Industrial Design
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15e: FSAE Racecar

2014/15

2014-2015

15e is Carnegie Mellon Racing's second electric race car.

Every year, Carnegie Mellon Racing builds a new vehicle to compete in Formula SAE, an intercollegiate competition in which teams design and build small race cars to be tested and judged in various events.

As the team's Lead Exterior Designer, I was responsible for designing the shape of the body and overseeing the fabrication process. The body consists of three carbon fiber pieces, fixed to the chassis. Pittsburgh Plate Glass supported the team by painting the body and adding the distinctive shark mouth.

15e competed in the 2015 Formula Electric and Formula Hybrid competitions. It is the product of a dedicated team of students and support from sponsors.

15e won first place in the design finals at the 2015 Formula Hybrid Competition, placing second overall, and winning the IEEE Excellence in Electric Vehicle Engineering Award.


 

Design Process

The design process began with hand sketching, based on templates of the chassis design. Working within the tight constraints of FSAE regulations, my aim was to design a body that that makes a strong, cohesive visual statement while meeting the goals set forth by the team's engineers.

Once the design was finalized, I created a Solidworks surface model of the panels to ensure a perfect fit with the chassis.

 

Fabrication

The fabrication process began with the use of the CAD model to cut foam molds with a CNC router. The molds were hand sanded before being painted and finished with gel coat and mold release wax. By laying fiberglass over the foam molds, we created the final female molds.

The body panels themselves were created by laying carbon fiber into the fiberglass female molds, which were then vacuum bagged and cured in an oven. After releasing the panels from the fiberglass molds, we sent the body to PPG to be finished and painted, which is where the body gained its distinctive hand-painted shark mouth. The final step was to apply the sponsor stickers and trim the panels for mounting.