P17221: FSAE Composite Tube Fabrication


Project Summary Project Information

Composite tubes are an integral part of creating a lightweight car. Many structures on the car require composite tubes including the steering shaft, drive shafts, wing mounts, and suspension arms. These tubes were fabricated at RIT in the past using hand layup techniques, but it was found that this technique was not suitable for creating robust tubes. The Formula SAE team is currently buying tubes from a third party. However, these tubes are expensive and overbuilt for the team’s needs, resulting in both a cost and weight penalty. Having an improved filament winding process in-house would greatly help the Formula SAE team by providing the opportunity to manufacture optimized, quality composite tubes for the car at an affordable cost. This automated filament winding machine would eliminate the need for low-quality hand layup techniques while also not forcing the team to purchase expensive and overbuilt tubes.

This project is a machine that will wrap carbon fiber tubes in-house for the Formula SAE team. The machine will be adaptable, allowing the team to create tubes of various wall thicknesses and diameters. Being able to fabricate tubes in-house will save the team money and allow custom tubes to made. An assembled and operational filament winder will be provided for the Formula SAE team including tooling to produce FSAE driveshafts. A detailed user manual with troubleshooting information along with a training session for composites team members will also be provided. It must meet a maximum physical footprint requirement and stay under a power draw limit requested by the team. Lastly, the cost of the machine must stay below a limit set by the team and preferably be near an ideal target.

Project Name
FSAE Composite Tube Fabrication
Project Number
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Gary Werth
Primary Customer
RIT Formula SAE Racing Team

Team Members

From left to right: Ryan Willsey, Patrick Burke, Jon Washington, Matthew Hendler, Andrew Derhammer, Daniel Wu

From left to right: Ryan Willsey, Patrick Burke, Jon Washington, Matthew Hendler, Andrew Derhammer, Daniel Wu

Member Major Team Role System Contact
Andrew Derhammer Mechanical Engineer Project Lead Drive apd5207@rit.edu
Daniel Wu Electrical Engineer Edge Manager Electronic Hardware dtw3379@rit.edu
Ryan Willsey Electrical Engineer Editor Software rrw5573@rit.edu
Matthew Hendler Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Manager Frame meh6287@rit.edu
Patrick Burke Mechanical Engineer Team Facilitator Crossfeed pdb5208@rit.edu
Jon Washington Mechanical Engineer Financial Manager Tensioning jlw4762@rit.edu


Admin Mechanical Design Electrical Design Assembly/Integration Documentation




Risk Analysis


Feasibility Analysis

Design & Validation

3D Model



Feasibility Analysis

Design & Validation




Mechanical Integration

Electrical Integration

Test Plans

Final Live Documents

Imagine Poster

User Manual

Design Reviews

The design reviews below represent a snapshot, indicating where the team was at the time of the review. As a result, information on these pages may be out of date. For up to date information, see content in the WBS above.

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation


We would like to acknowledge the guidance of Gary Werth and the Formula SAE Team.