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The Atmosphere’s Electric

The Atmosphere’s Electric

Formula Student allows ambitious students to gain intensive practical experience in the design, production and commercial aspects of automotive engineering—from every angle and well away from the confines of a lecture theatre. Article by Paul Horn GmbH.

Zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in less than four seconds, an engine power of 160 kW and real team spirit—that sums up life for the Raceyard Formula Student Team from Kiel University of Applied Sciences. They are entering the “E” category of the competition with an electric racing car that they have developed and built themselves. 

To assist with the production of the car’s parts, Paul Horn GmbH is giving the Kiel students advice on tools for turning and milling.

“We really appreciate the company’s machining expertise. Thomas Wassersleben is our contact person at HORN and thanks to him we always receive good advice and rapid support,” explains Lukas Schlott. Lukas is the member of the Raceyard Team with responsibility for marketing and event management.

The collaboration with the Institute for Computer Integrated Manufacturing – Technology Transfer (CIMTT) has actually been running for several years. Wassersleben advises the Institute’s mechanical workshops on machining solutions and tools. He was also the HORN sales representative that received the initial enquiry from the 2017/2018 Raceyard Team and passed it on. HORN responded to this enquiry by offering a set of tools that included the Supermini 105, the S100 grooving and parting-off system, and some Boehlerit ISO inserts and DS aluminium milling cutters.

“This set of tools enabled our mechanics department to solve tricky machining tasks by overcoming the access difficulties created by the long throat depths and narrow bores,” recalls Schlott.

A new race car is created for each season of the Formula Student competition. Just like the car itself, the make-up of the team also changes, as some members inevitably come to the end of their studies. This means that each new team has to develop, produce, assemble and test its own race car. However, the experience accumulated over previous seasons is also fed into the latest development work. The 2017/2018 Raceyard Team has 50 members assigned to four main areas: Sponsorship and Finance, Mechanics, Electrics, and Marketing & Event Management.  

Self-developed and Self-produced

The students developed and produced the entire race car themselves, apart from a few components. For the brake callipers, the Kiel students opted for SLM (selective laser melting) technology. Using this additive manufacturing process, they were able to print the brake callipers from an aluminium alloy powder made to their very own design specifications. And when it came to finish boring the brake piston cylinder surface, the responsible mechanics decided on the HORN Supermini 105 system.

“Due to the calliper’s three-dimensional shape and the very tight cylinder tolerances, the production process was a real challenge for our mechanics,” says Schlott.

The aluminium axle leg was machined using a triple-flute solid carbide end mill from the DS system with polished chip spaces. The difficulty with this component was the long throat depth required for the tool. In addition, the component geometry meant that the engineers went for the extra-long milling tool.

“Thanks to the polished chip spaces and the geometry of the milling cutter, we don’t experience any problems during machining in terms of chips adhering and chatter marks,” says Wassersleben.

CFRP Monocoque Design

The racing car has a CFRP monocoque chassis. The students decided on the same carbon fibre material for the aerodynamic components and other parts such as the steering linkage. For the purpose of producing the moulds and laminating the parts, the team had access to the machinery and expertise of another sponsor.

“It was certainly a challenge to laminate the individual CFRP layers because the fibres in each layer had to be arranged in particular directions to ensure the subsequent rigidity of the chassis and other assemblies,” clarifies Schlott. In order to calculate the aerodynamics as well as the rigidity of the chassis and other components, the students made use of the powerful computers available at the Kiel CIMTT institute. 

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