Manufacturing of Protective Visors

This has been the home scenario for the team members who own 3D printers!

Attentive to the needs identified by the community, FST Lisboa joined the project led by the Department of Mechanical Engineering (DEM), and is now producing protective visors for the health professionals who have been working day and night against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PLA has been the material used for printing the part of the visor that supports the transparency and the printing time is approximately 3 hours per support.

Reproducing the plea launched by IST itself, the team also appeals to its readers to, if owning the necessary technology, join this initiative. These are the times when technology must, more than ever and with greater urgency, be at the service of healthcare.


Competition Season 2020: COVID-19 Resolutions

In the weeks preceding the admission quizzes day (January 31st), the team confirmed its participation in all the competitions for which it had tried out, and, after careful deliberation taking into account the objectives the team had established for the season, it decided its participation in the following competitions:

[EV Class – FST 10e]: FS Austria, FS Germany and FS Spain 

[Class DV – FST 10d]: FS Germany and FS Spain 

The team would then attend three of the most highly rated competitions in the world, and debut in FS Austria that historically takes place at the Spielberg circuit – the Red Bull Ring.

However, and like other sporting events that would take place this summer – such as the Olympic Games in Tokyo or the UEFA Euro 2020 – the different organizations of the Formula Student competitions are now, one by one, postponing them to next year’s summer in order to ensure the safety and public health conditions at a time where the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading alarmingly all over the world.

At the same time, FST Lisboa interrupted the workshop work and is now focused on the type of work that can be done respecting social distancing that is nothing less than everybody’s duty and priority at this moment.

As for work planning in the months ahead as well as for the 2020/2021 season, the team has defined new goals – a product of the balance between the short and long term financial impact and the future of the team regarding ambitions, effort and expectations of not only its members but also of the remaining stakeholders.

1. In 2020, two cars will be manufactured, the FST 10e and FST 10d – due to competing in 2021.

2. FST 11 will be designed and built in 2 years, following the team’s philosophy before FST 08e – due to competing in the summer of 2022.

The next season was already bound to be a huge challenge as the FST 11 would have to be designed respecting the new rules stipulated by FSG, meaning the 11th prototype would have to compete both in manual and autonomous driving modes.

In short, FST Lisboa will not stop this year. We still have a lot of work to do!

Yes, the reality of what is happening in the world right now is much greater than us as individuals, than the team, than any competition or than the entire Formula Student community, however, FST Lisboa is committed to maintaining the same level of compromise and dedication that we have shown since the beginning of the year, so that, in a brighter future, we can all look at this season and the team as a case of success that, despite all adversities, did what was planned!


In House Machining

The second month of the year was also marked by the in-house machining of some components to be integrated into both FST 10e and FST10d.

Regarding the first, parts of the suspension subsystem such as the rims’ pins, and the support of the BOTS (Brake Over Travel Switch) were machined at LTO (part of the scientific area of Mechanical Project and Structural Material from Instituto Superior Técnico).

The same happened to the autonomous prototype, which also started machining parts of the EBS (Emergency Braking System).

These tasks were performed by the team members who hold machining courses accredited by CENFIM – Professional Training Center for the Metallurgical and Metalworking Industry in both turning and milling techniques – the two types of machining technology the team resorts to. These actions were supervised by LTO responsibles Pedro Teixeira and João Vicente.


The Composite Fever: An Overview

As it is known since the 5th prototype that parts as the monocoque, seat, wings and side pods are all made using composite materials. 

So, as the carbon fibre enthusiasts that we are, this year was no different!

Because the   FST 10e borrowed a few moulds from   FST 09e, namely those of the monocoque,  the first procedure carried out was their sanding and sealing, to ensure a close-to flawless surface. For the second stage – the sealing – we started out by applying a coat of sealant followed by a coat of release agent, provided by Marbocote.

The sealant used is capable of sealing very porous surfaces and works as a first coat of the release agent. This last one makes the demolding simpler.   

This process is also performed on the new moulds before laminating the composite fibre.

Parallel to the treatment on the monocoque moulds, the team also prepared the moulds intended for the aerodynamic package. These were made of MDF and underwent a series of sanding and painting stages, which ensure the smoothness of their surface, as well as their endurance to the curing process. As usual, these procedures were performed at the Robbialac facilities in Lisbon as it will be the car’s final painting and varnishing!

As the month came to an end, the team was able to start working on the accumulator container that, this year, will be manufactured out of yet another well-known composite fibre – Kevlar

Used in various applications ranging from bicycle tires to bulletproof vests, some of the properties that make Kevlar such a versatile material are the excellent strength to weight ratio as well as its thermal stability. These were the main reasons why the team chose to incorporate the fibre provided by Tei Composites on the FST 10e accumulator. 

Then March came along and brought the pre-preg fun!   

With   the moulds ready to use, the next step was the lamination and then the autoclave curing process.

Why pre-preg carbon fibre, you may ask? 

Because it allows better control over the fibre/resin ratio as well as over the out time during which the fibre can be handled without a change in its properties.  Moreover, the pre-preg carbon fibre provided by Delta was also high modulus, meaning it has a high Young Modulus which translates to greater stiffness and higher resistance to deformations, resulting in lighter structures.   

Truth is, we’ve been talking nonstop about fibre, but we can’t forget the cell foam we use as the core material in some of the parts on the aerodynamic package. 

This cell foam comes in boards all the way from Germany. Our sponsor since the FST 07e, 3D|CORE, provides this structure in honeycomb that fits curved and complex moulds and increases the stiffness of the fibre elements.

Staying on the topic of aerodynamics, some of the parts are made resorting to composite materials that undergo an infusion process, which means that unlike what happens with prepreg fibre, the fibre used in the majority of the aerodynamic elements needs to be impregnated.

The composite reinforcement layers are applied onto a female mould followed by a sealing layer. The impregnation resin completes the wet-out by being forced into the mould by a vacuum.

As it has been since   FST07e, the team is using the resin supplied by Duroplast for this process.

Finally, we get all the autoclave fun. This is without a doubt an essential stage on the manufacture of carbon fibre structures since working with composite materials is often challenging and requires a lot of precision as every little detail can have an impact on the final result.

So, Vacuum bagging films, bag connectors and houses, peel plies, breathers and bleeders and sealant tapes are all essential materials when it comes to transforming a simple roll of fibre into a formula prototype and for that, the team has been counting on Airtech Advanced Materials Group ever since the FST 06e. This year was no different!

Despite all this work being coordinated between the chassis and aerodynamic departments, both team members and recruits took part in most of the manufacturing procedures. 

Fun times for all our  Bob the builder alter egos, wouldn’t you say?


February means Composite Fever

February means a well deserved break from university, but when you’re in a Formula Student team it means extra time to work on your car.

Around here, February also sets the start of manufacturing season. 

Despite having different tasks being performed at the same time, the first stages of manufacturing are undoubtedly linked to composites and all the related processes.

Sanding, painting, impregnating, unmoulding and curing will become almost daily tasks around here – especially for our chassis and aerodynamic team members…

Now that Design is officially frozen, it’s time to get our hands dirty!