Competition 2014

April 16, 2014

The Olin HPV team just returned from the ASME HPVC East Competition at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. The team had a phenomenal showing, placing 3rd and turning heads with its vehicle, Cheryl.

  The Final Days Before Compeition

When we had an opportunity to get most of a day of riding in before leaving, we knew that we were at least in slightly better shape than last year. However, the ride day highlighted a number of problems with the vehicle, most notably the chain issues due to the torsional flex in the midsection of the chassis. Furthermore, the chain idlers were tearing themselves apart. We also had not side load tested the rollbar and the ski/skate design innovation had not


Tricycle Conceptual Design

January 30, 2014

The team has been hard at work over the last week nailing together the conceptual design for our recumbent tricycle. We first broke into a number of task forces. One group is working on designing the carbon fiberfairing for the vehicle and looking at our overall testing and analysis plan. The second group is designing the front wheel frame and steering mechanism for the vehicle. The third group is designing the drivetrain and specifying the components which we will buy. Finally, a group is investigating the possibility of building a fabric fairing in the future.

Fairing Design & Analysis

Our fairing and testing group began by determining our goals for the vehicle. Although our fairing last year was very aerodynamic, the bicycle had stability


Competition Tricycle Kickoff

January 21, 2014

At the end of last semester, the team decided that we were going to build a tricycle for competition. We wanted to do something we had never done before and were excited by the promise of a bike that every member of our team could ride. Although our previous vehicles have fit all of our team members, they required quite a bit of practice to ride.

Today, we met to determine the configuration of our tricycle, informed by the Hellbent Cycles Tricycle Design Primer. First, we discussed whether we wanted front or rear wheel steering. We all agreed that front wheel steering would improve our handling, especially at moderate to high speed. This is reflected by the fact that all cars, trucks and bikes


Monowheel Construction Progress

October 30, 2013

One of our two bike build-off challenge teams is working on building a ridable carbon fiber monowheel. The team has split into two groups to work on the carbon wheel and the steel "carriage" frame that rides inside of the wheel.

Over the last couple of weeks, the wheel team has been working to experiment with various construction techniques. First, the team used the Olin laser cutter to cut thin plywood templates of the wheel. These were installed on flat sheets of pink insulation foam and were used to guide a hot wire cutter along the outside edge of the wheel. The wheel is constructed of three 1 inch thick slices of foam sandwiched together with 1 inch chamfers on the inner edges of


Leaning Trikes & Monowheels

September 27, 2013

The 2013-2014 school year has started up and the team is already hard at work. After spending some time fixing up old bikes, we presented our work at club fair and recruited a number of team members. With the new team members, we held a brainstorming session to decide on a couple of ideas for projects for a "6 week bike build-off". The goal is to split into sub-teams and build a couple of vehicles in just a couple of weeks to explore some new concepts and manufacturing techniques.

Our bike build-off concepts for the time being are a monowheel and a leaning tricycle. Each idea will put our design and manufacturing skills to the test. Check back in a couple weeks to see


Hub on Wheels

September 23, 2013

Yesterday, the team volunteered at the 9th annual Boston Hub on Wheels citywide bike ride. We've been participating for a number of wheels and had most of the team and a number of other Olin students involved.

This year, we were stationed at a rest stop right along the harbor in South Boston. While the day began cold and dreary, it ended up nice and sunny. We even managed to get a little bit of beach time in between waves of bikers. Most years, the majority of the team has biked in to Boston for the race (about 15 miles, leaving Olin at 5:30am). However, due to the morning rain, only a couple brave souls decided to head in on bike in the dark.


Competition 2013

April 29, 2013

We just returned from the ASME HPVC East Competition at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. Although we had a number of problems with the vehicle along the way, the team refused to give up and managed to finish in 8th place overall out of 31 teams.


On Wednesday night when the shop closed, the vehicle was not done. We had it riding by about 11pm that night and got a few laps in around the O before a human error (adjusting the pedals where they weren’t supposed to go) caused a jam. We took apart the bike, painted it and headed to bed at 3 or 4. On Thursday, we did some last minute tweaks, painted the plaid and the trailer


2013 Design Report

March 25, 2013

Each year, the team prepares a comprehensive design report to document our team's vehicle and processes. This report is also annually submitted to the ASME Human Powered Vehicles Challenge and is judged as part of the competition.

The report presented below was prepared over the last couple weeks by a huge group effort of all team members working to create this polished product. This year, we made our report in LaTeX and the process was very smooth.

The final report is available here. We're proud of the final report. We hope you enjoy it too.


Front Frame Analysis

March 20, 2013

One of the big questions which has come up when designing the frame for our vehicle is whether or not to cantilever the front frame. Our mount point between the rider's legs is very stiff and this could potentially be a viable option.

To help answer this question, we performed some analysis in SolidWorks simulation, a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) package. We simulated the frame mounted from the rear point between the riders legs and applied a 200 lb load upward on the headtube (where the front wheel will be applying its load). With just this load, the simulation predicts a maximum deflection of almost 1/4" on the front of the frame. This does not take into effect side loading or a pedaling rider


Mold-Making and Door Design

March 13, 2013

The last couple of weeks have been flying by with the immense progress which has been made in the fairing manufacture process. We're currently done with about half of the mold and hope to have the full mold done by the end of this week.

Two weeks ago, two of our team members drove up to New Hampshire to visit new sponsor Soller Composites. Soller generously gave their time to help us understand what materials would be best for our vehicle and helped us procure the material. We came home from this visit with not only the carbon for the vehicle, a two-layer twill weave, but also thin fiberglass and a thicker fiberglass/basalt weave for the mold.

Once our male foam plug was fully