Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Visit to So-Komp

Now that our foam plug has returned from CNC, it is time to start manufacturing the mold for Gato del Sol IV's aerodynamic outer shell. Mike and Nick traveled to Bowling Green, KY today to meet with Southern Komposites, an high-quality composites manufacturer. Gary and Bill gave us a great briefing on the composite manufacturing process from their extensive aerospace experience. This will be a great aid the UK Solar Car Team in its transition from wet layup fiberglass to a more professional process aimed at yielding a lighter, more aerodynamic shell.

UK Solar Car meets So-Komp LLC
Nick and Mike from the UK Solar Car Team meet with Gary Smrtic and Bill Smrtic from So-Komp. Their involvement in both racing and alternative energy is a great match for our project.

Gary discusses mold construction with Mike
Gary discusses mold construction with Mike

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Foam is back from APW

Thanks to our friends at Advanced Pattern Works, the foam plug mold for the top half of GDS4 looks beautiful! Next up: surface gelcoat and sanding...

Way to go Aero design team, Aero fabrication (everybody who epoxied the foam together), and Kyle and Jeremy (and Jeremy's dad) who made the 13-hour excursion to retrieve the mold!

Enjoy some spy photos!

Mike points out a fillet on the mold
Keith snaps an iPhone photo of the pretty blue foam

Visit to TOPY America

Three members of the UK Solar Car Team visited TOPY America on Thursday. Keith connected with Grant Baker, TOPY Production Engineer and classic car aficionado, at the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance. We are excited to build a relationship with TOPY as Keith leads the design of the new 16in wheels for Gato del Sol IV.
In front of TOPY

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Early Shell Mold Pics!

The top half of Gato del Sol IV's shell plug mold is currently being cut to shape by our friends at Advanced Pattern Works. Check out these photos!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New Leadership Team Selected for 2009-10

The University of Kentucky Solar Car Team is proud to announce its new leadership team for the 2009-10 season! This group of motivated students will serve to support their fellow team members to finance, design, build, and race UK's 4th solar-powered car, Gato del Sol IV, in the 2010 North American Solar Challenge.

Sam Nicaise - Team General Manager. EE Senior, Covington, KY.

Mark Taylor - Race Manager. ME Senior, Dillsburg, PA.

Brent White - Business Manager. ME Junior, Murray, KY.

Matt Deye - Electrical Systems Manager. EE Junior, Fort Mitchell, KY.

Brian Passafiume - Mechanical Systems Manager. ME Senior, Louisville, KY.

Kyle Stein - Aerodynamics Team Leader. ME Junior, Edgewood, KY

This new group has stepped up to the plate following the graduation of three former team members:

Anthony Robertson, former Mechanical Systems Manager, recently began employment as a civilian Aeronautical Systems Engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH. As part of a two-year Engineer-in-Training program, Anthony will gain practical work experience and earn his masters in engineering.

Nick Such, former Team General Manager, was recently accepted to the MBA program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business with a two-year deferral. In the meantime, Nick is working with local business incubator Awesome Inc., and is also pursuing internships with the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation and a few other high-tech startups.

Will Wade, former Webmaster, has accepted a position with Microsoft in Redmond, WA. Will is a Software Development Engineer in Test working with the Customer Experience Group for the Windows OS. Lately he has enjoyed digging deeper into Visual Studio integration.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Follow the UK Solar Car on Twitter!

As most of you who have followed the University of Kentucky Solar Car Team on the blog may know, sometimes updates are few and far between, and during the races themselves the updates are daily at best. We are a bunch of busy workers and having the time to write out full articles can be difficult, especially considering our school schedules.

Well good news! You can now follow the team on Twitter! We still intend on keeping this blog updated just as before, but for the quick up to the minute status of our team, check us out on Twitter.

Now, you can follow us on the Formula Sun Grand Prix without having to wait until evening for any news on the race. Rural Texas does not have the best wifi, so updating twitter by cell phone should be very easy for us. Hope to see some followers!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Solar Car meets Aptera in D.C.

Two members of the UK Solar Car Team had the opportunity to meet with officials from Aptera Motors during the EGR599: Engineering Leadership trip to Washington, D.C.

Anthony Robertson and Nick Such conversed with CEO Paul Wilbur and Senior Engineer Sean Touhy as the Aptera 2e was displayed on Capitol Hill. The Aptera 2e is an electric vechicle, capable of 100 miles per charge, at an efficiency equivalent of 300+ miles per gallon. Of all production vehicles, it is the most similar to UK's Solar Car.

Aptera was in Washington with a congressman from their home state of California to lobby for its piece of the DOE's $25 billion in funding for domestic production of high-efficiency vehicles. While the Federal Government prepares to distribute this funding to other automakers, Aptera's application was initially rejected due to the fact that it has 3 wheels, instead of the conventional 4. This article from Wired.com further explains their situation.

Aptera is one of the frontrunners for the Automotive X-Prize.

Solar Car Team member Sam Nicaise was also on the D.C. trip, and had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Ben Chandler at the same time.

More on Aptera:
From Aptera Motors
From Edmunds

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Foam arrives from Lowe's

We learned the effect of compounding overestimation as 100 sheets of XEPS (Styrofoam) arrived today, filling up most of the garage's main room. This should provide us with plenty of foam for manufacturing the shell and fairings for Gato del Sol IV.

This foam will be used to create a male mold, also known as a plug, in the shape of Gato 4's shell. This will be accomplished in two steps. First, we will cut and glue the 2 inch sections of foam together to form the rough shape of the car. Second, we will use a large 5-axis CNC to precisely mill the shape of the car from this block using our 3D CAD model as the reference.

Thanks to Lowe's of N.E. Lexington and their price-match guarantee for helping us to move forward with our new shell-manufacturing process!

Versailles Family Science Day

The Solar Car Team celebrated Pi day by showing off Gato del Sol III at the Versailles Family Science Day at Huntertown Elementary.

The purpose of our attendance at the event was to provide positive role models in the STEM fields (Science Technology Engineering and Math). We talked to over 100 students and their families about our trip from Texas to Canada and explained how a solar-powered car works. UK's SWE chapter was also on hand with a cool demonstration of paper rocket propulsion.

Anthony even got to fulfill his life-long dream of making an announcement over the intercom!

Thanks to Versailles resident and Lexmark engineer Glenn Edelen and his family for coordinating the inaugural event, and even adopting a solar cell!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Field trip to the solar car!

On Tuesday, the UK Solar Car Team welcomed 36 middle school science students from Sts. Peter and Paul school in downtown Lexington. The students braved the wet, not-quite-sunny weather to learn more about alternative energy and take a tour of the Solar Car garage.

Part of our team's mission is to inform the community about the benefits of solar power and energy efficiency. We are especially interested in inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists. If you are a local educator who would like to use the UK Solar Car Team supplement to your classroom experience, please contact uksolarcar@gmail.com

Nick Such
Solar Car Team, General Manager