Baja NOW Weekly Update: Week of January 14, 2018

 

It was yet another productive day at Iowa Baja. Today, the team focused on preparing both vehicles and supplies for the upcoming trip to Houghton, MI for MTU Blizzard Baja, a unique race on the Baja Calendar. Blizzard Baja is held every year in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at Michigan Technical University. The entire track is carved out of the deep snow around their campus, presenting a unique and challenging experience to both beginner and advanced members of Baja. This event is a perfect opportunity to observe each members car control ability as well as display possible potential to drive at a future National Competition to the Executive Board.

 Iowa Baja at MTU Blizzard Baja 2017

Iowa Baja at MTU Blizzard Baja 2017

 Car 78 at MTU Blizzard Baja 2017

Car 78 at MTU Blizzard Baja 2017

In order to prepare for the race, members began to check over each vehicle to ensure bolts are properly tightened, and each vehicle is assembled correctly. In addition to the usual checks, body panels must also be inspected to ensure they are securely connected to the frame of the vehicle. While this is always checked, it is especially important due to the possibility of snow flooding the Drivers Area. Members also began to prepare, inventory, and organize all necessary items for the race, such as working tents, tools and driver gear.

 Member Kyle Scharm tightening bolts on Car #48

Member Kyle Scharm tightening bolts on Car #48

 A Baja vehicle during its Bolt Safety Check

A Baja vehicle during its Bolt Safety Check

In addition to preparing the vehicles for Nationals, Mitch Evens completed the welding samples to be used for National Competiton. Weld samples are used by judges to determine the strength of the welds on the vehicle. Vice President Rob Pohren explains:

Weld samples ultimately prove our welding ability to the judges from SAE. At Iowa Baja, safety is our top priority. By creating and testing the weld samples, we can ensure or frame won’t fail in case of a crash.
— Vice President Rob Pohren
 Mitch Evens preparing the welding samples to be used for National Competition

Mitch Evens preparing the welding samples to be used for National Competition

In another area of the shop, Rob Pohren worked on completing a prototype set of knuckles for our test vehicle. Knuckles connect the wheels to the suspension of the vehicle and are a critical piece of the design of the vehicle. This design will be tested in the upcoming weeks at the Baja Off-Site Vehicle Testing Area. If the design passes our battery of stress testing, it may be used on our upcoming National Competition Vehicle. 

 An example of one of the upcoming steering knuckle designs during fabrication

An example of one of the upcoming steering knuckle designs during fabrication

In order for Iowa Baja to continue its goal of educating our members through hands-on experience, we are always looking for donations to our team. We accept material, machine time as well as monetary donations. For more information, check out the "Sponsors" page of our website.