BUTTE – This is what college looks and sounds like at Montana Tech. These engineering students are designing a Baja buggy to use in a collegiate competition in Missouri next month. It takes plenty of work.
“We put in a lot of hours for building the buggy. Just the design itself for building it and some of our programs we have some guys who’ve spent over 100 hours,” said Montana Tech Senior Paul Green.
Montana Tech will be competing with about 100 schools around the country. To make this buggy lighter and more durable, they are designing their own parts.
“By machining our own parts we’re able to get the exact specifications that we want, so if we buy a part it might be for a different purpose, it might for some reason be heavier or specified for different reasons and if we build it ourselves we get the exact specifications we need while decreasing weight,” Green said.
To keep the buggy even lighter, the smallest guy on the team will be the driver.
“All and all being the driver it’s exciting, I’m excited to go down there. I like four-wheeling, I like doing not-so-smart of things. To be able to go out there and put to the test what we have got the actual been designing should be fun and to be in the driver’s seat is kind of a privilege to do that,” said Tech student Michael Tkachuk.
This Baja buggy was last year’s model and it placed 35 in competition, but now they want to take this one, they’re going to make it 70 pounds lighter and they hope to place a lot better during May’s competition.
“We’ve got a lot of new features that we tried out this year for the first time and we’re excited to see how it plays off, because the guys last year did excellently to say the very least, especially when you’re competing against big schools such as Michigan Tech and all that where they have hundreds of thousands of dollars into their buggies,” Tkachuk said.
Montana Tech is trying to raise just $13,000 to create their buggy, but they expect to be competitive.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News