No annual report


Proposal ID 2015-062
Submitted April 10, 2015
Owner AndreiArevalo
Department Mechanical Engineering
Category Portable
Funding Status Fully Funded
Metric Score 3.86


  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Andrei Arevalo
  • UW FSAE Administrative Director
  • 4253432551
  • 352600
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Sue Chen
  • Administrator
  • 206-543-6835
  • 352600
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Michael Bragg
  • Dean of Engineering
  • 206-543-1829
  • 352180



A critical, and required, component of the Mechanical Engineering curriculum is ME 495 design. Every graduate is expected to be involved in the design, analysis, and proof of an engineering system. Employers not only expect that graduates will have had a complex design experience, but additionally prefer that this can be demonstrated with a real-world project.

One of the most popular design projects is the Formula SAE open cockpit race car that involves students from several departments. Students first prepare preliminary designs, analyze them for satisfaction of engineering criteria, revise the designs, and then actually build the entire car. The car is then tested by student-drivers and real time data are downloaded and then analyzed to optimize the performance. Finally, the students take the car to Nebraska and to Germany where they compete against more than 140 other schools.

The design, based upon CAD software, the engineering analysis, based on finite element software, the fabrication, based upon computer controlled machines, and the optimization of the car and engine, using data acquisition and analysis, all depend critically upon high powered computing.

We are hoping to get two new laptops to be used for Data Acquisition so that the future UW Formula SAE teams can continue to successfully not only design and manufacture their small formula one-style vehicles, but tune their vehicles out on the race track with two new team laptops.

Category Justification

The equipment requested in this proposal will be used in support of the FSAE team composed of 80 undergraduate and graduate students from the Mechanical Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, and Civil Engineering Departments. These laptops will be brought out to the race track for testing and tuning on the cars. These pieces of equipment will be used tasks such as data-logging for suspension and aerodynamic loads, in addition to being a station for updating important firmware and software patches to both the electric and combustion car. Most drives occur every weekend during the school year, as students can spend the entire day with the car without having to worry about classes.


UW Formula SAE is a student run organization that works to develop skilled engineers at the UW through practical experience. All UW students are invited to apply to the team. Each member gets to design, analyze and fabricate a component that goes to making a race car. The team holds meetings twice a week where each member presents his or her progress to the rest of the team. This helps develop presentation skills and illustrates the importance of communication.

UW Formula SAE participates in two annual intercollegiate international competitions sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Students from across the engineering disciplines come together to design, fabricate, and compete with a formula-style race car against 140 other international colleges and universities. At competition the finished product, representing a year’s worth of work and tens of thousands of student hours, is judged and scrutinized by top industry professionals. Last year we went to competition in Lincoln, Nebraska and, with our combustion car, received 1st place overall out of 79 teams. Furthermore, last year was our first year attending the electric car competition in Lincoln, Nebraska, where we placed 2nd overall out of 20 teams. We also attended Formula Student Germany, which is considered to be the premier Formula Student competition, and placed 7th out of 75 teams. These results have gained us a worldwide ranking of 7th out of over 500 teams.

In addition to striving for technical excellence, the UW Formula SAE program also demands that students excel in team cooperation, resource management, public relations, and sponsorship management. This enables our program to create well-rounded engineers that can perform in real-world engineering environments. This program is an exciting way for young engineers to apply the theory learned in the classroom to a meaningful and fun project.

In order to successfully design and analyze parts, computationally and graphically intensive analysis software is required. This includes software like SolidWorks, Ansys 14, Star-CCM+, Ricardo Wave, Unigraphics, Matlab, MSE ADAMS, and OptimumK; the same software used by many engineering companies, especially those in automotive and aeronautics field.

Currently, there are 80 students in the UW Formula SAE project. These students come from all different disciplines such as physics, electrical engineering, communications, mechanical engineering, business, material science and engineering, and aeronautics and astronautics. With an average of 13 hours of computer usage for Formula SAE a week per student, the total usage per week is approximately 1,200 hours. Our team is excited to build off of our past success in the current and future years, and having two new team laptops for data logging will help us continue to climb the Formula Student rankings.

Benefits to Students and the University

Upgrading the UW Formula SAE Team with new laptops would drastically help the team out on the racetrack. While most of the design work in the CAD Lab will get the team many points at competition, a well-tuned car will finish the dynamic portions of competition in first place. In order to tune our cars, we bring laptops out to the race track to help tune our car. We can change and upload new setups, all without having to bring the car back to the Mechanical Engineering Building. This saves the team a drastic amount of time in tuning, an essential part to creating a world-class race car. This would ensure the UW Formula SAE's capability to compete with other top universities.

With the implementation of new laptops student will also be able to fully use high end CAD and modeling programs like SolidWorks, Ricardo Wave, Star-CCM+, ANSYS, and EngineLab when the car is not being tested on. These programs are available to FSAE students by donation, but they can only be used on FSAE computers. Having computers capable of running these would provide students the opportunity to learn industry standard software. Students will be able to run more virtual test simulations on these faster computers, resulting in a better built race car that can place among the top universities. Graduating members of top competing teams are frequently extended job offers by leading mechanical and aeronautical companies.

The UW FSAE Team comprises of many students from multiple engineering departments. There are currently 80 students on the team, and with a yearly retention rate of 50 percent, the team will expect to lose 40 graduating or leaving members a year, while gaining 40 new members. The team laptops will be used for 4 years before replacement, which means a total of 200 students will have access to the equipment.

The UW FSAE Team has a long history, and has done well at competition. The team serves as a recruiting tool for prospective UW students. Modern data-logging laptops could help us net the prestigious 1st place award and put the UW in the limelight for educational excellence worldwide.

Departmental Endorsements

The Formula SAE student club is on the cutting edge of design and manufacturing. To keep up with industry standards, the students need up to date computers to run some very powerful and complex programs. Companies have already supplied these programs to the students, and and they have the majority of hardware necessary to get back up to date. Unfortunately in their current state, the team laptops are outdated and have not been upgraded in 3 years. The upgraded laptops would double as powerful workstations used for design, and as monitors for data-logging when the car is driving.
-Eamon McQuaide
Instrument Maker Lead

The Formula SAE team is a popular student group that gives students a chance to learn many real-world skills. The team has a computer lab in the engineering annex that is well-utilized, but part of the valuable experience for the team comes from working on their cars while traveling, at race tracks, or otherwise away from their lab. Providing the team with laptops that are up to the task will allow our students to learn to read sensors, diagnose problems, better utilize off-site test facilities, and tune systems while on the road.

Michelle Hickner, Lab Manager
University of Washington Mechanical Engineering

Installation Timeline

All items will be purchased as soon as funds are available and will be installed as soon as they are received. This is to be completed prior to the critical technical design during summer/fall of 2015.

Resources Provided by Department

All maintenance will be performed by the UW FSAE IT Management team which is a group of students within the team who work daily to take care of the team's IT demands. They currently ensure the upkeep of all UW FSAE computers and servers and are very capable of doing so for the new hardware as well. They will also conduct the setup and assembly of the resources in addition to downloading new software and troubleshooting issues. The purchase of the Dell Precision M6800 includes at no cost, a 3-year hardware service with onsite/in-home service after remote diagnosis.
Ongoing costs will be covered by UW FSAE through grants from the Mechanical Engineering department. The M.E. department provides space to work on the vehicle and the room housing the CAD lab.
UW FSAE already has computers to integrate the requested hardware upgrades into. Furthermore, the CAD software to be run on the computers has already been donated by the following companies. As this software is specifically donated to FSAE, we are unable to install this software on ME computers: they can only be installed on FSAE computers. This is the same with laptops. We would not be able to utilize the software mentioned below without using laptops the team owns.
115 Licenses of SolidWorks are donated by Dassault ($253,000)
Five licenses of Ricardo Wave donated by Ricardo ($1,000,000+)
Five licenses for MSC Software Package donated by MSC Software ($1,000,000+)
Six licenses for Star CCM donated by CD-adapco ($120,000)
Six licenses for ANSYS 14 donated by ANSYS Inc. ($240,000)
100 licenses of NX Unigraphics provided by the Mechanical Engineering department ($34,000,000)
Current campus resources available to science and engineering students in the Mechanical Engineering building are slim and aging. The Integrated Learning Factory CAD Lab has been disbanded and the Mechanical Engineering labs are usually in use by classes or full. The Mechanical Engineering lab computers also have a “wipe hard-drive on shut-down” feature which makes them useless for long term projects.

Access Restrictions (if any)

The UW FSAE Laptops would be for use by any FSAE member. During the week, students will be able to use the laptops in the teams Design Studio, which is open 24 hours to students on the team. During weekends, the laptops will be with the Driver Training and Maintenance Team being used to tune and data-log for the cars. All members all encouraged to attend drives during the weekends. All members are well aware of the team laptops, and students interested in joining the team will learn about the testing and tuning aspect of the team through various PR events including but not limited to Discovery Days, Dawg Daze, Paws on Science, and Unveiling.

Student Endorsements

The UWashington Formula Motorsports team is currently lacking laptops which are able to run highly computational software such as what is listed above. Along with this, we now require two laptops which sole purpose is to stay with the car at all time to monitor and log data from the ECU(s). If the team were to be provided with new laptops we would be able to provide portable workstation for the students on the team as well as keep better track of data on the cars.
Zach Stoddard
UWashington FSAE
T24 | Engine/DTM
T25-T26 | Technical Director | (206-245-7468)

The University of Washington FSAE Team Laptops are a vital resource used by nearly 80 students to learn and practice design using cutting-edge computationally intensive engineering software such as ANSYS, Star CCM, Solidworks and Ricardo. The team uses laptops to upload new and vital updates to our vehicles ECU when out testing on the race track. Being able to test and tune our performance vehicle enables the team to compete among the best in the world. And off the race track, these laptops will be docked in the team’s CAD Lab room, where the entire team can utilize their computational power to validate their designs.

Andrei Arevalo
UWFSAE- Administrative Director
Mechanical Engineering

The FSAE Team here at the University of Washington is in desperate need of new laptops to support our students design and testing. Current systems are well out of date and are not capable of running the complex tools required for competition. In addition, the laptops are used at numerous meetings and reviews where desktops services are not available and a mobile platform is required. Without a functional laptop, we cannot properly conducts these meetings which are essential to the team’s competition.

Andrew Isola
Mechanical Engineering

Many advanced vehicle control techniques that the Formula SAE team is developing require mobile computing resources to allow configuration and debugging during testing. New laptop computers will allow us to tune and verify these control techniques more effectively, giving students more experience in working with increasingly advanced control software.

Sam Crow
Computer Engineering

The University of Washington Formula SAE team is in desperate need of new laptops to support our program and allow us to continue pushing forward and maintaining excellence. We currently have one laptop that is very clunky, slow, and archaic. It currently serves as the competition laptop, collects data, runs complex programs, we use it for presentations, etc, etc. It is far overworked and under-qualified for the jobs we ask of it. In all reality, this laptop will not be able to serve us to the level we need it to over the next few years. We are in desperate need of new laptops so that we can continue to push forward and worry about building a racecar, not whether our computer will work or not when we need to take crucial data.

Steven Bell
Mechanical Engineering

The University of Washington Formula SAE team has proven itself capable of producing two racecars every year, one combustion and one electric, something not many teams out of 500 worldwide can do; most produce only one or the other. Due to the major differences between the cars, it would be exceptionally useful to have a seperate laptop for each car for data collection, tuning, and programming purposes. Currently, there is only one team laptop used for our twice-weekly presentations, tuning, data collection, programming, manufacturing prep, and basically every other function the team asks of it. How it has held up to all of this is remarkable; the team obviously understands its importance and takes great care of it. A second laptop would allow greater capabilities and efficiency in running the team.

Ryan Wolfe
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Having new team laptops would be incredibly valuable to the UW Formula SAE team. While the design process is crucial, and can often be worked on in our CAD lab, having portable team computers to use for testing and tuning would be a great asset to the team. Testing and gathering experimental data is something that every engineer should have some experience doing. Having these laptops would give the students on the Formula team the opportunity to dramatically increase the amount of time spent on testing. In addition to benefitting the students through a learning experience, having team laptops will also benefit the program and school, through providing better data in order to tune the car, thereby maximizing the competitiveness of the cars. The more competitive the cars are, the more attention the program will bring, both to UW and to the college of Engineering, drawing brilliant students who are interested in learning applicable skills with quality equipment.

Kevin Schram von Haupt

The ability to simulate designs is an extremely important aspect of the UW Formula SAE Team. However, there is simply no substitute field testing parts as they perform on the car. The addition of new, higher performance laptops would greatly enhance the ability of students on the FSAE Team to take data, and refine design as they perform crucial tests on vehicle performance.

Truman Plaisted

With faster laptops out on the track, the UW Formula team will became to crunch numbers faster and spend more time on the test track. This is crucial to the performance of our team and looking back at last year testing time is one thing that we seriously lacked. Faster laptops, that allow students on the team to gather data, will assist us in our goal of creating two fully functional cars for competition.

Daniel Castronovo
Mechanical Engineering

New team laptops would be extremely helpful and valuable to the UW FSAE team. Testing our cars is a key part of what we do each year, and having these laptops would dramatically improve our testing capabilities, time spent testing, and through these, quality of our results. The UW FSAE team prides itself in training world class engineers who are industry ready. Having access to quality equipment would only further increase the educational impact this organization has on students.

Zachary Rotter
UW FSAE, Sophomore, Pre-Engineering

The UW Formula SAE team performs a very large amount of computing and therefore is always a candidate for upgrades to its existing software and hardware. Often our team will push the boundaries of its computing power for days on end, so it would be helpful to have a greater quantity of computers. Having a set of high-speed laptops will allow the team to perform advanced testing on our cars to maximize our chances of success at competition this summer. In addition, the computers will stay with us for a while and be used extensively next year during design quarter.

James Lindsay
Mechanical Engineering 2016

Upgraded Computers for data logging would be an invaluable resource to the UW FSAE team. While theoretical engineering and analysis is what we are here to learn, nothing can compare to the experience gained from seeing the differences between predicted performance of a system and it’s actual performance. In order for us to know how our systems are performing under real-world conditions we have to be able to efficiently and effectively log as much data as possible from our on-board sensors and electronics and we can’t do this without fast and efficient computers. The equipment we currently use is out-of-date and is struggling to keep up with the increasing complexity of our cars, so an upgrade is sorely needed. In addition, much of our success at competition comes down to testing and tuning, and data logging is essential to this process.

Alex Gaub
Pre-Engineering 17’

Computing power is essential to any modern engineering endeavor and currently our mobile computing power is lacking. Many processes on the Formula team require us to connect on site with a reliable machine to allow us to analyse data, or control processes and machines. Currently our only laptop is an out of date hand me down from an older student/team member. To allow us to effectively log and tune our vehicle operations along with a multitude of other tasks we need an upgrade desperately.

Rodney Linton
Electrical Engineering 2016

A key component of any successful racecar is tuning the vehicle’s systems to achieve the maximum performance in the most economical way possible. Whether tuning the suspension to use the tires to their fullest potential without over-working them or ensuring the aerodynamics provide adequate downforce without unduly increasing drag, this axiom applies to every component of the car. As a member of the engine development team, to tune the engine requires the collection and analyzation of large amounts of data from the engine while running both in the car and on our engine dynomometer. We are then able to make adjustments physically and through the engine management software to maximize performance. Access to a reliable, fast computer is essential to being able to properly tune and maintain not just the engine, but every system of the vehicle.

Lars Johnson
UWFSAE Engine Development
Mechanical Engineering 2016

In today’s world, engineering is done not only on paper but also electronically. Currently, the UW FSAE team is falling short of the computer power it needs. There are numerous programs that students need to be able to use reliably that can help them run programs such as Solidworks or ANSYS. The only laptop our team has currently is old, and not so powerful. The FSAE program at UW needs an upgrade in order to benefit this amazing team.

Derek Dragseth
Pre-Engineering 2018

The primary limiting factor for UW FSAE’s ability to test our fabricated parts is the age of the single team laptop we currently possess. This puts a choke point on UW FSAE’s ability to train the next generation of UW engineers. While design and modeling is incredibly important, testing is equally as important, if not more so, and having only a single, ageing laptop to perform the task limits the team’s ability to test and refine our products.

Kevin Luo
Electrical Engineering 2017

Laptops are used for a variety of tasks on the UW Formula SAE team. Some of these tasks, such as data acquisition and analysis, require computing power that the current team laptops cannot adequately provide. New laptop computers would greatly improve productivity when designing, testing, and tuning our cars.

Jason Granger
Mechanical Engineering 2015

The UW Formula Motorsports team’s eCar has a battery management system that monitors each of the 65 packs of cells. When assembling the accumulator at competition or on a drive, we need to ensure that all the cells are being attached correctly, and that no pack is acting irregularly. To monitor this we need a reliable and robust laptop that can travel wherever the car is, in unpredictable weather. Furthermore, if we need to run diagnostics on sensors or connect to the cars ECU, we need reliable laptops to connect to each of the two cars. Our cars are designed to be easily diagnosable, but we need laptops with FSAE software to run the diagnostics

Omair Ahmad
USFSAE Electrical - 2018.

With the emphasis placed on computer modeling and analysis in today’s world. It is essential for the team to have the necessary hardware to run the resource intensive programs we need to. Having laptops with the power required to run these programs would be a great asset to the team. Much of the team’s testing process involves data collection and analysis off site. Currently, the only tool we have to carry this out is an out of date laptop that is quickly growing obsolete.

Mataio Ford
Mechanical Engineering 2018

Stefan Foulstone
UW FSAE | Suspension Team
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

The University of Washington Formula Motorsports team would largely benefit from team laptop upgrades. The current systems in use are out-of-date and struggle to efficiently run the intensive software required during design as well as in testing and tuning. As a group of student engineers in vehicle competition, performance is huge. With that being said, data acquisition is extremely valuable. Having up-to-date, efficient, portable computing devices is of high importance and can be greatly beneficial to the success of the UW FSAE team.
Currently, our Formula laptops are not enough for students to conduct analysis away from our high end computers. Usually these computers are saturated with users so having a flexible solution is valuable.

Jackson Parma
Mechanical Engineering 2015

Increasing computing power and upgrading the team with new laptops would enable students to fully use high end programs, like Solidworks and ANSYS. Having computers capable of running these programs would provide students an incredible opportunity to learn industry standard programs. New laptops would greatly improve our ability to design, test, and tune our cars.

Abel Bantiwalu
Mechanical Engineering 2017

Data logging and design validation is the key component in a thorough design process. With improved team laptops we will be able to test and tune more performance out of our cars and gain an advantage at competition. Learning to diagnose issues and interpret data more efficiently and quickly leads to a greater potential for learning as well as more success at competition and more interest from big names in the industry.

Zack Piercy
Senior, Mechanical Engineering


Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal

Dell Precision M6800 Mobile Workstation

$1,969.00 2 $3,938.00

Dell Precision M6800 Mobile Workstation
Dell Applications for Windows Downgrade, English/French
No Energy Star
Smartcard Reader Base
no WiGig HD+/FHD back cover
US Power Cord
No Additional Hard Drive
No Optical Bay Hard Drive
8X DVD+/-RW Drive Slot Load
Integrated Camera, Microphone bezel
Dell Wireless 1550 2X2 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0
No Mobile Broadband
9-cell (97Wh) Lithium Ion battery with ExpressCharge™
No Additional Battery
SWIPE Fingerprint Reader and Smart Card Reader (Contact and Contactless) Palmrest
No Out-of-Band Systems Management
Dell Backup and Recovery Basic (BC)
US No Canada Ship Charge
No Additional Hard Drive
Standard shipment
No RFID Label
240W AC Adapter
Dell Wireless 1550 Driver
Regulatory Label for Non-Touch Screen
Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Label
No UPC Label
Dell Precision M6800 BTX Base


These new laptops will replace the current single laptop the team uses. This laptop is powerful enough to run simulations and design work in the FSAE Cad Lab, as well as data acquisition when the car is being tested on the race track. The combination of design work and data-logging that these laptops offer would be a great benefit to the 80 person team.

Tax for the Dell Precision M6800

$173.28 2 $346.56

This is the tax associated with the Dell Precision M6800


This is the tax associated with the Dell Precision M6800

Total requested: $4,284.56

Total funded: $4,284.56


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