Generative Design and 3D Printing for Novel Solar Car Roll Cage Manufacturing

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Working with our sponsor, the Stanford Solar Car Project (SSCP), our team was responsible for the design and manufacturing of the occupant cell for SSCP’s current, in-production solar car. We took a particular focus on its roll cage, the physical structure that protects the driver in the event of the car rolling over, to ensure that it not only benefits vehicle performance but also keeps the driver safe. This paper describes our approach to achieving this through a novel solution involving generative design and selective laser melted (SLM) aluminum alloy. Evaluation through Finite Element Analysis (FEA) found that our roll cage design maintains a higher factor of safety than previous Stanford Solar Car Project roll cages while achieving a significantly lower mass. Further evaluation measures included destructive testing on its means of integration with the chassis as well as material validation to ensure that our desired mechanical properties were achieved. Despite the application of new design and manufacturing techniques, we built confidence in our design by mitigating risk through FMEA and receiving the approval and technical support from additive manufacturing industry specialists. As a result, we anticipate integrating this roll cage with SSCP’s vehicle and unveiling it to the international solar car racing community at the next race.


Type of resource text
Date created 2021


Author Chiu, Daniel
Author Haynesworth, Cameron
Author Roise, Erik
Author Sastry, Suhas
Advisor Gerdes, Chris
Advisor Su, Lester
Advisor Wang, Celine
Sponsor Stanford Solar Car Project


Subject generative design
Subject 3D printing
Subject solar car
Subject roll cage
Subject Stanford Solar Car Project
Genre Student project report

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User agrees that, where applicable, content will not be used to identify or to otherwise infringe the privacy or confidentiality rights of individuals. Content distributed via the Stanford Digital Repository may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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Preferred Citation
Chiu, Daniel; Haynesworth, Cameron; Roise, Erik; Sastry, Suhas. (2021). Generative Design and 3D Printing for Novel Solar Car Roll Cage Manufacturing. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


ME170 Mechanical Engineering Design

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