I joined Blue Sky in my first year at the University of Toronto. At the time, I knew very little (if anything) about solar car design but the team was recruiting for the start of the fabrication cycle, and I was eager to join. Now, two years later, the new car’s design is wrapping up, and fabrication is set to start again.
As a fabrication lead, it is my role to ensure that the car is manufactured as designed and on time. This requires a lot of planning and logistics, as well as material characterization and testing. With the fabrication cycle set to commence in the next few months, we still have our work cut out for us in terms of finishing characterization and securing facilities.
Outside of making arrangements for our new car, it’s also my role to make repairs to the old one. The most recent repair that I made was for a piece that (I hate to admit) I initially installed, and recently failed. This piece is one of four mounting brackets on our top aerobody. These brackets allow us to attach our top aerobody to a separate stand, giving us access to the inside of the car. When I initially installed this bracket, the team was in a rush to finish the car, and the contact surfaces were improperly prepared, and the carbon fiber layup performed was a poor one. This past weekend, the bracket sheered right off.
The bracket has since been repaired, following proper protocols; the surfaces were roughened beforehand, and enough pressure was applied to the layup. If there is one concern, it’s that a larger piece of bagging film should have been used. That being said, it’s important to make these mistakes early, so that they’re not repeated for the new cycle.