By: Loren McDonald (Mechanical Engineering, ’20)
Quite possibly the biggest change to the Usability system of our vehicle this year is that we are going to be using a floor mounted pedal. After Midnight Mayhem, one of our new members, Scott Smith, was incredibly vocal about how his leg hurt after the race. After being inspired by his “immense pain and suffering,” (some sarcasm involved) Scott worked with Marial to design a floor mounted pedal that will hopefully be more comfortable for the driver. This year, Marial’s team is really hoping to make operating the vehicle as easy as possible so that the driver can focus more of their energy on the race.
Another interesting idea that Marial’s group is developing a wooden steering wheel. In many cases, wood is much lighter than a metal design, and wood is also a very durable material. Since the steering wheel is mostly safe from taking any sort of a beating from the racetrack, our team thinks a wooden steering wheel might actually be a great idea especially since we can easily use a CNC to manufacture the wheel. At the very least, it would be a unique design that would make us stand out.
Marial’s group is also making sure they are ready to start installing components as soon as the suspension is attached to our frame. They have been working with Professor Muir to create tool paths for various components to be made on the HAAS machine. Among these components is the brake pedal that is now ready to be assembled to the car as soon as possible.
The Usability team is not only making sure that all the components for the car are ready to be assembled, they are also making sure that we’re ready to drive. Marial’s group recently went through all our safety gear and threw out expired equipment, and some nasty, sweat-and-mud-stained fire shirts. We placed an order for new safety gear that just arrived, and so we are very ready and eager to drive this year’s car as soon as we are done in the next couple weeks.