Engineering learner Reuben Whitehead has been turning heads with his mechanical talents when he recently designed and built his very own battery powered go-kart.
Reuben, who is a passionate Formula One fan, works part-time at West Wales Karting and decided to rebuild the kart earlier this year after they kindly donated a pre-existing kart to him.
The process involved stripping the kart down to a bare chassis and then refurbishing it. This was followed by implementing the electrical aspect of the kart and fabricating mounts for both the batteries and motor made from carbon fibre and steel.
The key components and materials used were steel for the chassis, aluminium for the rims, and an inclusion of carbon fibre for both the motor mounts and battery.
The motor produces 2.5hp and has an efficiency rate of 90% when in operation. The torque produced is 8.4-foot pounds when in operation and the motor revs 1500RPM.
Reuben explained the purpose of his project, “I built the Go-Kart because I am passionate about motorsport and enjoy karting both in local competitions and with friends so for me the opportunity to build an electric kart was exciting and something that would require me to use my skills that I have developed throughout my time at the College. I also built the project as I knew it was something that I would enjoy undertaking and be able to learn new skills along the way. Being able to get hands on with a kart and understand both the fundamentals and intricate aspects was important for my development as an aspiring motorsport engineer, hopefully one day with Formula One.”
Reuben took his first test drive in the car earlier this month using the track based up at West Wales Karting.
Reuben also discussed what inspires him to achieve his dream career.
Reuben explained, “The individuals who inspire me are my mum, for how brave and courageous she is, for always believing in me and supporting me. My late stepdad, he never gave up even at the toughest of times and always kept fighting even when the odds were against him as well as teaching me that if you work hard enough anything is achievable. Finally, Lewis Hamilton for showing that again with hard work you can achieve anything and that no dream/goal is too big, also the way in which he conducts himself after tough losses on the racetrack.”
An articulate learner, Reuben spends a large amount of time in the machine workshop whilst studying at the College where he has developed skills in working with lathes and milling machines, hand fitting tool techniques as well as CAD and precision measurement practices which has aided his knowledge into the world of car design and engineering.
Aside from Reuben’s College studies, he has self-taught himself many transferable skills.
Reuben said, “I can’t take all the credit, having been fortunate enough to have experience of refurbishing classic cars with my stepdad growing up, as well as being able to build rally cars when on work experience whilst studying in my first year of College, this has certainly helped me learn and build a skillset that can be applied in numerous engineering environments. Spending time in the workshop and learning from tutors who have real industry experience has helped me.”
Curriculum Area Manager for Engineering Will Bateman, expressed how proud the department is of Reuben, “Reuben has worked at a consistently excellent standard throughout the two-year programme. We are incredibly proud of his final project, that has showcased his skills and learning from the course. Reuben is a true engineering ambassador having spoken to numerous 14–16-year-old groups on choices post-compulsory education.”
Reuben plans on becoming a Motorsport Engineer in Formula One after his studies and this project has fuelled his motivation to show potential employers just how talented he is.
Find out more about the Engineering course at the College.