Rubber power, Radio drive: Bluespider


The challenge:

At the end of every summer term for the last 6 years, teams of students from the Grad-ID department at Art Center College of Design have been racing radio controlled, rubber band (a max of 16 feet of rubber band) powered cars. The cars are designed and developed from scratch through the term. The race, at the peak of summer heat gives for nail-biting, excitement when the cars compete on the 4 tracks.

  • Concours d’Elegance: Spectator contest for best visual aesthetics and mechanical elegance.
  • Sculpture garden flats: Turns and control through a figure eight obstacle track. Driving skills and power race.
  • Ashtry alley dragway: Classic drag race. Speed, speed and speed.
  • Sinclair hill climb: The hill climb with turns, calls for a light vehicle with maximum torque to race up the hill.

My process:

  • Our team of 2, decided to focus on the Ashtry alley dragrace. We would build the car so it could smoke the competition as far as sheer speed was concerned. The other races could be bonus’.
  • Once the strategy was decided, it was all build and break. Several iterations were done such as…

The solution:

  • We made the lightest car ever made for the Formula E races at 300gms. It was also the fastest.
  • It broke all previous records at a speed of 4.6 seconds on the drag race.
  • The body was entirely made of light weight, but strong carbon fiber tubes. The support structure was designed in solid works and machined out of FDM plastic. The outer body structure was stitched mesh fabric. It was fastened with velcro so that the innards could be replaced with spare parts in case of accidents.