At the end of 2018 we donated some 662 Titanium Round Bar, 5″ Diameter to the NIU Baja Team. Due to machining limitations, they were unfortunately unable to use the titanium in this year’s vehicle, but were able to develop a design to create axles for the following year’s competition. Stefanie (Industrial System Engineering Major) shares with us the importance of this program for students like herself to grow personally and technically. With the amount of weight reduction they were able to achieve this year, we look forward to seeing how well their car does once they are able to use the titanium for next year’s competition.
The NIU Baja team has been in an uphill climb for the past 3-4 years due to the fact that 3-4 years ago the team did not make it into a competition. Last year and this year we feel as though we have made huge strides in getting the team back into the standings it was before. For the 2018-19 year we attended Midnight Mayhem and Baja SAE at Tennessee Tech. Every year we typically just attend one SAE event due to the budget constraints that we have, that why sponsors such as PTG are appreciated and cherished by the team. As a team we have also grown a vast amount this year with now more than 25 members. Everyone on the team gains something different based on what they do, as for myself I have gained experience in manufacturing, improved my communication skills, learned how to work in teams on large and small projects alike, and I have found the best way to pass my knowledge on to other people. Being within the Baja club has also assisted me in getting my current job because both of my bosses were in the club in their colleges.
For this year, our goal was to lighten our car and improve the car overall. We did not have the time to create a new frame for this year so we did have limitations, but we still made the most of what we had. We lowered the engine about 3 inches and replaced the transmission with a lighter and newer design. We also created new rear trailing arms to create a better alignment with the new transmission and motor placement. Overall we lost a total of about 40 pounds for the car this year. At Tennessee we placed 75th overall, 53rd in acceleration, 71st in maneuverability, 54th in suspension, and 16th in sled pull. Though we all wish that we would have done much better, we did well as a team and learned a lot. We ended the race due to our CV axle “exploding” and not having a spare with us.