The national leg of two global engineering competitions for schools, organised by Surfcam’s reseller in the Czech Republic, also helped the country winners prepare for the international finals, one of which was held in the UK. The global challenges are run by Engineering In Motion Ltd, from Yorkshire, with the aim of encouraging youngsters to consider engineering as a career.
Prague-based 3E Praha Engineering was licensed to organise both projects in the Czech and Slovak Republic.
‘The Land Rover 4x4 in Schools Technology Challenge’ was to build a radio controlled four-wheel drive vehicle to set specifications that will successfully navigate and complete obstacles on an off-road test track that is just as demanding as the real thing, and emulates the capabilities of a full size 4x4 vehicle.
Each team entered the vehicle into a Regional Final to compete for a place at their country’s National Final. The National Champions from each country were then invited to the Land Rover 4x4 in Schools World Finals. The global final won by Womba Warriors, from Australia was held in July in Coventry.
The second was ‘F1 in Schools,’ and is the only global multi-disciplinary challenge in which teams of students aged 9-19 organise CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test, and then race miniature compressed air powered F1 cars. This year’s world final, held at Austin in the US, in September, was won by Greek competitors, Infinite Racing.
When it came to the Czech entries, Surfcam, from Vero Software played a big part. Josef Maly, who worked on the competition for 3E Praha Engineering, said: “I believe it’s the responsibility of every successful company to help somewhere. It’s becoming an urgent worldwide issue that fewer young people are studying technical science, mathematics and physics. By getting them involved in motorsport and the automotive industry in this way, we’re hoping to open doors for them to see that they can have an exciting future in engineering.”
3E Praha Engineering worked closely with the Czech national winner in the Land Rover 4x4 competition – ECCE, a combination of students aged between 12-18 from an elementary school and secondary technical school in the Czech city of Caslav.
Maly continued: “Teams design their off-road remote controlled model in CAD, and then manufacture it on a CNC machining centre. Many schools in the Czech Republic already use Surfcam as part of their EDU process, and we’ve provided more than 1,000 Surfcam licenses to schools throughout the country.”
He said that in most cases students were already extremely proficient in Surfcam, and competently produced what was needed, mainly through 3-axis milling, without extra guidance. Some teams also produced the rims and parts of the chassis. ECCE won the Czech national title on the strength of how their model’s parameters met the strict technical rules, along with how they used CAD/CAM, the technical innovations they applied, and the level of engineering work, along with the model’s performance on the track.
The Czech Republic’s winning national F1 team, Miracle Engineers, were aged between 17 and 19, from a secondary technical school in Strakonice.
Maly concluded: “Again, the car had to be designed in CAD, but as this was based on an F1 car, it also included flow analysis in a virtual wind tunnel. Producing the car body was done mostly through 3-axis milling with 4-axis indexing or as 4-axis simultaneous milling.”