Mechanical engineering club works together to build Formula SAE car

Students working on car

30 members of the ASME club have been working together to design a new Formula One car from the ground up

Despite being remote and spread out across the country this fall due to COVID-19, University of the Pacific's American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) club has not allowed the pandemic to prevent them from coming together and learning from one another.

Led by student officers President Scotty Lucas ‘22; Treasurer and Project Manager Jan Schlegel ‘22; Vice President Puneet Singh ‘22; and Secretary Tejpal Tut ‘22, around 30 members of the ASME club have been working together to design a new Formula One car from the ground up. Assisted by two mechanical engineering senior design teams, they have broken themselves up into six task groups focusing on different areas of the car including the cockpit, engine, brakes and steering, drivetrain, suspension and chassis.

The team has relied heavily on Discord, an online communication platform often used in the gaming community.

"We have actually been communicating more frequently this semester while we are remote than we have in the past," said Schlegel. "Last year we would meet to work on projects and text some, but now we talk every day about our project."

Each of the groups meet regularly to determine the parts needed for their areas and also discuss design options. They utilize 3D modeling software to build the different sections of the car and create a visual of how each section will fit together.

"Scotty and Jan have done an unbelievable job in growing the club from less than five active members from 2018 to over 40 at this point, in addition to building a fully functional car from scratch," said Joshua Steimel, mechanical engineering professor and ASME club advisor. "ASME and SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is a wonderful opportunity for students to establish new professional relationships and build connections with mechanical engineers and gain hands-on experience. This practical experience supplements Pacific students’ strong fundamental background that is developed by the dedicated faculty in mechanical engineering."

The club's goal for this year is to compete in the Formula SAE Competition, which is a student design competition organized by SAE International. In the competition, each team's prototype car is evaluated for its potential as a production item and the prototype race car is judged in a number of different events, including its design, cost and manufacturing, presentation, acceleration, skid pad, autocross, fuel economy and endurance.

"We hope to complete the entire competition and have a running car the whole time," explained Lucas. "We are treating this year as a starting point that we can build off of moving forward for the club."

The ASME club is looking for sponsors for their Formula SAE Project to help purchase parts and assist with fees to enter the Formula SAE Competition. There are several different tiers for sponsorship opportunities including company logos on their car, website and additional acknowledgments.

Visit Pacific's American Society of Mechanical Engineers club website to learn more about their work or check out their crowdfunding page to support the team as a sponsor.

ASME University of the Pacific