From textbooks to making a racing car

The mechanical engineering students of Cochin University of Science and Technology are inspiring 
many to transcend the traditional classroom learning and gain practical experience

Published: 14th November 2017 10:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2017 07:36 AM   |  A+A-

The students of Cusat with their formula racing car

Express News Service

KOCHI: If holidays are meant for leisure, mechanical engineering students of Cochin University proved it wrong by reserving their last vacation in the thermal lab at the University campus for making the student’s version of formula car, the first of its kind in Kochi. When highly reputed institutions such as IITs and NITs are shining in the practical field, a group of students are setting examples without the aid of high financial support and experience legacy with their own skills and will power.

The car designed and manufactured, works with the engine of Duke 390. Sixteen student engineers of Yeti- Racing and a 25 member team of students from the mechanical division of School of Engineering, Cusat worked hard for more than two months under the captaincy of Ajanth V T to present their work in SUPRA 2017, a national level design competition conducted by Indian chapter of the Society of Automobile Engineers, Greater Noida.

The team also got an opportunity to showcase their vehicle at the Bhudd International Circuit, at Greater Noida in June, and managed to bag the 7th position, in the FFS competition held in Coimbatore, which witnessed the participation of more than 26 teams from colleges across the country in the month of October.It all began when the 2013-2017 batch wanted to leave their signature behind before leaving the college, and they decided to take part in car designing and manufacturing competitions, inspired by their senior Vimal Gopal, who pioneered graphics. First step was the formation of the club, and they registered for SAE- SUPRA last October. 

Till February of this year, it was in the designing phase and they began the manufacturing phase when the college closed for holidays. With the support and permission from the Principal M R Radhakrishna Panicker , Ex- HOD Biju N and present HOD Gireesh Kumaran Thampi, they used the thermal lab. They received sponsorship from Cochin shipyard, MRF tyres, Autotree, TEQIP-Cusat, PTA-Cusat for whom they are extremely grateful. “We were hindered at the beginning itself. Since we were freshers, many people discouraged us. Majority of them did not support us, but we didn’t step back.

The main obstacle was to get sponsorship. We tried hard to get sponsors, who withdrew later because of demonetisation. But the real struggle began after designing phase. Many members began to step back when they were unable to meet the expense and to co-operate with the team,” said  Ajanth V T, Captain of Yeti Racing.

At Noida, they took part in static events, which included business presentations, cost and design events in which they had to convince investors to buy their car, how they allocated budgets and what makes their car distinct from other competents. What was paramounting in SUPRA was the safety factor, and they were given three days to correct their drawbacks which they couldn’t fulfill within time limit and got rejected in the next level called ‘dynamic events’. With the vast knowledge base they acquired by participating in SUPRA, they simplified the factors and decided to appear for FFS.

“We took approximately 58 days to complete our dream. We succeeded only because of the dedication and team spirit we shared, irrespective of the time. We were backed by the team members who were split according to required technical functions, some were efficient in working with CAD sofwares, while others excelled welding, “ said Kuriakose K Saju, one of the members. Ajanth says the day their car had to run was crucial for them as the competition had to close by 5 pm.

He says, “Fortunately, we managed to send the video of running car few minutes before the deadline, and got selected to next level of SUPRA. We couldn’t perform well that time, but judges appreciated us for our debut design and production. Later we rectified the mistakes and attended FFS with much more confidence and got 4th rank in design and 5th rank in sales category.”

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