UW-Madison Bucky Wagon Project

September 26, 2011

Building the Bucky Wagon: Under the hood (technically, under the seats)

Filed under: Bucky Wagon — Tags: , , , , , , — markonfire @ 3:31 pm

A cracked transmission put the Bucky Wagon out of commission in the first place, so the installation of a new transmission and motor is a pretty monumental step in finishing the revamped wagon. Still, the assembly of the electric motor, donated by Remy International, and the transmission, from ZF Transmissions, seems somewhat unceremonious, partly because it’s the sort of thing that members of the vehicle team do all the time. Here you can see members of the vehicle teams goofing around near the new motor and transmission before they bolt them together using an adaptor system designed by other students in the program. The new engine won’t be under the hood, but instead beneath the body of the wagon. Now, the hood will house all the batteries necessary to keep the wagon running. The engine provides enough power to get the wagon up to around 30 mph. It’s not exactly a speed demon—but there’s more than enough oomph to ferry the Spirit Squad around in style on game day.

From left to right: Formula SAE Team member Kevin Higgins, the electric motor donated by Remy International, and the transmission donated by E&F Transmission.

From left to right: Formula SAE Team member Kevin Higgins, the electric motor donated by Remy International, and the transmission donated by ZF Transmissions.

A closer look at the motor and the transmission, before they were bolted together using a student-designed adaptor system.

A closer look at the motor and the transmission, before they were bolted together using a student-designed adaptor system.

Kevin and the other students work to use the adaptor system to connect the transmission and motor.

Kevin and the other students work to use the adaptor system to connect the transmission and motor.

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November 3, 2009

The Bucky Wagon as Homework

Filed under: Bucky Wagon — Tags: , , , — Sandra K. Barnidge @ 11:24 am

In the aftermath of the homecoming festivities and road trip to Detroit, the vehicle team members are settling into their work on the Bucky Wagon. They are getting help from a class of approximately 15 mechanical engineering students, who are running calculations and making measurements to ensure the teams install the correct motor and battery pack.

ME 601: Special Topics is taught by vehicle team advisor and Faculty Associate Glenn Bower. The class is figuring out what size battery and motor will keep the Bucky Wagon moving at 30 miles per hour. They are accounting for road load, the effect of headwind (the wind blowing against the Bucky Wagon as it travels) and tail wind, as well as the size of the tires and how fast the tires spin. The class will determine how much horsepower the Bucky Wagon needs in order to keep the wheels going at a certain speed.

Bucky Wagon Engine Detail

Close-up of the current Bucky Wagon engine and the horns that play "On Wisconsin"

The students’ calculations also have to consider how to get the Bucky Wagon in and out of Camp Randall Stadium. The entrance to the field has a relatively steep grade, and while it’s easy to get the Bucky Wagon onto the field, the students have to make sure the vehicle can handle the incline to get off the field. “It could be a disaster if we don’t!” says Adam Strutz, a mechanical engineering student enrolled in the class.

The students are also calculating the size and quantity of the batteries needed so the team can choose a transmission with an appropriate number of gears, based on how much weight the Bucky Wagon needs to carry and how fast it needs to go.

“The Bucky Wagon doesn’t need to fly as fast as a real fire truck, but it does need to get 20 cheerleaders in and out of the stadium,” Strutz says.

The students will work throughout the semester on the calculations. Overall, Strutz and the students are glad to be working on a project they will see implemented. “It’s fun to be working on this icon,” he says. “And the class is fun because of Glenn’s philosophy–if you’re interested in what you’re doing, you’ll learn more. I don’t do the homework because I’m scared of a grade. I do the homework because I’m curious about the project and want to prove to myself that I can actually size parts for a hybrid vehicle.”

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