Best products from r/FSAE

We found 26 comments on r/FSAE discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 37 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top comments mentioning products on r/FSAE:

u/Call_Me_Hobbes · 6 pointsr/FSAE

I'd say to keep remembering that what you're trying to set up is a student run business. Pretend you're Elon Musk trying to tell people how electric is the next best thing in the automotive market, which may be true, but the public (and more importantly, endorsers such as the school) are not going to be swayed easily without proof of concept.

Before I go on, I was the president of the VCU FSAE team in Richmond, VA up until last month (June 2017). The team was in the same predicament as yours 10 years ago, and was getting threatened with the discarding of the half-finished vehicle up every other year until our first competition at Lincoln 2017 (for internal combustion). Richmond is the capital of Virginia, so I'm very familiar with the difficulties of building a vehicle in the city as you've described above. That being said, the information I'm providing is from a team that didn't pass the Noise/Kill-Switch tests at tech inspection, and I'm probably going to be one of the least experienced people to respond to this thread.

Start with looking at the paperwork required for competition, particularly the Business Logic Case. Here, you outline your goals for the vehicle and why you want to build it in the first place and who you will sell it to. Do you want to make the car cheap and market it to a broader, lower income market? Or do you want to make a high cost vehicle which comes with options such as paddle shifting, adjustable front and rear wings, and a carbon fiber monocoque. Every design decision that is made on the car after deciding on your market and budget needs to coincide with the Business Logic Case, which you are allowed to modify if the team decides that they want to market differently for whatever reason. The car should be designed around the Business Logic Case, and we messed up by designing our Business Logic Case around the car, and that's why I want to mention this so strongly.

From there, you'll probably want to assign a few people who have taken their economics/business courses to start on the presentation. There are a lot of things in the presentation that the judges love to see, such as factory layouts, tooling requirements, and labor costs that take a lot of time to prepare and assess accurately.

Design work can start alongside the Presentation, beginning with the chassis. There are a few key points I'd like to throw in first:

  1. Have a full 3D model of the entire car before building or ordering anything, unless it's for proof-of-concept or school presentation purposes and can be stored in your student org society room.

  2. Leave yourself a lot of space inside the chassis to work. Leave large tolerances and assure that everything will fit and be able to slot in to its spot. It also helps your team from getting frustrated when you learn that you'll have to drop the engine for the 5th or 6th time this month.

  3. There is a "standard" chassis outlined in each chassis sub-section in the rulebook, and I highly recommend starting with this, as it is guaranteed to pass in the Structural Equivalency Spreadsheet. (Note: The same applies for the Impact Attenuator and Impact Attenuator Data Sheet. A standard one does not require real-world testing results).

  4. Keep as many mechanical items in the car as possible. I would not advise creating paddle-shifters, traction control elements, or any other systems that cannot be fixed with duct-tape, JB Weld, or zip ties at competition. I don't really agree with the decision to go electric for your first car, but even still, there will be more people who can work on mechanical elements in the vehicle instead of electrical elements, simply because electrical vehicles are not the norm in industry yet.

  5. Every system needs a design and cost report!!! Being a first year team, it's going to take forever to get your first car driving. Make sure that every design on the car has a report that outlines why the design team made certain decisions that what the results of their analyses were. A full bill of materials will also need to be done upon the completion of each system. Just make sure that no significant information is lost when people inevitably begin to graduate from your school and your team.

  6. Make sure that every parameter in the Design Spec Sheet is known before a particular system design is "completed". There are a lot of weird values that they want, and it's very likely that only the people who worked on that system of the car will be able to fill in the blanks.

  7. Don't use or buy any parts that aren't free or discounted. This was something I asked a lot of teams about at Nebraska, and pretty much all of them abided by this.

    So as a summary, compile all the paperwork that you'll require for competition, and begin working on it as soon as you can. It should go something in the starting order of:

  8. Business Logic Case
  9. Design Report (from each team, and then compile and shorten to the 6-page FSAE version)
  10. Design Spec Sheet
  11. Structural Equivalency Spreadsheet
  12. Cost Report
  13. Impact Attenuator Data Sheet

    With all of this completed, you should be able to make a very solid case to anybody at the school for building space. I encourage you to keep trying to get work space as you put together the virtual stuff in the vehicle however.

    I will leave these resources as well for you to look through:

  14. Emily Anthony's "Key points for a successful Formula SAE team" article
  15. Carroll Smith's Engineer to Win, Tune to Win, and Prepare to Win books. Everyone on the team should read these as soon as possible before the design of the car starts or gets too far in.

  16. FSAE Forum Book List. Encourage team members to look here to order books before beginning design work on the vehicle. Chassis team members order books on structural components, intake/exhaust get books like Four Stroke Performance Tuning, and etc.

    Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions!
u/hockeychick44 · 11 pointsr/FSAE

Hi OP, here are some links to answer your questions. First of all, don't open Miliken and Miliken yet; with all due respect, it's probably not something you are able to digest yet and it's not going to have the answers in the way that you need it to tackle this project. What you should do first is ask for clarification; I assume he doesn't want you to design suspension components, but look into ways to effectively adjust toe and camber. Caster is usually a designed element that isn't often adjusted.

If I'm understanding correctly, he'd want you to evaluate your current setup that you have to do alignment and then improve it. Perhaps you don't have a method right now, and he'd want you to create one. These improvements can manifest in changes to the design of the suspension to allow for adjustment or changes to your rig that you use to align the car.

The basic elements of an alignment, or a static setup, are:

  1. Ensuring your corner weights, or the weight of the car on each tire, is balanced front to rear, side to side, and diagonally. Balance doesn't imply equal weights on all 4 tires, but adjusted based on what you'd want your weight balance to be. For example, a team may want 60% of the car's weight in the rear and 40% in the front. This is the first thing that is done.
    Here is a link about corner weights:

  2. Ensuring your toe settings, front and rear, are appropriate for the track environment (your settings may differ between the acceleration event and skidpad, for example). Toe is usually measured in angles, but if you do some trig and measure distances between the outside of the tires for example, you can set toe. You'd add features to your suspension design to be able to adjust toe, like plates or threaded rods; this is where you'll put your engineer brain to work.

  3. Doing the same thing with camber. Features will need to be added to your suspension design to adjust camber in the same way your toe is adjusted but in a different plane.

  4. Making sure your tire pressures are set correctly. This is technically done before you do corner weights. I just thought of this last, oops.

    You can go relatively low tech (measuring string and using plates) to high tech (digital read outs, etc) based on your budget. You probably have scales to put under each tire, so you'll need to see what kind of scales you have, if you have a way to level them, and what he would like to improve. All these adjustments listed above are done when the car is on scales. Here are a couple of links to online stores where you can see categories of products. Bare minimum, I'd get scales, toe plates, a tape measure, and a camber gauge.

    When I joined the FSAE team I read "Hands-On Race Car Engineer" to understand this topic in particular. We have a copy that floats in the shop. It's written in plain language and it has a lot of great diagrams for this setup. It also goes into other topics like effective testing. Our copy is well worn with sticky notes and scribbles all through it. I sincerely recommend shelling out the money for it out of your team's budget.

    I hope others chime in and add on to my comment. I imagine I'm missing things.

    Here is another thread discussing this \^
u/22quack · 6 pointsr/FSAE

If you haven't seen the FSAE Forums, definitely take a look there. I'm not sure what year you are (freshman, sophomore, etc.) but realize that organizing the team will take A LOT of work. Our team at VCU has been around for at least 10 years now (we think it was technically formed in 2001) and we have yet to take a car to competition, although the progress that has been made in the last couple years has been absolutely incredible.

I like what /u/welptheresthat says in his comment, but expecting to go to competition within two years of forming the team is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. There are two primary resources you need that our team was struggling with for years, and they are members and money.

It will take way more than five of you to build and design a car, although the amount of experience each member has obviously plays a large part. If you can draw in people who will be willing to donate extremely large chunks of time to the team and even lead the design of car subsystems (suspension, steering, differential mounts, etc.) it will pay off immensely.

As for money, it is very difficult to give pointers on this because I don't have a lot of experience with it unfortunately. The school will hopefully be willing to give you at least a tiny bit amount of money in some way, shape, or form no matter how little (it will be difficult to convince the school to give you $10,000 for car parts...). Fundraising and donations at our school were tricky, because apparently we were breaking a school rule by receiving money from corporate sponsors. This ended being a huge pitfall for us, because without money, you cannot have a product to show off to students and faculty. We would lose 80-90% of the students who showed up to interest meetings after they would see that we only had a chassis built and sitting in the loading bay of the engineering school. After we got a suspension and running engine, we began to retain more students. There was some personal expense laid into the team as well from past students, and it was definitely necessary to get to where we are now.

Overall, do your research to form the team and get a source of income, and then attract as many students as possible looking especially for those who might want to do this as a career. Keep asking yourself if the team will be able to survive the year(s) after you graduate. Are there annual fundraisers? Are the 3D models and drawings easy to access? Is there someone on the team with machine shop training and fabrication experience? Is there someone who can take care of e-mail updates?

Make the foundation for your new found team as solid as possible. Best of luck to you and other founding Formula SAE members!

P.S. You should also read this book, Racecar: Searching for the Limit in Formula SAE. I read it very quickly, and it's very useful for hearing the experiences of a Formula member on a successful team for Oklahoma University. Despite not being as successful as the Oklahoma team, I was definitely able to relate to many issues they were experiencing...

u/TheKojent · 1 pointr/FSAE

Long thread incoming

We're working on resorting our hardware now, but the goal is:

  • 2 racks with 4 drawers each containing our most frequently used hardware (SAE Grade 8 1/4-28, 5/16-24, and 3/8-24 mostly, all of varying lengths, plus rod ends, bearings, and of course, nuts and washers).
  • We have an "EE corner" with all our electrical stuff, and they have a few (neatly sorted) bins of electronics connectors and fasteners.
  • Engine-related hardware will be stored with our engine parts after we do a rebuild this spring break and document all the fasteners.
  • Everything that doesn't fit into the above categories will be individually bagged, labeled, and stored in an overstock box. If this box becomes huge, I'm considering getting myself a storage unit and donating a chunk of it to the team.
  • As for electronic inventory, I'm almost certain we'll have our overstock inventory stored in an Excel spreadsheet. The problem with having your common fasteners digitally inventoried is keeping tabs on it (not everyone will adjust quantity on hand when they take some parts). A solution could be to have cycle counts generated weekly, and you could script your Excel/Google sheet to automatically warn you of low quantity on hand. I'm rambling now, but the solution would be to get a hardware sponsor and have them do VMI (Vendor Manged Inventory), which isn't out of the question......

    If you're looking to sort your current hardware, it will take a while. This took me two weeks of 3-4 late nights in the lab after finishing my work for the day, and that was just our random bin. Still have washers to sort, as well as the fasteners already in our rack of drawers.
    That being said, I'd highly recommend getting a thread checker to accurately distinguish between different fasteners. has a lot of info on fasteners as well as printable fastener sizing charts (really useful for sorting washers).

    Best of luck!
u/dirtyuncleron69 · 1 pointr/FSAE

>Hi, I'm interested in joining my school's FSAE team. Unfortunately I have next to zero knowledge of cars and the process required for assembling one.

Not really a problem, most new guys dont know anything, which is why most teams have things for you to do that don't require you to know much.

>I realize that many of you will say that I should just join the team and learn as I do, but the FSAE is fairly competitive and I might not get a chance to do that.

Most of the 'competition' for team positions can be won by simply showing up time after time, and being reliable source of labor for team leaders to shove work on.

>I will be applying to the Baja team as well so that might work out.

Mini Baja is a totally different competition, you can learn just as much, but be sure that the end goal of what you want to work on is available within the team you choose. If you are looking to do studies on jump dynamics and position dependent damping, you will not find that in FSAE for instance.

>Anyway what I'm looking for is a book or website that will give me an introduction to racing cars, so I can have some knowledge going in. Thanks for any help.

As suggested here, Caroll Smith's Tune to Win series is an excellent start. Most teams have the full set of these, see if you can borrow one, or just go to the shop and read them there between jobs people give you, or if it's slow.

Other good books (for suspension I admit) are Gillespie's Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics and Milliken's Race Car Vehicle Dynamics, though this one is much more technical, and considered the Race Engineer's bible, so to speak.

u/Feldstrom · 2 pointsr/FSAE
This is similar to what our team is using. Once it gets depressed, it physically breaks the shutdown circuit.

It mechanically stays depressed until physically pulled back into place and reset.

Because this switch is behind the pedal to be activated only at the extreme end of pedal travel (that should otherwise take a slight effort with the hydraulics fully functioning but will be super-easy if they go out), it's a real pain in the ass for the driver to get to it and reset it. So even if it's not a proper latching fault electrically, it is, in effect (mechanically.)

You shouldn't need any additional circuitry apart from the BOTS.The wording of the rules is to afford design flexibility. You don't have to use the exact switch style I have above if you need to get creative, but they do want:

- The mechanical switching action to physically break the current
- Repeated "presses" not to matter once it's been depressed the first time.

They've done a pretty good job of just hammering out the minimums they want for safety. In theory, you could use additional circuitry to jerry-rig other switches to work that weren't initially intended to work like the switch I posted above (which is perfect for this). Sounds like an unnecessary, but totally justified "Senior Project" for someone...

u/Jcj1610 · 1 pointr/FSAE

This might sound trivial and silly, but really the best place to start when it comes to familiarizing yourself with all the systems that go into specifically an electric FSAE car is the rule book. Recruit a bunch of students with an EE/Mechatronics/Software/Computer Science background into your team, study the EV section of the rules, and brainstorm. As with the rest of the car, you as a team are completely free to choose how to implement your electronics so long as you are rule compliant. Other than that, this book, this book and/or this book might help (haven't read them myself).

u/clee781 · 3 pointsr/FSAE

CAN is a very simple protocol. So simple, in fact, that it is basically useless on its own. CAN is a low-level data-link layer that allows you to send frames of eight bytes to a bus. If you want to send messages of more than eight bytes, you need to come up with a way to stitch multiple frames together. If you want node to node communication, you need to decide how each device is addressed and how transactions take place between them. CAN is at the bottom of the protocol stack. For anything useful to happen, you need to add a couple more layers on top of it. Some examples of these higher level protocols include CANopen, DeviceNet, and many others. As an example specific to automotive, ISO-15765-2 is a transport layer that is implemented using a CAN bus. This ISO standard defines how to combine multiple eight byte CAN frames into messages of up to 4095 bytes. Still, ISO-15765-2 is not so useful on its own either. On top of this transport layer sits ISO-15765-3 and ISO-15765-4, and then finally, we arrive at OBDII. Traversing the stack the other way, we can see that the high-level OBDII protocol can be implemented using many sub-protocols, not just ISO-15765. OBDII information can also be carried using SAEJ2284 CAN, UART, and some others.


If you want to learn to CAN, I wouldn't recommend starting with literature. You should decide what your goal is first. Do you want to be able to talk to your ECU which is already speaking in some higher level protocol? Do you want to build some custom sensors where you get to decide how the protocol stack looks? Do you want to buy a bunch of ready-to-go CANopen slaves and just implement a master to control those? I would make a couple decisions about what you are trying to accomplish first, then you can take it step by step and visit the specific piece of literature that will help you clear whatever the next hurdle is.


In any case, you may want to play around with some hardware just to familiarize yourself with the protocol. If you ever thought about buying this CAN Arduino Shield, don't. Just buy a bunch of these MCP2515 Breakouts that use the exact same hardware and are much cheaper. Hook them up a couple Arduinos and use the MCP2515 library to send some frames back and forth. Once thats done, take those Arduinos and put them into the garbage. Buy a bunch of $2 STM32F103C8T6 Blue pills, a bunch of $2 ST-Link V2 knockoff debuggers, some TJA1050 CAN transceivers, and have an MCU with a built in CAN peripheral that is a magnitude more powerful than an Arduino UNO for a fraction of the cost. Download System Workbench or Atollic TrueStudio and you can open hundreds of example projects and step through the code line by line as it runs in real time on the microcontroller. You can program these blue pills through the Arduino IDE also, but I really encourage serious engineers to move away from the Arduino ecosystem.

u/thescreensavers · 1 pointr/FSAE

CFD is a drop in the bucket when it comes to Intake and Plenum Design.

Look at the top 5 teams design try to understand why they run that. By looking at current designs you can learn why they do something, the way they do then improve on it for your design.

Search the FSAE Forums, lots of info there. Maybe not always directly but its helpful.

Google FSAE Intake Paper, use other key terms there are a few papers that you can find that talk about plenum design. Also before buying or complicating your self google the SAE Papers name you can find many of them for free.

Tip: Just because something flows better does not mean it will perform better. You might get higher power but throttle response suffers.

Reccomended book

u/jd74914 · 6 pointsr/FSAE

Not quite that simple because it's actually a 3/8-24 IF and M10x1.25 IF. The IF stands for inverted flare which requires a special geometry. Not as simple as just cutting some threads. Much more complicated, especially on the M10 female flare portion. Have to be really careful on the sealing portion of the fittings.

You can buy them...