Clear the deck I’m thinking again

That’s old sailor talk for “Take Cover!” I’m thinking about another potential powerplant for the Sprint-T that might actually fit and leave room for a clutch pedal, and not cost a pair of limbs in the process. There is a 300+ HP I4 DOHC turbo engine from Ford that gets pretty good gas mileage, is pretty narrow near the bellhousing, but is tuned for 93 octane and setting it up for a diet of 87 or E85 depending on if it’s freeway or race might be a little tricky. Just a bit tricky! And it’s about 20% heavier than the Subie. But on the positive side it’s the base engine for the last few years of Mustang production, I.E. the “chick car” version, and it also comes as a crate engine. The fact that it comes in the base Mustang means I might be able to snag one backed by an automatic transmission in case there isn’t enough space to install a clutch pedal with the right side against the inside of the body.

And for some reason that jogged my memory about the Pentastar V6 from FCA that comes in everything from minivans to muscle cars and trucks, and has similar weight and peak power to the Ford EcoBoost 4 cylinder, and also has a better torque curve for autocross, but FCA haven’t seen fit to sell it as a crate engine, and Mrs. the Poet has put a hard veto on donor vehicles unless I move the build to another location. If I get the Pentastar it will have to be from a junkyard and cleaned up before bringing it home. Well if I get any used engine and transmission, I’ll have to get it cleaned up before I can bring it home. Manufacturer doesn’t matter, not bringing dirty parts home is what matters.

And my head hurts again, so I need to get to bed now.


Beyond my continuing existence nothing going on here

I’m thinking and I have a headache, and hopefully the two have nothing to do with the other.

Sleep cycle is borked

And if you think daytime TV is bad try finding something good at 0200. I tried looking for stuff for the Mini Sprint-T as currently planned but the only Subie engines I found were in $25-$200 kits so I have a request going in the Facebook Scale Model Club for someone with a built WRX or similar turbo Subie they don’t want anymore, that I can rob the engine from. I just did that right before I started doing this post, so not enough time for a response yet.

One thing I did find that is still entertaining at 0200 or later is YouTube. I went back and caught some episodes I missed from my subscribed channels before they got big, surfed some recommended videos, and generally just wasted time between sleeps when I wasn’t trying to come up with a blog post or clear out my emails. Twitter was the usual sewer, for the most part. If it wasn’t for the fact I find stuff out on Twitter several hours before the news comes on I would just delete it from my phone.

So, anyways, I found out that one of the people in my RPG group has a new job doing something he actually spent tine getting a degree to do, which is going to make it pretty much impossible for him to do any game sessions during the week, which means because I’m going to be glued to the tube (actually the flat screen) all this weekend watching the three NASCAR touring series race their final races of the season and determine their champions we are not getting to play this week again after so many weeks of other people having scheduling issues. My fault this time.

And I really don’t have anything to say today except, Next Time!

I think world peace is only marginally more difficult than scheduling an RPG

Well, I was supposed to be playing Shadowrun about now, but another player got called in on her day off, so I’m pecking at the keyboard and trying to maintain low enough levels of blood in my caffeinestream (yes I have caffeine with blood in it instead of the other way around) instead of slashing my way through monsters and solving puzzles.
But we have rescheduled for Friday it looks like right now, with Thursday as the alternate if we can’t get Friday to work.

I’m really looking forward to finishing this dungeon crawl so we can get back to DFW and solve some things we left undone, and I can spend some karma points on kicking my skills up and maybe getting more contacts. Right now my skills are what would be max for character creation, but I have enough accumulated karma points to raise one or two another point and get some points in skills like Observe, and probably Negotiate. I have already maxed out my levels in Badass, which does help in negotiation rolls, but actually having that as a skill would be an asset as well. Right now my character uses his money and willingness to spend it on making people’s lives better as his primary negotiating tool.

And speaking of spending money helping people I really need to finish setting up the Solstice Barbecue and Pig Roast or I’m going to have about a hundred angry trolls and about the same number of orcs standing around the house expecting to be fed and no meat cooked for them. And I have to finish this Run and get back to DFW from Egypt if I want to do that. In game this is an annual event that I have been doing for decades now, and a big part of why the gang wars in Garland don’t get fought in my neighborhood. We have a DMZ of sorts for several blocks around the house, and there is a Pax Opus on people going in and out to use the food pantry, or the homeless shelter in the basement. That’s what most of my running fees go to, and a good chunk of my TI retirement in-game. In-game I’m almost-rich from all the times I got killed but didn’t stay dead and sued the person who killed me, and got a fvckton of money from TI for keeping them from getting taken over by a much larger corp, which I wasn’t supposed to survive but guess who can’t stay dead in-game? 👿

On the Mini Sprint-T I’m going with the SBC and the 700R4 transmission because that is the most complete engine and transmission combination I have and also the most likely to be installed as a crate combination should I get the money. Also, I don’t have a 1/25 scale Subaru to stuff in there. The Subie is actually cheaper and the same power as the SBC not to mention hundreds of pounds lighter, but Not Generally Available outside a kit, so no Subaru engine. 😛

The bandaids are off

Well the full extent of the damages are now visible as I am between bandages. I think the thumb will be OK going without another bandage, but the index finger needs antibiotic and another bandage. The index finger got really close to losing the chunk off the tip, but I think it will heal without the big ugly scar.

The index finger in all its gory glory.
Very close to losing the tip of my finger.

The thumb injury can barely be seen a day later, but it bled like I severed a major artery when I did it.
'Tis but a scratch.

Construction on the Sprint-T will have to wait until the index finger heals over so I don’t get bad stuff into my bloodstream through the break in the skin, but I have been thinking about order of construction for the frame.

First thing I need to make are the roll hoops because they dictate where everything else in the frame has to go. And I have been thinking about how to make two perfect hoops. The raw stock is a thermoplastic, meaning it can be formed easily when warmed to something under its melting point but above room temperature, a candle or similar is a good heat source for bending styrene plastic. I just need to use a round thing to bend around that has the same radius as the anvil of the tube bender, in scale, and a flat surface to make the second bend against to get all three legs in the same plane, easy-peasy. So, put the anvil of the mini bender on a board or something and put marks on the board for a 90° bend and where to put the leg of the first bend to get the distance between legs on the hoop the right distance apart. Put the top of the hoop on the mark for the beginning of the 90° bend with the leg from the first bend on the mark for how far apart the legs should be and make the second bend and cut the legs to length after bending.

The next thing would be to cut two pieces of raw stock to a scale 52″ for the main rails between the hoops, so the bracing inside the hoops will just clear the body when everything is together. And since this build is going to be fitted with a bellypan, the bellypan would be a useful place to use as a jig for getting all the bits and pieces for that level of the frame together. So cutting the bellypan to size, gluing the lower frame rails to it and the roll hoops to both seems to be the next logical order of operations. After that the crossmembers that run between the legs of the roll hoops seems to be next. Measuring the height of the top of the bellhousing for the horizontal brace across the front hoop and cutting stock the same width as the crossmembers would be the next step as would placing that member at the right height. Doing the same thing for the harness bar on the rear hoop would be next.

At some point I would need to bend the top rails for the frame and put them in, this would probably be a good time. Also for the diagonal from the top of the rear hoop to the bottom of the front hoop. The other diagonal is going to be more tricky because of the pickup point for the front of the swingarm coming from the rear axle. I need to see where the front of the swingarm is in relation to the diagonal to see if I have to make a jungle gym just for getting that point solidly located in space, or if I can just kink the diagonal a bit to catch it, then run another diagonal from the pickup point to the bottom of the front hoop to triangulate it and to the top of the rear hoop to preserve the triangulation of the front to rear diagonal.

And I have no idea where the top mount for the front coilover needs to be to clear the front tire at full lock and full bump, like when I hit a curb on a tight corner with the inside front tire. That would be an ungood thing to happen in a run, but to have the tire hit the frame would make bad plusungood, if not doubleplusungood. And yes, that was Orwellian New Speak used to describe an engineering scenario. I respect the classics. I mention this because I lack the tools to determine on my computer where the diagonal from the bottom of the front hoop has to be to clear the tire at full bump and full lock, without making the bracket on the axle any higher than it has to be for the coilover to clear the steering. Sure working from the side view I could just make the diagonal just tangent to the tire at full bump and call it “good enough”, but that would make the axle just a tiny bit heavier than it has to be, which is all unsprung weight. And my views on unsprung weight are only slightly less negative than my views on drunk drivers.

I can calculate the tangent based on diameter at the tangent point at full lock where the inner edge of the tire crosses the plane of the diagonal between the bottom corner of the front hoop and the top of the coilover, without needing to use 3D modeling but there are still width effects I need to account for and dynamic effects like axle flex and frame flex. Now frame flex is going to be measured in hundredths of an inch on the full-scale car, but I can’t get an accurate estimate of the load to determine axle flex beyond the load needed to get the spring compressed to full travel. At that load the axle flex is going to be in the same range as the frame flex, 0.01″ or less but the shock load against the bump stop could get another 0.02″ on top of that and times the moment arm that could get the tire as much as 0.08″ higher and closer to the diagonal, which would mean moving the top mount of the coilover even higher to clear the tire at full bump and full lock. Or I could just make the diagonal clear the straight ahead tangent at full bump and let the difference in height at full lock provide the dynamic clearance.

And if a picture is worth a thousand words I just posted more than 3000 words counting the pictures.

It’s fun (not fun) typing today

The RPG group had lunch before game today and I helped with preparations by slicing vegetables with a mandolin. I also sliced my finger, thumb, and a fingernail, removing chunks from each one. And seasoning the veggies with a little blood. Just a note, there is not enough salt in blood to season veggies. And also the bandaid on the fingertip makes it really difficult to type because it catches multiple keys in one keypress and I might have to go back and delete one, two, or sometimes three wrong letters to fix a word. Yep, I can hit 4 keys at once with this bandaid trying to hold my finger together. I’m really hoping we got the sliced bit back in the right place, because I know if I did the scar will be small and almost unnoticeable, and heal quickly, or a huge purple-red dot on the end of my finger if I didn’t get it in the right place. The last time I sliced the end off a finger it got lost in the pepperoni and it took about 8 years to grow back to the point that it didn’t constantly remind me that I cut off the end of my finger in a meat slicer, and about 25 years later you have to know where to look to find it. And someone got a surprise in their pizza.

And I’m back to the place I was a few years ago on the Sprint-T, needing a front engine RWD vehicle as a donor vehicle for the drivetrain. Or spending a ton on a crate engine and transmission. And I really don’t want to drop money I don’t have to on crate parts. Seriously the purchased parts will not work for anything other than a front-engine RWD car without lots of ballast (added weight). And without doing serious damage to the polar moment to the point that it might as well be front-engine. Seriously, the only way to save the TGS2 would be to stick the front axle assembly into a corner or closet and just pretend very hard it never existed, while I build a featherweight front suspension to keep the sprung/unsprung ratio close to something sane.

Also since I can’t make any progress on either full-scale car, I’m returning to the Mini Sprint-T. After getting almost all the parts needed to start the build, I got the idea that building the TGS2 was possible, and I stopped working on the Mini version. I think that was a mistake now, but back then it looked like the right thing to do to stop making a model and focus on the full-scale car. At least now I can take pictures instead of writing thousand-word descriptions of what I’m trying to do.

And last thing before I run this through the proofreader, Mrs. the Poet came in complaining about walking like a penguin and asking if there was a song about it and telling me I should use my music app to find out. Well, it turns out that there are not one, not two, but at least three different songs with the title “Walk Like a Penguin”, one kids song that I won’t inflict upon you, a remake of the Bangles song “Walk Like an Egyptian”, and a rap techno song that I likewise will not inflict on you.

And I got up after 3 hours of sleep to go play Shadowrun, so I’m starting to fade out here.

I remembered to take pictures

Well, this time when I repaired the shorts I remembered to take pictures or ask Mrs. the Poet to take pictures. Just a note, Mrs. the Poet hates my phone for pretty much everything, but especially for taking pictures. Mostly I asked her to take pictures of steps in the process that required both hands to show, and two more hands to take pictures of the step.

So, the situation that needs repair, only one end of the drawstring exposed for tying.
Can't tie this

Finding the right length for the drawstring before cutting.
Wrap it around the waist one and a half times

Finding center and keeping the string from accidentally getting pulled through.
I used a different knot to get slightly more drawstring than the figure 8 knot

Melted the end to prevent fraying.
You would not believe how hard it was to find something that made fire in smaller than bonfire size

The first incision for the removal of the old drawstring.
The snip was made to the left of the line of stitches as seen in the picture.

What was left from the original drawstring.
The remains of the original drawstring.

Now the real work begins, threading the new string through the original tunnel from the old drawstring.
Remember the old adage about how impossible it was to push a rope?

Twenty minutes later it’s time to start the other side.
Rope successfully pushed by tying a knot in the end and pushing that

The other side had more stuff to get around, and took about a half-hour to work, but finally.

And there you have it. Lots of pictures, not many words, and I can keep my favorite shorts up when I stand.

Things have been too hectic to write much lately

Both externally and internally, things have been busy in the ramp up to the election. So much so that sitting down at the laptop was basically impossible. Collecting my thoughts enough to get them out my fingers got me running inside my mind so much that I just gave up and decided to experience the moment instead of trying to analyze and record it.

On politics, we had a 50-50 day here at Casa de El Poeta, Beto lost, but Colin won, and I still haven’t found out if my state rep is the Tea Party loser from the last 4 primaries or the Democrat. The seat was open as the woman who beat the Tea Party loser in the primary decided to spend more time with her family and less time getting threatened by party bosses. Google finally got me to a 100% ballots counted and the TP loser lost again. The TP crazy that was my state senator lost to the Democrat. It won’t change much in Austin, but at least I will have a voice in my state government. Now maybe we can get something done about the crazy traffic laws, like reducing the minimum posted speed limit from 50% fatal to pedestrians (and cyclists) 30 MPH to 5% fatal 20 MPH, and a 3 feet to pass law for cyclists and pedestrians. Anywho, anxiety about what level of crazy was going to represent my views in the legislature as well as in the Senate and Congress prevented me from organizing my thoughts enough to write.

Physically I haven’t been sitting at the computer for writing much either, as I have been away from the house more than usual, for self-care. I got a massage, and did some shopping at the Harbor Freight, and last week I got my toes done so I don’t claw Mrs. the Poet in my sleep. I still need to get a haircut, but that will have to wait until I get more funds. I’m down to the point I need to conserve money for bus fare until the end of the month.

On the T-bucket front after last week’s assessment of assets I came to the conclusion that a mid-engine bucket is out of the question from a ride and handling standpoint. The parts I have are just not right for a mid-engine car, and the unsprung weight would result in tires not spending time in contact with the road surface. Front tires not on the road causes massive understeer no matter what you do about front to rear roll balance, if the front tires aren’t on the road it doesn’t matter what you do with the steering the car won’t turn.

And that’s about the limit of what I can get my head around to write today.

Negative campaign ads just make me want to shoot all of them

Seriously, the politicking this year makes me want to just go out and kill every one of them. I’m just reaching the limits of my endurance and tolerance for my fellow-man. But there is a huge gap between want and do. So if you read about some political rally blown up with a mini nuke, I don’t have the money to buy the parts to do it. Nor the supply chain to get the parts even if I had the money. Nor the foggiest notion of where to look. So if it happens, I didn’t do it. I have been thinking about building other things, mostly.

Now what I have been thinking about when I’m not thinking about using WMD to level the political playing field has been another A-Mod build using the Predator 670cc V Twin from Harbor Freight and a “torque converter” CVT. The great thing about this is the engine and torque converter are right at 100 pounds together, and all the CVT needs to survive the 22 HP V-Twin is an upgraded aftermarket belt and adjusting the engagement speed via weights and springs. I can hang this in front of the right rear tire and move the driver left of center to balance the car and stay under the 900 pound minimum weight leaving room to ballast up and adjust the front-to-rear balance and also keep the CG low.

One thing I’m not going to do is use a steel straight tube axle. After my last post where I either calculated, actually weighed, or weighed “at the catalog” every part in the front suspension for the Sprint-T/TGS2 and discovered I had an absolutely ghastly sprung/unsprung ratio at the front end of the TGS2, I’m going for light weight over “stout” when it comes to front end bits. I’m going back to my composite days and using moldless foam core composite construction to create a flyweight straight tube or double a-arm front suspension. Now if I wasn’t concerned about banging off curbs or potholes I could make an axle you could carry with one hand and still have two or three fingers left over, unlike the 23 pound behemoth I bought for the TGS2 that takes all 5 fingers and careful handling to prevent wrist damage because of the polar moment from its 58″ length. I might do that anyway because it would be easy to make and not super expensive when compared to steel. For this build steel fabrication would be the economic benchmark, because of raw material costs and fabrication costs. And because I have the most experience recently with steel fabrication, that also makes the process my benchmark. At this point my composites experience is about 30 or more years old. I built some parts for the CVCC race car. And if you know what CVCC means you know the car would now be eligible for vintage plates.😁 And this was also the first car I bought new back in 1978…

Everything for this car would have to be built except consumables like tires, wheels, and brakes, plus brake pads. Virtually nothing could be bought “off the shelf”. Even the steering would have to be made because available boxes are too heavy and slow and rack and pinions are either heavy, slow, big or all of the above. What I envision for this build is basically a go-kart with power steering that has the pitman arm on a pivoting shaft connected directly to the steering wheel through an electric assist, with stops mounted to prevent more than about 80° motion in either direction. I see the prototype made from steel, with subsequent versions made from aluminum or composites, or a combination of materials. Get the clearances and motion paths and the places that needed more material worked out first, then build the expensive version from exotic materials, like unobtanium and noweightium. Even the chassis I’m looking at welding up the tub from sheet steel as a mockup then pulling a mold off that and building a composite tub. In fact back in the ’70s I sketched up an idea of laying up composites in a female mold, then injecting expanding foam to make a foam core and also press the laminate together and into the details of the mold, but before I could sell the idea the state of the art passed me by, making the idea interesting but ultimately useless. But getting back to that welded sheet steel tub, if it’s under the minimum weight I’m just going to leave it at that. No sense building an expensive lightweight chassis just to bolt lead in it. Or tungsten because lead is too plebian for a composite chassis. But if it’s floppy and flexible then the foam and fiberglass come out to replace the steel, because I know they are rigid from working on airplanes and other people’s completed airplanes. The process is also used on things like boats and surfboards. It was possible to buy pre-molded cores to apply your own fiberglass skin and make your own surfboard back in the day. but we kids just used the cores as floats…

And 1) I’m starting to wander about the verbal landscape and 2) I have a Shadowrun game later and I need to get up early-ish for it. so this would be a good place to call it a night…

I really don’t have much to write about

I walked 2.29 miles (3.68 km) going to get my toes done, buy breakfast sausage for cheap$1.67/lb, drop by the ATM for Mrs. the Poet, and get a Whataburger and fries. Then I took a nap. Whoo! living the life.😑

Still thinking about the TGS2 because what else would I think about if I wanted to stay sane? Since the part I didn’t have totally nailed down before I was still thinking about getting that upper coilover mount figuratively nailed down in every plane and triangulated against flex. Basically the plan is to run tubes from the upper and lower frame rails to the upper mount from two verticals between the rails, one vertical right in front of the firewall, and one just in front of the axle. The bottom of the upper rail will be 1.5″ (3.81 cm) plus the thickness of the bump stop, that I haven’t sourced yet, above the tube of the axle. The bottom rail will be 7.5″ below the center of the axle at intended ride height, or 6″ (15.24 cm) measured to the top of the rail, with a bracket coming from the rail to support a droop stop 1.5″ from the bottom of the axle at normal ride height. Yep, that comes to 3″ (7.62 cm) axle travel at the frame, which is normal for a T-bucket front suspension. What’s not normal is to control the axle with both bump and droop stops, normal is to use the shock absorbers for this function. But it really tears up a shock to use it as a droop stop and even worse to use a shock as a bump stop without an external stop fitted over the shaft. Basically without an external stop the shock piston slams into the foot valve and after a couple to a few times of that happening you no longer have any dampening control over the axle travel. So belt and suspenders there will be a bump stop on the coilover, and another on the frame.

Now where the frame leaves the front of the body the top of the top tube is 17″ (43.2 cm) from the bottom of the bottom tube, leaving 7″ from the top of the axle to the bottom of the top tube, lots of space to mount a bracket and bump stop and still leave 1.5″ for travel up. In fact good design principles require less than 1.5″ clearance between the bottom of the bump stop and the top of the axle so that there is enough travel to cushion the axle before reaching the limit of the shock and slamming into that foot valve. It might touch the valve but if I do my job as an engineer there shouldn’t be enough force to damage anything.

Now one of the problems I’m having is getting springs light enough for the front end because there is so little weight on the front end with the mid-engine configuration, without installing ridiculously long shocks. The shortest shocks I can find that will hold the springs are nearly 20″ long extended and 13″ compressed. The issue is the free length of the springs, and there has to be enough extended length to get the spring in place without compressing it so the adjustable seat can be spun on by hand so it doesn’t get cross-threaded. The problem is the shock has to mount as close to the kingpin as possible to control the single-wheel motion, and I need to limit wheel travel to keep the TGS2 from turning into and off-road buggy and to control camber, body roll, and prevent the frame from crashing into the ground. And the weight situation is we are talking about a car with a race weight around 1300-1400 pounds with more than 60% of the weight on the back and about 240 pounds per wheel on the ground and less than 25 pounds on the spring. It doesn’t take much spring to control that little weight, but a lot of shock dampening to control the unsprung mass. The sprung/unsprung ratio is almost off the chart for this car. It’s not bad in back, but there is just too much previously bought parts weight up front that isn’t resting on the springs. And seriously, all that weight just in the front axle and suspension does a serious negative to polar moment.

Looking at the numbers makes me seriously question my tire choices for the street setup because each tire weighs 31 pounds, without the 24 pound wheel. Fifty-five pounds is a ridiculous amount of unsprung weight per corner for a 1300 pound car with more than 60% rear weight distribution. Seriously the wheels and tires together weigh more than the rest of the front end minus suspension.🤯 Also I need to move more stuff forward of the center of the wheelbase, to keep the weight more forward and also keep the polar moment low. Also, seriously, this will probably raise the car weight more than a little. The race tires are a little better at 23 pounds each and the aluminum wheels are about 20 pounds going by shipping weight. So that’s a huge chunk off the unsprung weight.

And I have been thinking about the TGS2 in street rod parameters rather than mid-engine sports car parameters because Goodguys is a street rod and muscle car sanctioning body. Thinking in the proper terms gets the tire weight down to 20 pounds and the wheels are a smidge lighter at about 18 pounds. Still more than the sprung weight for each corner… I seriously need to redo my weight estimate because of how heavy the front axle, brackets, and spindles are. I’ll ponder my calculator and weight charts more now that I have weighed the parts I have on hand and use known weights whenever possible and get back to you later.