All posts by sperduj3

Project Update #1

The TCNJ Baja SAE 2016 team has been busy at for since the 2015 Baja SAE competition came to a conclusion in May!

2015 Competition Season Recap

The team finished 46/100 at Baja SAE Maryland. The team completed all static and dynamic events, except the endurance competition. A failure of a gearbox bearing, and subsequent shaft failure, resulted in catastrophic gearbox failure. That said, the 2015 team put forth an excellent effort!

The 2015 and2016 Teams at competition, along with alumni and our valued advisors


2016 Design & Manufacturing Progress

Now TCNJ Baja SAE moves to the 2016 competition season, with a new team, and a new perspective and approach. It became apparent at Baja SAE Maryland that the current approach of TCNJ Baja SAE toward the competition is out-dated and needed to be re-worked. After extensive conversations with our colleagues and competition in Maryland, the team is moving forward with a new management and project system. In particular, the modus operendi of the 2016 Team will be the minimization of weight and systems integration.

The 2016 Team was busy during the Summer Рsuccessfully completing the Background Research and Brainstorming phases of the project. We have progressed through the Fall through our Design Analysis & Design Selection phases. The team current has an initial design in place, and have begun the Detailed Design phase, as well as the Production phase for the Frame. The image below gives a preview of the  design for the 2016 Vehicle.

The design of this vehicle is based on extensive literature review and benchmarking against the top Baja SAE teams. Furthermore, the team has significantly increased its efforts to interact with underclassmen and prospective sponsors. We have already obtained sponsorship from McKnight Steel & Tube Co., INVISTA, MathWorks, ANSYS, and Comfort Revolution, and are working with a number of sponsors to complete the details of sponsorship. In addition, we have a number of students assisting in the project, with a total of 16 underclassmen interested in the project, as well as 3 visiting Brazilian exchange students who have provided their own Baja SAE experience and expertise.

iso view V1.0
The 2016 Vehicle initial design


The 2016 Vehicle has a number of novel innovations for TCNJ and the Baja SAE competition, which are categorized below. In addition, the 2016 Vehicle is the lightest vehicle in TCNJ through the design phase, weighing approximately 330 pounds!

  • Frame
    • Improved design for component integration and manufacturing precision
    • Improved FEA simulation using realistic boundary conditions
    • Improves mounting tab design for stronger attachment of suspension components
    • Composite body-panels (either UHMW plastic or fiber-glass) for reduced weight
  • Suspension & Steering
    • Improved design of suspension-links for simpler manufacturing and improved strength
    • Improved design of suspension geometry using novel design and optimization techniques for improve vehicle performance
    • Improved FEA analysis using ANSYS Rigid Body Dynamics for more realistic stress analysis
    • Vibration analysis to determine best shock-absorber settings
    • Custom-steering rack for better driver control of steering
    • 6061-T6 aluminum suspension-links for reduced weight
    • Carbon-fiber/kevlar steering links for reduced weight
    • Custom 6061-T6 aluminum wheel-carriers and wheel-hubs for reduced weight
  • Drivetrain
    • Custom gearbox with planetary primary-reduction and chain secondary-reduction for improved speed/torque output and reduced weight
    • Custom driveshafts for reduced weight
    • Improved CVT testing for better variable reduction
  • Ergonomics
    • Suspension seat made of donated CORDURA 1000-denier nylon fabric with donated structural- and memory-foam padding for reduced weight and improved driver comfort
    • Improved pedal and steering wheel placement based on published information and testing methodology
  • Braking & Wheels
    • Use of lighter wheel hubs for reduced weight
    • Brake biasing for improve vehicle performance and handling

Moving Forward

As Fall concludes, the team looks to Winter Break with eager and earnest excitement to complete the finishing touches on the design and begin manufacturing the vehicle! Work of the frame has already begun, and CNC-milling of the suspension and gearbox is slated to being after Christmas.

If you have any questions or would like to sponsor or be involved in the TCNJ Baja SAE 2016 team, please see our Contact page for more details.

– John Sperduto, Team Manager & Lead-designer for Front-suspension & Steering