Monthly Archives: June 2017

Happy Father’s Day, I’m changing the TGS2 design again

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking again, because I had to use the bathroom. While I was sitting I started thinking of how I was going to make the splitters, because they had to be somewhat thin and fairly strong because the aero loads would get rather high at highway speeds and faster, and because people would probably stand on them getting in and out of the car. Then I had a flash from the past back when I was building ultralights (lightweight single-seat airplanes that don’t require a pilot’s license under Civil Aviation Code Part 103) and I sat in on a composite construction clinic. During the clinic we watched a video on making a solid core wing with fiberglass skins using vacuum bagging after wet lay up. I realize that the preceding sentence read like Star Trek technobabble for most of you, so I will explain by describing how I’m going to make the splitters and how that changes the way the rest of the car will go together.

First of all, the core. I’m going to make the splitters and the floor of the car as a single piece, using blue styrofoam insulation board, from the nose to the start of the diffuser at the rear. This is our solid core. Now I could get all high-tech and use carbon fiber to remove every last gram possible, but that would be both expensive and overkill. I will make use of different layers of material for different purposes in the lamination, but the most exotic will be the Kevlar under my butt and the gas tank. Now the layers outside in from the ground up. First will be some light fiberglass mat that will basically be there as a sanding layer and to prevent “print through” from the woven layers. Next will be three layers of fiberglass cloth oriented in different directions to make the splitter stiff no matter how it’s loaded from people standing on it. Then the core of insulation board, then another three layers of ‘glass like on the bottom and the ‘glass mat. Then under the driver and gas tank compartments 9 layers of Kevlar oriented like the ‘glass cloth in the previous layers. The purpose of the Kevlar is to protect my butt and other parts from road debris like what broke the engine on my last car. It goes on top of the mat because the Kevlar is inside the car and it is easier to lay up that way and the mat is damned cheap so I can just run it all the way across without leaving any gaps.

Now the “wet lay up”. This means I mix up batches of very slow curing resin and completely saturate the various layers with the resin before laying them on the core using things like paintbrushes and rollers to make sure every fiber is covered in resin before it goes on the core. The reason slow curing resin is used for this process is applying the many layers is time consuming and exacting, because there can be no gaps or wrinkles in the lay up. Now why wet lay up is simply cost, buying cloth and resin separately is much cheaper than buying pre-preg which is the cloth and resin all-in-one but not yet cured, because it is made below the kick-off temperature of the resin and shipped frozen to prevent the resin from curing until the cloth is molded to the desired shape.

Now “vacuum bagging”. As the name implies there is a bag involved that has the air removed from it after the part is placed inside. Now between the bag and the part are 2 more layers of materials that just keep the bag from sticking to the part. First is what is called the “bleeder layer” that just exists as a path for the air to escape from around the part so atmospheric pressure can squeeze against the part and the layers and get everything really close together. Next is the “peel ply” that goes next to the part and gives the excess resin a place to go and is the real reason for vacuum bagging a wet lay up. The process squeezes excess resin out of the layers which then goes into the peel ply where it is wicked away from the part. Resin is the heaviest part of a composite part, my 47 pound bucket body probably has less than 20 pounds of glass fibers and the rest is resin, in fact from looking at the actual body I would say it is closer to 15 pounds of fibers and the rest resin. So leaving just enough resin to hold the fibers makes a major difference in weight. You can see graphically how much resin is squeezed out by weighing the peel ply and bleeder after unbagging the part. The outside of the bag is polyethylene sheet like what is used as a drop cloth for painting.

And there you have my major objection to vacuum bagging, the amount of waste left after the process. The bag, the bleeder, and the peel ply are all garbage after the part comes out of the bag. The only thing in the process that is reusable is the fitting between the bag and the vacuum pump, and that vacuum pump. In my case I will be using a shop vac so I will be getting sub-optimal results compared to using a real vacuum pump, but I will be getting a flatter, smoother surface by leaving the part to cure on the garage floor. And then throwing away a full garbage can worth of bag and bleeder and peel plies.

Now the real thunder, I can use this process to make an entire monocoque frame and only have the roll cage made from tubing. And in the process reduce the weight of the frame by half over welded tubing.

The hone is here, and I’m exhausted

I’m watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans since shortly after the start at 0700, when I couldn’t get to sleep until after 0530. I keep falling asleep and faceplanting in the keyboard. And I just got back from my Father’s Day dinner at the Texas Roadhouse, where I had a Bacon Cheeseburger that must have weighed at least a pound total, 1020 Calories plus 400 Calories of steak fries. So besides being tired I’m dealing with a Food Coma.

So now Imma go have another lie-down. I get my present tomorrow.

I do stupid things sometimes

And yesterday was one two of those times. First stupid thing was extending my walk after ordering the hone I needed to install the kingpins and spindles on the axle. The second stupid thing was refusing the ride home after I started hobbling instead of walking. I can barely walk now because of the pain in the balls of my feet. I walked for 4.4 miles last night which is about 2 miles more than normal. Since the end of May I have walked more than 33 miles which averages out to 2 miles a day, and there were days I couldn’t walk because of pop-up showers in the evenings. But there were 2 extra-point check-ins on my mobile game that gave me an extra 70 points for checking in. That’s the equivalent of an extra 14 check-ins over and above the 25 I get per day, so you can see why I would want to get those check-ins. If I grab a bunch of those I will be back in the black for the weekly $1 gift card. Now the smart thing to do would be to catch the bus to the Wendy’s and order fries and drink soda all day while I walk back and forth between the two extra point check-ins and collect 245 points in 8 hours. That’s almost 10 cents! 😀 and right at 2 miles, and I could take the bus home or within 0.4 miles of home.

I have made zero progress on the TGS2 outside of buying the hone, that will be here tomorrow afternoon. Seriously, I can’t even think right now because of the pain. That kinda worries me, because I’m the guy who wrecked his knees and barely felt it, pulled a couple of my own teeth without painkillers, only took a painkiller because they made me on my last operation, and only needed one on the previous operation. Having something hurt this bad must mean I destroyed something. In fact I think I will take a little lie down because my feet hurt so bad.

Moving the driver forward completely changes the frame design

Moving me forward of the original firewall really changes the frame design. And I’m not just talking about swapping the seat and gas tank around, either. The original frame could be considered an exoskeleton as almost every part was outside of the body to some degree in order to increase torsional stiffness. Well the new frame is much smaller, only 27″ wide to fit the firewall on the body, up to the point the engine and drive bits mount which will have to be wider because of the transverse mounting.

Basically the part of the frame forward of the firewall are going to be like a ’50s Indy roadster. This is still going to be hella stout and light, but the frame members are going to be different than the Sprint-T derived frame. This frame is going to be designed for a mid engine from the get-go instead of trying to cram a mid mounted engine in a front engine frame. The other major change is all of the frame is going to be round tube, most 1.5″ diameter and most 0.060″ wall thickness except for the bits around me that have to be 0.120 by SCCA rules. This will lighten the frame by a few pounds, but nothing spectacular. What will do the most to lighten the frame is tucking everything inside the body and doing the engine and transmission mounts first instead of making them fit what was already there. Also the Sprint-T was designed around a roll cage that won’t be there because the driver isn’t where the roll cage is designed to protect.

I can make this frame as stiff and light as the Sprint-T, it will just take a bit more brain work to do so. Instead of spreading the frame as far apart as possible I’ll have to concentrate on using internal structure for stiffness. It can be done, and I’m the guy who’s crazy enough to do it. Incidentally, the changes move the fuel tank right over the center of gravity of the car so the balance doesn’t change at all between full and no gas. The Princes of Serendip are victorious again! (Look it up)

On other fronts I need to get that brake hone this evening so my walk will be extended to the auto parts store. And tomorrow’s walk will be by the pharmacy to pick up more not-sad pills for my brain. Tonight I’ll be walking about 3 miles to get some bonus check-ins on my mobile game. I haven’t been able to walk as a workout for 2 days now and I need to stretch out a bit.

More later.

Pardon me while I get political

I was sitting in the Lab Rat Keeper’s office reading Twitter and there is a mass shooting in VA. Then a couple refreshes later there is a mass shooting in NYC, nobody killed. Then there is a mass shooting in CA. That’s 3 mass shootings in one day within a few hours.

Three mass shootings with more than 20 victims and one never even gets covered because the shooter was a bad shot and nobody died so it kinda gets lost under the other two. What country has so many mass shootings that there has to be a body count to get news coverage? Just one, us. That one shooting I know literally nothing about except multiple people hit outside the Barclay’s Center and nobody died, from the original tweet.

And what country has more than one mass shooting in a day? Just us again. We Win! USA! USA! USA!

We don’t win we’re just the most spectacular losers.

You hear this America!?! We are all spectacular losers! Every other country has figured out how to protect their people from Crazies With Guns and Too Much Ammo, except us. What makes us the Short Bus Kids of the world on this one? “Our” representatives literally voted to allow crazy people and domestic abusers to buy guns and as much ammo as they can carry because “duur, Freedumb!” In fact one of the victims of the VA shooting helped write one of those bills, Steve Scalise. He literally wrote the law that put a gun in the hands of the guy that shot him. Dharma (that’s when life kicks you in the balls for what you did in this life AKA Instant Karma).

And as much as I would like for Dharma and Karma to take care of things, there is just too much collateral damage to let it work that way. What we really need is a way to not let fuckups like that bill get through legislatures at all levels. What I’m proposing is Instant Review. After a bill is passed and signed, then it goes to either SCOTUS or another court specifically set up just to do this. Most of the time it will literally be a rubber stamp job, but then you get things like the PATRIOT act and other laws like that, that require serious nit-picking. Hell, Donnie is dropping bombs based on the AUMF Congress gave George after 9/11, that should have had a “don’t use after” date on it. You see what I mean?

My next post will be about building something, the indignities of being a lab rat, or something funny the cat did if I can ever get the cat to do anything.

Not happy

Seriously, I need to get started on this car before I do something drastic. All I need is parts and raw stock. I can’t even make bicycles any more as Mrs. the Poet sold all my parts bikes and spares, to “make room” for me to work. Truth is she has been dying to get rid of them for years.

But seriously I am getting to the point that if I don’t get to building I will just stop from frustration. I have been here before, lots of enthusiasm until it gets to the point that I’m not seeing progress and haven’t seen any progress for a while. I’m hoping that getting the brake hone and installing the spindles will push the needle a bit off the peg towards the “progress” side of the gauge. And TBH the parts I have gotten so far this year are “progress” in a sense. So, no dead bodies in the back yard any time soon, and I’m not fast enough to bury live ones. “Drastic” is temporarily averted. And I have come a long way since this day.
2014 seems like such a long time ago.

And now that I got that off my chest, I’m going to bed.

Can’t. Stop. Thinking.

I was on my walk, again, and thinking, again, about alternative layouts. I remembered a Bucket from “back in the day” that had the engine actually in the body, but Google Image Search can’t seem to find it. It did find this earlier car.Engine in the back, driver in the frontThat did much the same thing but wasn’t a street car.

So what I was thinking was move the body back so the engine was about the place the upper black line is in this picture.Reusing a picture here.
And have the sticky-outy thing on the right sticking out of the body.That's close to what it looks like now.This is cleaned up
And I know the “sticky-outy” thing is the final drive housing.

Doing this won’t change anything except where the driver goes and how he (I) fit.View from the back. Mrs. the Poet is obviously fascinated. Three-quarter rear viewThree-quarter front. Clint is obviously as interested in the car as Mrs. the Poet
You know you have a tiny car when you can mock it up in the living room and not have to move any furniture around. The back of the chair in the pictures is right where the radiator will be on the car. I saw the chance to get a visual reference in place and I took that chance. The gas tank will go about where the box is in the bottom view and the rear view.

Now obviously part of the back of the body will need to get cut away to clear the engine and transmission if I don’t change the wheelbase. Now if I wanted to be really sneaky I could shorten the wheelbase from the 100″ of a stock model T and move the entire engine and transaxle inside the body and just have the axle sticking through the side like on some tubs.Just keep sliding that body back...
And hide everything inside the body. Nothing of the engine would be visible except the exhaust tips. And this configuration has precedent in the original Thunderbolt Grease Slapper.See how far forward the rear tires are?
Move the body back until the back of the rear tire is even with the back of the body with a fake convertible top and just keep the same space in front of the original firewall. Or I could get really sneaky and keep adding that distance in front of the body while moving the engine and transaxle forward until the rear tires are even with the back of the body and keep the original 100″ wheelbase, and put a smooth hatch over the driver’s compartment so that when it’s parked you can’t tell where the engine is.

And looking at the original TGS had me wondering where Tom kept his legs when he was driving, because they obviously aren’t in the car with him. He would have to be an above-the-knee amputee to fit in the car, or drive with his feet sticking through the firewall next to the engine. Ah, well it’s only a cartoon, a fifty year old cartoon at that. They had their own logic and physics .

Also getting back to the car I’m building, if I shorten the wheelbase that moves the balance more neutral to make the handling better. Another reason to move the engine forward.

And I need to get ready for my walk.

Pushed my limits a bit today

I was out in the heat again today paying bills and I really cut it close this time. I had to pay the phone bill after getting to the office just after they closed yesterday, so I was out during the day in the sun and the heat. Well I didn’t get any water or hydrate before I left and I started getting nauseous walking around. I didn’t check what the temperature was, but it was over 90 and it felt muggy when I opened the door.

I think I might have saved enough money from various gigs to get that brake hone and install those spindles this week. I have 2 trips to the lab rat keeper and another trip to take movies of my heart beating. This time I’m getting driven to the echocardiogram so I don’t have to spend more than 7 hours on the roads to get a 20 minute procedure done. I have to wear that infernal Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor and carry a jug of my urine around again, but maybe by the end of the week I’ll have a mockup installation of the spindles on the axle.

And I was just taking a “think break” to let my mind put more words together and putting the kingpins in the axle bosses where they are supposed to go, and as the instructions warned they don’t fit. First installation in a new tubular axle and both bosses are out of round by a few thousandths, just enough to keep the pins from dropping in unhindered. Enough that I had to get a hammer and drift to get them back out. And the instructions also say that the only way to fix this is with the brake hone… Before anyone says anything, yes I had the grub screws all the way out before trying to install the pins.

I’m trying a different strategy on sleeping, going to bed early before I’m tired and just letting the brain do its thing until I fall asleep. I was up by 0800 today waking up all on my own. It really looks like the longer I wait to hit the bed the longer it takes to turn off my brain. I was asleep in under an hour last night and the night before and woke up before my alarm yesterday and this morning. It’s weird being up that early. My usual M.O. is to wait until I feel sleepy, then get in bed, and have the brain go crazy trying to solve all the problems I didn’t get to during the day. Then several hours later I finally fall asleep only to get awakened from REM sleep by my alarm. If I turn the alarm off and get back to sleep I drop immediately back into REM and either continue the dream I woke up from or move into another one. One recurring theme I have been having lately in my dreams is mountain freeways replaced by multilane fiberglass slides that go for miles. Everyone gets out of their cars and slides down the mountain to meet their car at the bottom of the slide. This says something, but I’m not sure what it is yet. It is loads of fun sliding down the mountain, especially at night. But anyway that doesn’t happen when I go to bed before I get sleepy.

And I was writing a paragraph about sleeping and guess what happened? Yep, faceplanted right into the keyboard. Can’t sleep when I want to but when I’m doing something and need to stay awake? ZONK!

And now I really need to leave and fill out my bag limit of check-ins on my mobile game so I can get what I can out of it before it goes belly up.

Comparing forward and conventional driver seating

Watching the Canadian GP on the idiot box while waiting to walk down to the phone store and pay the bill. Aside from Hamilton running away and hiding from the rest of the field it is a good race to watch with lots of close racing all up and down the order. And in a few minutes the Cup race from Pocono starts.

You have heard the saying about a picture being worth a thousand words, and my usual post is about half that. So instead of talking about the difference in the driving position I marked the body with the rear of the conventional driving position to go with the previously marked far forward driving position.You can easily see how far forward the driver gets moved
The forward mark is the same one I used before, same piece of tape even. The rear mark is what I get by putting my feet behind the original firewall. That tiny piece of tape was the inside edge of my butt marker from when this body was going to be a front engine bucket with two seats. Yes, my butt is that narrow, the outside edge is the edge of the floor where the body turns up. And moving my butt that far forward only changed the weight bias from 63% rear to 60% rear without the 0.25″ floor pan under said butt.

OK F1 race just ended and Hamilton finished like 20 seconds ahead. Except for the usual first lap/early race carnage most of the attrition was brake failure except for one engine vibration retirement to keep from scattering the engine on the track. So now I switched to the Cup race at Pocono which is still in Stage 1 and drivers are already complaining about brakes going away, which partly shows why I want to make sure I can get enough tire to make good use of the big brakes on the TGS2. I know with the rear weight bias the front brakes won’t get as much use as they would with the front engine, and the rear brakes will see much higher temperatures than with the front engine.

And Junior just missed a shift and damaged the engine. And now it has been a few laps and Jimmy Johnson and Jamie McMurray both just had brake failure in the same turn, same lap to crash within feet of each other with McMurray catching fire from the impact damage. Jimmy absolutely nailed the wall, almost knocking it down. He got out under his own power but had to catch his breath a bit before taking the mandatory ambulance ride, while McMurray was in such a hurry to get out of his burning car he didn’t disconnect the AC hose and was walking around after the wreck with part of it hanging off the back of his helmet. Race has been red flagged because of the mess in turn 1, when Jimmy hit a lot of parts and pieces fell off the car and fluids ran on the track.

And Ryan Blaney just beat Kevin Harvick to the checkered flag. Sorry I got hung up with watching the race and forgot to report on it, but if you were interested in the race you would watch it I guess. And to add fuel to the Ford v Chevy wars, Harvick did the 3-2 instead of 3-4 shift and his Ford was fine but the Chevys all blew up in the same situation. And a Ford won.

I just saw an interesting use for coal, a carved anthracite trophy at Pocono. I don’t know if the eagle is made from coal but what is under it is.

And it’s time for me to walk to the phone store and pay the bill.

Why I need to run cartoon tire sizes

I found the perfect video to explain why there needs to be such a large difference in tire width.

Tire Load Sensitivity – Why Wide Tires Add Grip

Most mid-engine cars don’t have the extreme rear weight bias the TGS2 is saddled with and they still run the very different tire sizes. Heck, the Corvette is almost 50/50 and still has to run wider rears than fronts because of the added tire load caused by the high horsepower.

And that’s all I have to say because This Hit Me while I was in bed and I had to post it before I forgot it. My memory still hasn’t gotten any better. And my neck still hurts, but I had to do this.