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Spotlights - 2009 Coaster Car Cruises to Win 1st Place

2009 UMaine Coaster Car Team

2009 UMaine Coaster Car Team

The ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Coaster Car team recently traveled to the University of New Brunswick to compete in the annual Coaster Derby challenge.

Umaine’s “Black Bear” coaster car unseated a three-year defending champion as well as winning “best design” and “best new entry.”

The team also brought home $700.00 in prize money for the Mechanical Engineering department.  They plan on recruiting more freshmen from MEE 101 and making improvements on this year’s car to re-enter next year.

The 2009 team consists of 10 Mechanical Engineering students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, including: Luke Saindon (Deer Isle, ME), Thomas Clark (Sanford, ME), Adam Mitchell, Michael Cronin (Saco, ME), Tyler Nelson (Norridgewock, ME), James Kane, Robert Collins (China, ME), Luc Chabot (South Berwick, ME), Corey Vincent, Garth Vdoviak

The Coaster Derby is a gravity powered racing car competition.  The idea is similar to Soap Box Derby, except the race is held on nearly 1 mile of steep and twisty campus road.  The cars are required to maneuver and stop as well as coast effectively.IMG_0100

Team captains were Garth Vdoviak and Tyler Nelson. The team did not have  formal roles for every person because everyone  worked hard without having tasks assigned.  The team spent enough time planning ahead the the assembly of the car went very smoothly.

It was a scary experience driving the coaster car, according to Luke Saindon. ” Since I did most of the design work and did a lot to build the actual car I was the crazy guy to go down the hill first.  Before we got all the suspension and brakes working properly it was a very twitchy and erratic car to drive.  Our record speed is 62 MPH, so that was scary in such a small thing.  The harness, helmet, and roll bar helped.”

“We just needed something that would work and be reliable, now we can move onto making it as competitive as we can,” says Luke Saindon.

Copy (2) of DSCN3452The team is working on improving the car by making the suspension geometry adjustable, adding stiffer springs, adding four wheel disk brakes and doing some more cosmetic work so that they can beat the competition even more soundly next year!

Video of the team’s efforts can be seen on YOU TUBE.


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