Getting in Gear with the University of British Columbia

Get ready to be inspired. Mastercam sponsors SAE International student design competitions by providing free software and educational support to participating teams. We recently received this update from the team at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Collin Seib, Team Captain for Formula UBC SAE, shared a detailed and inspiring update at the close of the 2019/2020 season. He describes preparations for the competition, dealing with the arrival of a global pandemic, the value of SAE competition, and the transition from his leadership to Grahame Rowe, as the team looks forward to the next season of competition.

As you know, we are a team of students from the University of British Columbia, competing in the Formula SAE collegiate competition. Our team designs and builds an open-wheel, formula-style race car every year for competition against universities from around the world. As a supporter of our team, you play a major role in making our project a reality. Sponsored machining from Mastercam has been a huge help this year to get our car ready to drive.

Getting the opportunity to work with professional manufacturers is a great experience for our team members. We are really happy with the uprights you made for us and they look great on the car. We didn’t get very many photos, but you should see a few in the album below. Working with Mastercam has been a great opportunity for us, and we look forward to working with you again!

Though we didn’t quite get to finish the car this year, we did make progress before the school shut down in March. If you would like to see the kind of projects we got to before the shutdown, take a look at this photo album!

We were on track to compete at two competitions this year. FSAE Michigan was planned for May 6-9 and FSAE California, June 17-20. We were aiming to begin testing the new car in mid- March, and we got pretty close! The engine was running and all of the necessary suspension components and driver controls were installed.

Just as we began packing our tools and equipment for the first test day, we were informed by UBC that we must cease all work and close our shop. A few weeks later we were informed by SAE that all dynamic events on location would be cancelled. We would not be going to Michigan or California. Instead SAE would be holding a virtual competition featuring only the static events: Cost, Design and Business Presentation.

I’m sure this news comes as no surprise. For us, it was a severely disappointing end to a yearlong effort. Many of us, myself included, will not get to see the results of our labor, as we graduate and move on to our careers. With that said, I want to recognize all of the efforts of our team members and our incredible supporters this past year. The devastation we felt when the events were cancelled is a testament to how valuable this project really is.

We competed in the virtual competition June 4-13. While limited, it still offered an opportunity for our team to polish up the portion of the project we could do virtually, and it resulted in our team being recognized in the top 15 of the design event (out of 150 teams!). Regardless of placement, we felt finishing off the season strong was the only fitting way to go out. I’m proud that our efforts for the year were put on display and we were given the best closure to the season possible, considering the circumstances.

As much as this project is a learning experience, it’s also a life experience. We push ourselves and each other to do the best job possible. To design, build, and test the best car we can. Our teammates become our best friends. After the all-nighters, stressful study sessions, and long hours in the shop, the payoff is not only success at competition, but the people we met and time we spent together.

I’ve never had a more demanding nor gratifying job than being the face of this team for the past year. I’ve seen young people grow in amazing ways, I’ve seen people step up into demanding positions and exceed expectations, and I’ve met supporters of our team that amaze me with their generosity and willingness to help. I’m truly blessed to have had this experience. Your support has meant an enormous amount to me and our team, and we are grateful for it.

The new Captain Grahame Rowe, and the rest of the team are eagerly looking forward to returning to the shop, testing the car, and getting back to competing in Formula SAE. Look out for updates on our social media pages as the project resumes.

You can follow the progress of Formula UBC SAE on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

As part of our commitment to the future of manufacturing, Mastercam supports many educational initiatives and competitions to encourage student interest in technical disciplines. Student competitions like SAE International give students the chance to apply their knowledge and gain practical skills in design, engineering, and manufacturing. Visit our website to learn more about free Mastercam for FSAE participants.