2.007 Grand PrixThe end of a long semester with 2.007 is finally here! We will have our final race this Sunday at the Albany St. parking garage and we will also be having a drag race in the nearby area. This also marks the end of phase 1 in the development of MelonKart. The project has come a long way from a concept in early February to a fully-realized, functional vehicle ready to race. Here is a general wrapup and assessment of the project in my own opinion, and a list of improvements that I would like to make or things that I wish we would have done differently.
MelonKart was much lighter than planned, so the acceleration is significantly more punchy than predicted. I am still amazed with the how fast it feels to drive the go-kart, since it is only using one model airplane motor.
I would like to accurately model the steering geometry in the future with MATLAB or SolidWorks and refine it to make it more linear in nature. I also would like to add a steering ratio similar to a real car into MelonKart. There was also some manufacturing error in the uprights that severely increased the camber of the front wheels, and I believe that the handling would have a substantial improvement if this was corrected. I flipped MelonKart twice in the competition; steering needs improvement.
Robustness: To be determined, but so far so good
We have accidentally blow several of the fuses in the batteries by accelerating too hard and having the software limit in the motor controller set too high and have suffered no ill effects in the electrical components of the vehicle. We have also hauled the Go-Kart around campus to be filmed for 2.007 and for the DeFlorez Competition (We won a hundred bucks!!), as well as demonstrated it at the MAES extravaganza and MelonKart has held together (even with Radu and Actanner taking it for test rides) so the mechanical components seem to have a certain amount of durability to them. It also did not suffer damage from a few crashes.
The final race video
|MelonKart at the DeFlorez Design Competition|
Future ImprovementsAdd a second MelonMotor (if they ever come back in stock on HobbyKing)
Switch to a belt drive that has an auto-tension, or redesign the tensioning system for the chain
Add more structural rigidity to the motor mount and support the motor on both sides
Consider a roll bar?
Weatherproof the system
Increase the ground clearance to not drag on a speed bump