Nelson and I actually started designing our go kart a few weeks ago (oops), so our CAD model is pretty far along.  Here’s a picture of the design we came up with (I’ll explain our thought process after the break):

March 16 model

March 16 model

  • Three-wheeled: We started designing our go kart knowing that we wanted to try a three-wheeled vehicle.  Apart from looking sleek and all, we were interested in higher functioning steering and lower rolling resistance.  Also, with a kart that supports a forward-leaning driver, we can effectively distribute our mass over the three wheels more evenly.
  • “The block”: That’s the name of the trussed member in the middle of the car (kind of hard to miss).  The modified air foil design is used to reduce frontal area which would contribute to drag force losses.  We’re still in the process of deciding whether to use 1/8″ aluminum or 1/2-3/4″ plywood for the trussed section–turns out metal is expensive.  The wood covering will be constructed out of “living hinges”–essentially, a hinge is created out of the material itself.  We will laser cut sections out of the wood to get this sort of effect:

Laser cut wood hinge

  • Steering: This is another interesting concept for us, as we are still determining how to go about creating a system that is easy to operate from a forward-leaning position.  Our idea at the moment is to somehow incorporate a four-bar linkage into the steering “wheel” to allow for actuation parallel to the ground to make a hand throttle and braking system more comfortable to operate.  As you can probably tell, the CAD model is not complete for steering (we don’t really want a single bar to turn).
  • “Outrigger” leg supports: Our vehicle dimensions are relatively slender (48″ long, 32″ wide, 8.25″ wide at the block), which requires us to have outer leg supports.  We’d like to incorporate wood panels into this as well, and maybe make some cool laser engravings on them as well.

We need to have pretty much everything ready to go by this Wednesday so we can get the parts we need by spring break.  Then we can just build stuff allllll day.

More updates later!


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