Forces to Be Reckoned With

Look at this design with me. Here’s the larger assembly. It’s a formula SAE competition race car.

SAE Racer

Look closer: This is a section of the front left brake/suspension assembly.

Suspension Assembly for SAE Racer

Now look at this single part: the bracket attached to the spring near the top.

Bracket for Suspension Assembly

What do you think? If you were a student and this part were YOUR responsibility, would you say it’s ready to go? Would you want to be first at testing it at 80mph?

Of course not. You’d want to see it in action and you’d want to apply some force and see what heats up or causes too much displacement.

Your engineer ancestors might have whipped out the slide rule and a sharp pencil at this point: “Let’s see, the forces F1F2 … Fn act on the points X1X2 … Xn in a rigid body. The trajectories of Xi, i=1,…,n are defined by the movement of the rigid body. This movement is given by the set of rotations [A(t)] and the trajectory d(t) …”. And so on.

The less technical among us (I’m thinking of the builder of my childhood go cart here) might have just built the darn thing and waited to see if it melted or snapped in two. But the truth is, this one little part, like all the other little parts, took a lot of resources to get just right.

Things are easier for these kids today, I tell you.

In its series of demonstrations for SAE design competition students, PTC Studio produced the video below to show how you can use PTC Creo Parametric and PTC Creo Simulate to add forces to the model and visualize their effects in just minutes. Believe me, you don’t have to be a student engineer to appreciate the quick results.

This is just part 1. Next week, we’ll share how the students (and you) can use these force points to further analyze and optimize the part, again with just a few minutes of effort. No sharp pencil required.

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