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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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Early design decisions

11 Mar

Design is a process of understanding the requirements, developing and assessing the options and making design decisions.

Some of the design decisions we have made so far include: Continue reading

Second design workshop

7 Mar

Last night 11 members of our design team came together for another technical design workshop. It was a really productive night.

IMAG1594    IMAG1599 Continue reading

Driving on dirt

25 Feb

Yesterday afternoon, a group of us took Trev out to a dirt track and measured the energy required to drive on dirt. Trev with one person in it has a mass of about 400 kg, which is about the target mass of our African Solar Taxi with three people in it.

IMG_0857    IMG_0859    IMG_0843    IMG_0838

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Design Workshop

15 Feb

On Wednesday evening, 9 members of our technical design team came together to hear about Andrew’s trip to Zimbabwe, to learn more about the technical & operational requirements, and in particular to view videos and photos of the roads.

IMAG1549     IMAG1543 Continue reading