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Helping new buggy teams - Page 2 - Buggy Alumni Association

Helping new buggy teams

shafeeq
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:40 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2000
Real Name: Shafeeq S

Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby shafeeq » Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:03 pm

I agree that it's hard enough for one team to remember how to operate it's own tech from year to year, let alone something dropped in from another team. I've said it before, but there's plenty of mundane things in buggy that everyone has to solve, that don't improve your performance, but can screw you over. Like "how do I attach a wheel? or a hatch?". It does nobody any good to have new teams learn these through trial & error, when they also have to worry about less well-defined things like "how do I steer?" What are the odds that they're going to get that right on the first try, too.

I suspect if a dozen fast guys were handed, say, a 90's Spirit buggy and a few hundred dollars of wheels, they'd make the top 10 at least. Which is better than many established teams.

It took me a long time to see the difference between mechanics and engineers and that buggy needs both of them. I got handed a bunch of buggies and a ton of design knowledge, but no day-to-day knowledge. And so Larry & I had to spend a lot of time going "is this broken? is it supposed to be this way? wtf would they do that?". That was very educational, in terms of learning about what to think about when designing a buggy, but was not the most efficient way of learning how to maintain a buggy. I'm glad the manufacturer has broken down my car's repair manual into easy-to-follow steps, because then I can be certain I'm doing things correctly. But, from what I've seen, buggy mechanics who learn from watching things done "way they've always been done" do great at regular tasks, but have a harder time when faced with a problem not seen before. Which is a killer when you need to build a new buggy.

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swiftsam
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Posts: 172
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:33 am
Organization: Fringe
Graduation Year: 2004
Real Name: Sam Swift
Location: NYC
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Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby swiftsam » Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:47 pm


blue
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:59 pm
Organization: Fringe
Graduation Year: 2013
Real Name: Becky Peterkin

Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby blue » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:09 pm

Going along with what Sam said... (and with a disclaimer or 3)
This is pretty much entirely based on hearsay and looking at/driving our buggies, but:

My understanding is that after Banyan was built and proved to be wicked fast, the mechanics said essentially 'thats great. now we have a chance to experiment, maybe make the whole design better' and Bristol happened. Im sure there are a lot of nuances I'm missing because I wasn't actually here at the time, but they tried a lot of very different things in Bristol. Some worked, some didn't, some kind of worked in practice (compared to great in theory) but were so hard to maintain or deal with regularly that they didn't improve the overall buggy much.

The next year, seeking largely to avoid the pitfalls eventually encountered with Bristol, they designed Bedlam. (notice how Bristol's front end is rather chipmunk-y, and Bedlam's is ridiculously extended) In general Bedlam is very like Banyan, and even handles similarly. But slight differences in wheel base and a major change in the braking means its a lot easier to deal with in many ways. Don't tell me no one has noticed how narrowly Banyan passed drops last year--for that to happen in Bedlam would require either the driver not paying attention AT ALL, or the brakes being almost entirely removed.

Even after that there were actual changes. Bedlam's windshield was a pain to form (pointy nose + I wanted to see everything...and no one told me that much screen wasn't necessary),so they took that into consideration when designing Borealis.

And as far as Banyan still being A-team in 2010: that buggy was built to go fast, not really to last. And both of those things are playing out now. One of the things I know the mechanics have been working on is making more reliable (and hopefully freakin fast too) buggies. That makes it easier to carry at least decent speed from year to year without significant rebuilding (in most cases, as far as I know). And from a driver's perspective at least, it's easier to learn to drive well when you don't feel like you have to worry about how your buggy is acting that day. I've never felt unsafe in any of the buggies I've driven, but there have definitely been times when I couldn't tell if the buggy was acting up, my line was actually wonky, or some combination of the two.

So that was really long. Sorry. If I'm super off base on anything at all, feel free to correct me. Or to yell at me for telling super secret secrets that seem obvious enough to me to not think to hide. OR for just not making sense.

~Becky Peterkin

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TommyK
Posts: 208
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:29 pm
Organization: Fringe
Graduation Year: 2001
Real Name: Thomas Sean Kelleher
Location: Kailua, HI

Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby TommyK » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:57 pm


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lemuroid
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:41 pm
Organization: Ultimate Soap Box Derby
2nd Organization: SigNu
Graduation Year: 1987
Real Name: Mark Estes
Location: Calabasas CA or Sunnyvale CA
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Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby lemuroid » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:11 pm


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lemuroid
Posts: 241
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Organization: Ultimate Soap Box Derby
2nd Organization: SigNu
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Real Name: Mark Estes
Location: Calabasas CA or Sunnyvale CA
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Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby lemuroid » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:57 pm


shafeeq
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:40 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2000
Real Name: Shafeeq S

Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby shafeeq » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:12 pm

The unsaid thing with trying to promote new teams is that while there have been successful organizations that decided they wanted to start competing in buggy (with varying degrees of success), there haven't been any in the last 30 years that have managed to start an organization and enter buggy at the same time. I don't see that happening again in today's campus environment (funding, space, student time, etc.)

What do we have to do to sell buggy to an existing, but non-buggy, organization? What's in it for them? The motivation for AFROTC is clear, but how well can they do, given that buggy is, by definition, always going to be a side activity for them? Assuming that all the greek houses that are interested are already in, who does that leave? All the ASA/KSA/whatever-SA's that do build booths are probably big enough to put together buggy programs, but it's a ton of effort for what reward? And these would have to justify spending Activities Fee money to start yet another buggy team.

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TommyK
Posts: 208
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:29 pm
Organization: Fringe
Graduation Year: 2001
Real Name: Thomas Sean Kelleher
Location: Kailua, HI

Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby TommyK » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:48 pm

When Fringe slows its build rate down to once every five years we can talk about a design and organizational plateau that is limiting the current members level of participation. Until then please refer to the following image to gauge the trends in performance.

Image

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BuggyBob
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:42 am
Organization: SAE
Graduation Year: 1974
Real Name: Rob Thomas
Location: Stealing Your Wheels

Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby BuggyBob » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:46 am

I think one way the BAA could help new teams is by offering a 'sit down' overview of buggy so new teams realize what they are getting into. Everyone I know who has started from scratch (including me at SAE in the '70's) has run into cost and time issues the first few years. The established teams have the luxury of being able to experiment with small changes to improve their times; new teams have their hands full just getting a vehicle onto the course.
I also like the idea of a brief writte overview of buggy in general that cuts through the (too voluminous?) rules and gets to the key thngs that need to be understood. IMO, this would be a good project for th BAA, since BAA has the experience and time to do it (separate from the day-to-day countless hours the racing teams have to deal with just to be in the races).
* "I love the smell of solvents at Free Roll. It smells like......victory".
* "I'm loosing my mind, but I don't seem to miss it much."

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BuggyBob
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:42 am
Organization: SAE
Graduation Year: 1974
Real Name: Rob Thomas
Location: Stealing Your Wheels

Re: Helping new buggy teams

Postby BuggyBob » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:22 pm

My experience (back in the '70's) was that the lusty Tri Delta sororiity was very good at beating off opposing members. Maybe they could use a helping hand now, too.
* "I love the smell of solvents at Free Roll. It smells like......victory".
* "I'm loosing my mind, but I don't seem to miss it much."


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