In the summer of 2012, six good friends and I took over the leadership of the Dartmouth Formula Racing team. We set out on an almost two year timeline to construct an all electric race car entirely from scratch. Our end goal was to compete and excel at the Formula Hybrid Racing competition at the end of April of 2014. We took first place in the all-electric division and had an absolute blast doing so. My main roles on the team were to weld the frame together, design and build the uprights, and construct the wheel assemblies. Between welding the frame, uprights, and spindles, I spent at least 200 hours in a welding mask with a TIG welder. I started out proficient and mastered the task by the end.
We sent frame members out to be CNC bent and mitered, then using a jig that we designed in house we held all the members in place and eventually welded the frame together. When it was all said and done, our suspension points were within an eighth of an inch of where we planned them to be.
The previous five or six years of DFR had seen aluminum uprights, which were purely designed in Solidworks and then sent out to a 5-axis mill to be machined. As we were starting from scratch, we decided to take the opportunity to try something different. We decided to design the uprights out of bent sheet metal to both learn about that design methodology and to be able to construct them in house. We machined jigs, welded all the parts together, and sent them out to be uniformly heat treated. Once that was finished they had to go back on the mill to be precisely machined for bearing races.