Daily Archives: February 3, 2017

Happy Imbolc! and something to do with large rodents

I don’t know if this was on-purpose or serendipity, but the made-up US celebration falls square on the Pagan holiday. We Pagans of many stripes can celebrate our minor fertility festival on the same day as the muggles lose their minds on a groundhog seeing his shadow or not, and most people can’t tell the difference.

Incidentally this fertility festival mirrors the harvest festivals in the Fall. We have the trios of Lammas/Lughnassad, Mabon AKA My Birthday, and Samhain in the fall and Imbolc, Ostara, and Beltain in the spring. Here in TX you plan your crops in Imbolc, plant your crops near Ostara, and cheer for your crops on Beltain.

So, what are you planning to plant this year? Literally I still don’t have a garden here so I don’t plant food crops, and I don’t plant flowers either because I get allergies. As for the other I plan on doing the plasma gig, playing the cell phone game for every cent I can pull out of it, and keep trying to get writing work. I really wish I could still write poetry as there has been a large upsurge in demand this year. But Rhyme and Meter were both knocked out of my head in the wreck, and if the driver was still alive another one of the things I would have sued over losing. I’m still a fairly competent technical writer, I think, but it has been years since I picked up one of those gigs. So a small income stream is infinitely better than no income stream, but a big income stream beats the crap out of a small income stream.

So, my planting this year will be things that can grow my revenue stream(s). I will be starting the selling plasma gig, continuing the cell phone game gig and the gig I can’t talk about because NDA, and keep looking for writing and modeling gigs in the hope that I can still do those things.

Back to the recurring story about the hot rod, it seems there are good things about having insomnia. “Buh, wha’?”[whiplash] Yeah, it turns out being in bed in a dark room just… thinking, is a great way to solve problems. One of the problems I needed to solve was adjustability for different uses. For normal street and highway use a touch of understeer is good and makes the car more stable. In the past Detroit carmakers mistook “touch” for “kill it multiple times with a sledgehammer” leading to sedans that plowed like a farm implement under hard cornering. For autocross driving a touch of oversteer makes the car faster through the twisties, just enough to change direction quickly. A good way to adjust over/understeer is moving the rear roll center up and down. So I designed a cheap and simple way to adjust the rear roll center height quickly the other night while waiting for brain shutdown and sleep involving a chunk of 1″ allthread and a matching nut that acts as the pivot for the center arm of the Watt’s link. As I crank the allthread the nut moves up and down, but even if the allthread can’t turn except when I crank on it the roll center won’t change enough to affect handling as the nut turns while the arm pivots because the nut only moves a fraction of a turn which translates to a fraction of a thread spacing. To change the roll center height enough to change from under to oversteer and back requires moving inches, not a tiny fraction of an inch (< 1mm). Not that the allthread not moving is a high probability but I like to make sure I cover all the bases (as in "what is the worst that can happen with this design?"). "The worst" in this case was the allthread bending under the load and failing leading to a laterally unrestrained rear axle, but the way to deal with that is to size the allthread so that other things fail first, things that don't normally fail except in a wreck. I figure that 1" is enough safety factor to prevent that from happening, especially since the fixed-mount kit through Speedway uses a ½" bolt in single shear for the center pivot. There will be roller bearings in the top and bottom brackets for the allthread to turn in and a 3/8” square carved into the top of the allthread for a ratchet to drive the nut up and down.

But now we are entering the minutiae of car design (aka “brass tacks”). I don’t usually get into things this nit-picky until much later in the design but I was just laying there staring at the ceiling in the semi-dark of a suburban night unable to sleep and nothing else to do but think and this is what I thunk.

Y’all have a good night, Opus the Unkillable