Monday, June 25, 2012

Research, Engineering YES final, Driving Lessons, Grad Ball and...of course, Formula Student!

So it's been THREE weeks since my last post, and things have been BUSY!

Right, I've got lots of pictures and lots of news.  Let's start with the stuff related to my EngD:
I had a nice meeting with Nick Mallinson and Razi Nalim from IUPUI a couple of weeks ago to start to plant seeds to look at collaborations between Warwick and IUPUI.  I would very much like to help out where I can in this regard, because both institutions have a lot of unique capabilities to offer and I think could really contribute good research in many areas.

Also, I've been working on ideas for the Formula Student team for next year.  I've come to the conclusion that I should start at the beginning- really looking at team selection and developing a good process to determine who would be positive and effective contributors to the project.  I have had a few meetings with several students interested for next year and I have gotten some good feedback on ways to improve the selection process.  I have also met with the Formula Student advisors, Steve Maggs and Howard Neal about my ideas just last week and I am working on getting those ideas organized and in place soon.  In addition, I am working on organizing a collaborative model for an intra-FS network of some sort, to be started, hopefully, at the Silverstone competition the second week of July.

The team went to a testing event last week as well, which was sponsored by Bosch.  Sagar helped me to identify a key member of the Bosch team to talk to about my collaborative network and finding ways to get the FS teams in the UK to connect at many different levels.
Andy gets ready to test the powertrain in last year's chassis at the Bosch testing event last week

Steve checks out the car with the team at the Bosch event

In addition to my work with FS, I've been chugging away at research for a review paper on Open Source Hardware Design.  I've got Mendeley installed on all my computers, which is a very helpful tool for me to keep all the publications I have found on this topic organized.  Now, I need to focus on my outline.....

The Engineering YES final was exciting, but a bit of a disappointment.  We did not deviate too much from our original presentation, just fixed a few things that we had noted from the judges' feedback (as was recommended to do by the organizers) and yet we did not place in the finals.  However, we did learn a lot as a team, it fulfilled small project requirements for the EngD and we are thinking about how to use the knowledge we gained from our experience towards the larger group project requirements, as well as pursuing some entrepreneurial and innovative ideas.
My idea for our logo....hand drawn...
...and Claire made it all pretty!!

In other news, (Formula Student of course) the car is coming along nicely.  The space frame was just sent off for powder coating today, and I am hopefully going to KS Composites sometime this week to help finish up the bodywork.  The powertrain did well at the Bosch event last week, just some minor issues with the clutch to be sorted.  All in all, there is still a lot of work to be done before Silverstone, but everyone on the team is really contributing to get it done.  Also, the 3rd years that have joined the team have really done a lot and are so helpful at the moment for the manufacturing that needs to be done.
Sagar working with Jim and Murray about the pedals

Due to construction in the IMC, the car has to been "flown" out of the pits outside to be tested...
Getting the car ready for flight!  Dave's got his Bob the Builder hat on!  Safety first|!

Dave, Ryan and Andy test out the powertrain before the Bosch event.

Above is a short video of a test of the powertrain from before the Bosch event.  Dave, Ryan and Andy are listening to any issues with the engine.

Personally, I am doing well.  I've slacked off running a bit, but I've got my eye on a fall (autumn) marathon.  The weather has been lovely (in my opinion!) not too hot and generally good for running.  I've got a goal set to get in 25 miles this week, which shouldn't be too hard, since I've already done about 6 yesterday (week starts on Sunday).  I've been a bit focused on getting my British driving licence and I have my written portion of the exam scheduled for Tuesday July 3rd.  Once I've passed that, I can get myself on the waiting list to take the road test!  I've been having about 1-2 lessons/week since mid-May and I've really gotten the hang of driving a manual car.  I have a really good instructor who's been quite patient with me.
The team is also all graduating right after Silverstone in a couple of weeks, so there has been a few events on campus to celebrate this.  Last Thursday, there was the Grad Ball in Birmingham at the Hilton.  Sagar was my date (he got me a very pretty necklace that went perfect with my dress) and we got to spend time with most of the team.  It was really nice to just hang out with the team (and anyone who said the words Formula Student had to buy everyone a drink- Murray and Markus both failed at this and we got free wine!)

Speed limit sign (I was walking when I took this picture, not driving!) The graffiti says 40 is the new 30.  :)

Grad ball with Sagar

The team cleans up quite nicely!  From left to right: Quirin, Sagar, Markus, Richard, Alison, Murray, me, Andy, Jim and Ryan.  Missing from the team are Hubert and Darren.

Also, my cousin, Keenan, stayed with me for about a week a couple of weeks ago.  He's been travelling around the UK and Ireland this summer and was headed to Spain.  It was good to see some family!  Also, I still need to post pictures from my trip to Ireland with Melissa last month!  (next post).
Ok, well this is quite a long post already!  I hope everyone is doing well and I will try to post again soon!
Sagar and I had a nice lunch at a little cafe.  I liked my cranberry drink.  :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Jubilee Weekend...annnnd Formula Student

I went to church yesterday for the normal service at 10 and afterwards, they had some Jubilee activities that I stayed around for.  First, we watched a video of the Queen's coronation 60 years ago and then there was a quiz.  I did awful, only getting one answer on my own (Who was Prime minister - Winston Churchill).  I learned a lot though, like her title before she was Queen was HRH Princess Elizabeth of York (HRH = Her Royal Highness).  I also learned that she has officially visited 116 countries in her 60 year reign and that her title in the channel islands is the Duke of Normandy.  She was born at 17 Bruton Street in London and her childhood nickname was Lily Bits. Also, the last Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in 1897 for Queen Victoria.  So there.  Mini-history lesson!
Prayer before lunch

My plate!

My sucker (think it's called a Lolly)

Singing the national anthem


Queen and cupcakes!

Also, the Formula Student team got going again on the car last week, now that a majority of exams are over.  They are going to be working long hours over the next couple of weeks to hopefully get the car ready for the Bosch Event on June 19.  Here are some pictures from the pits this week:
Sagar and Andy discuss the Diff and Engine Mounting in the Spaceframe

Murray and Sagar measure for the pedals
Today and tomorrow are bank holidays, but I am going to use this time to catch up on some research for my EngD and getting organized for the Engineering YES final on June 20.  We can't get into the pits to do any manufacturing work on the car until Wednesday.  Pressure's on!