Four intensive weeks in Kongsberg
For the last four weeks, members of our team have been in Kongsberg to produce the carbon fiber monocoque, rims, crash nose, wings and steering wheel. Hard work, dedication and close cooperation with our partner the Kongsberg Group has been necessary to finish the production. Here is some of the details of how our first ever monocoque and the rest of the parts were born.
Ever since the decision to develop a carbon fiber monocoque was made last summer, thousands of working hours have been put in to make the project possible. Packaging and integration of all significant parts has required the entire organization to finish design early, in order to utilize the possibilities of seamless integration of parts and systems in the monocoque. All the hours of planning, design and load computations were to be realized as the chassis of the car finally went into production.
The Kongsberg Group has been with the team since the 2013 season and is now our main sponsor. For four weeks Kongsberg Defence Systems has hosted our team at their aerostructure production facility, Arsenalet, providing support and working facilities for the project. Alongside helpful employees at the plant, our team has been working double shifts for four weeks straight. Without the flexibility and enthusiasm from the people at KDS, the production would not be possible. 24 hour availability to the production facilities and expertise at Arsenalet the entire period has been crucial for the project.
Producing a carbon fiber monocoque is a complex process which requires many steps. After the design was finished, plugs making a perfect model of the car was milled by Shape AS.
The plugs were then prepared for epoxy coating, and coated by SYD Lakksenter in Trondheim (which has painted both of our previous cars) in order to achieve the best possible surface finish on the final product.
The plugs were polished and tooling prepreg was used to cast negative moulds. When the negative tooling was finished, the top and bottom part was bolted together to make the closed mould that was used for the actual lay up.
Finally, the work of laying up the carbon fiber outer skin could be started. Using FiberSim, provided by Summit Systems, to simulate the layup and a CNC cutter to cut the carbon fiber plies, the layup becomes similar to a complex puzzle.
After curing the outer skin, foam and honeycomb core material was carefully placed, along with different inserts to support the loads of parts attached to the structure. After another curing, the final step, laying the inner carbon fibre skin was done.
After the final cure the monocoque was finished, in spite of some difficulties when releasing the mould from the actual part, one of the most important parts of our new car was born!
Along with the monocoque production, many other carbon fiber parts has been produced; 12 rim shells, wing elements for the aero package, 4 crash noses and the steering wheel have been made during the four weeks.
The results are impeccable, and without the help and support from the people at Arsenalet it would not be possible. Because of this we are extremely thankful to the team at Arsenalet and the Kongsberg Group for making the use of complex materials and production methods possible. The experience these complex projects give to our members is unique and the final product is greatly enhanced by utilizing the strengths and possibility of carbon fiber structures. Four very intense weeks of hard work is over and we have successfully produced our first monocoque, along with many other crucial parts. We are very happy with the result and look forward to start assembly of the entire car!