What is Baja SAE?
Baja SAE is a collegiate design competition organized by SAE International. Every year, this competition draws hundreds of schools from around the world to three competitions at the end of the academic year. The competition requires students to design, fabricate, test, and compete a unique single-seat, Baja styled, off-road car powered by a 10hp Briggs & Stratton engine. The premise for the competition is that students build a prototype off-road recreational vehicle that is being pitched to industry leading companies looking to begin series production. During the competition, students' engineering is put to the test by a series of static and dynamic events. There are also design and sales presentations where students validate and explain their design choices for the car.
Baja SAE at the University of Arizona
The University of Arizona Baja team originated from a senior design project in 1993 and expanded into a school wide club in 2006. It grew to incorporate a high school internship program in 2009. The team has represented the university well in past competitions with many Top 20 finishes in the dynamics and endurance events as well as by placing 12th overall in the 2012 competition.
Each year, the vehicle is redesigned entirely by students who want to take their knowledge from the classroom and apply it to a more hands-on experience. Using the analysis skills learned in the classroom, club members use CAD solutions such as SolidWorks to model the parts of the vehicle and perform Finite Element Analysis (FEA) on them. The team manufactures most of its own parts, utilizing manual mills, CNC equipment, band saws, welders, and more. The design of the car for each year is highly collaborative, with design presentations in the first semester where students are given the opportunity to share their ideas for the design of the current year's car.
Once the design for the car is finalized, the manufacturing and assembly of the car begins. Club members are given a unique opportunity to both manufacture their own parts for the car in the Baja SAE shop, and also communicate with sponsors and other companies to manufacture different components of the car.
Members in Baja SAE will be able to gain hands-on engineering experience in design, fabrication, and communication with other vendors.