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Frame Design and Assembly for Baja SAE Car


Blue Jay Racing at Johns Hopkins University


June 2021-May 2022


Baltimore, MD


SolidWorks CAD software, ANSYS Finite Element Analysis, Welding, Leadership and Communication


Design a chassis to handle maximum loading conditions and optimize for driver comfort, weight, and vehicle packaging.


As the frame lead, I was responsible for the entire design of the frame. I researched the loading conditions experienced at competition, developing finite element analysis models to confirm these criteria were met. I created models of the student drivers in CAD to check that they fit in the frame and ensured the frame was compliant with the SAE 2022 rules. I finally communicated with other system and team leads in order to integrate the subsystems together, packaging other components within the vehicle’s frame. After design, I also directed the building of the frame including managing sponsors and vendor relationships, jigging of the tubes, and welding of the entire frame assembly.


The frame endured three full in-season competitions and multiple practice drive days in which it encountered numerous rollover and impact maximum loading scenarios with minimal overall damage. All drivers fit in the car and passed technical inspections at competition, and the weight of the car was reduced by 5lb from the previous year.


This project was my first true experience going through the entire design cycle of ideation, development, designing, building, and continuous iteration. While I learned a lot from this experience, there is one specific example that taught me a lot as an engineer. Prior to my tenure as the frame lead, Blue Jay Racing had been using legacy loading conditions on the frame consistently year to year, justifying this choice because the frame had not failed in those previous years. I felt there was room for improvement in this area, and began researching this subject – by watching crash compilation videos. Through my research, I found that we had traditionally been applying a load to the side of the car that the car could not actually experience based on its geometry. This allowed us to significantly reduce the bracing on the sides of the car and contributed to overall weight reduction.

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