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Baja SAE Transmission Open Access

Baja SAE is an international collegiate competition where university students design, build and compete an off-road vehicle through various competitions. Specifically, the car's transmission was to be designed and built for the Baja SAE team. Previously, teams had chosen to use an off-the-shelf gearbox; however, this year, the customer required specific design constraints leading to a custom transmission. At the highest level, the customer wanted to achieve a specific gear ratio of 9.75:1 to increase the top speed, while reducing the weight of the gearbox to under 15lbs. The design was based on a two-stage gear reduction to achieve the final gear ratio of 9.75:1. The casing and shafts were then designed and simulated to assure the longevity of the components and system as a while. The gears and casing were then optimized to reduce the weight to meet the system goal weight of 15lbs. Initial testing of the gearbox prototype showed an inadequate top speed, along with near failure of one of the gears. The gears were then redesigned with a new gear ratio of 6.5:1, adding in additional design considerations to improve performance of the overall system. Manufacturing all of the components in-house allowed for quick turn-around and design modifications to allow for testing of the system as a whole. Overall, a transmission was designed and manufactured to all of the customer's requirements, and successfully competed at the Baja SAE Tennessee Tech Competition, leading to a top 20 finish for the team.

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