Last week was a pretty busy one for the team. It was the big recruiting week for students interested in internships and full time work, which was packed full of company info sessions, networking events, on-campus interviews (if half of your Mechanical Behavior of Materials class is missing one day, it may be because they all snagged interviews that day), and peaked with the SWE Industry Day career fair on Thursday night. That means a lot of company representatives were walking around campus, and not only were we trying desperately to get jobs from them, but many of them wanted to meet with the team and see what we’d been up to!
We met with a representative from Goodyear who was on our team when he was studying at Northwestern, and showed the car to representatives from Ford, 3M, and SpaceX. The SpaceX representative was Matt Soule, one of the founding members of our team! I never thought I’d get to talk to one of the creators of the team, and getting the chance to was awesome. Everyone we met with was very interested in and supportive of our project, and having the usefulness of the solar car experience “confirmed” by people in industry was good to hear.
This Sunday during our work session we put everyone to work on the mills in the Ford Prototyping Lab! The new recruits got practice measuring parts with a caliper, and using the mills to machine aluminum parts. Many parts of our solar car, such as the suspension mount plates, are made of aluminum and machined in-house, so this is an important skill for any mechanical engineering student on the team. Plus, having some experience with manufacturing parts will make you a better product designer because you’ll know how to design parts that are easier and thus less expensive to manufacture, in addition to accomplishing their intended function.