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Custom Fabricated Vehicle Parts for the ETS Dune Buggy

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Philippe Grenier Production Coordinator at Elasto Proxy

École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), a public engineering school in Montreal, awards the most engineering diplomas in Quebec and is Canada’s third largest engineering school. Founded in 1974, ETS is part of the Université du Québec system and esteemed for its emphasis on cooperative education. Each year, students combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience such as participation in international competitions. In the process, ETS students work with local companies.

Since 2008, Elasto Proxy has custom-fabricated rubber and plastic parts for student-built vehicles. This year’s project, a yellow dune buggy, took fifth place in a competition among engineering schools from Canada and the United States. Powered by a modified 10-hp Briggs & Stratton snow blower engine, the small two-wheel drive specialty vehicle is capable of achieving speeds of 60 to 70 km/hr. Although the students who visited us didn’t drive quite that fast around our parking lot, the Elasto Proxy employees who tried the dune buggy had a great time, as you can see from these photos on our Facebook page.

Custom Fabrication with Water Jet Cutting

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricated two main types of vehicle parts for the Baja ETS dune buggy: HDPE plastic parts for the vehicle’s body, and silicone foam insulation for the engine compartment. Using our water jet cutter, we made fast, clean cuts in a variety of sizes. Unlike die cutting, water jet cutting eliminates tooling costs and creates smooth edges. Water jet cutting is ideal for polymers and elastomers, but also works well with the thermal and acoustic insulation used in engine bays.

To produce durable plastic parts for the dune buggy’s body, Elasto Proxy cut sheets of yellow HDPE plastic. Known for its large strength-to-weight ratio, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a thermoplastic that’s used in products ranging from fuel tanks and pipes to bumpers and ballistic plates. At our custom fabrication facility here in Boisbriand, Quebec, our skilled production team crafted HDPE auto parts such as the fender, roof, scoop, and 7’ x 20” undercarriage component.

Custom Insulation and Specialty Seals

Water jet cutting also allowed Elasto Proxy to create a heat insulation barrier from silicone foam sheets. Snow blower engines are designed for cold weather environments, of course, but the powerplant that the ETS students modified generates plenty of heat. Without a thermal barrier, heat from the tuned-up engine could cause the transmission to overheat – and sideline the dune buggy during a race. Silicone, a heat-resistant material with an excellent service life, was the right choice for the heat shield.

In addition to water jet cutting, Elasto Proxy applied its expertise in cold bonding, a splicing technique that uses a quick-setting adhesive to join precise, angled parts without tooling costs. The rubber seal that we cold bonded for the dune buggy’s transmission was produced from an EPDM U-channel. A synthetic elastomer, EPDM offers outstanding heat resistance. EPDM rubber’s resistance to ozone and weather also make it a popular choice for the door, window, trunk, and hood seals used on cars.

How Can We Help You?

Do you have questions about compound selection or custom fabricated parts for cars, trucks, military transports, or mobile specialty vehicles such as the ETS dune buggy? For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been solving sealing and insulation challenges in a variety of industries. By listening to all of your application requirements and analyzing all of your needs, our solutions providers can help.

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