waterjetting a wide range of carbon composite, steel and aluminum parts for the Gophers, who are building an open-wheeled, open cock-pit race car for the Society of Automotive Engineer’s largest and most prestigious global collegiate competition May 11-14 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). Among the parts being water jet are mounting tabs for the frame, structural inserts for the wings, and several other components, including the chain guard and brake rotors.
“Using waterjet is the fastest way to produce parts with the geometry that we’ve designed,” said Nathan Tigges, Gopher Motorsports FSAE vice president (mechanical engineering/class of 2018).
“Based upon our good experiences with waterjet cutting, we have redesigned several CNC parts to be manufactured as an assembly from waterjet parts, such as our rear bellcranks.”
“We are proud to say we’ve beaten Madison for three years running!” Tigges said.
Tigges noted that Jet Edge has been very helpful in saving the students time, money and material, which should give the 34-member team an edge in the important “Cost Report” event at the Michigan competition.
Working with Jet Edge’s team has been a great learning experience, Tigges added.
“From working with Jet Edge, we have figured out ways to more efficiently utilize the raw materials that we have,” he said. “Jet Edge’s Machinist Brian Wallace helped us save half of a sheet of carbon composite material by nesting our pieces more efficiently, which really helps us out. More importantly, we will be able to implement some of those efficiencies to help out down the road!”
Wallace, who runs Jet Edge’s waterjet applications test lab, has been cutting the team’s parts on Jet Edge’s premier EDGE X-5 5-axis waterjet system. This CNC-controlled industrial waterjet system transforms ordinary tap water and garnet abrasive into a 75,000 psi hair-thin bullet-fast abrasive waterjet that cuts precise shaped parts from virtually any material. The system uses a Jet Edge hydraulic intensifier pump to pressurize the water, which is then forced through a jewel orifice, mixed with abrasive and focused through a nozzle. Wallace used a .010/.030 orifice/nozzle combination and 0.5 pounds per minute of 80 grit garnet abrasive to cut the Gophers’ parts.
“60% of our points come from dynamic events, so it is imperative that we have a strong supply of capable drivers,” Tigges said. “It’s significantly harder to design a faster car than to train drivers to be faster.”
In addition to placing competitively in the Formula SAE, Gopher Motorsports has received several awards, including the Cummins Powertrain Excellence award. They were one of only 10 teams worldwide chosen by Bosch for sponsorship because of the creativity they displayed in testing when they lost critical dynamometer research space but compensated by building a dyno of their own along with trackside tuning.
Both Tigges and Hoff said that participating in Gopher Motorsports has been the highlight of their mechanical engineering education.
“Working with Gopher Motorsports has given me several skills that I wouldn’t have gotten inside the classroom,” Tigges said. “It is far and away the best supplement to my engineering education that I could hope for. Whether it’s working with sponsors, to coordinating complex schedules, or even analyzing performance over several years of design, the skills I’ve learned from being a part of this organization have been a great way to prepare for industry.”
Gopher Motorsports plans to finish building their #52 race car by mid-March and to unveil it in April.
Jet Edge President Jude Lague said he is very proud that Jet Edge has had the opportunity to help Gopher Motorsports.
“It’s always exciting to work with the talented engineering students at the University of Minnesota,” Lague said. “It’s no secret that we love racing at Jet Edge. We’ll be cheering for Gopher Motorsports to win the Michigan Formula SAE, and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel on sponsor drive day.”
Find out more about Gopher Motorsports at www.gophermotorsports.com.
Find out more about Jet Edge waterjet systems at www.jetedge.com.
About Gopher Motorsports
Gopher Motorsports is the University of Minnesota’s chapter in the Society of Automotive Engineers. The team is 100 percent student led and is largely funded by industry sponsors. Each year the team develops, builds and tests a high performance highly-engineered race car to compete in the global Formula SAE Series. The competition’s goal is to design, manufacture, market, and race an open-wheel, open-cockpit, and single-seat vehicle marketable to the weekend autocrosser. Find out more about Gopher Motorsports at www.gophermotorsports.com.
About Jet Edge, Inc.
Established in 1984, Jet Edge is a global designer and manufacturer of waterjet systems for precision cutting, surface preparation and coating removal. Jet Edge waterjets are used around the world in a broad range of industries, from the world's leading airlines to automotive, aerospace, industrial manufacturers, machine and job shops. Jet Edge waterjet systems are proudly made in the U.S.A. For more information about Jet Edge, visit www.jetedge.com, e-mail email@example.com or call 1-800-JET-EDGE (538-3343). Follow us on Twitter @jetedge.