Basically we’re a student led, student run group, which is awesome.
I didn’t think it would be possible that you could build a car in less than a year.
It’s very important for students to have some hands-on experience. The solar vehicle project provides that.
It’s very good professional development.
It’s really cool!
For students it’s an amazing educational experience because you get to work on a design project that you just don’t get to do anywhere else.
I was a member of the 1999 solar vehicle project . I’ve spent the last 15 years as an aerospace engineer. I work for a company called Fourth Wing. And we build small UAVs for farmers for the agriculture industry.
At 2:00 in the morning, when students are intensely studying, they need to know why they’re doing it, and project-based work gives them that. These projects are supported by corporations and they’re supported by alumni.
When designing the solar vehicle, we have a lot of design challenges. The biggest ones are, it needs to be lightweight. It needs to go fast. And it needs to be safe. And, while it’s doing all of that, it has to be extremely efficient.
Having a relationship with PTC where they’re able to provide PTC Creo to us for free is huge.
And it also brings a huge sense of validation to the students saying, “Hey,” you know, “we’re here. We’re in industry. And what you are doing is really cool. And we want to support it.
My responsibilities on Daedalus were the design of the carbon fiber chassis and the roll cage.you want it to be as light as possible but they’re really centered around the safety of the driver. It enabled me to make a safe but light roll cage.
It was an amazing opportunity, to be able to go to Australia to complete in the World Solar Challenge. Last time we were there was in 1999.
On the solar vehicle project in ’99, I was designing some of the individual piece parts that went on the fairing and suspension.
We really sat down and started hashing out the details, and putting together a really aggressive timetable to actually get this thing built, because we usually build our cars in two years. And this build cycle was only going to allow us a year.
The reason we were able to make it happen so quickly is we have a shared model of the car.
Using PTC Creo, we were able to create concepts very quickly and efficiently, and go through iterations very fast.
I think one of the things I’m happiest about is how my ventilation interacted with her fairings!
Everything on the Solar Vehicle Project is a balance of Mechanical, Aero and Electrical.
These are the 3D printed parts of the car. They’re just made in Creo using surface blends and regular extrusions. And then you basically just send these designs straight to almost any manufacturer and they can pull them up and then they can just make it for you which is just…just amazing.
I’ve been using PTC CAD products since 1998, 1999, when I was a student at the University of Minnesota here. And all through my career up until now, where I’m using PTC Creo. And so I’ve seen a long progression of all the various versions. And I’d say the latest version is probably the biggest step I’ve seen. I’m able to do everything I need in terms of my designs, but also interfacing with others.
You learn a lot of communication between teams. You don’t just make one part and the other team makes one part and they try to bring it together, and it doesn’t work. So it teaches you communication as well as design.
Everything we do here, translates to what we do once we graduate.
In a competitive job market it will help me.
The knowledge that you learn from this program and the skills and expertise in the software and the programs that you use are really something that just make you so much more useful as an engineer.
I’m going to a job interview right after this video shoot, and pretty much everything that we’re going to talk about is this project.
I’m real proud of the University of Minnesota solar vehicle project teams throughout the years. I’ve kept tabs on them. I’ve come and advised or helped out where I can, lend a hand here or there. The solar vehicle cars they’re building today are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were, a decade and a half ago.
I guess the moment of WOW for me was one of the first times I drove the vehicle.And we got to start driving in Australia it was amazing because those 10 months of hard work that we had put in had just kind of finally turned a dream into reality
We got the car up to 83 miles an hour on the race. That’s the speed limit in Australia. The fact that we can drive 2,000 miles and we didn’t spend any gas on it. We didn’t .. zero carbon footprint for that drive.
It was just like this amazing... “I can’t believe we actually got here. We’re doing this.” Running across the finish line was just -- it was an unbelievable experience.
That’s something I will never forget.