

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    would you include the entire frame design and suspension as the project? it seems to me that designing just the suspension the way you describe could be project enough.

    how about just a 4 link conversion on the k5?

    ryan
     
  4. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I'd have access to the school machine shop, welding shop, and automotive shop, as well as a number of prof's and probably a team (if I came up with a design proposal and gathered a team) of students to help me out.

    Funding would have to come from myself since it would be my rig. However, I doubt I'd need to have a running rig if I went through the theory and math of it, and even if I did, my current drivetrain is healthy enough that I could swap it over to test it that way. A shop called Wicked Fabrication has a killer looking 2 seat chassis for under $2k, Avalanche's Sniper looks killer but I'm afraid to ask for the price.

    Frame design and analysis could keep a team of professional engineers busy for a couple of years. I would start with something prefabricated and work from there. Besides, using an existing frame would constrain the design of the suspension enough that it would give us a few challenges to work around.

    I'd thought about linking the K5, but for reasons discussed in another thread, I probably won't be wheeling the current truck all that long...making designing and implementing a link system for it probably not all that worthwhile.
     
  5. 84k5

    84k5 1/2 ton status

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    That is a fabricating project, not an engineering project. I'd choose something else.
     
  6. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    People do mini-baja cars every year for senior projects. There's a lot less room for variation in them than there would be in a bare chassis with no rules to abide by.

    How much design are we talking here? To do a suspension the right way is pretty freakin complicated...and there has to be a working prototype by the time it's presented anyways....what are you doing for yours 84?
     
  7. 84k5

    84k5 1/2 ton status

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    I call it a fabricating problem cause it has been done before...you can figure out how to build a four link on the web. You wouldn't have to do any engineering. Plus I think you are missing the the most important part of the project, the creative aspect. You need a problem that has no solution, and come up with one. Everyone and there mom has built a four link, what's the point?

    We are working with caltrans for our project. We have to figure out how to get those orange trashbags on the side of the road into the back of a truck fast, cheaply, and without making a guy get out of the truck. I think your idea, though fun, lacks this sort of real world application.

    That all said...I'm sure they would let you do. I just don't think you would get out of it what you are supposed to.
     
  8. 84k5

    84k5 1/2 ton status

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    I just wanted to add...I thought our project was really lame until I found out how many road side workers get killed/injured on the job. It should be pretty fun.
     
  9. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Interesting, thanks for the insight. I'm not really sure I'm all that concerned about the points except for the one you made about I wouldn't be learning what I should.

    Mini-baja cars are the projects I've been most interested in so far but the rules are so restrictive and there are so many cars that nothing is original anymore. It's gone from the traditional better, faster, cheaper, to just cheaper and having a driver who won't crash.

    I'll probably end up taking on a firms project (SDSU has a boatload of partnerships with surrounding industry, probably much like UC-Davis and Caltrans) that they supply for the intent.
     
  10. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    The biggest single thing I learned from my senior project was to pick something you REALLY like, or something you don't care too much one way or the other about. The reason for this is that by the end of the project you're going to hate it. If it's something you really like then that will go away pretty fast. If it's something you're ambivelent about then it won't matter since you're done.

    Some ideas for Mini Baja:
    Torsion bar/tube suspension instead of the common coil-overs, use some sort of linkage to get 8%-10% rising rate. Look up some of Brian Kudela's designs for inspiration.
    Zero Bumpsteer steering using a fabricated rack w/ no gears, not something bought.
    Front wheel drive Mini Baja.


    How about a K5 rear 4 link kit? Just to make it interesting, make it a COMPLETE bolt-in using existing holes in the frame and NO welding required.
     

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