Shell Progress

Shell team has recently begun doing actual work on the shell, in the wake of a few safety issues which were resolved with the purchase of new respirators, safety goggles, body suits, and the use of a fan for ventilation. The respirator/suit combo looks fabulous by the way. In the past couple weeks we have been out to the station a lot, and this is what has happened:

We sprayed the top mold with a couple of layers of duratec styroshield, but soon discovered that spraying was not the optimal method to coat the molds. It would take too long, and the spray gun was too difficult to work with. We have switched to using good old-fashioned paint brushes. This applies thicker coats, is less subject to technical failure, and is easier to clean up after (at the cost of a little bit of precision). We have streamlined this new process and should be able to finish applying the styroshield and the surface primer by the end of this week. From that point, we need to sand the molds, and then begin the lay-up process, which will most likely have to take place over spring break if we’re going to meet our deadlines.

Problems that remain unresolved:

1) The molds are deforming / cracking. A few emails have been thrown around about this recently, but the main point is that the torsion boxes are not really doing their job as well as hoped and the molds have started to deform slightly and crack down the center. The deformations are not obvious at first glance, nor are they extreme, but they are real and we need to figure out a way to approach this issue before they suffer significant or irrecoverable damage. My current strategy is to pray to Matthew and Martin and hope they figure something out.

2) We’re not entirely sure right now what is the best method to form the canopy. I’ve been doing some research  into different materials / processes to make it but it’s hard to know what is best to do. The only saving grace is that the canopy is much easier to deal with than the big molds, and so does not need to be rushed quite as much, but it still needs to be figured out ASAP.

That’s all for now. More updates on shell are sure to come in the near future.

The Chassis is Finished

Welding the final beams.
Welding the final beams

Taking advantage of the 3 day weekend, the chassis team put in a 14hr work-session on Sunday to finish constructing the new chassis. CalSol is extremely excited by this development because it marks a significant step on the path to finishing Impulse. With the chassis built, we can finish working on the suspension, steering systems, as well as the brakes and accelerator pedals.

Larissa trying out the new chassis.

The chassis team is particularly proud of their work. Impulse‘s chassis was made 100% in-house and it was built entirely by student members of CalSol. The experience was fun and edifying, which we see as the purpose of CalSol.

Go Bears!

Kreysler & Associates

Impulse is taking shape! The mold for our new car has been generously machined by Kreysler & Associates. They have been a huge help to us, and we really can’t thank them enough. The effort they put in on our part has saved us weeks worth of labor and expense and their exceptional work places them as a Gold sponsor. Take a peek at the molds as they arrived from Kreysler earlier this winter in our Photo Gallery. In the time since then we’ve been prepping the molds for the layup and securing the rest of the materials. Expect to see the shell of our Impulse soon.

SunCat Solar, LLC

New Cells! Plus a sneak peak of the chassis

Solar cells are what create the difference between a solar car and an electric car, so obviously they’re one of the more important items we need to have.  It’s been about 5 years and 2 cars since CalSol last bought cells, and we were all very excited to order a brand new set for Impulse, thanks in no small part to all of our wonderful sponsors. We went and talked to our friends at SunCat Solar, LLC, who despite their busy schedule managed to fit us on the list for some new cells.  And we’re pleased to report that they’ve just arrived!