Hello, my name is Gilian Breysens. I'm currently in my second year of the bachelor Electrical Engineering at the TU Delft. Since starting my studies here in Delft, I've always had the idea that doing some kind of extracurricular activity related to my study would be beneficial. Luckily, here in Delft there is a vibrant culture of motivated students that get together to build great things.
These dream teams, as they are called, are a great way to learn various skills. So, which dreamteam should I join? Well, after doing some research, I figured that Formula Student Team Delft (FSTD) suits my interests the most. Obviously, since we are building an electric vehicle, there is a great need for electrical engineers. The idea of building something from scratch and then joining competitions also appealed to me.
The team is divided into several departments, with me being in the Electronics Department. My job as a part-timer within the department is the wiring and the ECU (Electronic Control Unit). One could spend an eternity explaining how much knowledge you gain by working on these tasks, but in this blog I'd like to focus on another aspect of FSTD.
Besides knowing how to design devices and having a technical mindset, it is very important for an engineer to be able to work together with people from various backgrounds in an organized manner. While you also gain some experience with this in the EPO projects during your bachelor, I believe that joining a dreamteam is the best way to really experience the whole process. At EPO, many of the design choices are predetermined, while here at FSTD, we start from scratch, dedicating blood, sweat and tears, until we can proudly present our final product: an electric formula-style car.
While designing something, you have to be aware of a certain context. How much does it cost? Can we reuse tools? How much experience does our team have with it? All of this makes the engineering trade-off more difficult. Keeping reusability in mind, it is useful to know what other team members are working on, because you might be able to recycle some Altium schematics. Altium is the software we use to design our circuits. It would be a pity to find out that you’ve dedicated all your time designing a very efficient power converter, to then find out that you’re colleague has done the same. Cross-communication between departments is also of utmost importance. With me doing the wiring, I might have to contact people designing the chassis. For the ECU, it is essential that we keep a database of all the components we use. After we finish the design, we will be able to send our schematics to Eurocircuits, which will assemble the circuit board for us.
Hopefully I have convinced you, dear reader, that engineering is more than number crunching. If you feel motivated to gain hands-on experience, make new friends, and have an awesome time, do not hesitate to join a dreamteam, preferably FSTD of course!