Category Archives: Department of DIY

OK Finished the Archive Crawl of QC

I finished the archive crawl of Questionable Content last night early early this morning and saw patterns in his creative processes, but I really didn’t help my problem. I did see an ongoing art evolution that gradually became more of a character evolution, but aside from taking my mind off the subject enough that I am able to post this about my observations I didn’t find anything that would break my creative block, at least as far as writing is concerned. Now for the Sprint-T and the Mini Sprint-T I have found a few things to move that design along, but only in details. So far the major parts of the build are pretty much set in stone, but there are a ton of details that have to be resolved before the design can move forward as the tiny details cascade backwards into major changes in other parts of the build.

One of those tiny details is the steering arm location and orientation on the spindle. There are two locations and two orientations that result in 4 different locations for the drag link connecting the pitman arm on the steering box to the steering arm on the spindle. This cascades into different locations for the steering box because the drag link needs to be pretty level, or close to it if other things get in the way, which basically means there are 3 different places I need to put the steering box depending on how I mount the steering arm on the spindles. That’s because there are 2 combinations of mounting position and orientation that put the drag link in pretty much the same place.

Actually there’s no real technical reason for making the drag link level. The drag link and the panhard rod or lateral link (same device, different names) need to be parallel to prevent bump steer, and ideally the lateral link should be roughly level with the ground to prevent excessive side-to-side motion which would change the way the car turned depending on ride height. In the end it just makes things slightly easier to finagle to have the lateral link level at design ride height, and as stated earlier having the drag link parallel to the lateral link prevents bump steer and other steering maladies.

Another tiny detail is mounting the alternator, and I think I have that one nailed down. The only belt-driven device on the engine will be the alternator as the power steering will be electric, so no power steering pump, no AC so no AC compressor, and the water pump will be electric to reduce total drag on the engine and also improve cooling efficiency by driving the pump at the speed for best cooling regardless of the engine speed. That only leaves the alternator that needs to be driven by the engine directly. As I pointed out a while back there are 3 bosses on the passenger side of the block that are designed to have a bracket for an engine driven device bolted to them, the bracket for the AC compressor specifically, but there is no reason why that device can’t be the alternator instead. What I was thinking is a plate that bolted to the side of the block and another plate that gets welded to that plate that the alternator bolted to with one bolt hole being the arced slot that the bolt that adjusts the tension of the belt slides through. That front plate can be just bent from the side plate to avoid a welded joint, but that’s more of a “what can I do with the materials and tools I have?” than the other kind of design question. Obviously both bolts that go to the alternator would have to be on the same plane or pretty close (talking washer thickness differences more or less) which means I need to do a little bit of measuring when I go to the parts store to pick out an alternator, but for the Mini Sprint-T I just pull one from the parts box and bend a bracket from sheet plastic to glue to the block and alternator to hold it. I just have to line up the crank pulley and the alternator pulley until the glue dries, then run a simulated belt around the pulleys.

And there is a valid reason the alternator goes to the passenger side of the engine that goes back to mounting the steering box on the driver’s side of the frame and leaving room for the box and the steering shaft. If you thought Tetris was fun wait until you have to package the front end of a hot rod. At least when I have to shave material off the model to make things fit a hundredth of an inch on the model is a quarter of an inch on the full size car, or what’s basically molding flash on the model is major structure on the real car. And the engine and transmission is going to be offset to the right to counterbalance my weight to the left, another design decision made a long time ago. I have to find good weights for the engine and transmission.

I have a weight from a GM technical publication of 255 pounds full of fluids for the transmission, and a weight from a GM parts catalog of 614 pounds for the fully-dressed version of the motor I will probably get from the junkyard but nothing accurate for the junk I will be pulling off. Anyway I can assume about ~50 pounds for AC and power steering and assorted junk brackets so 565 for the engine and 255 for the transmission and 30 for the full of fluids torque converter adds up to 850 (!) pounds for everything on the right side of the car, balanced by my 210 way further from the center on the left. Doing the math my moment is 210 pounds times my arm of 11.25″ or 2362.5 Pound inches of moment and dividing that moment by the 850 pound engine gives a 2.78″ moment to balance or 2.8″ to take the driveshaft into account. That works out to 0.112″ on the Mini Sprint-T which is enough to be noticed on the model. The inside to inside on the Sprint-T cowl is 26″ and the bellhousing on the back of the engine or front of the transmission is 19″ outside to outside and moving the engine 2.8″ to the right gives me 0.7″ clearance on the right side of the engine if I use a mini starter instead of the honking huge OEM starter that actually sticks out from the side of the engine, getting back to the subject of Tetrissing the engine compartment. And I know I did this calculation for an SBC a while back, but I didn’t feel like going through the archive to find it because I just finished diving the QC archive in the way early hours of this morning and diving a comic archive is much quicker than looking for specific words in a blog archive.

And it’s getting late because I have been watching YouTube videos between paragraphs and I have almost 1200 words according to the editing program that comes with WordPress. So this seems like a good place to wrap this and post.


I really need to be doing something

Seriously, something, anything, that results in some physical object I can show as a result of my labors. I’m getting close to having the bits and pieces to make the Mini Sprint-T, but I need to know where a few more things go on the real thing before I can make the model. And I realize that one of the purposes of building the Mini is to help in visualizing where $#!+ goes on the full size version, but I still have to have a clue about what I’m doing with that before I can make a scale version. I have the LS engine, albeit the LS7 instead of the LM7 that I will probably be using but in 1/25 scale the only visible difference would be the intake manifold.
This is the 5.3 engine

And this is the LS7 engine.
This is the Corvette engine in crate motor form

And in that picture of the crate LS7 you can see where I’m going to hang the bracket for the alternator, off the three threaded holes right in front of the engine mounting bracket. Still don’t know where I’m going to put the tension bracket, but there’s still time for that. But it is also easy to see that the truck engine in the top picture has a much taller intake than the 7 liter Corvette crate engine in the bottom picture. This gives the two engines comparable low-RPM torque below 4000 RPM in spite of the displacement difference as this is the RPM range the truck engine is designed and tuned for while the Corvette engine is intended to make its rated 505 HP around 6000 RPM. So, really for the application I’m building for the truck engine with the tiny turbochargers I linked to a few posts back is superior to the sports car engine with 1.7 liters more displacement in having more power where I need it. And it’s $14000 cheaper than the sports car engine, WOO! More power where I need power, and cheaper to boot, screw you expensive prestige engine. Also the as-installed truck engine is going to be pretty much stripped down as much as the bottom picture with the alternator hanging off the passenger side of the engine and some kind of electric water pump and that’s it.

But since they don’t make resin replicas of truck engines and they do make replicas of the Corvette engine, for the purposes of the Mini Sprint-T I’ll make do with the Corvette engine, and throw a cover over the intake manifold that will simulate the extra height of the truck manifold. Sorry for thinking out loud through the keyboard again, but sometimes it helps to put my thoughts into a tangible form.

I need to find a sponsor and a fab shop

Seriously, can you imagine what this blog would look like if I had the funds and facilities to make everything that popped out of my fevered imagination. Think an amalgam of The Hacksmith, Cleetus McFarland, and Mythbusters, on crack with a side order of Battlebots, and I can’t even think of an analogy for the human powered monstrosities. Speaking of which I was contemplating a pedal powered cell phone charger using readily available parts using an old kid’s bike I have in the garage, a stool, a alternator, a 12V SLA battery out of a lawnmower, and a cigarette lighter plug USB outlet. You would have to supply your own charge cord, but if you had good cadence you could get your phone from zero to 85% in about 15 minutes. Cell phones have relatively tiny batteries and can stand charge rates of 5C up to 85% without damage. Seriously most of your charge time is spent packing that last 15% in without damaging the cell, because that’s where the Lithium cell starts building the heat. A healthy non-athlete can easy put out 150 watts for 15 minutes, back when I was riding every day I tested at 150 watts for an hour and was barely breathing hard by the end of the hour. That was the year I managed to finally finish the Hotter ‘n’ Hell Hundred without breaking the bike.

Anywho, back to the finding a sponsor for my madness, who do you think would be a good match? I’m thinking a pharmaceutical company on account of how many years I spent as a lab rat. Something along the lines of the old “Better living through chemistry” slogan DuPont used to have. Or maybe a casket maker, “Opus will never need our products, but you will eventually!” Or maybe an energy drink that wants to show how their product sharpens the mind. The possibilities are endless… as are the reasons to use somebody else as a spokesperson.

I just had a flash on the last one; “I was killed in 2001, if 20,000 Volt Energy Drink keeps me moving just think what it will do for you.” Yeah, I know morbid and silly. That’s actually a pretty good description for me personality wise. Anyway background of a recreation of the wreck scene with a CGI depiction of my body crushing the truck’s roof and flying through the air while the not-dead me extols the invigorating qualities of 20,000 Volt Energy. “The blend of caffeine, B-Complex vitamins, and amino acids combined with that fresh citrus taste really keep me going through those long creative sessions inventing usefully fun stuff. Sure beats chasing people down for their brains. And remember, when they scrape your broken body off the street, pop the top on a 20KV and say you’re not ready for a body bag yet.”

You think Monster Energy is ready for a new sub-brand yet?

I have other things to think about than the Sprint-T

I sometimes try to not think about the Sprint-T, and think about other things I want to make, like bicycles and furniture (I have a plan for a bed stand/storage thing to put a mattress on that has been rattling around my head for years ever since the last repair to the futon frame), but for some reason I always seem to keep coming back to race cars for SCCA Solo Racing A/MOD class. The rules are simple, minimum wheelbase of 72″, minimum tread of 42″ and minimum weight of 900 pounds with driver. A few safety rules to protect the driver in case of a rollover, and that about covers it. Oh and a maximum of 20 ft2 total wing surface and unlimited underbody downforce developers, bodywork covering tires optional, that kind of thing.

My design philosophy has been lots of tire and suspension built to keep it square to the road, lots of brakes and an engine that can motivate without adding too much weight. Usually I come up with motorcycle or go kart powered things that have all the weight in the center of the wheelbase and as close to the centerline of the car as possible, but the latest fantasy was an LS7 coupled to a shorty Powerglide mounted to the right of the chassis and the driver seat to the left just enough to balance left-to-right, and a chain coupled transfer case to get the power to the center of the chassis to line up to the input of the rear, and front, axles. That’s right AWD traction to get 505 HP to hook up on a sub 1000 pound car. Of course I’ll never have the funds or facility to build this mini-monster, but it’s fun to think about. Given that there is scant difference in weight between the various naturally-aspirated LS engines but huge differences in low-end torque it makes sense to go for the 7 liter big dog, and the shorty Powerglide is the lightest transmission capable of handling a standing start that will bolt to the LS family bellhousing pattern (which it shares with the venerable SBC first sold in 1955), and the possibility of 4 smoking tires when the loud pedal is used too enthusiastically were just too much for my fevered imagination to bypass, so I didn’t. Estimated weight is 900 pounds without driver making it weigh about 1100 with my lard ass in the driver’s seat, or about 2 pounds per HP on 93 octane pump gas. The number of cars with this power-to-weight that are intended to make right and left turns on the regular in competition can be enumerated on the fingers of one foot. I think there are a few sprint cars in the same ballpark, but they are literal grenades, and there were some F1 turbo cars back in the 3-liter formula days that might be in the same power range, but again those were literal bombs on wheels with 1499.9 cc turbocharged engines putting out about 900 HP in qualifying trim and good for maybe 3 laps at full chat and very little time at rated output before exposing the inner works to the world. And if you think I’m exaggerating look up some YouTube videos of late ’70s to mid ’80s F1 qualifying sessions especially the Renault powered cars. In comparison the LS7 is an anvil used as a paperweight

So anywho, you have insight on my fantasies of power and glory, enjoy!

Just in case you were feeling generous…

There’s something I need for the Sprint-T build, that might not still be there when I have access to that much money again. This was the oil pan I was thinking of making to get clearance for the bottom part of the front hoop under the engine. This looks like a 50 -60 hour fabrication job for me, vs $330 cost to buy and install. I would need to buy or make the oil pump pickup either way, so that’s a wash.

But seriously I need that oil pan for this build or I need to go dry sump, which is even more expensive because it requires external tanks and extra pumps, or a special crankshaft and front cover if the factory dry sump system is installed, which while better than the wet sump for hard cornering is inferior to the aftermarket, and almost impossible to find in junkyards (they only came on Corvettes and Corvette engines are bought before the vehicles even get to the junkyards).

Now I’m going to go watch the Michigan NASCAR Cup race. Y’all have a good one and remember that Hephaestus wants you to build something that improves somebody’s life. Even if it’s only one person, make that person’s life better.

NOTE I had to edit this after I hit post because I didn’t catch the typo of my deity’s name, now I need to beat on some iron or something in pennance.

What does it mean when you have dreams about fabricating car parts?

I mean besides the obvious that you want that particular car part something fierce. The junction where the discharge ducts from the turbochargers merge together and connect to the throttle body on the truck intake manifold is one of the most important fabrication projects of the Sprint-T, and if I don’t get it right it will both impair the performance and look really ugly and both are deadly sins for building a hot rod. And last night I had a particularly detailed dream of how to build it, down to where to cut the feed tubes and where to make the first tack welds to get the best looking transition from two pipes to a single inlet.

There are usually 3 iterations in building a hot rod, “making it work” is the schematic stage where the parts are assembled into a functional order. After that is the “making it work right” refines the rough edges off the first stage and reduces any inefficiencies in the design, followed by the “making it look good” stage. A seasoned fabricator or experienced designer can usually combine the last two stages into a single build. A freaking genius fabricator or designer can sometimes get through all three stages in his/her head and produce a perfect part/assembly right off the bat, but that’s usually the result of a lot of thinking and mulling over of possibilities that usually not possible before the first stage unless the project has no deadlines to meet.

Well this build is one of those kinds of builds, it can’t even start until there is an actual budget to buy parts with. And right now there basically is no budget, there’s “I have money now, I will buy what I can afford from my build list” parts being bought. Since I never know when I will have money I can’t take advantage of sales unless having money coincides with a sale, like it did for the suspension parts I bought the beginning of this month.

That’s why I have been resorting to Dream Aided Design for this particular assembly. First because of the relative sizes of the parts, the two 2.5″ (63.5 mm) outlets from the turbochargers that have to merge and feed clean-flowing (non-turbulent) air to the single 84 mm (3.3″) throttle body on the intake manifold, and second because this assembly will be front and center on the engine out there in front of Gawd and everybody to see. I’m even thinking of putting the blowoff valve on the underside of this assembly to hide it somewhat, unless the valve I happen to get is especially blingy and worth showing off a bit in which case it goes on top. Which means the final version of the connection between the turbos and the intake may only get built after the blowoff valve is bought. Or it might get rebuilt later if a nicer-looking valve is bought or otherwise obtained after the car is “finished”.

Portions of this build get changed because I see a new part or a part that is old but I never saw before, like the swing arm that is normally used in dirt race track cars to both locate the rear axle fore and aft and mount the coilover spring/shock assemblies that I’m using to do what it’s designed to do in the dirt racers because it means I don’t have to make two separate brackets to attach the springs and the radius rod to the rear axle. Well it changed again when I saw THIS! over at the Speedway Motors web site. Intended for use in building radius rods and track bars, I’m going to weld this particular one into the chassis and use it as a place to bolt things on to the frame, this one in particular is going to be for mounting the front end of the previously mentioned swing arm. I weld the bung to the point in space where it’s supposed to go and then triangulate additional frame members to make sure it stays at that point in space. And I just realized the previous sentence made it look like I was welding a part to the fabric of the universe and then cutting it loose after I welded some parts from it to the frame, instead of what I was thinking and welding it to the frame and then moving the rest of the universe to get the bung where I needed it to go. I will use other sizes to get other bits onto the frame, in particular the 4 ends of the 4-bar that restrain the front axle in 2 dimensions/freedoms of movement.

Last thing, while using the bathroom the phrase “Pain is weakness leaving the body” drifted past my consciousness, which by the way is a total bag of bullshit. Pain is the body telling you that “something is broken, please stop what you’re doing before irreversible damage sets in”, or in my case “You have damaged ligaments and tendons, make an appointment with an orthopedist ASAP” and “You should apologize to the driver of the car truck about his insurance rates going up”. That part was true for 3 of the five times I was hit, one didn’t do a whole lot of damage to either of us and the other just triggered a panic attack for me and caused his driver’s side mirror to fall off and break, with some confusion as to the order of events because I might have broken it before it fell off when he started crowding me into oncoming traffic while I was setting up for a left turn into the bank parking lot.

Still thinking about the Sprint-T

Thinking about the possibilities with the turbochargers linked in the last post has kept me awake at night (maybe a little more than if I hadn’t been thinking about it). OK, seriously, this has been the kind of conundrum my mind refuses to let go of.

Let’s start with the knowns and unknowns in this scenario:
1. The turbos are too small for the engine at max RPM and are flow limited so theoretically the boost curve will peak at some point before redline and decline from there.
2. The wastegates are probably too small to prevent overboost at speeds below torque peak because there is likely more exhaust flow than they can dump (the turbo is designed for a 1.8l engine and each bank is 2.65l). The corollary of this is at some point boost creep will become a problem if the engine can’t handle all the boost the turbos make and has to use the waste gate to dump some of the boost.
3. At this point how much boost the turbos will make is unknown, the only thing I do know is it won’t be as high at power peak as it will at a lower engine speed. Also unknown is how drastic the dropoff in boost will be from peak to redline. The listing claims each turbo will flow 250+ HP so I’m going to get pessimistic and say maybe 400-450HP flywheel HP which would be about 7 or 8 pounds of boost on a 5.3l engine at peak.
4. There is a possibility the engine/turbo combination can be run without connecting the wastegates to manifold pressure and without excessive boost in the low RPM range. This is the Best Case Scenario, that literally the only other thing needed is charge coolers, or running a fuel or water or water/methanol spray into the turbo inlet to cool the charge under boost, or some magics that otherwise don’t require adding more hardware to the engine. And also with this combination the possibility that the engine hits peak power at peak turbo airflow and just sustains almost 450 HP all the way to redline. That would be Seriously Best Case Scenario, peak power in a usable RPM range and no dropoff until time to shift to a higher gear because the engine safely won’t go any faster. I will still need to have some method of bypassing the turbos for running 87 octane between races unless somehow the engine will not self-destruct under boost with unleaded regular, but the probability of that is less than my surviving getting hit with a truck doing 60 MPH. It might happen once, it might even happen twice, but to bet it will happen on a regular basis is playing Russian Roulette with only one empty chamber instead of only one bullet.

Now some of this can be seen in this Engine Masters episode as their single turbo has more airflow than the two turbos I’m contemplating but still it’s a stock 5.3l LS architecture engine identical to what I’m trying to find with boost, just more airflow above torque peak than the two tiny turbos I’m thinking about, but notice how much they get out of the boost they get. Also notice they have an intercooler that will cool far more airflow than what the two tiny turbos will generate and get charge temperature down to a safe level for 93 octane and moderate boost. Also their single turbo probably doesn’t make near the boost the small twin turbos make at lower than NA peak torque RPM, so the Tiny Twins will probably make more torque below peak.

Anyway there are many things I could do, and what I really want to do is leave as much junk off as I can and not put the engine survival in jeopardy.

Answering a question asked in meatspace

In my post about world building one of the people I sometimes interact with in real life AKA “meatspace” asked why the detailed information about the tropics and how to cross them became part of the world for LMOE, and I thought it might have come up to some of my readers I don’t know personally.

The tl;dr version is “Do you really think the LMOE could be kept only for women in the Northern Hemisphere?” but the longer answer is it was much more practical to send the LMOE south than it was to force thousands of women to make the risky journey north to have a chance at propagating without the intervention of advanced technology, and it took 3 chapters to get him there and back again. And in this case at least one chapter was steamy because it was literally hot and steamy, not because there was a lot of sex involved. When the AC involved requires a megawatt power supply just to maintain human life for 3 people it’s hot. The condenser field for the AC was about 2/3 of an acre for a facility roughly the size of a suburban duplex with 2 BR/BA each unit.

The scenario was the submarine carrying the LMOE was the regular supply run for a research station studying the flora and fauna of the former Panama Canal since the Last War, and the scientist demanded an overnight visit from the LMOE, ostensibly to share a gourmet dinner with a Distinguished Guest. I’m not saying there wasn’t any sex involved, get real, it’s porn of course there was sex. But in this chapter it was just the once before everybody got too hot to continue. There is a possibility that with only one person at the station she might have gotten more than a bit lonely for actual physical human contact, and sharing a bed with the LMOE was just a good excuse to have a snuggle with another human being, I dunno. The station had 2 guest rooms that went completely unused for that chapter. That chapter spent more words describing the dinner than the sex, which was uncharacteristically quick for this series. The researcher never physically left the station but instead used remote observation robots that allowed visual and haptic feedback of the plants and animals. The animals were so heat-adapted that in air temperatures below 82°F they would die from hypothermia and suffer cold injury at anything below 100° so any up close examination had to be done outside the air conditioned spaces of the station. Similar things would happen to plant life brought into the station. I’m not an evolutionary biologist so I was very vague describing everything except the bugs because I know something about bugs evolved for extremely high temperatures in deserts and extrapolated to the expected environment in Central America post-apocalypse. I did spend about a year and a half within spittin’ distance of the Sahara in North Africa and I wasn’t totally oblivious despite being in the throes of puberty at the time. Said throes and a pretty girl almost got me married because of my abysmal language skills. But that is another story.

Anyway I think I was getting physically uncomfortable writing the detailed description of the conditions outside and inside the station, which may have had something to do with the brevity of the sex in that chapter. I also wasn’t good at writing threesomes at that point, so that might have been part of the problem. And for the expected temperatures I did a metric buttload of Googling and fudged the expected worse conditions by about 10% higher and may have also fudged adiabatic lapse a bit for the mountaintop research station being cool enough to go outside at night without a coolsuit. I also extrapolated that any biting insect life would not identify humans as being edible because we would literally be colder than air, and that any mammals would only be active at night through dawn.

I’ve been doing some world-building

About the only fiction writing I have been doing lately was a sci-fi porno mostly for my own entertainment, but the site I post to has given it mostly positive reviews. But I did a metric buttload of world-building for the setting, while the story is pretty much “last man on earth gets laid a lot” that really doesn’t need such an elaborate setting. So as a public service I’m going to make the setting public domain, so that other people can play in my sandbox.

About 250 years in the future a time warp drops The Last Man on Earth outside a farming village in what used to be north Texas which is now part of Canada. He was riding a bicycle which is now a twisted piece of steel and aluminum that is barely recognizable as to what it was, and ditto LMOE. The villagers see the man and alert authorities as they take the injured person to one of their medical facilities called an AutoDoc, an automated device capable of anything short of transplant surgery including repairing extensive brain damage. It can’t restore memories, but it can restore full function to make new memories. Our Protagonist will have to spend the next year or so inside this device, so it is placed on a separate power source and transported to the nearest big city where more supplies are available and also the village AutoDoc needs to be replaced in case of illness or injury. Their old AutoDoc is now performing life support for what’s left of the LMOE as it was not a very gentle time warp but closer to getting pulled through a mini-wormhole that left most of the larger bones in the LMOE’s body with at least one fracture, and some have 3 or 4 fractures with most non-displaced but some are compound and protruding through the skin, so it will be a while until we see the LMOE again. One of the things the AutoDoc can do is make real blood from the patient’s own genetics so it’s not a problem that the LMOE has some rare blood subtypes.

So, since the LMOE is going to be in the AutoDoc and rehab for a while, let’s take a look at the world where he’s going to live. The world of 2270 is hardly recognizable to our 21st century eyes, as climate change and the wars that came with it have devastated the planet. Antarctica is one of the most populated land masses in the Southern hemisphere after all the ice melted leaving a mostly temperate climate similar to Siberia, Canada, and the Nordic Countries. The world population of humans is right at 950 million, spread thinly from outside the tropics to both poles with everything between the tropics considered uninhabitable except for a few researchers and insane people, with a great deal of overlap in the Venn diagram. Average temperatures in the tropics are about 130°F with highs reaching 150 and nighttime lows sometimes as cool as 95°F but mostly about 110. Obviously nobody can live here without refrigeration, and crossing the equator outside of a plane or submarine usually results in death except for very fast sailing ships that have refrigerated cabins. Outside the tropics temperatures are lower, but even the poles are in the temperate zone with summer highs in the low 90s at the North Pole and the high 90s at the South Pole even though the South Pole is a high plateau, and both poles getting below freezing in winter for about a week or so at the North Pole and about a month at the South Pole.

I never mentioned why the LMOE was the absolute Last Man on Earth. Well in what is called the Last War a bioweapon was deployed that attacked people with Y chromosomes, and the last person carrying a Y chromosome died 147 years before the arrival of the LMOE. Now at first this only affected the human population, but eventually it took out all the Great Apes and a few other primates as it mutated and spread. After that there was no longer anything to propagate it as XX chromosome people could not be infected. The only reason the human race survived was the Lesbian Breeding Program that began before the Last War as XX chromosome people started getting disgusted at the XY people. Basically women learned how to fuse eggs to make babies so that men became superfluous. It is rumored that one of the members of the Lesbian Breeding Project created the bioweapon that made all XY people non-fertile and less viable, but there is evidence that it was a religious fanatic who actually did it, and it was definitely a religious fanatic that deployed it after he was told it would only attack those of other races and not his. It might have been that way at first, but eventually every human, great ape, and some primates lost the use of Y chromosomes to reproduce. Now all viable settlements have to have a specialized AutoDoc available to harvest the eggs and perform the fusion and quickening that results in pregnancy after implantation in one or the other donors’ uterus. For some reason implantation in a 3rd party uterus has a much lower success rate and is mostly not done. And with a population of 100% women there hasn’t been any large scale conflict since the Last War, hence the name.

As for what we have now, most of the coastal cities were flooded out of existence in a gradual process that finally stabilized about the same time as the last human with a Y chromosome died, mostly because there are no ice caps anywhere in the world. If you want to know what the coastlines look like just look up the Worst Case Scenario for global warming and that will be very close to what the world for the LMOE looks like, except for The Netherlands. The entire country is below the new sea level and is mostly surrounded by water and enormous walls keeping the sea at bay.

As you can imagine burning fossil fuel is a Crime Against Humanity that is punishable by the death penalty, and the entire economy is run on sustainable energy. Also with the drastic reduction in the world population there is a lot more land available for cultivation, and solar farms have shade-grown crops under the solar panels making them true farms. With climate change also comes crop changes as there is no longer the infrastructure to make the agricultural chemicals that used to be required to get crop yields per acre needed to feed 8 billion people, nor the need to feed that many with the world population now less than a billion and there is likewise more land available to cultivate. Organic farming is now the rule rather than the exception, and fiber crops are also a part of crop rotation. Texas is one again one of the largest producers of cotton after new strains were genetically engineered to withstand the new climate and produce even longer staple than old natural strains. Even kudzu has been genetically engineered to produce 80% of the ethanol fuel used in the world, and also is a major food crop. Chicken and Kudzu stew is a favorite meal in South Canada since the introduction of Spicy Kudzu with capsaicin in the leaves, identifiable by the red streaks in the leaves instead of the deep green of Fuel Kudzu that is also grown in the same fields with Spicy Kudzu used to deter insects. Fuel Kudzu is edible, but doesn’t taste very good because of it’s high sugar content combined with nicotine originally derived from tobacco plants used to also deter insects. People tried to smoke Fuel Kudzu, but the high sugar content made keeping it lit a lost cause as a tobacco replacement, and tobacco is restricted to First Nation use in religious ceremonies. There is some cross-pollination between Fuel and Spicy kudzu at the boundaries between the two crops that are very effective as insect deterrents, but aside from that aren’t much good for either food or fuel.

Speaking of insects, there were a ton of species that were lost or almost lost before the Last War, including most of the bees, most of the butterflies, and even most of the crickets and grasshoppers. Spider farming is now a major thing as harvesting their webs is a source of high strength fabrics with one species now accounting for most of the bulletproof fabrics in use, and another species is prized for the rainbow colored silk it spins. There aren’t many species of cricket left, but they are a commercial source of protein for most of the world as large mammal farming is mostly restricted because of the amount of methane it created. If you want to find a noisy farm just listen for a cricket farm, they can be heard for miles away.

I mentioned shade-grown crops on solar farms. Most of what used to be the DFW metromess is now solar farms raising traditional vegetables in the shade of endless rows of solar panels, with what used to be suburban cities now farming villages of a few hundred to about a thousand people running the robots that do the work of running a farm, and also running the carbon capture machines that are gradually reducing the amount of GHG in the atmosphere in hopes of eventually making the equatorial regions habitable again, not because the living space is needed, but because solar capture works so much better between the tropics as both sides of roofs are capable of being used for solar panels to run carbon capture. The law requires all southern facing roofs in the northern hemisphere have solar panels, and northern facing roofs in the southern hemisphere as the organic solar panels made after the Last War don’t have the same efficiency as the silicon panels from before the war and they tend to break down because of bad weather. Not that there is any shortage of electricity here in the former DFW area between the houses, factory roofs, and solar farms. Mentioning factories, the primary products made in the North Texas province of Canada are textiles from locally raised cotton and spider silk, and solar panels.

I guess I should say something about transportation of how goods get from where they are made and grown to where they are used/consumed. I also mentioned planes burning ethanol crossing the equator, and submarines and fast sailing ships which carry almost all commerce across the equator as away from land the temperatures are less hot. Local transport inside villages consists of bicycles and electric buses for people with electric assist tricycles or quadcycles for goods and refrigerated electric trucks for foods. All villages have a motorized speed limit of 18 MPH (30 km/hr) in the outlying areas and manufacturing areas, and 9 MPH (15 km/hr) in the market and residential areas. Between villages and the few cities is an extensive rail system that is totally electric for both passenger and freight and most trains having refrigeration for passengers and some cargo that doesn’t do good in the heat.

The economy is Democratic Socialist, in that corporations still exist, but almost all labor is performed by robots that belong to the government that pay back to the people. The way that works is the government charges companies for the use of robot labor, and the proceeds from the rental is paid back to the people. It’s not quite GBI, but you own the robots as a consequence of being a citizen so you get an equal share of the proceeds minus taxes. If you perform a service you keep what you make minus the taxes that would be taken out if you were a robot. Most people have a side gig to keep them busy at least some of the time, but it is possible to exist solely on your cut of the robot labor without being too deprived. You wouldn’t have the biggest house or the most wives and daughters, but you would have a comfortable home with AC and more than enough to eat and also support a daughter. Of those side gigs the one that employs the most is robot repair, followed by solar power systems repair and restaurant worker, which is mostly cooking and serving as everything else is robots or automation. A cook is a highly-regarded professional in the world of the LMOE, a server nearly as much. Houses are made with robot labor under human supervision so that there is always more housing than people by a few percent at each economic level to allow for economic mobility and to make homelessness nearly unheard of, especially at the late stages of this story. Another profession that is highly regarded is teacher with almost one third of people employed being teachers. They tried using automation to teach kids, but for the most part found that to not work well with human teachers getting 45% more effectiveness than automated schools. Educated humans are basically an artisanal product best made in small batches or even one at a time in the LMOE universe. Needless to say education is free at all levels and compulsory up to 9th year (equivalent to our 8th grade) and 9th year is roughly the same educational level as a HS graduate for us, but education can continue to 16th year or between a Masters and a PhD in our system, and beyond that for their post-grad system. In spite of the AutoDocs actual medical professionals exist to research new and better modes of treatment for the AutoDocs. Research uses patients in AutoDocs but directed by a human or team of humans instead of the AI usually doing the treatment in an AutoDoc. The education required for this is roughly 20 years, or graduating doctors at 24-25 YO.

Restaurants in the LMOE universe are… interesting. The food is free, but you are charged for the cooking and serving, what is basically a convenience fee. Some places don’t have servers, the cook calls your order either by food or number or in some places your name and you get your plate straight from the cook. The kinds of restaurant also varies as some cook what you bring (You Kill It We Grill It being the generic name, and actual name of some) , some cook a specific menu that varies by season, some only cook certain foods (like a French, or Japanese restaurant) and some are just places for the cook to show off and you can literally get anything in season prepared to any cuisine. Fast food is also a thing with McCriket’s (mikCRYkits) being a popular chain that trains their cooks how to make the best cricket burgers in the world using premium local crickets prepared to a secret recipe. Almost every village has a McCriket’s with cities having as many as 10 or 12, which gives you an idea of the relative sizes of villages and cities.

I should also mention that the government owns all the farms as well as the robots that run the farms so all food is “free” in that your taxes pay for it, and everybody gets food even the homeless people in the early chapters. And by the latest chapters the quasi-religious discrimination that causes the homelessness has been wiped out by education. The people that had been previously effected by this discrimination still exist because it is a lingering effect of the bioweapon that wiped out Y chromosome people, but they are no longer discriminated against. And obviously medical care is free as the AutoDocs are community/government property.

Can’t stop thinking about the Mini and Sprint-T

First thing I was thinking about was making an oil pan for both that clears the bottom part of the front hoop, as that has to go right where the rear sump for the oil pan goes on both the SBC in the Mini Sprint-T and the LS engine in the Sprint-T. That’s not so hard for the SBC model in the model version of the Sprint-T, just cut the bottom off the oil pan and stick another one on that clears the frame parts. But for the LS engine in the real thing it’s a little more difficult. A completely new pan would need to be fabricated from scratch which is pushing my skills to the limit. I can do some stuff, I know how to do more stuff than I have the eye-hand skills to do.

In other news on the Sprint-T and its smaller cousin, major changes to the forward part of the frame for increased crash resistance and torsional rigidity. The crash resistance would come from bending the bottom frame rail to make it a single piece from the rear hoop to the front suspension mounts and making the full size version from 0.120″ wall instead of the previous version 0.060″ wall. Since the diagonal leading from the top of the front hoop to the front suspension crossmember would still be 0.060″ wall it would buckle first causing the engine to go under the passenger compartment in a frontal collision, with the lower rail failing at the bend to allow this. The other thing was a bolt-in set of diagonals that would triangulate the upper part of the front frame in race mode but be left off in street mode for better forward vision and to allow the upper diagonal from the front hoop to fail in a known way and direct the engine under the car in a frontal collision. The small amount of additional flex in street mode would be offset by the greater safety in frontal collisions, because while the bottom part is completely braced by the welded-on belly pan (with an access hatch for changing the oil) and the sides are triangulated by the upper and lower diagonal braces from the front hoop to the front suspension crossmember the top part is completely unbraced and would allow some deflection in torsion without the bolt-in brace. What I’m envisioning is a double triangle brace that would bolt in at both ends of the top member coming off the front hoop at both the front hoop and the front suspension crossmember and also the center of both the hoop and the front suspension crossmember. It would form overlapping triangles that run from the top of the front hoop to the center of the suspension crossmember, and a second triangle from the ends of the suspension crossmember to the center of the front hoop, and a piece that runs from one side of where the two triangles intersect to the other, making even the braces triangulated. I’m thinking this set of braces would be made from lighter wall tubing and also in a smaller diameter since it wouldn’t be highly stressed and also is mounted fairly high in the frame so someplace added weight is bad for center of gravity issues.

Also on the triangulation issues are the engine and steering box mounts. The steering box mounts need to be braced side-to-side so it doesn’t deflect under cornering loads and cause inconsistent steering reaction depending on speed (faster causes greater side loads on the steering requiring more input as speeds increase not related to slip angles from the tires, which reduces the feedback to the driver as to how much traction remains at the front tires), and the engine mounts need to be braced so they don’t become a point load on the lower rail of the frame and introduce a new buckle point in a frontal collision while at the same time it needs to provide a consistent buckle point for the upper diagonal to direct the engine under the car in that frontal collision. There are a lot of things to think about when you build a car from scratch, like where I brace the engine mounts.

Another thing I have been thinking about was the pushrod and rocker arm linkages for the front suspension. I have been thinking about this because it 1) allows for easy wheel rate and ride height adjustments going from street to race mode, and b) makes changing corner weights super easy. When changing the wheel rate the effective rate changes as the square of the ratio between the leg of the rocker arm attached to the axle and the arm attached to the spring and shock absorber so making the arm attached to the axle longer makes the rate go down while making the arm attached to the spring longer makes the rate go up, and adjusting both can give me the perfect rate for street and race without having to buy two (or more) sets of springs and shock absorbers, meaning I just need to carry extra pushrods that cost roughly $20 each instead of multiple sets of springs and shocks at anywhere from $100 to >$500 each. The ones I’m looking at now are $250 the pair or roughly $125 each. The other thing I have been looking at is how the rocker connects to the moving bits in the suspension, because the pushrod has to be over the axle, while the coilover has to be to one side or the other of the axle so it has room to travel. I guess this implies I need some method to make sure the rocker arm only rotates through the axis it is supposed to pivot on as a lever system and not on the axis between the pushrod and spring attachments because there is a moment arm between the two created by the need to have one on one side of the rocker arm and the other on the other side of the arm and not just on opposite ends of the rocker arm. Hypothetically with the rocker arm suspension one could adjust corner weights without needing to roll the car off the scales and drive around to get the shocks to settle because you never move the shock when adjusting the weight, only the pushrod.

And this is the wordiest I have been in quite a while, which just goes to show what my true passion is these days.