STEMobile (A design/build electric car)
Students studying Mechanical and Electrical Engineering will be designing and building an electric car during the Spring semester. The car will be based on an electric golf cart chassis which will undergo major modifications. Students will design an entirely new car body using Fusion 360 CAD software. A frame for the body will be laser cut, filled with foam, and then covered with fiberglass. The new body will be mounted to the chassis and all mechanical controls will be removed. Accelerating, braking, and steering will be controlled through small Arduino computers taking inputs from a single joystick. Students will program the control systems so that preset performance modes can be selected from a touch panel control display. Additional subsystems, such as lighting and sound will be designed, as well as a new “cockpit” environment for the driver and passenger.
The end goal is a concept sports car that is drive-by-wire. It will provide a platform where self-driving technologies can be explored and implemented. We are calling the project the STEMobile. Please visit this page often for updates.
This week teams continued piecing together the STEMobile. Everyone is chipping in to reach the final deadline. In these final weeks, the teams have been working together on all aspects. Interior, Exterior, and Electrical have become one team, aimed at finishing on time. As the final touches are made, everyone is looking forward to getting to drive the finished car.
This week teams began assembling all parts of our STEMobile. With much of the work done, it is finally time to piece it all together. Final designs are being laid out and wiring work is in progress. There was also some work done this week towards protecting the most crucial parts (i.e. the brains) of our car. Finally, after many semesters of work, all the parts are falling into place!
This week, painting continued as multiple layers are always required. The team is working diligently to continue progress on our STEMobile. With almost all of the moving parts working, the focus has shifted to design. There is still a good amount of work to be done, but there is enough time left if we continue at this pace. Keep an eye out, soon you may see students practicing their driving skills on campus.
After two weeks of virtual and one of spring break, we came back in style! This week was all about paint. The STEMobile received its first coat of paint and is looking good. The teams agreed on a nice black paint that makes it look professional, despite having to paint it at home. The results are looking promising. The other teams continued their work and progress is moving forward on our project.
This week the STEMobile received primer in preparation for paint in the coming weeks. Teams worked hard and worked together to apply several layers of primer. There was more work done on the LEDs and design of the car and some structural aspects were finished.
This week teams worked on implementing the design aspects of the STEMobile. The LEDs are lighting up and the sound system echoes throughout the lab. The crew also decided to add a spoiler to the back of the car.
After a few bumps in the road due to COVID, we managed to get back on track. The teams are working full steam to turn our STEMobile into a glorious machine. With each day of work, we move closer towards a final product and it just keeps looking better and better!
Adding layers and strengthing the body, our teams were hard at work. Anyone stopping by to see would be greeted by the smell of carbon fiber and a team of sharply dressed, lab-coat-wearing, engineers!
During the fourth week, teams got their hands dirty working on putting together and shaping the STEMobile. Its progress is moving right along as scheduled.
This week the teams began more hands-on work with the STEMobile. Work began on one of the touchscreens, and LEDs are lighting up. The body shaping is almost done, and some detailing work was started on the back end.
This week saw sparks fly as welding happened in the STEM Lab. New attachments were finished and perfected to be attached to the STEMobile. If you happened to stop by on one of the workdays, the sound was reminiscent of old forges, and the teams were all hard at work on the car.
After a fall semester of working, the new teams got back to physical work on the STEMobile. They began work on a permanent mounting of the body and ensuring all parts will fit nicely into the STEMobile.
After several long weeks away, school finally resumed, and work on the STEMobile did too. Two students, Bennett McKinney and Cole Chapman, picked up where class left off. Both seniors worked on the STEMobile as part of their STEM Capstone, the final project of their STEM diploma.
Well, after three days into the week, we were sent home to practice social distancing. As we are not sure of a return date, the plan to paint the body during Spring break has been put on hold. The body still awaits more sanding and additional layers of fiberglass, the interior still has trim and electronic work to do, and the control system has yet to be integrated into the vehicle. Below is a picture of the STEMobile as it sits all alone in the STEM lab. We are praying that a return to school is still possible in April.
The front and rear body components have now received one layer of fiberglass cloth on both sides. There is no longer any fear of the parts being fragile. The fiberglass composite structures seem very strong. An additional layer of fiberglass will be applied to all top surfaces. This will then receive an extra coat of epoxy and then more sanding and sanding before going off to paint. However, the project has been interrupted due to the Coronavirus. As school is now closed for two weeks, progress is halted. It was decided that the instructors would complete the fiberglassing so that project can remain on schedule. It is our intent to send it off to paint in a few weeks. When the students return, the body sections will be ready to mount and integrate with the rest of the vehicle. As a result, a mid-May completion date is still possible.
It took until Friday, but fiberglassing has begun. All teams worked hard getting body, structural, and electrical systems moving forward. So far, each team is on schedule. Wednesday was reserved for a project meeting where the program status and fiberglassing techniques were discussed. Everyone agreed that the car is exceeding our expectations. Below, the rear body section is receiving some final sanding before fiberglass.
Body preparation continued as more filling and sanding occurred daily. As a result, the body is nearly ready for fiberglassing next week.
With another 4 day week, and a delayed start for ice, progress on the car slowed a bit. However, the body, interior, and electronics continued to move forward. As shown below, Mr. Boyd continues sanding after school to help his team catch up.
Although this was a 4 day week, a lot of progress was made. The front and rear body sections are nearing completion as the smell of body filler filled the room (or school apparently :).
The 3rd week of the project was once again very productive. All teams made significant progress refining the body, designing the interior, and working out the control systems. Here is the Front Body Team laying out the right wheel well.
The second week of the project was very productive. All design teams made significant progress as the car is starting to take form. The picture below shows Mr. Lawes trying out the new armrest and joystick assembly.
The STEMobile project is now fully underway! Three design/build teams have been established from our Mechanical and Digital Systems classes. The teams are; the Exterior Team, the Interior Team, and the Electrical, Controls, and Instrumentation Team. The Exterior team is further divided into two Front and Back sub-teams. The original golf cart has been stripped down to its chassis and is ready to be rebuilt.
During the last few weeks of our course "Introduction to Mechanical Engineering" students engaged in a design challenge to create a conceptual design for the STEMobile. The winning design was created by Sarah Gaddis in Fusion 360 as shown below. Her design was then sliced in the software to create rib and stringer frames for the front and rear quadrants.