22 September 2008

Finally...CAD Assignment is DONE!!!

First of all, for some of you didn't know what CAD stand for,
read the following quote from Wikipedia.

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology to aid in the design and especially the drafting (technical drawing and engineering drawing) of a part or product, including entire buildings. It is both a visual (or drawing) and symbol-based method of communication whose conventions are particular to a specific technical field.

So what's my assignment is about?
We are required to do a design of any system which consist of minimum 4 parts, fully drawn and assembly by using CATIA.
If you didn't know what CATIA stand for as well.....

CATIA (Computer Aided Three Dimensional Interactive Application) is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite, widely used throughout the engineering industry, especially in the automotive and aerospace sectors.

As what I know, CATIA is one of the most advanced CAD software available in the market now, used for most of the high-tech engineering design. Just for example, all the major F1 Teams you know like Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes, Toyota, BMW, Renault, Honda, are using CATIA for F1 chassis or engines design.

For my assignment, me and my partner decided to design a simple car suspension system.
The design basically not really applicable on real car but at least we are able to show what we know about design using CATIA. As I believe I have enough knowledge on the suspension system, I take charge on the design of coilover shock absorber, while my partner will hands on the chassis frame. This is the 3D model of the coilover shock absorber I draw, consist of 9 parts in total. The main feature of this is the Hi-Lo adjustable spring seat and Mono-Tube shock absorber. I really did draw the valve, piston, seal inside the shock absorber cylinder!
This is the chassis main frame drawn by my partner. Very simple but actually easier for parts assembly. Beside the frame and coilover, there are many many other parts we have draw like link, joint, bolts, nuts, so that the whole system can be fully assemble.
After days and nights doing design and edit and reedit, finally we had done the full assembly of the suspension system. As what I've mentioned earlier on the Hi-Lo adjustable spring seat on the coilover, it will allow the height adjustment of the whole suspension system. Which means if you have this sytem in your car, you can actually adjust the height of car as you wish! And yes, the Hi-Lo adjustment can be fully simulated inside the CATIA software.
Compare with the requirement of our assignment which require minimum 4 parts in assembly, we did total of 23 individual single parts, and total of 58 assembly parts. As this is our first time using CATIA, it is really not an easy job. And I can imagine that how skillful an engineer who work for those F1 Teams has to be, where they have to design total of 3500 parts for the F1 cars, and each of the part must be the best design so their car can go faster. Of course, I hope I can be one of them in the future!
Real Toyota F1 CATIA design screenshot, all the parts are ready to be manufactured from this CATIA drawing. Custom configuration using CATIA for Malaysia Sepang F1 Circuit. The F1 car and all the parts can be fully simulated in CATIA to test their performance and reliability.

Actually I'm very impressed that MMU provide basic training of CATIA design in my course. As in the lab our lecturer had teach us on Part Design and Assembly Design, which some company out there offering course on this at the price of 200-300USD each. And for the CATIA software, it cost around 16.5K USD for a single license. It should cost more than RM100K to get CATIA license for the 20PC in MMU lab, even after some discount for education purposes I think....

18 September 2008

How fast can you go in a car park?

GRA Round3 2008 was held on 7th Sept.
First time GRA going to Sepang F1 Circuit car park,
with longest, fastest, and most technical course layout!
(If you have no idea on what is "GRA", read my previous post)Different from the previous rounds in Shah Alam,
we have bright blue sky and excellent weather this round.
The road are dry, means we doesn't need to "slide" around as what we did in Shah Alam.
The car park cover a very large area, where the organizer actually suggest us to bring bicycle along so easier for us to move around. I took almost half an hour to do the coursewalk with my leg!The track layout was very nicely planned which cover the whole parking area, with a few long straights and a lot of fast corners. Middle of the course we have about 300metres long straights, which we can hit 120-140km/h easily. Layout is relatively technical and complicated, which is quite confusing causing a lot of drivers did wrong course run this round. Remember the track layout is the first task all drivers must get through.Not much troubles for me in this round, where I have good handling and tire traction around the whole course. We were given 5 timed run and I just easily get used to the fast course and improved my time for each run. In the end I finish 1st in Class A with about 2.5second ahead of the 2nd position , that's a very satisfying results for me.Round4 has been postponed due to some equipment problems.
For anyone else interested to join GRA,
please do so as long as you have a "healthy" car, it can be a stock original car, pasar car, study car, daily drive car, monster car, track car...
This is actually a very good opportunity to learn the "behavior" of your car,
so that you can control it properly in different kind of situation especially when you're driving on the public road.
Check GRA website and register in their forum to get future updates.
See you next round!

09 September 2008

A little bit about GRA

It's been a while I didn't post here
since I can't think of anything else to write
I think I'll write something related to cars,
which I initially don't plan to write anything on this in my blog..
This will be a bit long, if you are no interested, just skip this..hehe

I've joined GRA event since last year,
which I enjoyed very much and gained a lot of experience from it.
It is also where I start racing cars.

GRA - Grass Racing Autosports
What we do in GRA is Autocross racing, basically a time trial competition which driver must complete the preset course layout using their own cars in shortest time. Normally the course will be at large car park area or open public road, with some cones to set the course.
For more detail explanation of "Autocross", kindly refer to GRA link as below
http://www.grassracingautosports.com/autocross.phpGRA Autocross Championship is the largest and most active autocross event in Malaysia.
It is sanctioned by MAM(Motorsports Association of Malaysia)
and is the most professionally done autocross event where you can race legally.
Drivers are divided into 2 main categories
Grass Class - for novice drivers who had not won any other similar race event
Pro Grass Class - it just mean for PRO

In each categories, drivers will race according to the class of their cars
-Grass Class below 1300CC, below 1600CC and Automatic Transmission Class.
-Pro Grass below 1300CC, below 1600CC, below 2000CC, and above 2000CC.
If you are interested to know how's the race actually goes,
again plz follow the GRA link below for the official rules and regulations
Normally before the race start, drivers are allowed to do course walk where you can walk around the course to familiar with the layout, check the direction, apex point of corners, and also road surface condition. This is very important for drivers to give a good run later on.
Then it will start by 1 practice run, and followed by 3 to 6 timed run depend on the schedule of the day.
As there is only 1 practice run given, drivers must memorized the course first as there is no direction given when you are in the race. Drivers must figure out the best driving line and technique thru out the course as soon as possible, and also fine tune the car setup such as suspension damping and tire pressure to give best traction around the course.
In each run, drivers must push their cars to the limit of what their skills and cars can do.
Keep the cars in control is very crucial, as normally the course is set up with very tight corners and the curbs and barrier might be just a few inches away. Slight mistake may cost a big problem.

In GRA we use infra red sensor timing system which give the accuracy of 0.001second, to match with the high level skill of GRA competitors which they normally having time difference of less than 1second. I had the experience of 0.373second slower than the 1st position end up walking home with a silver podium.
Count the cones if you can

I first participated Grass Class A(below 1300cc) with my Iswara Aeroback in 2007 GRA Round4 held in Shah Alam Stadium Car Park, which I finish in 5th position. It was a good start and I continue to join Round5 held in Putrajaya which was a very fast open road course, just beside the Palace of Justice, finish in 4th position with 0.682second behind to get a podium finish. Then it was followed by a lot of upgrades and modification on my car, practice and practice and practice, to target the 1st position in GRA Autocross Championship 2008 which consist of 5rounds in total.Round1 2008 was held in Shah Alam Stadium Car Park again, I've push my car beyond the limit in this round, which I having a very tough race with one of the experienced driver who piloting a well-tuned Kelisa which is very suitable for this tight course layout in Shah Alam. At the end I'm 0.373second behind him and finish in 2nd position.Round3 is again in Shah Alam. As what I've learned from previous round, I did more preparation before the race start. Study the course layout carefully and figure out the best driving line, get best tire traction by adjust the tire pressure, and set up medium suspension damping to suit the road surface which has a lot of sands, rocks, and holes in half of the course. And finally, I finish 1st with 2.189second ahead of the 2nd position. The hard work had finally pay back!In my next post will be the coverage of GRA Round3 which is held in Sepang F1 Circuit Car Park on last weekend. This was the longest, fastest and also most challenging course layout in GRA history. Check back here in few days for the updates!