Building Your Own WIKISPEED Car as an class project, A guide for educators
I’ve been working with Iron Range Engineering, a technical school who is partnering with WIKISPEED on aspects of their hands on, project based curriculum. Here is my email to them on what they may take on during this next semester. I hope many other educators are able to expand this email into a template for an educational curriculum for hands-on project work:
The specifics for the next semester are likely 1) building a WIKISPEED chassis. The BOM and fabrication steps for that are posted here: http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/wikispeed_SGT01
We do recommend stress-relieving the welds, maybe using a bead plaster or ball-peen hammer. Our experienced fabrication lead, Bryan Ford, makes chassis in 6 hours each. The students can choose to FEA torsional rigidity or impact tests or otherwise add fun and educational academic steps here which will add time, and that’s just fine and maybe a savvy use of time.
The next step then is to create the suspension modules. The fabrication steps for that are on our YouTube Channel, here:
All 4 suspension modules can be cut and assembled in a day, but again you can take more time for learning opportunities.
Now there is a car chassis on 4 wheels- and it starts to look like a car!
Next step is the Pedal Plate, which are we updating right now. When the students complete the chassis and are starting the suspension modules, let us know and we’ll post the most up-to-date information on the pedal plate.
Now the students have a stearable, braking, rolling chassis.
Next step is the interior module, the BOM and CAD of which are posted here:
Putting seats and seat belts into that frame is the next step. We’ve used $60 seats from Summit Racing and $400 seats from Momo before, it depends on what you might want.
Now fabricate the crush structures. Email us for the most up-to-date CAD and fabrication steps. All 4 crush structures can be fabbed in a day, or again you can choose to conduct FEA of crash testing scenarios and hone them until they match the actual crash test videos of our car- which could be a tremendously rewarding academic activity!
Then, finally, the engine module! Again the BOM and CAD steps are here:
Almost any engine will work. We use the Honda R18a engine to get our ultra-efficient fuel economy, but many engines will work well. A used Honda Civic engine would be an affordable choice. I’d recommend DELAYING commitment to the last responsible moment and not acquiring an engine until you have a rolling chassis that students can sit in, steer, and brake while seat belted.
Now that you have a working and operable V1 vehicle minus lighting systems and bodywork. Suspension settings and brake balance can be dialed in, for fun and academic learning. Engine tuning can commence for emissions reduction, fuel economy, and/or increased power. Exhausts can be changed for reduced noise pollution. But even more importantly from my perspective, we can now start developing new modules and enhancements together through remote pairing as we both have complete vehicles.
Next up you can begin layup of your body- using one of our CAD’s or ANY body design the students would like to test the aerodynamic merits of. And you can use our lighting package or design and implement your own.
After all of this, we can, and should, arrange a WIKISPEED one-make race event, where we “compete” on fuel economy, emissions, speed, comfort, noise reduction, and convenience. This will be, I hope, more of a celebration and learning experience than a competition, but helps set the example for future meets when more groups have built their own WIKISPEED cars and we identify meaningful innovations and share them across the WIKISPEED community and the world. It will likely involve local television and some international written press, which should boost all of the student’s careers.