By: Loren McDonald (Mechanical Engineering, ’20)

We’ve been working really hard on our frame design this year, and we have already started manufacturing the first couple of frame members. We are proud to announce that we might cut up to 10 lbs from this year’s frame if the theoretical values are correct. As you can see from the pictures, we kept the overall geometry somewhat similar to the California vehicle from two years ago. However, we have changed the “X” shape in the back of the frame for a shape that not only cuts weight, but is much easier to weld together.

Another big change that we are making is the geometry of the footbox. Rather than the sloped members from last year’s frame, we are going to be building a more rectangular-shaped footbox this year. By doing this, Marial will have more space to design a more ergonomic driver interface. This will allow us to move the rack closer to the front of the car, and might even allow for floor-mounted pedals with a better mechanical advantage for the driver.

Currently, the frame group is starting to manufacture the most difficult tubes, the CIMs on the sides of the cockpit. As always bending these tubes has been a challenge. We tried our best to bend these tubes in house, but no matter how much sand, heat, and colorful language we used, these tubes would always kink. We even took material to a local sponsor, Gleason, to see if they could bend the tubes for us. Unfortunately, even their master tube bender was unable to bend the tubes to our specifications. However, our trip to Gleason was not for naught! Their manufacturing group gave us a copy of their documentation for tube bending, and we are going to be using this to make sure that our slightly modified design can be manufactured. By doing this, we can use tubes of a smaller thickness for the cockpit, which will cut even more weight from this year’s design!


Snapshot from our Frame design processes