I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with Georiga Tech’s Solar Jackets solar racing team. Our GRM $200x challenge team (Wreck Racing) shares a shop with them, as well as with FSAE, Formula Baja, Ecocar, a robotics team, and a hydraulic hybrid bus. More on the shop if anyone is interested.
Anyways…Solar Jackets is building their solar car and using some cool technology that I thought I would share. The frame is DOM tube, 3d Laser Cut by a company here in Atlanta called Tie Down Engineering. A video of this process is available at their website http://www.tiedown.com/gtech.html
The tubes of their frame are then fixtured by a CNC cut MDF jig. The jig and the tubes in these pictures are 100% held by friction, and the tolerances are amazing.
It looks like they designed the frame (and jig) in CAD with the tubes meeting at nodes, and Tie Down Engineering handled all the cutting. The multitube intersections are beautiful, and the ‘fish mouths’ are quite complex. This process cost about ~$7000 for the frames worth of tubes.