In May 2017, CREATE Education began our partnership with FM-1 Racing, an F1 in Schools team from Sutton Park School in Dublin, Ireland. One year later, after countless hours of work (and 3D printing), FM-1 Racing has qualified for the F1 in School World Finals, which take place in Singapore this September.
F1 in Schools is the world’s largest STEM competition, which reaches its pinnacle at the World Finals, where the most elite teams from over 40 countries come together to compete for the title of World Champions.
The procedure of the competition follows that of a real Formula One team. Teams must design a small CO2 powered car using a suite of various CAD/ CAM software alongside Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis in order to analyse every aspect of the car’s performance. A combination of CNC milling and 3D Printing is then utilized to manufacture the finished car which is then raced down a 20 metre track. FM-1 Racing’s car currently completes this in a very competitive, very fast 1.1 seconds, achieving speeds close to 100km/hr.
Also similar to a real Formula One team, teams must develop a business plan, a marketing strategy and most importantly, raise sponsorship and create partnerships in order to evolve their brand. Teams are judged on their ability to run a successful enterprise and their ability to attract high-end sponsors, such as CREATE Education and Ultimaker.
The Irish National Final of the competition took place on the 16th of May, where 15 of Ireland’s top teams from across the country fought for the top two places, and a place in the World Finals. FM-1 Racing came 2nd overall, also picking up the prestigious Best Engineered Car award.
Critical to the team’s success was their Ultimaker 2+, sponsored by CREATE Education. This incredibly versatile machine was at the heart of the car’s testing, development and manufacturing, while also being crucial to the integration of multimedia with the team’s pit display.
The team’s car was designed with an interchangeable modular configuration, meaning that of the car’s 41 components, 30 of them could be changed or removed at any time without the need for adhesives. This idea was made possible thanks to the team owning its own printer and not needing to outsource any manufacturing. The accuracy of the Ultimaker enabled tight-fitting components to snap together perfectly. As the car was developed through aerodynamic and structural testing, both virtually and physically, upgrades could easily be added to the car, such as new nose cones or wheel systems, to ensure that when race day arrived, the car would travel as fast as possible.
The car assembly featured 5 different materials, three of which were 3D printed materials including PLA and Polycarbonate, the same material used in fighter jet canopies, for the ultimate blend of high strength and low weight. 3D printing technologies have progressed to the point where they are no longer merely suitable for prototypes, but for fully functional end models. For this reason, the team’s car, featured 24 individually printed components, such as the intricate front nose and the high speed wheel system.
However, the Ultimaker 2+ was never sitting idle. It produced a number of experimental car mock-ups which were used on a wind tunnel, which was also born thanks to the Ultimaker. To gather dynamic data on the car’s performance that could not be done with computer simulations, the team constructed a wind tunnel, specifically designed to test certain characteristics of the car. The entire wind tunnel was 3D printed, including the hexagonal flow diffuser, the wall and the fan, which was mounted onto a high-speed DC motor. Sensors were attached to the car, and Arduino IDE programmes were written to analyse performance criteria, to make sure that the car was not being compromised in any way.
Custom 3D-printed tools were also used to align the car’s rear wheels when being mounted onto the car, ensuring the most accuracy possible.
The Ultimaker was also responsible for making the team’s pit display one of the most recognizable and memorable, as the team designed and produced fixtures to attach the display poster to a phone screen, which displayed the team’s promotional video as well as business cards.
The next chapter in FM-1 Racing’s journey has begun as they begin the long road to Singapore. The Ultimaker has already started printing prototypes as the team intends to take the competition’s innovation and engineering standards to new heights and to build a car that will race under the spotlight of a global stage while representing and wearing the badges of their countries and the amazing companies that support them, such as CREATE Education and Ultimaker.
If you want to learn more or follow the team on this journey, follow them on Twitter and Instagram @fm1racing or check out their promotional video WINGSPAN, which shows how their rear wing module was developed, from its conception to its construction on the Ultimaker 2+.
“CREATE Education has allowed us to overcome challenges, reach goals and achieve dreams that would not have been possible without their continuous help and support”
Omar Salem, Team FM-1
In The Classroom
The F1 in Schools STEM Challenge is an annual challenge for schools, open to teams of 3-6 students aged 9-19. This makes a perfect activity for running in a STEM club. You can learn more about F1 in Schools and register teams from the dedicated F1 in Schools website.