CNC of Rear Uprights


This past weekend, a few of us on the Formula Team went to create the rear uprights for the car at Packard.  This piece of aluminum here was to be cut into the desired shape that we wanted using what is called CNC (computer numerical control) with a Haas Vertical Machine.  Basically, one writes a program using G-code and/or CAM (computer aided manufacturing) telling the Haas Machine what cuts to do and the machine does it for you.

Here’s the machine we used:

IMG_0895If you want to see how it works, click the link!

And here’s our two rear uprights that we created:

IMG_0899Pretty cool, huh?  These parts took a while to machine since we had most of the program on the mill set to G01 which means linear interpolation and not G00, which is rapid movement.  I’m starting to learn a little more about G-coding and its use and I’ve gotten to learn quite a bit.  I get amazed with how much some of the Formula team members know about cars and I will continue to learn from them.

How a Mechanical Watch Works

Over Spring break I was rummaging through some old drawers in my room where I found an old pocket watch my grandfather gave me a few years ago. I wound it up and it began ticking. Curious, I opened the back to see what I could find. I recorded the video above in slow motion to see how it worked. Well I couldn’t get a good grasp on it and I didn’t have the tools to take it apart so I searched YouTube for answers. The video below provides a great explanation that’s pretty easy to comprehend, even if it is from 1949. As a fun exercise, watch the video below and then watch the video I made above and see if you can spot all of the major components that make the watch function. Since I watched these videos I’ve gained a huge appreciation for these tiny mechanical marvels.

Steel Bridge Update

This week I was able to solve the problem with the assembly. The reason I was getting an over-defined error was due to the fact that the end arch pieces had some geometric issues. Two of the faces were something like 0.067 degrees to each other instead of being parallel. This means that when I was mating the faces of those pieces to the rest of the bridge I would have contradictory statements resulting in the error. I fixed this by adding a geometric constraint (parallel) to the parent sketch for the extrusion and this fixed the problem. Aside from this I’ve been slowly but surely piecing the bridge together. I’ll post the completed bridge once it’s finished after spring break. From there, I’ll try and have it 3D printed at Wilbur for a small scale model the fabrication crew can use as an aid to help them build it in real life. More updates to come. 

Take Home Exam

This semester I am in MECH 102, more commonly known as Dynamics. This course is taught by one of the more energetic and eccentric professors in the MEM department, Prof. Bill Best. So far the class has been very different from any of the classes I’ve taken at Lehigh. His style of teaching is very unique. He does not assign and collect daily or weekly homework. Instead, every few weeks he gives us a packet of 10-12 problems that we can do if we want for practice. In class he’ll go over some of these problems but wont complete them in their entirety. Last Friday he put our first exam online and told us we had a week to complete it. Its 6 very tricky problems and I’m now wishing I had done more of the practice problems beforehand. We’re allowed to look at our notes and book and ask him for help during his office hours. So far I’ve made some very good progress but I’m stuck on 3 of the problems. What I’ve found is that the approach on how to solve these problems is very different than what I’m used to. You have to interpret the information given to you in a very specific way and figure out how to apply in a way that solves for what you’re looking for. This is the first class I’ve had in my life with a take home exam. I like it because it removes the stress of not finishing within a time limit or forgetting a minor detail that makes solving a problem impossible. On the other hand, the problems are a hell of a lot tougher. In the end I’ll probably spend just as much time working on the exam as would have studying for it had it been a normal exam so I suppose it will all balance out.

Auto Blog: Next Generation Audi R8 Released


This past week gave us the release of the next generation of the Audi R8 ahead of its Geneva Motor Show release on March 5-15. It comes in two flavors so far, the 5.2 L V10 which produces 532 HP and the V10 Plus which produces 602 HP. This generation is over 100lbs lighter than the previous while still utilizing variable four-wheel drive. Its expected that the V10
Plus model will be able to achieve 0-60 mph in ~3.2 seconds. It’ll have the same S-Tronic double clutch gearbox but will be able to shift faster due to a software upgrade. I remember when the R8 was first released it was known to be a super car you could drive every day, even in the winter, and not worry about it breaking down. It’ll be interesting to see if this generation retains that reputation or if Audi has sought to change the direction of the car to be in a faster, more exotic club.