It has been a long time since we gave you an update on the manufacturing process of the Bluefinger. Now that the car is almost finished, we have a lot to show you, so grab something to drink and enjoy the ride!
Because last year we were not able to finish the car and participate in the eco marathon due to covid-19, the car had not been driven for more than a year. So to see how capable the car really was, we prioritised getting the electronics to work, so we could plan a test ride as soon as possible.
Here you can see the messy electronics we had to deal with. In some cases a single wire was spliced together several times. And some things were not documented at all, so we decided to completely redesign the wire harness. We used a lot of connectors to make the system more repairable and futureproof
Here you can see an example of our new design philosophy. Each electronic system in the car has their own wire harness, which connect to the main harness at these points. This makes the system more repairable and futereproof. The connectors can be labeled, to quickly find the right connection. And don’t worry, you can not mess these up, because we have selected connectors that each have a different amount of pins, so there is only one way they go together.
While the electronics were sorted, the mechanical engineering students were busy with research on past designs to see what must, should and could be done. The carbon fiber rim project was started rightaway. The next fase in this project was to make some prototype rims using the detailed plans that were created last year. We had great support from Fiberneering, in supplying materials, disposables, workplace, oven and knowledge. Click on their name for more information, their method of using carbon fiber is something special!
This is the first part of the carbon wheel. This is the actual rim. These are made with a few layers prepreg carbon fiber. These prepreg sheets are carbon fiber with infused resin that will harden when heated. The material can be shaped around curves, which made this wheel possible. A vacuum bag gets installed after all layers are layed down. This way the carbon follows the outlines of the mold without air trapped inbetween.
After the rims are inspected, they get back in the mold, together with the foam insert we created last year. The wheel hub gets placed using a tool to ensure a concentric fit.
After all components are placed in the wheel, a layer of prepreg material gets layed on the foam and rim. A vacuum gets applied again to ensure proper contact and no imperfections.
But then… The vacuum applied was too strong, and the foam insert collapsed under the pressure. This happened in the oven, so we discovered it after the fact. This means the earlier produced rim and the aluminium wheel hub are fused together with the carbon fiber. This means they can not be salvaged and reused. And because we were already on a tight schedule, we decided to halt the work on these wheels and focus on parts that are more critical in the path of finishing the car.
So unfortunately we won’t have any carbon wheels on the car this year. But we surely have collected a lot of knowledge on this matter, so the team of next year will try again!
In the meantime, a lot of other small things need to be sorted in order to pass the technical inspection. Here are a few examples:
The steering wheel has been fitted with a LCD display. This screen will display important information, like speed and energy consumption.
The car has a new seat! For prototyping we used a piece of cloth from a broken beach chair. It worked, but didn’t have the looks and durability we wanted. De Vries sails Makkum has made this new one, with cutouts made for the safety harness. It is very sturdy, and won’t swing as much als the old one did. With the addition of a six point harness, the driver will be both safe and comfortable.
Because we designed the car with gullwing type doors, we need a way to keep them up, to make getting in and out of the vehicle possible. We thought of using gas struts for this application. The problem with these struts is that they keep applying their force, even when the door is closed. This causes stress on the bodyparts and will twist due to these forces. Therefore we designed our own strut, which is only locking the position in the most outward position. This does mean that the driver will need to push the door open. There is a simple switch to release the door back down. Because we don’t have to design with the constant force of a gas strut, we were able to use aluminium and 3d printed parts to keep the weight down.
The exterior has also had some changes made to it. First of all you can see the front lights. They consist of a 3d printed housing that gets glued in to the body. A custom pcb can be mounted onto this housing. Finally a plastic cover will ensure protection for the pcb and a proper ariflow.
If you look a bit closer you can spot the rear view mirrors. These have been supplied to us by Racemirrors a few years back. We are happy to finally use them, they are awesome for sure!
A few weeks back we were noticed by Shell that they won’t be able to deliver an event this year due to the restrictions around the pandamic. However, we will finish the car, and are trying to organanize our own personal event to test the car and see it finished. So we keep working on the car and will keep you updated on our plans!
After a long vacation there is a new team ready to take on the challenge of completing the Bluefinger! While all hope on finishing the car was lost due to the Coronavirus outbreak, there were still some little things that could be done. In this post we will show you these little things, as well as the progress that has been made before the outbreak.
The biggest progress that has been made is connecting the different bodypanels in a more permanent way. We installed nine clamps that connect the three pieces together. This way the car can be disassembled with two people in a short amount of time. The second thing that has been done is the wheel wells in carbon fiber. These will be protecting the driver and the sensitive electronics. In this picture you can see the floor of the car. This panel is bolted to the frame. In addition to the carbon fiber wheel wells we installed some ventilation to keep the driver cool on a hot day.
The next picture shows the freshly installed windows, which are made of polycarbonate. This material is both lightweight and very safe in case of a crash. Our dashboard has been moved to the side, to allow for more visibility. The steering wheel is placed as low as possible for the same reason. This wheel is mounted to a quick release coupling, making getting in and out of the car a little bit easier and quicker.
This year we have plans to finish the car and test as much as possible. To finish the car there is still a lot of work that has to be done to be able to compete in the Shell Ecomarathon. For example, we need to mount mirrors, front and rear lights, a horn, windscreen wipers and a bunch of other little bits.
The new team consists of 2th and 3th year mechanical and electrical engineering students. We hope to give more information about the people behind this project and the different things they are goning to be working on in a future post. Of course we are gratefull for the sponsors we are able to have on this project. They give us a lot of information and parts that are used on the car. We have already made contact with some of these sponsors that have supported us last year, such as JENG and JODIWO.
We will inform you on the progress of the car on this site and our social media channels as much as possible. See you there!
During the Windesheim “Bedrijfsprojectweek” or company project week, we worked fulltime on the Bluefinger, and here are the results:
The shell is almost completed with functioning doors and front window, we made incredible progress on our carbon fiber disk wheels, and the steering system has been almost completely rebuilt out of carbon fiber.
The carbon fiber shell
Prototyping foam cores for the carbon fiber disk wheels
Sadly we have to announce that the Blue racing team won’t be able to take part in the Shell Eco-marathon of 2019. To ensure the quality of the car and safety of our team we have decided to postpone our participation to the Shell Eco-marathon of 2020.
We concluded that it was too dangerous and too risky to finish the hull within the current time available.
We would like to thank our sponsors, and wish the best of luck to all teams participating in the Shell Eco-marathon of 2019.
Today is the first day of the race so we want to update you on how everything goes! So first things first, we arrived in London on Sunday evening, we build our camp for the coming week. On Monday we checked into the paddock and build this place up aswell.
Then on Tuesday technical inspection started, a little bit sooner than expected. But fortunately we were ready, within the day we were approved for the track, as first Dutch team this year!
Wednesday was the first test day. We got in line early so we were the very first team who set wheels on the track. We did three runs and a total laps of 30 laps. Thursday we had the last two test possibilities, here we did 25 laps. Everything went quite smoothly
Thursday was the first race day. With the experience of the previous days we were quite confident in our car and the outcome. The first heat was one to qualify and make sure that we are able to come back to the Shell Eco Marathon next year. For the second heat we made some alterations to the car, this paid of a little bit. Now we’re preparing for the last two heats.