All posts by jburke

The Power Racing Series Has Launched a Kickstarter


Hello everyone! Power Racing needs you! Hackerspaces from across the Midwest have joined together to race children’s toys. At first we did this because it was fun, but we continue to do this because it helps send a message to the public: making is fun. It is a SoapBox Derby for the 21st Century; a race that is amusing yet enlightening. The pressures of competitions are removed with the open nature of team sharing. Teams get together to celebrate their creations and race for fun. No monetary prizes are given, just the pride of building something, setting it out in the real world and working with others who tackled the same project.

Our Kickstarter intends to raise $20,000 so we can rent or develop a digital Timing & Scoring System because our current one is very rudimentary (hand counted) and has not scaled well to the number of cars and races we have (from 6 in 2010 to 20 in 2011 ). We also wish to host new race locations for more teams who have desired to race (Maker Faire New York, Maker Faire San Mateo). Finally, we wish to allow more teams to participate and sign up by expanding our series to other regions.

Many rewards are offered (including a yearbook!) for supporting PPPRS in 2012. We wish to use the community to support the series, so we don’t have to rely solely on sponsors to keep us afloat. We also wish to help support hackerspaces and teams by showing the public that their community is full of Makers who are excited to show them a whole slew of new skills and ability.

So tell a friend, tell your family and help spread the word! PPPRS has been a hackerspace community event since its inception, and now we wish for you to be a part of this maker community!

Hope to see you at the races.

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PPPRS 2011: SECTOR 67 Dominates weekend; PS:1 battles Goliath to win Enduro.

Round 1: Kansas City. i3 Detroit has an incredible start to Round 1 of the 15 lap heats. This was not meant to be for the Detroit-based hackerspace when 5 laps later the vehicle burst into flames. The driver escaped unscathed.

PS:1GP fought against impeccable odds to win the Endurance race leg of the first round of the 2011 Power Racing Series. Driver Beth Callahan was able to hold off challenges from Milwaukee Makerspace and the incredibly dominant Sector 67 team to finish 10 laps ahead of her nearest rival, with 161 laps completed in 75 minutes.

Pumping Station: One built their vehicle based on last year’s failures. Patrick Callahan, the team Crew Chief, designed the scooter with minimal construction and basic simplicity. The modifications done to the scooter it originated from were all related to battery capacity. Motors, controllers and brakes were kept stock in order to keep reliability. This plan paid off handsomely.

The weekend had been rough for PS:1 up until Sunday. After months of preparation PS:1GP’s entry proved to be mid-pack material. Top line speed was no match for much of Milwaukee Makerspace’s machines and not even close to Sector 67’s brilliant entry. Callahan’s machine however proved very capable in cornering, where much of its ground was made up. Armed with the ability to hook in the track’s chicanes harder than any other team, Pumping Station: One was able to pull out ahead and hold a lead for the duration of the Enduro.

Beth Callahan (#1) leading the pack midway through Sunday's Endurance race.

Beth Callahan, in her third start managed to hold off attacks for the lead by Royce Pipkins and David Feng from Milwaukee Makerspace. Feng, driver for Big Jake, made significant improvements to his machine during pre-season and had the 2nd quickest car all weekend. However, by the end of the Endurance race, the fateful blue smoke emerged and his #4 yellow machine crawled to a halt just past the halfway point. His DNF was critical to his championship hopes, which will now face an uphill struggle for Detriot.

Milwaukee Makerspace’s Royce Pipkins driving the #666 Gravedigger managed a 2nd place finish despite suffering a wrist injury when he wrecked on lap 74 of the event. Milwaukee Makerspace has had a rough start to the season but still remain strong contenders for the title.

Sector 67's dominance was based on this masterpiece of Power Wheel engineering. The vehicle will inspire a whole slew of regulations for 2012

Sector 67, which dominated all of Saturday with 3 wins, faced numerous mechanical gremlins that left them buried in last place within the first half of the event. With several dramatic pit stops, the team managed to climb their way back through the field narrowly missing a podium position by a hand from the local Team Duct Tape & Zip Ties. Duct Tape & Zip Ties are a local family team that has won numerous FIRST robotics championships and seem very accustomed to facing off against teams with much larger backing and support. Their underdog status was clear in the endurance race, and managed to limp home a 3rd place finish despite a few flat tires.

The current standings leaves PS1 just outside of 3rd place, right behind Gravedigger. However, the dominance of Sector 67 remains clear, as nearly 100 points separates them from the rest of the field.

Part of the Field for the first round of Power Wheels.

PPPRS will return for its season finale at Maker Faire Detroit (July 30-31st). A total of five races will occur: 1 drag races, 3 road course races (2 heats + 1 finale) and the massive 75 minute Endurance race.

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