Winner gets a $10,000 college scholarship. Loser goes home.
By Nate Bell
Some high school students deliver newspapers
or wash dishes to save money for college. The
teens on the reality-based TV show Design
Squad try to outbuild each other.
On our final episode of Season 2 we divided our
young cast into two teams, and gave them identical
sets of parts for off-road go-karts: front and rear
suspension, steering, engine and rear drive train,
seats, seat belts, and brakes. The teams had to
design the chassis, roll cage, and side impact protection, taking into consideration how their designs
would affect handling and vehicle weight.
Purple Team took a modular, design-as-you-go
48 Make: Volume 15
approach, thinking about the chassis, roll cage, and
side impact protection separately. They focused on
a machine that was easy to get in and out of, because
the racers had to stop and pick up flags along the
Green Team designed the chassis, roll cage, and
side impact protection as an integrated unit. This
meant that Green used much less metal and kept
the weight low — but they had to be careful with the
design to ensure that the overall structure would be
strong enough to survive intense off-road battering.
Green’s racing crew members were smaller and
more willing to bump shoulders during the race, so
Photography by Helen Tsai