Thursday, July 28, 2011

Middle school girls ace the aerodynamics lesson

The final installment of the short course on Air Duct Aerodynamics with middle schoolers at Carroll Community College.

Now how many dads have daughters in middle school who can design a good air duct for their race car? Well, at least three (unless the girls here are all sisters).

Note the gratuitous pan across the race car. Now there's some product placement for ya'!

Looking forward to more adventures with kids and engineering lessons in the future. (And hoping that Ramzi's car is still drivable after all of the experiments with novice parts designers cramming cardboard models up under the engine block....)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The need for (airflow) speed

So, as we mentioned last post, Ramzi presented a group of 6th and 7th grade students with the problem of cooling a giant racing engine with a half-size radiator. (Why does it have a half-size radiator? you ask. I asked Ramzi the same question. To accommodate the turbo!) The point was for the kids to test out and develop a better cooling airflow system under the hood by applying basic principles of aerodynamics.

Students were given precise instructions on how to proceed:

Step 1: Plan out your under-car duct with cardboard, designing it to capture as much free air as possible.

Step 2: Use your cardboard pieces as a stencil for the metal pieces, tracing each piece with your sharpie. (I think this is how NASA develops prototypes for space shuttles. Or did, before they stopped making them.)

Step 3: Test out your cardboard design under the car.

Step 4: Cut with snips, bend with pliers, drill 1/8" holes (for rivets), and rivet the metal model to match your cardboard design.

Step 5: Test fit your metal prototype under the car.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Let's take a look at one of slides included in the presentation.... (Warning: nerd alert)

Exhibit 1:

No, wait, that nerd alert warning was premature. Here's the real deal.

Exhibit #2

Safety first. (See? I'm not just hyper about bike helmets.) Anyway, here's the fun stuff: a clip of the first group of students testing their cardboard design... on the race car.

Next up, the middle school girls try out their design....

Short course: the science behind speed

On July 13th, AST's founder taught an engineering class to rising 6th and 7th graders at Carroll Community College.

The topic: aerodynamics.

The challenge: to design and test an improved air duct system.

And of course they used the official AST race car to test things out.... Talk about hands-on learning!

You may be wondering about the insightful commentary. That would be my brother, uttering such gems as "This is a phone that doubles as a camera -- one of the great engineering inventions of the century" and "I'm eating a carrot. Yeah, to get my veggies in the morning." (Still better than the caliber of commentator banter that was being aired during the FIFA women's final....)

Stay tuned for part 2, in which a cadre of middle school boys try out their design.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Back from the dead... almost

So many of you might wonder what happened... Well, the long and short of it is that I have been on travel for my "9-5" job while the web developer has been a busy little bee getting some of your requested updates into the site.

To start, integrated deposit handling is now functional. No longer will you have to send a separate, manual Paypal payment to our deposits address. While this makes things easier, we do realize that we need to come up with something similar to deal w/ shipping payments while still offering options at the point of checkout.

Trust that we're working on it.

In other news, I managed to install the recently rebuilt GSR transmission (w/ carbon synchros, Synchrotech LSD, & all new bearings/seals) into the race car and also mounted and balanced the AMAZING Yokohama Advan Neova AD08s!

I soooo cannot wait to get to Expo to let 'er rip :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thawing out & making progress

How are all your projects going, folks? Tired of the winter time and ready to get those cars back on track for the 2011 season? If you're like most of us, your projects have taken a few hits because of unplanned expenses and events. In any case, we'd like to invite you to check out the updated version of the site. We have incorporated some of your comments to improve user friendliness, specifically on the "Post a Tool," "Edit Tool," and "Tool Detail" pages. When you have a moment, please update any tools you may have listed with the new version of the site such that the Tool Detail page(s) associated with them show the separate tool deposit and shipping cost fields. Hopefully, this will generate a bit more traffic. However, while there are tons of people willing to borrow from others, we've still got a long way to go getting folks to post their tools on the site. Keep in mind, these items can also be spare parts used for debug, such as IACVs, fuel pumps, sensors, etc.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

First tool rented through AST!

So we've had our first tool rented through the site. It's the VS1290 Engine Timing/Locking kit manufactured by Sealey Tools in the UK. We hope to populate the P2P tools database with tools like this that are hard to find, too expensive to buy for one job, or other compelling reasons. Let your local garage/service center know about the idea. Who knows? Maybe we can help them the same way we just helped this independent service center in Minnesota!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New service offered by AST!

We have had a few requests from various folks asking us to post their tools up on AST for them and handle the rental transactions directly from our base of operations in Columbia, MD. If there is enough demand for a tool or test part you own, we may be inclined to do the same for you and simply send you cash whenever your item is borrowed through the site.