There is no point having an impressively strong system if the joins are poor. This is something the ACS-A engineer brought up this week - he wanted to see our proposal for joining the structural members together.
His suggestion was a "L" bracket bonded or mechanically joined... Of course this was not something that we would settle with as the idea is too easy and mediocre.
So the challenge was put to the team to come up with a cleaver idea that would be quicker in assembly while still have a good bond. As per many of the challenges we have faced so far with this project, the issue became another great feature of this system.
We toyed with a number of different methods, but what we loved as a solution was the modifying of the carbon fibre structural members so that the profile also double up as a 'female' fixing system. Then the carbon fibre 'stud' would then have the ends machined so that the ends become a 'male' plug that inserts.
Essentially this is a click system which is a secure fit and extremely quick to assemble which is what we want. We then add adhesive and bond the outer skins - combined this is a very strong system and now quicker to assemble. No extra parts, just some simple machining which would be done in bulk pre-assembly.
Engineer is happy - (almost impressed)