The Mid-West Mini-Baja Design Competition challenges college students to design, fabricate, and race a miniature Baja style off-road vehicle. Rule guidelines place restrictions on the engine and frame, testing the imagination, knowledge, and creativity of the students. The competition is judged on several categories, including dynamic and static events. Students design the Mini-Baja car as if it is a prototype for a company, so cost, appearance, reliability, and performance all become key factors in judging. This competition, like all other SAE competitions, brings students together from across the country and even around the world.
Despite the decrease in standings at the 2011 competition the Mini Baja Team has high hopes. A chassis design similar to the 2011 will be used but with the addition of using larger diameter thinner wall tubing to increase strength and further decrease weight. The larger diameter tube carried into a redesigned suspension that fixes the deficiencies of the previous year. The drivetrain will be significantly improved by continuing to utilize the successful Gaged Engineering CVT, planetary gear reduction, and incorporating a Torsen limited slip differential rather than the full spool to lessen understeer. There will also be improvements to driver comfort and controls. With the new car pushing the boundaries of Platteville's former abilities there are high hopes for a successful year.
The 2011 season had high hopes after the previous year's very successful competition. The chassis had significant differences to previous years making the car lighter. The suspension was left largely the same but with the addition of front upper J-arms rather than standard A-arms to provide protection to the front tie rods. Much of the so far very successful drivetrain was retained with some modifications to ease serviceability. The car also incorporated a new Gaged Engineering CVT for increased performance and easy tuning. Unfortunately in spite of high hopes a lack of test time lead to a very weak front suspension design that was crippling at competition. Because of this the team scored 50th of 120 participating teams at the Caterpillar Proving Grounds in Peoria IL.
Meeting and Event Times
Thursday Nights (September-May)
Place: Engineering Hall Room 115
Every Friday (September-May)
Time: 3:00pm-however late people want to work
Place: SAE Work Area in the Engineering Hall
Stout Baja Invitational
Date: October 15, 2011
Location: Arkansaw Cycle Park, Arkansaw, WI
Michigan Tech Invitational
Dates: February 18, 2012
Location: Michigan Technological University