All-Star Weekend!

They are racing for $1,000,000 tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway. One of the things they do with this race is test proposed changes to the rules and there are a bunch of changes this year to the aero and engine. Yesterday’s qualifying already showed the differences in the specs made for differences on the track.

OK they are running the Open, and the aero changes have the racing almost like ‘Dega or Daytona, and the restrictor plate has them all running pretty equal.

OK the Open is over and they are doing the driver introductions for the All-Star Race. Signing off now.

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Noisy

Did you ever hear someone say “It’s so loud I can’t hear myself think”? Well that is my current situation. My tinnitus is so loud putting sentences together is really hard. On top of that one of my Facebook and BikeJournal friends was reported dead today, nothing more than “she’s dead, that’s all we know” in the report. She had a service dog, and I’m concerned for his well-being now.

Other bad news I haven’t heard anything from the people I used to get the gigs through since I didn’t get paid for the last gig. I don’t know if that means they don’t have any new gigs, or if the company has gone belly up.

Back to the tinnitus, it has gone to a roaring combination of whistle and white noise, like being behind an old centrifugal compressor jet engine getting a run up about 20 feet away. All inside my head. For a point of reference the old Cessna T-37 had a pair of that type jet engine, earning it the nickname “Flying Dog Whistle”.

And because trying to write this with all this noise in my head is a pain, catch y’all l8er.

Tired

Between the allergy pills making me sleepy, and backaches keeping me awake all night, it is a wonder I can even function enough to operate my laptop. I really want to lie down for a nap, but I just got up a couple of hours ago. Actually no, I have been awake for hours, I just got out of bed a couple of hours ago. When I woke up I felt like death warmed over, plus I couldn’t see anything except a white haze from allergies. So I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t because, pain. So I “meditated”, in quotes because it was more “tried to fall back asleep but can’t” than actual meditation.

I just had to evict Clint from the desk because he’s pushing things off so he has a comfortable place to sleep, and now the floor is covered in pennies that had been placed in neat stacks on the desk to keep track of how many pennies I had. This is because there is a $10 minimum for pennies at the local change counting machine so I have to keep track of how much I have to put in the machine. But don’t fret about him, he finds a place.

See what happens when I stop trying to work?

This is what Clint does when I stop trying to work, he goes and pouts.

And the thermometer in my office reads 83°F, so I’m heading to the room with working AC.

I have been busy

Between Mother’s Day, tracking down missing mail, checking what I can get to replace my mailbox and post, and just dealing with life, the last few days have just been PACKED!

The good news is I have figured out how to fix my back, both short and long-term. The problem is right leg is longer than left by a significant amount since the wreck, and the required pelvic tilt is more than my back muscles can accommodate. The back muscles on the long side have to stay contracted all the time, and eventually they reach exhaustion.Which is my situation at the moment. but the hypothetical treatment is to lie face down, and the therapist pulls my long leg until I have a level pelvis. After the spasms subside the therapist gently strokes the muscles until circulation has been restored, and the pain is gone for a while.

Long term, the problem is the back muscles have to stay contracted as hard as they can because they are too long on the side that has the longer leg, so why not make them permanently shorter? An operation would shorten the back muscles on the right (long) side so that when my feet are side-by-side both sets of muscles are the same tension instead of one contracted and the other extended. Or the top of the pelvis could be re-contoured to the same effect. I would still sway from side to side when I walk, but not so much, and it wouldn’t hurt any more.

Speaking of hurting, I have reached my limit after walking about 3 miles according to the Sweatcoin app. Clint has left long scratches in my leg from falling from my lap, and my back has me fighting tears of pain. It’s time this flightless waterfowl packed it in and hit the hay.

Happy Day all you Mothers

There is a song that I normally link on Mother’s Day, by Jerry Jeff Walker (distant relative, mother’s side of the family) but I shall spare you this year because Mrs. the Poet thinks it is disrespectful. It’s not, but she thinks it is. The subtitle is “The Perfect Country Song”, and if you search that and the artist you can find it on YouTube. I bet you think I was going to link “Redneck Mother”. Fooled you!

For new readers, my Mother died back in 2004, years before I started the first version of this blog at an adult dating site. She had a broken hip and something happened when she fell and she had a fatal stroke. She passed on Veteran’s Day 2004, so this is the 14th Mother’s Day without her. I can’t say it feels any different this year than it did most of the other 13 times, except the first one in 2005. That felt empty, but today was just another day without my mother. And, one of the small blessings of having PTSD and depression, I don’t really feel much different than I do on most days.

We went to my daughter’s place in Corinth for a BBQ yesterday, burgers and brats, and something called a “bratburger” which is basically a brat out of the casing formed into a patty. I had Too Much Meat, baked beans, tater salad, regular green salad, Diet Dr. Pepper, and peanut butter pie for dessert. Got home in time to catch the last 14 laps from Kansas, that was a good race. There was a red flag when I fired up the old flat screen, as they tried to clear the debris from a multi-car wreck that had blocked the track. Truax looked like he had it until Harvick caught him with 4 to go. And the pollen count is in the red for my particular allergy, so I keep spacing out at the keyboard, because of the allergy attack and the meds for it both making me sleepy. Also having problems seeing due to goopy discharge in my eyes. Seriously, this is, like, hyper annoying. I’ll be typing along and then instant white out and can’t see the screen or keyboard.

Trying to find my old poetry

I have been turning the house upside down to find where Mrs. the Poet hid my collection of poems. They had been in an old briefcase with a broken latch, which I found sitting empty in the dining room. I did manage to track down some of the best ones in my performance folio, which was hidden under a pile of bike parts in a tool cabinet. This still leaves the question about the location of the other ones, and even if they still exist. The performance folio has the stuff that did well on stage, but not necessarily the best actual poems. I mean I had what I considered pretty good works that just did not translate to spoken word, especially the one that was entirely in punctuation that I wrote after reading about it in a Douglas Adams book. That one was greatly up to the emotional state of the reader, and after a spoken performance it tended to get locked into the state expressed in the performance.

And there are the ones that have been lost to time, like Lesbians in the Living Room that I wrote while my daughters were in High School. And Hot Monkey Love that I wrote for the Alternative Sexuality group at the pagan community center. And a whole host of ones I have forgotten even the titles.

But I have found some good ones, that I will be transcribing into the blog on days I don’t have anything to say.

A Meandering Post

This post has a lot of subjects to cover so it may seem like the literary equivalent of a one-man ping-pong match.

First things first, I had some kind of gunk in my eyebrows when I took my shower this morning. I don’t know what it was, but it was itchy and took several tries to get it out of the eyebrows. I’m blaming allergies because pollen was deadly high this morning and it wasn’t there when I washed my face before bed this morning. And that’s not a typo, I usually hit the hay between 0300 and 0500.

Sprint-T: The pullrod suspension will lower the C of G very slightly while it also improves shock cooling. It lowers the C of G by letting me lie the shocks down at the bottom of the car instead of standing them up on top of the axle, and it improves shock cooling by collecting a larger mass of air and forcing it around the shocks than they would get just up in the airstream. It seems paradoxical, but you can actually get more cooling by putting something inside a duct than by leaving it in free air. And I was looking at the available springs, I do believe there will be a problem in getting a soft enough spring if I let the motion ratio for the rocker get too large.

My employment situation has gotten worse again. The company I have been getting gigs through has been having problems getting customers to pay for completed projects after delivery, and the standard agreement with us working drones has been payment on delivery to the customer. This has left the company covering for the customers between delivery and payment, but the customers had been paying on time so everybody was good. But lately us drones have delivered on time while customers have been paying late or not at all. Because we drones are technically contractors, or even guns for hire for some of us, we don’t have much recourse when the customer doesn’t pay except to sue the company in the middle that also did not get paid. We can’t sue the customer directly, and the guy we can sue doesn’t have much money to sue for. How this directly affects me is I ordered an expensive comic book (a $20 trade edition) that I was expecting to pay for with my share of a completed project that as of the first of the month hasn’t been paid for, and had to ask Mrs. the Poet for the money so I could keep my account at the comic book store current so I could keep getting my pulls. I only get one pull but there are one-shots and trades I want to get and I have to keep my account out of the red to order them. And yes I do like this particular comic Unbeatable Squirrel Girl enough to actually buy it every month. But with income getting dicey again I’m going to have to change my pre-order to pre-pay when ordering to ensure I get my books.

And I need to pu this to bed and take care of e-mails.

Iterative design

I use a design process called “Iterative Design”. That is I make a design, then go back and look for mistakes before I freeze the design, or I make major changes and do a comparison to see which is better, then combine the best parts of both for the next iteration. This process grew out of “Trial and Error” which is an offshoot of “Cut And Try”. Anyway, that is the major reason why I take a completed design and make major changes or even start completely from scratch.

Of course some of the times I do that it’s because the design parameters were changed by factors beyond my control, as when the minivan donor vehicle became unavailable. That was an entire design that had to be scrapped, and started from scratch on the Pentastar lightweight replacement design. But the thing is I’m doing this because this is how I do things. Every so often I just click on “Start a new drawing” and start drawing a new design. Part of that is because I know I’ll never have access to the money or materials I need to build it, part is because if I stop creating I get antsy, and other psychological “issues” crop up. Fortunately I have two outlets for creating, this blog and planning the Sprint-T.

I have also been thinking about transcribing some of my poetry to the blog. Most of it is about 20 years old at this point, and the Y2K point-and-laugh in particular are a little dated (like Conan’s “Year Two Thousand” bits). But some are still pretty good if morbid, like “Musings On a Bird, Skeletonized By Ants”. Tell me what you think in the comments.

And it’s getting early in the AM and I have things to do tomorrow.

Never stop thinking

I can’t, it’s part of my condition. I have the frame almost complete in design phase, so what do I do? That’s right, I change everything forward of the firewall.

I’m trying to get unsprung weight down so the tires will be easier to keep on the road over bumps. This means making everything between the frame and the road lighter, and one way to do that is indirect springing AKA push/pullrod suspension. The thinking is that the connecting bits between where the push or pull rod attach to the moving part of the suspension are : a. lighter than the spring/shock unit, and : b. more sprung than unsprung weight. The coilovers on a rod-activated suspension are believed to be 75% sprung weight with the same said for the rocker. The rod is 100% unsprung, but the total of the rod, unsprung weight of the rocker and unsprung weight of the coilover is (hopefully) less than the unsprung weight of the direct-acting coilover. Another thing is the motion ratio, or the ratio between how much the wheel moves to how much the end of the shock that moves the spring moves. With the rocker arms the effective wheel rate can be anything just by drilling the hole where the shock bolts to the rocker a different distance from the pivot, and a long travel softly sprung shock can be used on a very stiffly suspended car.

Now what this does is change everything that connects the front axle to the frame. There are no spring mounts hanging out in the breeze and everything is tucked up tight. Google a shot of a modern F1 front end as an example. This means the parts of the frame that would have interfered with the tires when they were steered aren’t there any more, but it also means that I don’t have the same radius of gyration to work with as I would with direct springing. And since torsional stiffness is proportional to the 4th power of the radius of gyration that’s kinda important. Like this is going to make the front a whole lot less stiff unless I add a lot of bracing to reduce the average length between pivots or whatever the technical term is for bracing the heck out of the structure. It has been more than 40 years since my last structures class, the one where we built a scale model bridge with 1/16” square balsa and a piece of Bristol board for the road deck, so my terminology is a little fuzzy. Anyway, major loads would be carried by the .060″ wall tubes, and also the braces since I could use the cut-offs from making the major pieces of the frame.

Another thing on my mind has been replacing the heavy steel tube axle and steel spindles with a carbon fiber axle and aluminum spindles. I have even been heavy thinking about how to construct said CF axle. What brought this on is I have had to move the steel axle I bought back when I thought I was going to be using the minivan engine and drivetrain, every time I needed to go in or out of the office, because Mrs the Poet didn’t like where she put something and insisted it belonged in my office. So because leaving the axle on the floor was a tripping hazard and because it blocks access to the door when leaning against the wall, the axle has to be moved every time I go in or out of the office. And I have come to realize that it is freaking heavy and detrimental to handling because it is 100% unsprung weight, and will work to get the car built but needs to be replaced at the earliest opportunity. Between the axle and the forged steel spindles we are talking about 80 pounds (+/-) of unsprung weight on a 1450 pound car. And replacing it with a 16 pound axle carrying 2 7 pound spindles. So replace 80 pounds of unsprung with 30 and the hubs that fit those spindles are lighter than the ones that fit the spindles I have now, by about a pound.

And final note, I screwed up again in my last correction. I used an old value for the rollover hoops of 16 feet back from when I didn’t have a good idea as to how far the rollover structure had to be over my head. The actual value is about 11 feet which takes a metric buttload of weight off the frame. Well a little bit because 5 feet times 1.75 pounds per foot isn’t much, about 9 pounds per hoop, or 17.5 pounds total. But every pound, every gram, adds up, and the fewer there are to add the lower the total will be at the end of the project. Also the less metal I have to buy, the less money I need to spend. Also important.

Ooops.

I made a statement two posts ago about revamping the frame design adding 30 pounds to the car. That was an error based on the fact that I added or relocated 8 frame braces during the redesign so I figured the weight for all 8 changes. Then last post I stated the empty car weight was 1450 pounds which was accurate based on calculating the length of every frame member and multiplying that by the weight per foot of tubing for that size tube.

There are 2 different tubes used in the Sprint-T. Most of the frame is made from 1.5″ X 0.060″ wall round DOM tubing, except the rollover structure which is 1.5″ X 0.120″ for rules compliance. Now because of the design there is room for interpretation as to where the frame ends and the rollover structure begins, but I’m taking the interpretation that any diagonal braces that touch the rear hoop inclusive are rollover, and everything else is frame. There are a lot of tubes in the frame, the front and rear hoops are the longest at roughly 16 feet apiece as they wrap around the body, and then the upper and lower frame rails at roughly 100″ each for a total of 400″ or just under 34 feet total. Then there are the front suspension mount, the internal diagonals for the rear hoop, the bracing inside the top halo, and the rest of the diagonals that connect everything together to make one solid structure. That comes to another 40 or so feet in mixed sizes.

So, all told the Sprint-T frame carries a few more pounds than the Speedway kit frame, but is orders of magnitude more stiff, both in bending and especially in torsion. The Speedway frame is 2 hunks of 1.5″ X 3″ X 0.120″ wall rectangular tubing with round tube crossmembers to hang the engine and transmission from. Adequate in bending loads under all circumstances, but lacking in torsion to be charitable. It is an upgrade from the Model T frame or any OE Ford frame used back in the day, but that is damning with faint praise. It was designed as a cruising or freeway frame, not for racing and especially not for racing around cones set up in a parking lot. It was not made for installing a rear roll hoop that meets SCCA safety rules for one thing and as an open car (no roof structure) it would be required to have a full cage, and there is no place to mount the front hoop either. Now there is a place to mount a drag race style cage, but not an autocross legal cage. This is annoying because using the kit frame would make the build so much easier. And probably cheaper, too. There would be work involved with relocating the suspension pickups to prevent the tire-lifting behavior of the stock rear axle and the resulting power oversteer in tight corners even with radical bigs-‘n’-littles tire sizes (I saw a YouTube video of a bucket getting sideways off a corner with 14″ wide rear tires and 3″ wide fronts).