The Regional Final

The first stage of the competition for Thrust Vector was the Western Sydney Regional Competition, which took place on the 21st of September, and was held at Mt Druitt TAFE. Thrust Vector came first overall, and was best in almost all categories. Our best race time was 1.092 seconds, over a 20 metre track, beating most of the professional class (the class above our class, development) teams.

Our cars.

The day started with setting up our Trade Display, which consisted of a very badly made display car, the team’s portfolios, the huge poster on the backboard, and the ‘Thrustpad’, which was an interactive iPad Air, which had our website, our CAD design, and our media files showing on it.

Our Trade Display

Soon after, the racing began. First was the automatic racing, where both of the cars are set off by a computer simultaneously. We were racing against Nebula, which was a fellow team that comes from the same school as Thrust Vector. We won 7 out of 8 races in raw time, but once time penalties were applied, we won all of them.

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The Automatic Racing

Next, the team headed off to our engineering interview, where the manufacturing engineer and the design engineer get interviewed about the manufacturing/design process. The only major criticism we got was to put fillets on our CAD design and renders to make them look more realistic, because we were using a rounded cutter. We also received a perfect score for our engineering compliance drawing.

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Our Engineering Compliance Drawing

After that, we had the verbal presentation, where we presented our design, innovations, collaboration methods, team goals, and learning outcomes. This was hard to tell if this went well or not, because the judges didn’t say much.

Next was the reaction racing, where instead of both cars on the track started simultaneously by a computer, the team member have to start the race, and the reaction time of the team members is taken into account. Nebula got a much better reaction time than us on most of the races, but we won all of the races because our car’s speed made up the time difference.

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The one race where we started before nebula.

To finish off the day, we had the marketing interview, which is where the judges interview the graphics designer and marketing manager about the team branding, sponsorship, social media exposure, etc. This is also when our trade display was assessed. I think that went fairly well, but could have gone better.

Overall, it was a great day for all of the team members, ending on a high with us having the fastest car in Greater Western Sydney in our class. We all hope that we get through to the NSW state finals, and our Design and Technology teacher seems fairly confident that we will; he said he would “eat his head” if we didn’t.

The team in front of our trade display.
All of the media taken by the team on the day can be found here.