Monthly Archives: October 2018

I think I may have aged out of being a lab rat

Well, now that I’m 60 I haven’t had a drug study in several months. And I’m not stupid or complacent, I check on other drug studies and one thing in common is an upper cut-off age depending on diseases being treated. The majority of the drug studies have upper cut-offs of 40, some go as high as 50, a rare few go to 60, and almost none go higher than that. So, I have lost another gig.😥

A couple of posts ago I mentioned running chains from the front drive stubs of a Subaru AWD transmission to get a true mid-engine A-Mod Solo racing car, well this is not original to me. I saw it done in a video a last year. Mid-engine AWD Time Attack racer. There is a good look at the drive chain routing starting at 1:01. I would have linked the video with the post where I mentioned the car including basically sitting on the differential to keep the polar moment as low as possible, but I just stumbled across it again today. So, I linked it today. I could do something like this with the Sprint-T but I would have to delete the straight tube front axle and design a double A-arm suspension with drive to the front wheels. And since there is not much performance advantage with AWD for Solo or Autocross racing and I have spent a fair chunk of change on the front axle and spindles and steering arms and installation kit… it’s not going to happen with the Sprint-T build. Now if I was working from scratch with no parts already bought, like for the A-Mod car, there is enough of an advantage especially in the wet to consider doing the AWD system. Now from watching the 2018 Nats with all the rain I would definitely deal with the added weight if I could. They had cars literally floating away in the standing water from the flooding of the courses. AWD could only be a benefit under those conditions, provided the driver could see where they were going.

In other news, I think when I was cold-forming sheet steel with my fingers has caught up to me in the form of pain in my knuckles. Which is a bummer, because it makes typing a literal pain. It’s also restricting my lateral motion for moving fingers from side to side, which slows my typing speed. And also hurts. I forgot who said it, but it’s true. Getting old ain’t for sissies.
Far Side says you never see it coming

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What is the scariest species on Earth and possibly in the universe?

It probably isn’t what you think. Looking objectively there is a species that eats almost anything, lives almost anywhere it wants, has no natural predators, and reproduces almost at will, and hunts by exhausting its prey to death. You might say that such a species should have overrun the planet, and yes we have. What species did you think I was writing about? 🤔

On the “eat anything”, large segments of our diet consist of essentially spoiled food that we call “fermented”, which is food that has been modified by the action of microbes or molds. We are evolved from scavengers, and much of our diet is toxic to other species. Also we are the only species that regularly consumes the milk of unrelated species outside of infancy. And don’t even get me started on alcohol. There are only a few species that can consume alcohol on a regular basis without dying from it, and one of those is the microbe that makes acetic acid from alcohol. We have genes that make enzymes that perform a similar function in our livers, literally letting us consume poison. We evolved this after our ancestors scavenged fermented fruits and didn’t die because they had those enzymes. In fact our ability to consume spoiled fruit is part of the root of the hypothesis we evolved from a scavenger species.

As for our primitive hunting techniques, they are still in use in many parts of the world. When we don’t have ranged weapons we hunt in packs, isolating an individual and constantly pursuing them, never letting them rest more than a few seconds at a time, switching off so that the pursuers are always less tired than the prey, and chasing in circles so that our pack has fresh hunters while never letting the prey rejoin with its herd or family group. And we continue this hunt until the prey drops from exhaustion and allows a close up kill with hand weapons or it just dies from exhaustion and gets butchered on the spot to take the meat back to the rest of the tribe. Sometimes it’s both at the same time, we don’t wait until it’s dead before butchering. Because we are scary like that.

The “reproducing at will” bit is easy to explain, what day is your birthday? Are all your relatives born in the same month? Then we reproduce pretty much whenever we want to or don’t want to but “oops”. As Londo Mollari put it in Babylon 5 “Your women have no season.” We have sex all the time, and get pregnant all the time, and give birth, you guessed it, “all the time”. We reproduce so much that sex has become disconnected from reproduction and has become mostly recreation instead of procreation. For some species sex is a literal death sentence, they die shortly after reproducing. Looking at you, salmon. For humans, we have “le petite mort“, but barring complications during birth, we can reproduce again almost immediately if there is enough food available. The only thing slowing us down is a relatively long gestation period.

Throw technology and agriculture on top of our natural abilities, and you have the scariest species on the planet

I’m not ignoring the recent events involving guns

I’m just trying to not think about them. Because there’s nothing I can do that will change our gun laws one iota, nothing I can do about liars occupying the White House who do nothing except tweet and play golf and drink Diet Coke and eat McDonald’s all day. I write about building a car now, because when I wrote about bike wrecks I made myself crazy and super depressed, and I don’t like being crazy or any level of depressed.

Seriously this is like the 300th mass shooting in the US this year and if the other 299 or so haven’t gotten the ball rolling another one won’t either, even if it’s a hate crime. A hate crime that we enabled by allowing people to buy what are essentially low-performance weapons of war without proof of need or even proof of sanity. It’s just ridiculous how easy it is to buy devices capable of killing so many people in so little time. I mean, sure I said similar things about cars, and I mean them, but at least you have to show some degree of competence to own a car (license), show some financial responsibility (insurance), and register the damn thing with the government (tags). I’m convinced the only reason why we aren’t up to out necks in bodies is it takes a fair degree of skill and a smidgen of depravity to use a gun like that, plus bullets are expensive. It takes a lot of practice to get skilled, and since ammunition is so expensive that degree of practice is also expensive. That’s one reason so many mass shooters are either well-off, or ex-military so they get the ammo to get the practice to get the bullets on target. The last time I shot a long arm was when I was in the Army, and it has been more than 20 years since I shot a pistol, all because I can’t afford to shoot the guns I (used to) own. I let the last one go when my dad died and we sold his guns off, I put mine in with his and Mom’s.

But, I haven’t written about the shootings until now because I have nothing useful to add.

Something else I can’t do anything about is the depravity of men. The reason the synagogue shooter gave for targeting the sanctuary is he “wanted to kill Jews”. There is nothing I can do about him wanting to kill Jews except prevent him from acquiring the capability of carrying out the desire, and as already demonstrated there’s Fuck All I can do about crazy people getting access to that capability. Unless you are convicted of a violent crime there is absolutely nothing preventing you from getting your hands on as many guns and as much ammunition as you can buy or physically carry, whichever limit you hit first. And even a conviction for a violent crime might not prevent you from legally owning a gun, if the conviction was not properly recorded, or if the crime is not sufficiently criminal to warrant preventing you from buying firearms, like many misdemeanor assaults or cruelty to animals.

So to keep from stewing about all the things going on that should make me insane I have been building cars in my head, making sketches on paper and designs in my head about what to do to solve the myriad of problems that come from building a car from Bits You Bought At Random (Not Really At Random It Just Seems That Way). Basically every time I buy something I freeze that part of the design, and everything else has to work with or around the parts I already bought unless it becomes cheaper to abandon the sunk cost. And that phrase means that replacing or bypassing the parts I already bought is significantly cheaper than using them.

For example, I have a straight front axle that I bought so the hubs up front would have the same spacing as the hubs on the front of the minivan used in the rear as a mid-engine, which I bought when I had some more money than I have now and less expenses, and before I discovered I wasn’t going to get the minivan because Mrs. the Poet told the people not to give it to me 😦 She told them something about not wanting a derelict vehicle in the driveway because Codes would tow it, after we had already solved that issue. But anyway, now I have to build with that front axle and spindles unless it would cost less to do something else in the front suspension than to complete what I already have. And as I only need to buy shocks and springs, 4 straight links, hubs and disks, and calipers and fabricate a few brackets to finish tying all those bits together there is little possibility I could make anything cheaper unless someone gives me a small RWD car with a complete front suspension to swap out, and given what happened to the engine and transmission that was supposed to come from the minivan… I’m putting that possibility on the same level with meeting a Sasquatch or Santa Claus in person. Not saying that’s not going to happen, just getting the car and the required bits removed before Mrs. the Poet finds out the car is in the driveway and at no cost to me is a low probability event. It might happen but I would need Mrs. the Poet to not be at home for an extended period and also for it to be cool enough to remove the bits in the driveway and not get consumed alive by insects. Those conditions almost never line up because she goes to see her family in July and August, and it doesn’t get cool around here until, well now, and it’s still kinda warm this time of year. So free car when Mrs. the Poet is gone, and cool enough to not die working outside. It could happen, someday.

Or I might win the lottery and have enough money to buy what I need and also a place to work away from the house. Which do you think will happen first, free car or win the lottery? Leave a comment.

We have such small dreams

Mrs. the Poet and I were discussing what it would feel like to be rich while talking about the take home from the Lotto Texas drawing tonight. And as we did it dawned on me just how small we dreamed. And how little it would take for us to feel “rich”.

The big thing we kept coming back to was inspired by end-of-the-month grocery shopping, and having to eliminate items from the cart as we got closer to the budget limit, exchanging branded items for store-brand items, and just not buying stuff we could survive without. And a big part of our definition for “rich” became “don’t have to take stuff out of the grocery cart because we can’t afford it”, and the corollary “buy what you really want”.

Later we expanded on that to “have all the bills paid at the end of the month and still have money left over” and “get everything fixed and not have anything in the house that wasn’t fully functional”. Basically get back to where we were when I was working 7 days a week at TI back in the 90s, bringing home 20 hours of extra pay a week. We made a total of $57K that year or $100K in today’s dollars. We had a nice townhouse, savings, and I was taking flying lessons once a week. I had a “hot hatch” for autocross, my 87 Hyundai, and was building a Pt. 103 legal ultralight, so I was living my dream life at the time. So that’s what we are looking for with the lottery, living like I was working 60 hours a week at a good paying job, minus the working 60 hours a week.

And since I can’t stop thinking about the Sprint-T after considering the dynamics of the right side torque arm 22″ off center I changed my mind again and moved the torque arm over to the center section of the rear axle. Seriously the right side torque arm has the potential to steer the car left under power. And turning the swing arm into a two-piece radius rod would bind the axle as the car rolled into and out of corners. Not severely, but a bind at any rate. So the swing arms are back to free movement on both sides, and a new low profile torque arm is added to the right side of the center section.

Also the frame design was changed to the side rails extended to the far end of the car and a X braced crossmember placed vertically across the end to support the gas tanks and battery and the tonneau cover for the pickup bed. The bed is going to be similar to the original bed in that it won’t be attached to the bucket, but much deeper than the original Model T pickup bed, with the tonneau more or less level with the back of the body and the floor at the same level as the bottom of the bucket more or less, and the vertical crossmember will be supported by two diagonals running down from the top of the rear roll hoop, one to the bottom and the other to the top. There will also be two bolt-in braces at the rear of the frame to allow mechanical access to bits in the back and also allow the body to be bolted to the frame after the frame is completed. One brace will triangulate the rear hoop to prevent deflections during a rollover wreck and also provide a place to mount the shoulder harnesses, the other will be a brace across the top pair of diagonals from the rear hoop to the rear crossmember to stiffen the frame in torsion.

And yes I’m obsessive about frame rigidity especially in torsion. Torsional rigidity is essential in tuning for handling balance with springs and anti-roll bars, with a frame that is not torsionally rigid the only way to tune front-to-rear balance is by adjusting the roll center heights. While this works for fine adjustments it takes way too much movement of the roll centers to have that as the only way to adjust balance. That’s why the design for the Sprint-T has an adjustable mount for the Watt’s link, so that the rear roll center can be precisely tuned to balance the handling front to rear. The TGS2 has adjustable anti-roll bars to the same end for quickly adjusting the balance of the car for street or autocross or Solo racing, street driving requires a touch of understeer, but not too much while autocross requires a fair amount of oversteer, with Solo in the middle but biased more to the oversteer side because it’s basically the same as autocross, but faster. Goodguys course rules require top speeds “around” 30 MPH, where Solo rules allow speeds up to about 70 MPH. The descriptive term is “highway speed” for Solo, which was 55 MPH when the rule was first written and now could mean as fast as 80 MPH. Either way, Solo racing can get much faster than a Goodguys’ autocross or it can be about the same, so requires more tuning flexibility. But toss street driving into the mix, and you really need a simple and quick way to adjust the balance of the car from front to rear and back again.

And I mention the TGS2 because I haven’t given up on the mid-engine bucket if someone gives me a FWD car to use as a donor vehicle for an engine and transmission. I’m open to free 😈 I mean seriously open to free, as long as it is done legally, like asking to haul off a car from your land, or something like that. And seriously if you have a vehicle you need hauled off leave a comment 🙂 I will find a way. And if it’s a FWD minivan with an automatic transmission, well I’ll just suffer the ignominy of driving a slush box. Seriously, as light as the TGS2 is going to be it won’t take much to make it a rocket for SCCA Solo, even if the mid-engine makes it ineligible for Goodguys. And there is a chance I could still run Goodguys with a minivan engine and transmission stuck in the back of the car.

Can’t stop, won’t stop, thinking about building the Sprint-T

Sometimes it’s a bummer when you get caught in a rut, trying to solve a problem that ultimately can’t be solved. That’s a little like what I’m dealing with on the Sprint-T. Absent a change in the build budget from zero the problem is unsolvable. But that doesn’t keep me from trying to solve it. I mean I have been working on this problem since 1968, why stop now? I’m as close now as I was when I was 10.

With the loss of access to the Subaru transmission the Subaru build got more expensive but still not as expensive as a V8 build, so right now the engine of choice remains the EJ20X at $1K. If I can find a decent Subaru transmission at a good price then I’m ahead of the game, if not I have to figure out how to get a bellhousing and starter to fit so that a good T5 transmission can be installed. Weight wide that would be the way to go, but building the bellhousing might be too much work without access to a 3D printer. I thought I might be able to hydroform a bellhousing, but while I could build the mold and baseplate I don’t have access to the kind of pressure needed to force steel or aluminum thick enough to work as a bellhousing into the mold. If I’m reading the literature right I would need pressures on the order of 3k-4k PSI (207-275 bar) for that deep a stretch, while what I have access to tops out at 1700 PSI (117 bar) That would work for about half the thickness I need in either metal, not good enough.

But this being DFW with lots of aerospace manufacturing going on I might be able to either get equipment to stretch 3/16” steel that far, and a quick Google search shows 2 local companies that can 3D print in several aluminum alloys or in Chromemoly steel, but at “not cheap” costs that are still much less than DIY hydroforming if I try to do it in one pass with materials that are thick enough to pass inspection at the race track (0.25″ at the thinnest point for aluminum, or 0.1875″ in steel). Now the problem here is will a 3D printed bellhousing even pass tech at any thickness. Tech inspectors can get pretty leery of unconventional manufacturing techniques especially on parts that are both structural and safety-related like a bellhousing. The bellhousing has to partially support the weights of the engine and the transmission, making it a structural component, but also has to contain the shrapnel of a potential clutch or flywheel explosion. That would mean making more than one bellhousing and then deliberately exploding a clutch or flywheel inside it and proving nothing made it outside the bellhousing.

Now something that used to be done back in the early ’70s was to make the bellhousing out of aluminum but then put a thin steel liner to contain the exploded bits using the aluminum to support it. That is the liner alone would not contain the explosion because it wouldn’t be strong enough while the aluminum was strong enough but not hard enough to contain the explody bits, so the liner prevents the bits from contacting the aluminum while the aluminum holds the liner together, and the pumps I have access to could hydroform the aluminum and the steel liner using the aluminum as the mold for the steel liner without removing it from the mold used to hydroform the aluminum. In other words it would be a two part process of putting the aluminum sheet in the mold, forming it to the mold, splitting the mold and putting the steel sheet in place inside the aluminum, then forming it to the combination of the mold and the aluminum. The tricky part for the Subaru engine is the starter bolts to a flat spot on the back of the bellhousing which has to be at a certain depth from the block and flywheel for the starter to engage, while the transmission also bolts to that same area and also has a distance from the flywheel it needs to be to function.. The added problem is that T5 transmissions were used in many applications with different mounting depths, so I would need to find a Subaru transmission case and cut off the bellhousing to get the starter depth right, then rig up a plate to mount the transmission at the right depth, fill in the gaps and smooth out the differences and pull the mold off that. The mold would not have to be super strong, just strong enough to hold together for two forming cycles, and the second cycle would put most of the forces on the aluminum outer layer.

And it’s getting late and I got extreeeemely wordy, so time to put the post and the writer to bed.

Bear with me while I think out loud

Yep, thinking again, take cover. Basically still planning the Sprint-T even though without winning the lottery or something miraculous happening to the trust fund I will never have the budget to complete it, not that I have really gotten started with it. But since I can’t shut my brain off (well I can, but the drugs I need cost a fortune and require a team of doctors approval for the prescriptions) I have to think about something and as I posted earlier, I’m not a genetically engineered mouse bent on taking over the world. So, I have a choice of various versions of the T-bucket, airplanes, hovercraft, sailboats, suitcase nukes, or sub-orbital spacecraft. I have the most parts for the T-bucket, and the parts on hand for the projects are basically as they are listed in order from airplanes to sub-orbital spacecraft and suitcase nukes. I have one part for the nuke, a bit of plumbing that was used in a completely different project and just happens to be suited for building a suitcase nuke, and pretty much nothing for the sub-orbital spacecraft. The project I have the most parts for is the Sprint-T.

Something I have been thinking hard about is the footbox area at the front of the body, and how there basically isn’t any area to speak of. The firewall is 27″ wide outside to outside right behind the little step in the cowl where the hood met the body on the original Model T, but 26″ on the inside because of how much material there is in that corner. Seriously, there is way over ¼” of fiberglass and resin partially because of the shape of the mold there and partially because it is a high stress area of the body that in the kit located a bunch of different things that really needed to not move at any time in relation to other bits of the car. So tight space up front with several assemblies fighting for a place to live, like the brakes, the clutch pedal and master cylinder if I use a manual transmission, steering column, gas pedal, and the real real-estate hog the bellhousing. Now if I went with the smooth cowl I mentioned a long time ago when I discussed stick-aided-design I would free up a few more inches in width, basically about 7″ at the widest spot in the new firewall. The inexpensive but quality brake and clutch pedal assembly is 8.5″ wide at the mounting points and only about 5.5″ wide down at the pedals but the clutch pedal is only about ¼” to ½” in from the outside edge of the mount. So again there is not much room to work with between the inside of the cowl and the edge of the clutch pedal even with the cowl pushed out for a smooth curve and no cowl pinch.

Now with the original cowl design the steering column would have to go under the right brake master cylinder and as close to the brake pedal as possible to leave room between the steering column and the bellhousing for a gas pedal. That’s because there is just not that much room for things on the firewall, the bellhousing taking up so much space inside the car and the 26″ inside width. The SBC and LS bellhousings are about 19″ wide leaving only 5″ total for feet and controls, and since the triple pedal assembly is 8.5″ wide at the mounts, there is just no space to put three pedals and have the bolts for the bracket not hang off in empty space. There is barely room for the bracket with the widened “smooth” cowl, and moving the engine to the right for balance.

Why are both ends of the economic spectrum unclean?

You know what I mean. If you have more money than you can spend you’re filthy rich, but if you have more needs than resources, you’re dirt poor. This is a roundabout way of telling everybody that we didn’t win the Lotto Texas yesterday, so we are still on the “dirt poor” end of the spectrum. Well, not actually “dirt” poor, but not entirely clean either. But this still doesn’t answer my question of why the extreme ends of the economic spectrum are not clean. I’m pretty sure filthy rich comes from the same place as calling money “filthy lucre”, alleging that money itself is dirty and having too much makes you dirty, too. But how can the absence of something dirty make you dirty? It is a conundrum.

And on the thing that otherwise occupies my mind, the Subaru EJ20X and 5 speed transmission combination has sold out leaving only the engines remaining, still at the same $1K price. And those engines are still about the best bang for the buck for the Sprint-T, even if I have to make a new bellhousing to mount a transmission. And since I just had to drain $3325 from the bank account for a trip to the ER that didn’t tell me what made my leg suddenly balloon up to about the size of a slow-pitch softball, I really don’t have funds for the engine.

It's not supposed to be that big.

Anyway, that swollen mess is the latest reason I don’t have money for building the Sprint-T.🤑 And another reason why I’m buying another ticket for the $14.5 million Lotto Texas drawing on Saturday, but not for the $750 million Powerball drawing the same night. I’m trying to not be greedy, I can live very comfortably on the payout from the Lotto Texas drawing, but the Powerball payout is really too much. And also not enough to help other poor people, although I suppose I could fund a couple of Planned Parenthood offices with the leftovers from $8,470,223 after taxes in the first year. And it just gets worse every year after that. Too much for one family to reasonably spend, but still not enough to make a serious dent in poverty. And FYI the after tax and Mrs. the Poet take home is $123,730 from the Lotto Texas annuity, so buy the Canadian bungalow, start construction on the rebuilt Texas winter home, and also start buying parts for the Sprint-T. So realistically “leftovers” from the first year Powerball will be about $8,000,000. Which would mean the entire next year tax savings would be enough to live on, freeing up the payout for “do-goodism”. I mean seriously, the tax deductions alone from $8,000,000 worth of charity are more than the entire Lotto Texas payout after taxes, meaning we could live stupid rich for the rest of our lives and never spend anything out of the actual after-tax payout before deductions with the payout from Saturday’s Powerball.

And I have been working in severe adverse conditions today.See how I get harassed by my coworkers?

That’s Clyde riding my neck about productivity, while keeping me from concentrating on my writing. 🙂

It’s almost a racist joke

But we are getting inundated by a Mexican hurricane. Willa is drenching southwestern Mexico, but the moisture is getting pumped all the way up into OK and since The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell are perched between Mexico and OK, we are likewise getting drenched by Willa. Not that we needed any more rain, the ground was still nearly saturated from the previous batch of rain and we only had a few days to dry out before Willa came knocking. The front and back yards turned into lakes, the cats never got more than a few feet from the house because of all the water, and it has been generally dreary and wet all day.

This meant I was inside my head most of the day, thinking. And since I’m realistic enough to know I can’t take over the world like a certain genetically engineered cartoon mouse desires, I was thinking about projects to build. One thing I was thinking about was turning one of those Subaru engine and transmission assemblies into an SCCA A-Mod Solo racer. The idea was to connect the output shaft from the transmission directly to the rear differential, and use motorcycle drive chains to run from the drive shafts of the FWD part of the transaxle under the engine cylinders to axles mounted 73″ in front of the rear axle center to meet the minimum wheelbase requirement and get the polar moment as low as possible, with the driver’s seat parked on the tailshaft of the transmission to get the weight back and also reduce the polar moment, giving an all-wheel drive car that would be close to the minimum weight for the class.

Can you imagine what I could create with a shop and a budget? The mind boggles. No, really my mind was boggled by the idea of having a shop with people and equipment to build and a big enough budget to fund the builds I could come up with, budget being my largest obstacle followed by not having the array of skills I would need to do all the builds myself, at least not quickly. I can do many things, but not all at the same time and to be honest not all that great. I can’t weld pretty, when I need to join metals and make it pretty I braze instead of welding. My upholstery skills can cover a seat in foam padding and cloth or leather as long as I don’t have to do too much any sewing. My composites skills are actually pretty good as long as I’m not working with resins that kick off quickly at room temperature and I am not in a hurry to get the finished product, because I’m slow.

After I shook off the boggle I was thinking about the Sprint-T again, specifically how to get my creaky bones in and more importantly back out of the car. Since I will have to climb through the top of the roll cage I will need something to help me stand back up on the way out. Part of the scheme for making the halo portion of the cage stiff is to run triangulated structure around the inside to prevent the halo from distorting when the frame is twisted, and my idea was to make the bar that crosses across the front part of the top within arm’s reach of the driver’s seat when the driver is seated, which ties in well with the idea that I should be able to park my butt on the top of the cage while standing inside the car. If I keep the inside of the cage low enough to not allow my head or limbs to get outside the cage in case of a flip, the top of the cage will be within easy reach from the driver’s seat, and easy to sit down on while getting out. And the structure that triangulates the opening in the top of the cage will likewise be in easy reach if I run the front lateral bar across the front of the seat, and X brace the part of the opening in front of that while using more structure to brace around the opening that remains. Did I mention I get obsessive about rigid structures? Or I could run a bar from the center of the “grab bar” to the center of the rear hoop and run a diagonal across that opening while running diagonals from the left and right corners of the front hoop to the center of the “grab bar” leaving only the small opening for driver access not triangulated. That would prevent most deflection in the halo structure, and give me lots of places to grab while trying to get in or out of the car. And won’t add as much weight to the halo as the other alternative for bracing it against deflections. Again I came up with a better solution while trying to describe the problem I was trying to solve.

I’m not filthy rich

My ticket did not have the winning Mega Millions numbers. To be precise my ticket had nothing in common with the winning numbers. The closest my ticket came to winning was the jackpot total printed at the bottom. And at the end of the news was the announcement that if nobody won today Friday’s draw would be for $2 billion. That’s roughly $44,000,000 for the first year after taxes. To put that in perspective the jackpot for tomorrow’s Lotto Texas drawing is $13,500,000 over 30 years, or less than a third of the post tax first year take home. And because I’m not super greedy, just regular greedy, I bought a ticket for the Lotto Texas drawing.

Lotto Fever has not been the only thing running through my mind, I have also been thinking about making the Subaru powered variant of the Sprint-T lighter. If my math is right, I can save 7 pounds by fabricating an aluminum housing for an aluminum 9-inch center section, but I won’t save any money and I won’t be able to find the right final drive ratio to match the Subaru 5 speed transmission for racing or cruising the Interstates between races. The available ratios are kinda thin taller than 4.11, and especially between 3.50 and 3.00 as in there was literally nothing in the current catalog between 3.50 and 3.00. OK looking in the wrong page of the catalog, there are actually 3.50, 3.40, 3.25, and 3.00 in the other side of the catalog. The street side of the catalog doesn’t get as low (high numerical) as the race side, but it has much more choice taller than 4.11. Anywho, just thinking out loud again, looking for better options and not finding any.

And I was watching some racing videos last night and saw a ISMA supermodified racer that was running an interesting setup with a ball joint upright on a twin tube truss beam axle. I could only see the back of the right end of the axle because the camera was on the right side pointed forward from the driver’s seat area, but it looked like an inverted Pratt truss because they wanted as much of the load carried in compression as possible to avoid welded joints under tension and still wanted triangulation. Or it could have been a modified Warren truss with one vertical member to provide a place for the 4-link to tie in. Either way it gives a way to run different spindles and hubs if I didn’t already have an axle and spindles. But I’m keeping options open for a replacement that is lighter than the boat anchor I have at the moment. Not that it’s an actual boat anchor, just like 10 times stronger than needed for a 1300 pound street car, and correspondingly 10 times heavier and it’s all unsprung weight. Unsprung weight is bad because it’s basically uncontrolled dynamic weight. Sprung weight, as the name suggests, is weight controlled by springs and dampers (shock absorbers).

One of the options I have been looking at was making an axle from a foam core and carbon fiber for light weight and super stiffness. I could build for the same breaking load as my steel axle, or go for the same yield load, but since carbon fiber has the same breaking load as the yield load but there is a huge difference between yield and breaking loads for steel I’m thinking there is a larger safety margin matching the breaking load. I was also thinking that doing a final, non-structural, layer of Kevlar I could protect the assembly from abrasion and contain the sharp bits of carbon fiber when it does break using the different moduli of the two materials. Simply put the Kevlar has about the same strength as carbon fiber, but it has to be stretched a lot farther before it breaks so what breaks the CF won’t rupture the Kevlar layer which then contains the broken bits unless the load or impact also tears the Kevlar. I could use the same spindles I have now or I could adapt aluminum upright/titanium spindle sprint car spindles, or I could whittle aluminum uprights to use lightweight GN hubs and spindles with the same kingpins and bushings as my early Ford spindles. The sprint car spindles and uprights are tempting but questionably legal for road use. Anywho, carbon fiber over foam is about 1/5 the weight of steel for the same breaking strength, partially because the foam acts to prevent the CF from deflecting but adds little weight, and makes manufacturing the part easier because it provides the shape for the part, just lay up and use wicking peel plies inside a vacuum bag to remove excess resin. So end result is stronger, lighter, and almost as easy to make as welding it from steel except for the cost of materials.

The MegaMillions jackpot has gotten incalculably large

Seriously, it has. There are not enough significant digits in the display to calculate the annual payout accurately. I can get within $10 million/year after taxes, but that’s as close as I can get not knowing how much there is between the hundreds of millions and the decimal point. That’s not going to keep me from buying a ticket though. Using as many digits as I have the $1.6 billion comes to about $35 million after taxes each year, and dividing up with two thirds going to Mrs. the Poet and me getting one third that still gives me about $11 million dollars the first year after taxes. The total jackpot for Wednesday’s Lotto Texas drawing is $13.5 million for 30 years before taxes. I’m buying a ticket for that one too FYI, but seriously, even with only knowing the closest hundred million the after tax take home the rough calculation is insane.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but that little trip to the ER ended up costing me $3325 complete. Now if I won even the Lotto Texas drawing that would still be a large chunk of change. That will take a large chunk of principal out of the funds my parents left me, almost a year’s worth of taxes. That’s one less year we can keep the house before we have to sell and move in with one of the kids. That’s another reason we need to win the lottery, even as little as $100k will keep us in the house until we are ready to leave it. And $200k will let me build the Sprint-T right, without penny-pinching, and let us stay in the house and get it fixed up.

And that pretty much covers everything I needed to say today except to remind everyone to vote like your lives depended on it, because for many people their lives do depend on how the vote turns out.