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Gar

Visionary Arts Museum

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Since being out of work, I've spent a lot of time at a bar owners farm workshop building everything from steel I-beam structure building for fine wood storage, to electric and pneumatic manimatronic charaters as decoration for the bar.

 

The bar owner is a creative guy, personal friend, and generous civic personality. The latest project is a human powered art vehicle, competing agaist others over a multi-mile course of streets, mud, gravel, and water for nothing more than bragging rights. Nearly all have several riders and use bicycle type motive power. Check the link for some idea of the creativity (questionable sanity) of the teams from other years.

 

http://www.kineticbaltimore.com/

 

 

Baltimore is getting a Grand Prix race this summer so our team has decided to build a vehicle loosely based on a 50's era open wheel race car. I'm the engineer. We are using an old electric golf cart for its nicely built rear axle for the differential and drum brakes. I've removed the motor, disassembled the diff, removed the ring gear to replace it with a motorcycle sprocket. Since the cast diff case incorporated an intermediate gear reduction shaft and motor mount, I've decided to fabricate our case from plate steel and use a jackshaft arrangement to place the input chaing drive centrally in the vehicle. I couldn't find a freeby CVT that wasn't part of an OEM engine case, so I'll use a bike derailier sprocket on the input to the diff case, and look for a freewheeling design option from bike hub if it's strong enough for the 4, inline cyclist's torque. They will be somewhat recumbant seated. The golf cart also lends its front axle with steering to the project well. The weight of 4 tuff guys and the vehicle turn out to be right within the range of the golf cart with big riders and batteries, so heft, springs, bearings, and tires all suit well. The thing will be around 16 foot long. Donno how I'll address the floaty part of the course yet.

 

Local forum buddies are encouraged to come out for a day and shake my shaking hand and offer a covert push if possible.

 

The farm shop has all the tools a guy could want for this sort of fun.... fine welder, plasma, chop saw, bandsaw, clamps, torches, lathe, and stock of materials to allow lots of imagination.

 

Beer makers promote their brands with "beer tins".... embossed, painted signage usually aluminum or thin steel sheet. We'll use dozens of these, rivited (airplane style) together for the body skin.

 

To know me, you'd recognize how much fun this will be for me. I'll start posting pictures as the build progresses. I've mocked up the beginnings with front, rear, and backbone today, but didn't take my camera.

 

Dom, I'll push this to a blog if you'd rather.

 

Gar

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It's fine where it's at.

 

Looks like fun!

 

-Dom

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Didn't find enough choices for motorcycle sprockets at my junkyard, but it was a nice enough day to collect what was there. Italian bikes.... took a little longer cause I don't speak Italian.... got out my 2 pound translator and all good after. (that's just a joke)

I visited neighborhood Crazy Dave the bike guy and got 5 frames. Only yielded a couple assemblies due to Crazy disassembling everything leaving important parts without grease to protect from the weather. Cut out the crank assemblies and reviewed the sprockets. I think I'll build the diff case to hold bicycle sprockets rather than motorcycle since bikes are way more plentiful and varied in size. Out of Crazy's collection, I found a pair of triple sprocket crank cogs. I can arrange these in the diff case for 3 different event gearing by opening the case.... banked oval speedway, boardwalk cruise, and rock climbing. (plus, it's my insurance that I have all the options I need in case my calculations for weight and speed are wrong).

Picture disclaimer....

Purely for the purpose of actually seeing the size and scale. The backbone must be dog-legged higher for peddle/ground clearance. The front end frame head must be built. The diff case is as-delivered before new fab, and the transition derailure assembly isn't even there yet, along with the wishbone for the rear spring mounts... oh, and no body or seats.

I only have a month so things should progress quickly in the pics department.

 

Gar

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Got side-tracked on some other tasks today. Old horizontal bandsaw didn't keep its blade on. One of the big wheels had become crowned. The metal lathe wasn't big enough, so we chucked it up on a wood lathe, and used a grinding wheel to flatten the blade face back true again... it worked. Did manage to form the front frame components, just didn't get em on when Hottie texted me I better head home before the snow. The snow was north of me, but she's usually pretty good on weather. Pix tomorrow with front biz, and I start on diff case fab.

 

Gar

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Pix and progress today.

Settled on inter-driver spacing. Meant working out where knees, butts, and arms go to minimize length and height, and maximize power. Mocked up a simple seat, and away I went. I didn't start on the diff case because I may have a new resource for better sprockets. Monday I visit a business neighbor down by the bar who runs a bike shop. Well really, I'm down there to work on the bar's phone system. The new cycle biz bud has a bike boneyard and other goodies for me.

For the pix:

I cut out the crank housing from several bikes. They are the thickest wall tube on a bike. Ground off the residuals of frame, bored a hole through my 11 gauge 2x4 backbone, and just tacked em for now. After all the other welding stresses have been made, I'll bust the tacks and clamp long straight edges down the length on all crank sprockets to line em up. I'll also have idler cogs for chain wrap and guides to offset the twist that backbone will be under to try and avoid my massive chain from jumping off.

The seating is simplicity. A 14 gauge 2x4 upright forms the recumbent seatback, holds the seat for guy-in-front, and handlebars for guy-in-back. Front-most guy has the steering wheel to hold onto. Rear-most guy will get a stunt steering wheel so he appears to the driving. The body should expose only the upper shoulders and head of the first 3 guys. They will wear large air-cleaner hats to promote the engine part of the overall car theme. If you haven't looked at the video, check it out, or want more, search Youtube for Kinetic Sculpture Race. The "art" part of the entrants blows me away.

 

Gar

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Took yesterday off to work on a phone system, but today I made some more progress on the art car.

 

Fabbed up the rear frame, attached it to the backbone, and mounted the rear suspension.

 

Gar

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Fallbrook Technologies has a hub type CVT you might look at. I don't know how efficient it is though...

 

http://www.fallbrooktech.com/NuVinci.asp

 

For buoyancy, they sell foam billets or there is always poured foam.

 

http://www.marinefoam.com/flotation-foam.html?page_type=flotation-foams

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Today I attached the front end, fabbed the steering column mount, and tried out the suspenion with 4 riders.

 

All but a fraction of my rear suspension travel was used up with guys on there, but no worry.... I haven't permanently fixed the rear shackle mount yet, so I'll just lower it a bit.

 

While mounting the front end, I straightened one of the upper control arms damaged in the cart's first life. It also had two gnarlly holes drilled it that I just filled. Discovered that the tie rod end on the rack was real sloppy.... can't have lash in the steering wheel, so I'll order one of those from the cart guy.

 

I can call it a "roller" now.

 

Gar

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Today I got lucky.... well sorta. Before going over to the shop I'm building the project in, I went out to my own shed to see what my old CB450 sprocket looked like.... it has perfet for the build! Not only the size, but even the mounting holes lined up with the original ring gear! I have to put it on the lathe to open the hub hole up, but it is the fatter size that matches one of the junkyard sprockets I picked up last week. On top of that, I had new chain that I never put on the Honda.... SCORE.

 

I sized up the chain and it's laying on the plate steel I'll fab into a diff housing in the foreground.

 

I finish welded everything else except the crank housings, and used some 3/4 plastic stuff that used to be bar counter for the seat backs. No one from the bar staff wants to come out to the farm for custom fitting their seats, so I've allowed a couple inches movement for both bottoms and backs. I'll carry a drill and the pins on race day to fit them up at the starting line.

Stopped by the bike shop and picked up a chain breaker. So, a productive day that doesn't look much different from yesterday's picture.

 

Gar

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The tie rod end came late last week. Put it on and got rid of the steering wheel lash... also saved thousands that would have been crushed as the machine ripped through the crowds out of control.... the bad one looked like it could have popped out of the shell, pretty sad condition.

Picked up a chain tool, but didn't play with it yet since work on the gearbox is my current priority.

I cut out the plate for the peanut case, seen in the picture, and modified the sprocket for the diff unit, also in the picture.

Wrapping up yesterday's work, I mesured all the bearings and shafts that I need to fit. They are metric... I'd hoped to be able to use DOM tube for locating collars, etc., and minimize machine work, but, no love. It may be wiser to buy a pair of American bearings for the input shaft. So I did internet research last night at home for convienient sources, both bearings and stocked DOM sizes. Actual selection needs to wait for the decision on the input shaft's diameter... that will be decided based on the tool I hope to use as part of the free wheeling assembly mounting. If I use the splined tool mated to my shaft, my transmission design is rather simple. Pix will show what I mean soon. This morning I'll stop at the bike shop to get that tool identified and ordered. The rest of the day will be fab work on the case plates. I'll put the big axle flange hole in them, and start forming square-bar to serve as an inner shoulder for a bolting structure (one side gets welded, the other has to bolt on so the case can get loaded with its guts). What I'll end up with will be heavy, but strong enough that I don't need to fuss with it ever again except for changing input... sprocket for human power, and eventually, gear or pulley for electric or gas motor. As mentioned before, the guys want to reuse the car for other parades and promotional events down the road.

 

Gar

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Today I picked up the special splined, free-wheeling hub tool. The plan is to use the tool (3) as the drive mech between the multi-cog input driven by the peddlers (1), thru the ratcheting free-wheeler (2). The tool gets firmly attached to a shaft going into the diff gearcase. In the pix, you can see I've made the holes, machined some DOM bearing collars, and spotted em the the case sides. The shaft turns the dangling sprocket. Ball bearings are on the way... makes building the locating collars easier, minimal machining.

 

The rest of the day was misspent on trying to get a hole for a water line through the 150 years old, 30 inch thick, stone foundation of the shop. Limited tools, namely a long or extension bit... I used an old bit's shank, and a nice bit's cutting end on opposite ends of a piece of pipe.... repeated rewelding needed as the hammer drill beat the pipe section silly. The day's result.... no hole outside yet, but a 24 inch deep hole. Tomorrow we'll get a proper rental rig in there.

 

Lost shop power late in the day, so yesterday's planned goal wasn't met.

 

Gar

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Bailed on using the spline tool for drive. The cockeyed forces on the gear clust in most gears would have made it wobble on that rather short spline. What I did instead was to cut the bike hub roughly in half, and machine a long sleave and collar to support it over the full width onto the shaft. Sweet.

Then I made a plate to put a hub on the other MC sprocket.

Soon as the new bearings are delivered.... I'll be closing in on finishing the drivetrain... the hard parts. Still have bike chain jazz to do, guides, covers, etc.

 

Gar

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I'm waiting for bearings, so I started on chain biz. Made entry/exit guides at the center sprockets that guarantee alignment. Noticed that with the old stretched chain, the return chain on the bottom doesn't line up perfectly with the teeth, oh my! I'd considered going with a taut chain and no slack idlers, but really didn't do the math to make sure every tooth lines up so idlers are back in the plan between the three inter sprocket spaces on the bottom. I just picked up new chain comin home today, so next week when I put it on, I'll have a better idea how bad the overall spacing works out. I make a protective chain guard that they can stand on without harm. No pix from yesteday.

Todat the artist came up to begin forming the theme/body. With him in the way, my productivity went way down. I figured I'd have a look at controls. Pulled a straight handlebar from the donor pile that matches the derailure clust I'm using since it also hand good hand brake levers on it. Meanwhile, one of the other guys was working on a lawn tractor, and asked me to fix some linkage on it for the mower deck. It used bellcranks and ba-bing!, I realized that a bellcrank is an ideal way to transition from the bike brake cables to the golf cart brake cables. I'll make a series of holes on the bike brake side to provide some different ratios. The drum brakes have a self activating quality that I'll capitolize on considering they will now be hand operated rather than foot pedal. The left and right drums had been joined by an equalizing bar on the cart pedal. I will be spliting them to a hand brake lever each. Being able to use one at a time is an advantage in the mud hazard where the differential is a liability... call it traction control. So, at the bike shop stop coming home, I got generous pieces of both brake and shifter cable and sheath. All of it will dress nicely according to my mental picture.

Here's today's picture of the body frame beginnings.

 

Gar

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Got bearings and started lathing parts for em. Body guy was there today so I puttered around him. Went to see local Hot Rod builder, Paul Farace. Nice shop with many cool projects underway.

All I've got today is an update photo as the body begins to take shape.

 

Gar

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Here's a link to Paul's party with lots of rods.

 

http://www.hotrodhotline.com/feature/2010show/paulsparty/

 

Gar

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Mocked up my diff case with the input shaft and the new bearings. I'm pleased with it. Also took a stab at a brake bellcrank design. Finally got through the thick stone fondation for the water line. The next two days will have the body guy in the shop. I'll tinker with several smaller tasks that I can do outside the car.

 

Gar

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I solved a couple problems on fitting the diff case together today. The oil seal came in (NAPA cross referenced from one I researched online), and it seated nicely. Initially, I thought I'd lathe in a groove for a C clip to hold the jackshaft in, but I had resevations about creating a weak point, so instead, I turned a spacer that makes the inner sprocket hold the shaft. The shaft material I used is pretty soft, so once I make all the machining to it, I'm going to try hardening in dirty motor oil. The hot rod guys stopped by today and gave me some technique insight. Tomorrow morning I'm stopping at a steel furniture builder friend's shop to roll some pieces to close up the case. The pix will show a formed piece of square bar that will be welded into the shell so that one side can be removed to open the case. I tried using a bender, but that stinks compared to the roller machine at my furniture buddy's shop. Also visiting the hardware store for shorter metric bolts for the driven sprocket to differential hub. No new pix today, check back tomorrow evening.

 

Gar

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Furniture maker Bob was happy to help out. We found a circular scrap of steel, threw the square bar in the furnace till red, then bent that noodle round the form. That made the tighter circle. For the larger, we just wrapped around the one just made. Then the plate stock... several test settings on the roller, and out came my "Js".

 

I headed over to the car construction shop and got busy.

I trimmed the square bar ends to fit the side plates, along with some bending. "V"ed the ends and butt welded. Now I had a nice form to wrap the "J" shell to. Lapped the ends. Pulled it all together with strap winches. Sliced both shell parts on the one side together, and spotted em. The second seam I just marked, disassembled and cut, mocked back up and spotted.

 

Loceted the square bar where it belonged, tacked it, then welded up the shell skin ends.

 

Here's where I boned up.... I was so excited about making progress that I finish welded the side on before completing the square bar weld. Now it's gonna be a trick to get in there and put a leakproof fillet all the way around, my bad.... deal with that tomorrow.

 

Gar

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Several mistakes. First I welded the opposite cover to the shell before welding the back side of the square bar that the removable side screws to. A little tricky, but I got it all fixed up by welding through the hole, and crossing my eyes. Next mistake was doing that weld before drilling and tapping that square bar for the lid. Weld on the back side kills drill bits when they are about to break through. Solved that by running the grinder on the inner side. Tapping pick below.

Further along, I made a chain slack taker. Put the case together and it rotated some of the way round, then bound up. Prob was... the tiny run-out of the sprokets tightened the chain enough to bind going past the guide. The fix was to relax the degree of curve in the guide, all is well.... but by now I've forgotten to put a shim on the axle... I'll take it apart again.

I didn't have the work wound down tight as I drilled the precise hole that locks the inside sprocket to the shaft.... small issue, just used a new piece of shaft stock.

That brings me up to this morning.

I put fill, and drain bungs on, using copper washer to seal, and epoxied a magnet to the lower plug. Built up the shaft of the outside gear cluster and drilled it and new shaft. Picture below is that cluster in the lathe to check and fix wobble before welding I was eager to assemble, but I had everything apart, and all the machining done so I built a BBQ fire. Toasted the shaft up to red, and dropped in dirty motor oil. No way for me to know what temper I ended with, but it's deff harder than it was. Now it's late in the day, and the project doesn't have the thrill it once did, but race day is coming soon. I went ahead and did the final assembly with RTV and all the allen head hardware holding the lid on, and redid the axle seals, remembering the shim I left out. It's under the car again.

I laid the chain over the sprockets, sat down, pushed the pedal, and moved forward for the first time. Swept up and left.

 

Gar

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Got a chip in the eye Friday, but didn't fully realize till Saturday night. I couldn't get it out, so this morning I went to an eye guy. Adult warning reguarding grinder, etc, use.... use your protection, and aim the spray away. An eye guy junk removal goes $110, plus another $97 for antibiotic drops. I wear glasses, but the bit got past em. Then went over to the shop mid afternoon.

 

Today I decided to put an anti-torque member on the gear case. The leaf springs allow the case to rotate under load. I'll prolly have a picture tomorrow... I need to find some Himies in my pile (coolness factor). Notice just how far from the rotation point the force gets applied. Don't beat me over the chain laying on the frame... when tensioned by the derailure, or suspension loaded by riders, there's clearance. I put a chain on thust to putt around and check how much gearing was needed.

 

I worked today on aligning the double sprocket on the last peddler position. This was a different set than first laid out so it was a matter of adding a concentric small sprocket to a regular sized one. Not finished, but satisfactory for now. I'll hit it when final welds go around the various crank assemblies.

I also loosely positioned some of the brake brackets and considered what pivot solution I might want. Looks like I have a reasonable system, but I may swap out a fancy wheel type bellcrank for a simple lever instead. The wheel type runs the risk of the cable popping off the side. This would make the brakes non-op.

Pictures when I commit.

 

Gar

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Bummer, I typed up everything I did today, and before posting it, my puter choaked. Here's the pix, make up your own descriptions :)

 

Gar

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Today I made some parts and hooked up brakes. Earlier I thought I'd use a 3 to 1 increase in force for the hand levers. Too bad... the range of locked up, to fully released took so much cable travel that my hand levers ran out. To lock em up, I couldn't get it to coast. I backed off by shortening the lever to slightly more than 2 to 1.

 

I'd made the main chain guard a while ago, but didn't work it to fit till now. It's angle iron and the curve was a bunch of slices, then formed around a coffee can and welded. I formed a chain-wide channel by standing a length of flat bar over the length. The guard just clears the sprocket teeth by a smidge to maintain engagement. It's strong enough for the guys to stand on getting in and out.

 

Gar

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As the race approaches, the pace gets quicker and my confidence gets shakier.

 

Twice now the shear pin holding the sprocket cluster to the diff case input shaft has broken. The first was a roll pin. It went the morning we pushed the car out of the shop. I redrilled the hole larger and used a solid 3/16 pin. It busted yesterday when a rear tire hit the edge of a curb taking a corner too close.

 

Today I'll weld the cluster to the shaft as I did the inside cog yesterday when I had it open.

 

A trailer full of barrels showed up over the weekend. We'll weld em up and fashion a quick mounting system of receiver sockets on the frame rail and two seat posts, as well as hitch tonques extending from the barrels. The paddles will wrap arond the rear tires and get strapped. Steering by brakes and a yet-to-be determined rudder system. All of this is being done amidst the fog of the unknown. I only have estimates about the ride height in the water. I don't have individual rider weight info, but I will use a jack to find the fore/aft CG with simulated riders for float placement. My floatation figures are based on having the number of barrels whose gallons of water weight equals the vehical weight, times two so they are halfway out of the water because I think it takes 450 pounds to just submerge one 55 gallon barrel. Barge builders please feel free to recommend or advise. :)

 

Gar

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After welding the sprocket cluster freewheeler to the diff input shaft.... wait for it.... fractured a sprocket. Most of today was used to pair a couple skinny sprockets together. I did that well, but feared the freewheeler would pop next, so I waited for the bike guy. Reluctant to accept either pro-bike help, or defeat, I opted for biker help. Learned that a single speed integrated freewheeler and fat sprocket was available for the trike gang. The freewheeling function ought to be 3 or more pawls.... where my next "weak link" was likely to appear. So, with a "new part" purchase, I ought to be peddling again (race day is Saturday). Put it on in the dark, but haven't moved under leg power yet. I think this solves that issue.

Found the fore/aft CG with a jack and two riders. Made receivers for the out-riggers that my floatation drums attach to, but neglected to take pix. I'm beat. I ate a nice dinner tonight, and will try for a good rest to start super ultimate crunch time tomorrow.

 

Gar

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