Category Archives: Department of DIY

Thinking about the Sprint-T

… to avoid thinking about depressing things. Like

For some reason that video has been making the rounds on some of the forums I frequent as characters in web comics struggle with depression. Well, one character in one comic is actually singing the song, but that doesn’t explain why the same video is spreading to other forums. Maybe there are lot of people depressed by the current administration.

I have been spending a lot of time waiting to fall asleep because my feet have been cold and uncomfortable. I have a warm quilt that makes my upper body very warm, but for some reason my knees on down stays cold. This keeps me awake, and when I can’t sleep, I think. My favorite subject to think about is the bucket, and last night I was thinking about the Sprint-T. Specifically thinking about making the frame lighter and stiffer. Lighter by only making the rear hoop and diagonals out of the 0.120″ wall tubing, and everything else out of the 0.060″ wall. Stiffer by using the diagonal brace to carry the front mount for the radius rod that carries the weight of the back half of the car and triangulating the crap outta that mount in as many directions as possible. Comparing the weight of the floppy, bendy, noodly Speedway kit ladder frame (roughly 75 pounds) to the raised rail Sprint-T frame (80 pounds) that is almost completely rigid, well that’s not much weight to get stiff.

I was also thinking about using the brake reaction torque of the front axle to produce anti-dive the same way a torque arm makes anti-squat at the rear axle. The bad thing about this is it changes caster as the axle travels. That means the directional stability of the car changes and the steering feel changes, depending on how hard the brakes are grabbing. Thing is, for the normal radius rod front suspension for this type of car, this is normal driving behavior.

And 1/31 is my annual walking tour of the local tax offices, meaning I spent entirely too much time on my feet standing in line with the other last-minute taxpayers between walking to the offices. I couldn’t do this by bus because the offices are all too far from the bus stops, and the bus does not run frequently enough. I can walk to the bus stop I need to get off at before the next bus gets there. So I’m tired as heck tonight while I’m composing this post, not sleepy, but physically tired. My back hurts and my leg hurts, the one that got all the damage in the wreck.


Not watching State of the Uniom Tuesday

“State of the Uniom” was just too good to pass up. It just encapsulates the current administration perfectly. I mean it’s a simple typo, easy to make and easy to catch with spell-check. I mean I have that ugly red squiggle staring me in the face right now because I used the meme in the first line. Are the GOP so afraid of technology that they don’t have spell check turned on for their computers? Or did they somehow manage to get the tickets printed without using any computers?

I’m going to do my civic duty and pay my taxes in person tomorrow taking the bus downtown and then walking between the various offices because they are almost all on the same two streets. I’m going to make a detour to the phone store and pay my bill while I’m out, and maybe drop by the hardware/home store that’s on the gift card I got as pay on Monday and pick up some LED lights to replace the burned-out CFL lights in the kitchen, some of which are left over from Obama’s first term. We’re down to one working bulb in the kitchen over by the pantry, which makes cooking dinner a dark art, literally.

Still haven’t heard anything from any of the junkyards nearby about some kind of powertrain for either the Sprint-T or the TGS2. This is not unexpected as there have not been any winter storms that have created treacherous driving conditions yet. If we get an ice storm then totalled-out cars will be stacking up like cordwood, and I will have a choice of cheap to free engine/transmission combinations. Until then I have to wait. Impatiently, but I will wait.

Either this drummer had a really big tomtom…

Or I just heard someone playing Wipeout on a kick bass, probably a double kick bass. I was listening to deep cuts on YTM, and this live cover of Wipeout started playing, credited to the Ventures. On one of the later passes through the drum solo it went to the tomtom part, but the sound was too big and deep for a tomtom, but way too fast for a kick bass. I was in such shock I didn’t get the release date on the recording.

Curmudgeon’s week in review

This has been an interesting week here at Casa de El Poeta, and for the world.

Monday I was still trying to get my sleep cycle better synced with the rotation of the Earth, and some kid shot up a high school a couple of towns down the road from Casa de El Poeta for the first school shooting of the week. And a phrase I never thought I would use was created.

Tuesday I got the internet permanently (I hope) fixed, deposited some checks, picked up my pull from the comic store, and got my toes done so I could get more walking done. And some kid in KY shot up his high school for the second school shooting of the week. And another phrase I thought I would never use was created.

Wednesday I paid for all that walking and riding around by pretty much collapsing all day in bed again, and posted in the middle of the night. The world still did stupid things with #CheetoJesus at the helm and posting angry tweets from his phone in a bed full of cheeseburger wrappers.

Thursday was pretty much wasted as all I did was read web comics all night and into the day, and #CheetoJesus went to Switzerland to hobnob with billionaires on our dollar. I didn’t read about anything too bad on Twitter so he probably didn’t say much.

Friday, so far hasn’t been too bad. Sleep is still messed up as I sleep a little and then lie awake a little, rinse, repeat. It takes about 14 hours to get enough sleep that way, and I don’t get any work done when I’m awake because I’m in bed and not where I can’t get to anything where I can record my thoughts, so all that thinking is wasted. And TBH it’s all a bit disjointed and doesn’t really apply to anything. And I just checked Twitter and #CheetoJesus has just tried to fire Mueller. And got booed off the stage at Davos? I haven’t found any other links to that one so maybe just wishful thinking on the part of the poster. And a little more searching has found nothing on Davos, but plenty on the attempted firing of Mueller. And new searching has got video of Trump getting booed, but not while he was on stage reading the speech someone else wrote for him. That got polite applause from the crowd of millionaires and billionaires.

A show I like is showing on Velocity Channel, Last Stop Garage. It’s set in North West River, Labrador, Canada and reminds me of my Dad’s stories of when we were stationed in Argentia across the strait from the future shooting location of the TV show during the early 1960s. Not so much the actual events as the general accent of the speakers (Dad spoke excellent Newfie, which is very close to the accent used by the people on the reality show). My brother was born in the hospital in St. John’s so we have a close connection to the island. And I loved Avalon High the web comic set there.

And that seems like a good place to end this post. Enjoy Ceilidh’s [Kay-lee] adventures.

Yesterday was very long

On top of only getting a little over 2 hours of sleep yesterday I had to spend a lot of time running around. I had a check to deposit to pay my property taxes, and also deposit a return check for something Mrs. the Poet bought mail-order that was sold out when they filled the order, I had to pick up my pull from the Local Comics Store (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl if you must know), and then I had to get my toes done. There was a line to get my toes done so I had to wait about 45 minutes waiting for a tech to get my toenails shortened. With this new pair of shoes (well, the most recent pair I bought) I have to get my toes done more frequently because there is a seam across the toebox just in the right place to snag the tallest nails and pull them away from the nailbed. Trust me, that gets old really fast. So I hit the road just after 1500 after taking care of getting the internet and cable fixed semi-permanently, and didn’t get home until about 1900 and never got more than 3 miles from my house.

Other things, I put the word out locally I need an engine and transmission for the Sprint-T, but TBH I’m not holding much hope at finding them at a price I can afford. But, the local junkyards and auto dismantlers know I’m looking for a RWD engine/trans combo cheap because I don’t have any money, and they say they’ll call if one comes up. Fingers crossed someone calls.

Outside of my little world, here in the US we had another High School mass shooting. Another mass shooting, this time in KY, a day after the last one over in Italy TX. I only found out about the one in Italy because it was brought up in the local news as “color” for the KY shooting. Italy TX is on my route to Waco and the CMA land by bicycle. I used to have a friend living in Waco who I would visit by bike, and I would also stop and overnight there when I rode my bicycle to CMA. So Italy is there and back by lunch by bike from Casa de El Poeta. And was the location of first high school mass shooting of the week, which is a phrase nobody should ever use. We know what causes these high school mass shootings, easy availability of semi-auto guns of all types. And we all know why that is. And we all know who is responsible for the easy availability of semi-automatic firearms so that emotionally fraught high schoolers can shoot up their schools. It’s like nobody learned anything from Columbine.

Getting away from stuff I have no control over to other stuff I have no control over, I have really stiffened up the frame on the Sprint-T. As part of the bolt-in frame that allows the body to be installed after the frame I’m bracing from the torque arm pickup to the upper corners of the roll cage, except for that bothersome corner where the driver sits blocking the upper left rear corner of the cage with his (fat) head. I’m thinking that just bracing against the right corners may not work as well as that inverted pyramid as far as chassis rigidity is concerned, but it’s a heck of a lot better for being able to see and drive. And it does make the chassis more torsionally rigid, just not to the same degree as the inverted pyramid. This is a place where I have to decide if this is a frame part or a roll cage part. If it’s frame then I can make it from 0.060″ wall like the rest of the frame, but if it’s roll cage then by the rules I have to use 1½ diameter by 0.120″ wall like the rest of the roll cage, which is much heavier, but “much” is relative. The brace weighs 9.23 pounds +/- as a frame part, and 17.69 as a roll cage part or 8.46 pounds saved as frame over roll cage just for those 2 tubes. And I have to go through this decision process for just about every tube in the frame aside from the roll hoops and braces between the hoops.

Making room for a clutch pedal

Since I’m back to square one on the T bucket build, I’m contemplating how to make enough room in the footwell for 4 pedals including the dead pedal. Now installing a mid engine leaves tons of room for a clutch because everything is behind the body so all I need to worry about is linkages. But as low as the Sprint-T is the transmission and bellhousing will be fighting for room with the gas, brakes, and if I get a manual transmission the clutch pedal.

So one thing I was thinking about was my 210 or so pounds sitting halfway between the center and the outside of the body has a moment of 2362.5 inch pounds. I can off set the engine and transmission by an equal moment and get a perfectly balanced car for autocrossing, and that many inches will be available for pedals and feet to push the pedals. My worst-case is an all-steel SBC with a TH 350 transmission that weighs a total of 695 pounds that is 19″ wide at the crankshaft, and much wider at the heads. The tricky part is I only have the width of the front firewall to work with because of how the body pinches down to the firewall on a T-bucket. On the driver’s side I have 3½” of room without offsetting the engine to the right. Add in the offset and I’m looking at 6.9″ (175mm) of side-by-side foot room to fit feet that are 173mm wide the pair without shoes. My absolute worst case is the 4.6 Mod motor by Ford that weighs a ton and is like 22″ wide where the footbox goes, same size as the Coyote but 200 pounds heavier and half the power. The moment for that engine alone is almost the same as the SBC engine with the TH350 transmission. It’s a good thing that engine is so durable because otherwise it sucks as an engine.

Actually I don’t need to fit my feet in that space, just the master cylinder(s) and linkage. I have an entire 7½” to put my feet, side by side with the SBC engine mounted on centerline, or 11″ with the engine offset. Which leads me to ask how small were my parents’ generation’s feet, because I know there were Track Ts with the body mounted down low over the engine and the driver with his backside inches off the racing surface sitting beside the transmission, using a frame that had been heavily “Z’d” to get the engine and body down low.

I was also thinking about using the kit brake mount and a false floor over the master cylinder to move the pedals out of the way. I’m not sure how I would get that pedal hooked to a balance bar pushing two master cylinders to adjust the brake balance, but I can figure that one out after I get up in the morning.

Change in circumstance leads to change in mental state

I don’t know if I will ever have the re$ource$ to build out any road-going version of the hot rod, and it has caused a downward trend in emotional futures here at Casa de El Poeta. Those of you betting the new anti-depressant was not going to work after it “settled in” can now collect your winnings. It looks like I can either have a sex life or not be depressed, but not both at the same time. And that knowledge is depressing in and of its own self. Throw not having the financial resources to build the car on top of that… Fortunately I’m staying above the suicide line. I’m sad I won’t have the hot rod, and all that but I won’t let it drive me below the suicide line, I’ve been there and it is a Very Dark Place (using Milne Capitalization for emphasis).

On the other hand, not having to restrict myself to any rules or regulations except “will it go fast” and “will it be fun to drive” turned loose a bunch of mutants from the imagination. One in particular was based on the A-Mod car with the 90° Vee Twin sidewinder engine next to the driver, and the exhaust pipes running out the passenger side of the body and a small gas tank hanging from the roll cage to feed the EFI pump. That one would have been funny-looking with the rear axle tucked up behind the body and the front axle just far enough in front of the body not to hit the tires against the fiberglass at full lock. No visible engine, especially if I run the exhaust under the body. And not enough room outside the body to put an engine as small as the 420cc Predator from the local Harbor Freight store.

I then went through all the permutations of putting a liter class I4 motorcycle engine in the car, using both the mid-engine short chain drive to a differential and the front-engine offset to a lightweight rear axle. Both of those would work as long as a separate electric motor could be used as a reverse. I was sticking that engine in every which way trying to find a performance advantage. The only way that had a theoretical advantage was the mid-engine short chain drive. So still thinking even though there’s really nothing I can do with it.

OK I’ve been doing this writing thing for a while, and my nose is froze just from normal breathing. And right now I’m listening to “The Bertha Butt Boogie” on YTM, the album version. In case you thought things were “normal” around the ranch. I think I was in 8th grade when Jimmy Castor did his thing with Ms. Butt. The other hit from that album, “Troglodyte” is also in my rotation. But that still doesn’t do anything to make my office warmer than the current 64°F which is the warmest reading I’ve had with all the TVs and computers running plus my personal heat pumping into the space. It was 62° earlier when I first looked today.

Getting back to the opening paragraph, now I need to go through detoxing from my anti-depressant, which takes about 2 weeks to do and from the instructions sounds like Hell to go through. There are 2 main reasons to go through this, the first being it doesn’t work for me and I don’t need any more chemicals running through me than absolutely necessary. The second thing is this med makes me sleep half the day, and depression does that to me all by itself, I don’t need any help in staying unconscious. So the med has to go. I guess I’ll be unmedicated for a month to see what my baseline feels like, I really need to test that when I’m playing with my brain chemistry. Back to baseline after a failure. Making a note of that. Right here in my blog I’m making a note that I need to spend a month without brain meds to gauge my mental condition after I have a brain med that fails to work as advertised.

And with that, I really need to take this shoe off. I have a toe that needs a trim and the nail base is starting to hurt. If I try to run around the house unshod I’ll be hurting from another source so I need to get my feet back in bed where they will be warmish or so. I think I really need to hit the road and get my nails done in the morning, or after I get up since technically it’s already over 2 hours into the “morning” as I post this.

Still caught in a circadian slip

And pretty much nothing else to report.

I don’t have anything to use for the powertrain or any raw stock to use for a build. Basically if I was moving on this build I would be driving in circles, except I don’t have an engine or wheels, or a gas tank. I have a really neat steering wheel, most of a front axle (in pieces), and a body. And several square miles of mental plans with options for different engine/transmission combinations.

Now: Circadian slip. This is a real thing. I’m getting up at 5 every day, but instead of 0500 I’m getting up at 1700. So I have to figure out how to make myself sleep and get up at 0500 instead of 1700, something that has never happened in my life. Part of the problem is we are so close to the Winter Solstice that there is very little daylight for resetting my biorhythm. And artificial light at night doesn’t help keep me running on a diurnal as opposed to nocturnal rhythm. And my anti-depressant med makes everything, except my depression and my sex life, worse. Seriously, the soporific effect of Mirtazapine is so bad that I can take it and spend the next 12 hours asleep so I need to do the 36 hour reset one of these days soon, but I already took my pill for this 24 hour period and will probably be asleep soon. I just have to remember not to take my pill tomorrow night and then zombie through until Thursday night before sleeping again. I’ll need 2 pots of Opus grade Coffee (beyond weapons grade) and a clear path to the potty, and I should be good to go (and go and go and go…).

Now to work out the logistics to staying awake for 36 hours at 59 years of age and sign off…

Got started on one resolution, already broke another

Good news first, I went for a walk to refill my anti-depressant prescription, so 2 miles exercise today.

Now the bad news, I didn’t delete Twitter. I even read some tweets from Cheeto Jesus while I was warming up in the Starbucks waiting for my meds to get refilled. Damnit, I managed to survive the Reagan Era without turning into a cloud of radioactive dust, I’m not going to let a tanner-addicted con man end my days in a brilliant flash followed by a lingering radiation poisoning death. Downtown Dallas ain’t all that far from Casa de El Poeta, and word is Rocket Man used to be a “Dallas” TV show junky, “Who Shot JR” and everything. In fact I’m about equidistant from Downtown Dallas and Southfork Ranch, off to one side. Back to the subject, Dallas is pretty sure to get one high-yield airburst with a return address of Pyongyang, PROK on the case. I would rather that exchange never take place. So Cheeto Jesus needs to stop playing dick-measuring games with the other insane Great Leader with his finger on The Button.

On a brighter note I have been redoing the designs of the TGS2 and Sprint-T and consolidating the design parts around the body, as they can be the same and not negatively affect the design. While I’m concerned I might not be able to get in and out of either design without a strength and flexibility training routine, I’m still plugging along with the design work, because to quit is to abandon all hope. I’m not giving up, I’m just concerned I won’t have time to finish the car before I can’t drive it.

On that design, I figured out how to get the cage around the driver capsule rigid on all 6 faces, and able to get the body in and out of the finished frame without having to cut any of it. Some parts of the frame are going to have to be bolt-on with either a few Honking Huge bolts, or a mad passel of smaller bolts. Basically all the major loads of the frame are passing through those bolts, so there either needs to be many spreading the load, or single bolts capable of transmitting the loads at single points of failure. My instincts are to use multiple bolts all sized to be strong enough but arranged so that even without getting torqued tight they will support the load, at least two and sometimes three per joint.

Making the frame rigid all the way around the driver capsule required getting out of the box, looking at the ends and figuring out how to close them from the inside. Literally, the hard parts were the front and rear, making them rigid while allowing drivetrain to run through both ends. Leaving a hole in the top for the driver to get in without letting that face of the box collapse and in the bottom for servicing the drivetrain bits that share the cabin was simple by comparison.

And I have been up too long and really need to hit the sheets.

Still no engine or transmission so now what? continues

I was hoping I would get the corpse of a RWD car or pickup to use as a donor vehicle for a Sprint-T, or maybe a dead minivan for a TGS2. But, alas, such was not to be. I still have no powertrain to use building a hot rod.

All I need to do to keep Mrs. the Poet happy is find a perfectly clean engine and transmission and not spend any family money buying it. Yeah, and to quote my elder daughter, “And maybe flying monkeys will fly outta my butt”. To say the least, keeping Mrs. the Poet happy will be a challenge.

So if anyone has an old car, pickup, or minivan that has a good engine and transmission and a wrecked or rusted-out body, I will give the engine and transmission a good home.