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Latest vehicle render

19 Sep

Latest vehicle render

Our early concepts for the African Solar Taxi were developed using Sketchup, which is great for quick visualisations but is not as good as a proper 3D CAD model. Our industrial design student Andrew has therefore converted our design into SolidWorks, which allows us to evolve the design further, undertake structural analysis and prepare for construction of the first prototype vehicle.

How does it look?

Making good progress

5 Aug

We are making good progress at the moment on a number of fronts, and we’re starting to order the components which have been finalised in our initial design. We hope to start building our first working prototype in coming weeks.

Here is a peek at the current design, including a concept we’re considering for a windscreen and roof structure consisting of a large single sheet of acrylic. Continue reading

Bewdy, the Buck is Built

9 May

Last night we had a good long design session at St Patrick’s Technical College.

The St Patrick’s students have done a fine job building the seating buck (the full scale mockup of the seating layout). It enabled us to hone in on improvements to the body’s shape, size and layout. We made various changes to the seat heights and locations, and were able to better visualise the suspension mounting points, the steering and the centre of mass.

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Building the seating buck

26 Apr

After an initial session getting a feel for the overall dimensions of our vehicles, St Patrick’s College is about to start building a “seating buck”, which will enable us to refine the layout, dimensions and construction methods. Whilst doing so, they will draw on ergonomics data developed over many decades for conventional vehicle design.


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St Patrick, patron saint of engineers

11 Apr

At last night’s design workshop we were joined by Steve, a teacher from St Patrick’s Technical College.

St Patrick’s is a technical secondary college in northern Adelaide for Year 11 and 12 students, focusing exclusively on trade training.

A group of Year 12 students from an applied engineering class will assist us with several key activities over coming months: Continue reading

Sizing up the body

29 Mar

On Wednesday evening we met for another design workshop. The focus this week was on the dimensions of the vehicle’s body. Here’s the result of our efforts:

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Wheels and tub

13 Mar

In the design of the African Solar Taxi, we aim to use as many off the shelf components as possible, to minimise the time, effort and expense of making custom components. In essence, we seek to ‘mash up’ the best readily available components into a new design and to strive for elegant simplicity.

When seeking to avoid reinventing the wheel, it is appropriate that the first major component we have selected is the wheel. At last night’s design workshop we considered a range of ATV, motorbike and downhill mountain bike wheels and we agreed that we’d use lightweight ATV tyres on pressed aluminium ATV rims, like this:

Wheel and tyre

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