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University of Akron FSAE

DATAQ Instruments, Inc. is a proud sponsor of theĀ University of Akron FSAE team. Each year University of Akron mechanical engineering students design a small Formula SAE car and compete with other Universities across the country. DATAQ Instruments' data acquisition products help them come up with new innovations and designs as well as maintain and troubleshoot their vehicle.

UofA FSAE team
The University of Akron FSAE Team
Driver: Josh Guarino; Next to driver kneeling: Anthony Varca; From Left: Phillip Klein, Kristen Gamauf, Chris Finefrock, Brian Watson, John Lithua, James Nazarian, Steve Taylor, Jason Stuffel, Matt Shaffer, Sam Henderson, Jeff Kavali, & Maria Rundt

Here are some notes from this year's design.

Steering Rack

The steering rack is a custom built aluminum rack housing and rack tubes. The inside of the steering rack consists of a steel rack and pinion gear. The problem with past University of Akron steering racks is the backlash (movement in steering wheel without moving wheels) has always been higher than desired to manufacturing capabilities. The 2005 steering rack gear bolts to the steering shaft and shims can be inserted under the rack gear to adjust the backlash. This design has remained very light and reliable, a steering rack similar to the 2005 rack is planned for the 2006 car.

steering rack data acquisition application
click on image to zoom


The differential used in the University of Akron FSAE car is a custom built aluminum housing with a Zexel Torsen gear set. We have used this gear set on past vehicles, but maintenance and sealing has always been a problem. Sealing issues were resolved by machining the housing to tighter tolerances and using better gasket materials. More thought was put in to the overall design of the differential housing regarding maintenance. One of the key features of the 2005 differential is the addition of Jack-Out screws. These screws are used when disassembling the cap from the differential housing. The clearance between the cap and differential is approximately .001" and is difficult to take apart especially at the race track. The Jack-Out screws allow the person disassembling the differential to essentially push the cap off of the differential housing. This added feature means that while at the race track the differential can be disassembled and fixed with a set of allen keys and a screw driver. In the past disassembling the differential required the use of an arbor press which is hard to come by at the race track. Plans are in place to improve on the 2005 design by making chain tensioning easier and more accurate.

differential data acquisition application
click on image to zoom