Category Archives: Department of DIY

Allergies are bad this year

Not much to say today. Mrs. the Poet’s incision from her back surgery is healing nicely and she may start PT as soon as they start allowing home visits by the Physical Therapists, which are stopped because of the COVID19 pandemic to prevent transferring the virus to people who are medically fragile. As the headline stated my allergies are bad this year, this was the first time my eyelids were so swollen that one split over next to the corner. Other than that and some pains in the reconstructed hip I’m doing good. I’m not sure but I think the pain in the hip has something to do with sleeping 14 hours on Wednesday followed by much walking around Thursday.

picture of the split near my eye

Speaking of running around on Thursday, on the way home the bus took me through the local large shopping area, what was built to replace the promised mall but is only several large retailers in close proximity and sharing parking lots. Anywho except for the places selling food with drive-throughs the place was a ghost town with literal acres of empty parking lots. Local retail has been clobbered by the shelter in place order for Dallas County, and will take years to recover if it ever recovers.

On the Sprint-T I have been designing a fairing for the front tires that also houses the headlights and supports the front edge of the front fenders. It’s simple, a half cylinder to split the air in front of the tire and a tapered rear fairing at the rear edge of the tire, with a flat or slightly curved top, all made from HDPE sheet. I checked TX regulations and purchased some headlights that are legal, LED replacements for the 4656 sealed beam headlight. The have both low and high beam and are above minimum and below maximum lumens so are legal in TX, about $40 shipped with tax for a set of 4.

Now to install them on my car I need to run by a junkyard when they open back up and get a headlight assembly for one side of a quad rectangular headlight car, because I only need one per side. I need to get the plate the buckets mount on, the adjusting screws and springs, the buckets, and the bezels that retain the headlights to the buckets. I just need to mount the backing plate to the vertical piece at the back of the half cylinder and between the side pieces of the fender in a place that clears the tire at full bump and full lock in both left and right. Nothing to it. I just need to make a drawing of the tire at full lock in both directions and on top of that drawing put the headlight at the height it would be in relation to the tire at full bump which is about 1.5″ higher than normal ride height. I know the vertical part of the front fender fairing will be a little forward of where the front of the tire will be at the straight ahead position so that it will clear the tire at full lock. I have been thinking about making this part slightly curved for more clearance at lock, and more rigidity. This is also why I was thinking about curving the top part of the fender, to make it more rigid in use.

Now something else I have been thinking about is making the front fenders quick-release for when I’m racing, because light weight is way more important than reduced drag in the kind of racing I’m building this car for. The courses will never allow anything even close to top speed where drag reduction is more important, all of the sanctioning bodies require top speeds on course be no more than normal street or highway speed and one body requires no more than 30 MPH. So especially for that one sanctioning body, light weight is more important than drag reduction. On the street drag reduction is less important than light weight, on the highway light weight is less important than drag reduction but I need fenders and headlights either way. Now for this kind of racing being able to see my front tires is a slight advantage for placing my car on the quickest line, maybe a half second on a 1 minute course. That is a good enough reason to make the front fenders and headlights removable. But I’m still cogitating about how to do that and not change headlight aim when removing and replacing the fenders. More thought is required and maybe wasting some raw stock on different prototypes to test for rigidity and repeatability when removing and replacing.

Still not dead, but not much worth writing about

The excitement for the week consisted of playing an online version of “Cards Against Humanity”. And also going grocery shopping. Other than that I have been mostly on the computer and mobile device reading news, comics and Twitter. And still working on the Mini Sprint T, as I have discovered I didn’t document my design notes for the rear frame. I have strong ideas about what I want to do, but I didn’t remember to write them down or put a notes document in my computer.

Now the reason why I need to do this is the upper rail has to go someplace behind the rear hoop to brace it from collapsing backwards if the car flips while at speed, and also so the fuel cell is protected from a rear end collision. To that end I have been also doing detail design for the bracket that connects the upper rail to the front and rear hoops. The main thing about that is the thickness of the plates and the wall thickness of the tubes needs to be equal for the stresses to be equal to welding the rail to the hoops directly, and the gaps between the ends of the bracket and the hoop also has to be filled and an air bleed hole and access for rustproofing placed somewhere near the bottom of the bracket. This also makes for a place for condensation to escape to prevent rust. I have been strongly considering painting the bracket with a weld-through coating like Steel-It to protect against rust inside after the car is finished.

The other thing to consider is running a tube between and roughly parallel to the top and bottom rails to mount and protect the fuel cell in a rear end collision. The way I’m seeing it now, that tube can be the thin wall because it will be in compression in a collision and is a parallel load path to the upper rail that intersects it where the two pieces connect to the rear bulkhead and one of them needs to collapse to direct the forces of a rear end collision under the car to prevent whatever hits the car from behind from going into the driver compartment. In fact there is a whole lot of structure that needs to be lighter than optimal for stiffness to make the vehicle more crashworthy.

Something else interesting that is going on is the woman who used to rent a room from us is having difficulties applying for UI after the used clothing store she worked for went belly-up because of the social distancing lockdown called by the county. We tried doing the 800 number thing, but the menu selection needed to check for an active account is no longer available. They direct callers to the web site which is down because of too many people trying to access the site because of the number of places that did the same thing as what happened to the lady who used to live with us. I am so glad I don’t have to go through that mess as I’m disabled and Mrs. the Poet is on retirement. But the web site remains down even at 2030 as people are overwhelming the site with trying to find out if their applications have been approved. The other interesting thing is technically the woman is retired because she is a few days younger than Mrs. the Poet and eligible for SSI and her ATT pension from when she worked there. So she has enough money to live on, but not enough to maintain her current lifestyle, and probably not enough to live on if she has to change domiciles if the person she’s living with decides to change to a senior apartment instead of the house she currently owns.

Mrs. the Poet is recovering and other stuff

Mrs. the Poet is a really good patient except for her complaining about things I physically can’t do, like scrubbing the floors. One of the cats has been having tummy problems and there are little dribbles of poo all over their bathroom that needs to be cleaned up somehow. I know how I can do it but I have to get Mrs. the Poet to tell me which rag she wants me to throw away after I use it to scrub up all the poo off the floor. The other thing that held me back was I needed something I could use to spray cleaning solution on the floor on a stream, all our current spray bottles are set up to only put out a mist rather than a stream. I picked up one yesterday that has a stream setting so I can target individual spots instead of spreading a light mist of cleaner over the whole floor.

On other things I have been getting stuff like canned soups and canned pastas that I can heat up and have enough to feed two people. There has been a lot of those put on the market lately, so Mrs. the Poet won’t starve too much. I’m having a hard time getting her to eat because of what the general anaesthsia did to her sense of taste, nothing tastes right to her, even raw fruits and vegetables “taste weird”. When oranges don’t taste like oranges, what can you do to improve her nutrition? And the case of meal-replacement shakes our daughter bought are even worse, because they didn’t taste “right” to begin with, and add the messed up tasting to that and you wind up with Mrs. the Poet hacking and gagging trying to drink her protein. Not good.

In really funny news I bought a part for the Sprint-T with a warning that trying to eat it could give me cancer. There is some kind of a law in CA that requires everything that contains cancer-causing chemicals to carry a warning either in the package or on the item that consuming it might cause cancer, so I had this tiny sticker on my steering wheel mount warning me not to eat it. It’s polished aluminum billet that clicks onto a steel shaft adapter, how the hell am I going to take a bite out of either part?

And because of the COVID19 outbreak there is no racing on any channel except reruns from last year. I’m so in need of my racing fix after the end of racing from last season. I mean sure there were a few NASCAR races in February and early March, but now there’s literally nothing when we should be having NASCAR, F1, and Indycar at the same time or one after the other. But the people I feel really sorry for are all the ones who are heavily invested both emotionally and monetarily in the NCAA basketball tournament that was cancelled. Races can be rescheduled, that can’t be.

This is shaping up to be another disaster

Game night is looking to be another disaster thanks to the medical non-care system.

The GM has been without meds since Tuesday because his insurance provider hasn’t approved his refill, so unless he gets his meds today he’s not going to be in condition to manage the game tonight. Fun, but that’s America these days, good medical care for those rich enough to afford it, and crap for middle class and below. And what makes it worse is we can see what we are missing out on because we have TV shows and movies that show rich people getting medical care, while we make do with OTC shit and herbal medicine that isn’t outlawed, or even that is but not heavily enforced. Seriously folks, this is stupid and needs to get fixed. M4A doesn’t come anywhere near what we need, the best we can say about it is “It’s better than what we have” which is basically nothing.

And we just got the notification while I was composing the above paragraph that the GM’s meds didn’t get approved either at all or in time to be effective for the game tonight. So our hostess doesn’t get to show off her mad cooking skillz, I don’t get to get out of the house and interact with other people, Mrs. the Poet doesn’t get a night off from cooking (she got one yesterday because I bought dinner), and our GM also doesn’t get to show off the devious plot he has set up for us to fail against. All because the US healthcare system basically sucks donkey dicks.

So the headline is wrong because in the time it took to compose this post what had been future tense became past tense. It’s not a potential disaster it is a disaster that exists. Game is officially ruined by not taking place, unlike last week when we lost a player to bad infrastructure.

All those words and I forgot to say what I came to say

Since this is a follow-on post I won’t use much space this time. What I originally came to say was that while I was trying to figure out how to build the Mini Sprint-T I figured out how to build a better frame for the 1:1 Sprint-T. Anyway, what I had decided for the Mini was front and rear hoops that went all the way down to the belly pan and had the frame rails glued to the front and back of the verticals of the hoops, instead of continuous frame rails and the hoops on top of the rails. What evolved from that was a lower rail with 0.120″ wall inside the roll cage area and 0.060″ wall in front and back of the cage so that in front or rear collisions the lower rails would collapse first and send large objects attached to the frame under the driver compartment and not into the driver or passenger.

So, when I build the frame I bend up the hoops and leave the legs 1.5″ longer (scale) than I would with the legs on top of the frame, and glue the lower rail between the legs. On the real 1:1 car that part would be the 0.120″ wall. Also the top rail would be one continuous piece from the front bulkhead to the rear bulkhead, which means I will need to figure out how far to bend it where it comes past the front and rear hoops. On the 1:1 car it will be 0.120″ wall and the biggest length of tubing on the car and run the full length of the frame and require careful gusseting where it passes the front and rear hoops. That’s also true on the Mini Sprint-T, but the mechanics are completely different because of the scale.

And since this is just what I should have posted yesterday instead of rambling, this is a good place to end.

Can’t stop thinking

And one of my favorite subjects is how to make the Sprint-T lighter and safer, which was not caused by seeing Ryan Newman’s Daytona crash. Actually it was brought on by wanting to make the frame fail in such a way that the engine didn’t try to join me in the driver’s compartment in a frontal collision. Second consideration was using as much 0.060″ wall tubing as possible. I say “as possible” because while some of the 0.120″ wall tubing is required by safety rules, some of it is required because of the stress risers created by the 0.120″ wall tubing.

And once again I wish I could show you what I see in my mind, when I’m thinking about the Sprint-T. The rest of the time I don’t want you to see what’s in my mind, that’s like being on the wrong side of the eyewall of a hurricane full of garbage. But seriously, I wish I could show and not tell about the frame for the Sprint-T.

OK basically The Rules require the hoops and diagonals and upper parts of the roll cage to be 0.120″ wall, but to balance things out so the cage holds together that means the bottom frame rail has to be 0.120″ as well at least between the rear and the front hoops. The fun(?) part is deciding how far back the 0.120″ wall has to go, at least to the rear hoop but behind that do I want 0.120″ all the way to the rear bulkhead/bumper, or do I want that to be a crumple zone up to the rear hoop? Going back to The Rules at least one of the diagonals must be a single length of 0.120″ wall tubing the same diameter as the hoops (1.5″), but do I want/need more than one diagonal, and if I want/need to have two diagonals do both of them need to be 0.120″ or can the lower stressed one be 0.060″? Add into the mix that I can also have a rear hoop and a left and right hoop, and run a diagonal from the front crossbar to the rear corners of the left and right hoops and get a much stiffer but slightly heavier frame.

But we were approaching the point of diminishing returns for frame stiffness given the suspension design of “stick” axles front and rear. I mean the main point of torsionally stiff frames is to keep the front and rear wheels at the best camber angles and also to balance the roll rates so the weight transfer between the front and rear outside tires can be tuned for desired handling behaviour. Well stick axles don’t change camber angles unless the inside tire is lifted out of the plane parallel to the ground which likewise limits the weight transfer ratio between the outside tires. And that one didn’t come out completely right, as the inside wheels can also go over a bump and remain in contact with the ground and not be lifted by trying to transfer more weight than exists on the inside tire by either excessive roll angles or by roll centers that are too high and transferring weight without compressing or extending the springs. This is the mechanism that allows changing the handling by raising and lowering the roll center on one end. The closer the roll center is to a line running through the center of gravity of the car the less control the springs and anti-roll bar exert over the weight transfer and also the less the car will roll over on the suspension in a turn. Get the roll center higher than the center of gravity and the car will try to roll opposite the cornering force and pick up the inside tire. This is why standard kit T-buckets are no good for autocross and Solo Racing because they have such high rear roll centers to compensate for the “normal” size difference between the front and rear tires on the street.

Anyway, back to the frame. Running left, right, and rear hoops will give me four uprights on the rear so lots of crush resistance where the majority of the driver sits, which is good. But also less tie-in at the top of the rear hoop which is ungood (not actually bad becauuuse there are other ways to tie-in and brace the top of the rear hoop). And running left, rear, and right hoops means an extra hoop of 0.120″ wall plus the crossover bar over the front of the cockpit and the verticals under the crossover and the diagonals from the verticals to the rear hoop have to be 0.120″ where front and rear is just the two hoops plus the crossover bars between the two hoops and whatever gussets they get attached with and the diagonals that are a single piece of tubing between the hoops. Like I said, compromises and where weight can be saved.

Also, while I’m trying to do this for the 1:1 car I’m also trying to figure out how to build the 1:25 Mini Sprint-T, which is where this mess got started because of the upper rail running from the front bulkhead spring mount to the front hoop.

Productive game session

I got to blow a lot of shit and people up for the greater good. The group is trying to disrupt gang operations in the lawless zone formerly known as Arlington TX. The initial targets are drug distribution houses and warehouses near what used to be Six Flags. Some of the drugs are legal drugs diverted to the black market and still have shrinkwrapped seals with the pharmaceutical company names on them, those we take and sell back to legitimate vendors for medicinal purposes, some are herbs that have medicinal uses but need to be checked by a professional for strength and purity and we have a connection for that, and some are just for fun but have serious side effects like when you die you come back as a movie-type zombie. Those we destroy.

And The Old Man, the character I play that’s based on what I would be in Shadowrun, has zero inhibitions against killing drug runners. As in dropping multiple frag grenades into a room of gang members and doing damage between overkill and chunky salsa (damage levels in Shadowrun, overkill is damage in a single shot or impact between 2 and 3 multiples of body, chunky salsa is between 3 and 4 multiples of body, red mist is 5 or more multiples of body) and hitting a single NPC gang member with red mist, dropping a frag grenade between his feet that would blow up on impact. The Old Man likes drugs even less than Yr Fthfl Svnt author, and this is just a taste of how his character keeps the peace between the gangs near his home and enforces the DMZ.

The canon is that since my character can’t stay dead and even if I get redmisted I come back together, when I get killed I come back and kill you in front of your homies and tell them to act nice and not get on my bad side. Even with a charisma stat of 1 that makes an impression on people, trolls, and orcs. Less so on elves, but anything less than a dragon respects my reputation, even if I’m a mythical character to some people in the Shadowrun universe. I let a lot of stuff get by near my house, but drugs are my flashpoint. Also in canon is every time I die I get a little bit more insane, and I have died many times in and out of game. So I’m not quite Joker level yet, but Thanos is a pussycat in comparison.

Anyway, we finished the first house and had blown the front door of the second house when fatigue and muscle pain overtook a couple of players after 6 hours of fighting the technology that almost allows us to play in spite of being in several locations as much as 400 miles apart (but all still in TX, this is a big state) so we will finish this Run before we lose a player for 3 months for his annual side gig as a rogue for Scarborough Faire. End score for me was 4 dead drug runners ranging from overkill to redmist, and one other for the rest of the party, but in fairness everyone else set the targets up and all I did was knock them down.

Roof is fixed and I lost almost all the money I got this month to overdraft fees

Long story short, I didn’t get to the bank in time to transfer the money to my account to catch the checks I had already written. Annoying thing: even though I had the money in the account before the transaction from my transit app processed as proven by the deposit receipt I still got dinged for an overdraft fee. By my account I had 2 overdrafts, 1 before I transferred the money to my checking account and another one after. I transferred $140 yesterday and had $60.14 in the account after the transfer. When I did the transfer from the firewalled account today I had $13.64 before the transfer. Overdraft fees are $35, and I spent $10 on a donation to Make A Wish yesterday. The only thing I don’t know was how much I was in the red before the overdraft charges kicked in because it depends on which check was processed last. If it was one check then I was about $45 in the hole. The math says it could only be the one check because the checks were all large amounts and there’s no way to get an overdraft twice out of those checks. So I feel comfortable with my numbers. And my numbers tell me that in spite of the transfer processing before the bus pass did, showing a balance of $60.14, my bank charged an overdraft on the $1.50 bus pass. And that is against the law, which requires financial institutions to process transactions in the order they are received, and I have hardcopy evidence that they didn’t.

Ever have someone you trust do you wrong? Then you know what is going through my mind right now.

I’m staying up all night and day again

As I begin composing this post I just passed 24 hours since I got out of bed, and I have about 9 hours more to go. Why do I do this at over 60 years old? I have a doctor’s appointment that requires I leave the house to catch a bus about 2/3 of the way through my normal sleep cycle. I normally hit the sack about 0400-0500 and get up 7-8 hours later. Well I have a 1130 appointment, and I have to leave the house at 0915 to make sure I catch the bus. As you can imagine getting up in time to leave at 0915 along with eating and showering when you just got to bed at 0500 is sub-optimal to say the least. I mean I’m still fuzzy around the edges of my mind when I get a full 8 hours of shuteye. So you can imagine how functional I would be after less than 3 hours of sleep, because it takes some time to get to sleep after I get to bed. Mrs. the Poet has commented that my tossing and turning has kept her awake for more than an hour after I get in the bed. And I’m actually less sub-optimal after being awake over 24 hours without sleep than I am on only about 2-3 hours of sleep no matter how long I was awake before.

“Less sub-optimal” does not mean anything approaching good, mind you. let’s say it’s the difference between walking into a wall and breaking my glasses, and not walking into a wall and stumbling over the pattern in the floor. And yes I have tripped on the pattern of the vinyl floor when I was tired enough. And I’m well past the point of Tired Enough, the text on the composition page is swimming as I type it…😝 And I’m desperately trying to remain conscious while I do this. I can’t afford to buy another computer to replace this one. And I already faceplanted into the keyboard more than once, but not today. So I’m trying to stay awake and not break my laptop today.

I’ll post how the doctor visit went on Friday if I can manage.

I’m not dead again yet

And that is one convoluted headline that wraps up my life in a sentence. I’m just reading and doing stuff, practicing making exhaust tips and things. I haven’t made any real good tips yet because I keep collapsing the tubing against the bending post, because the differences between soft enough to bend and soft enough to collapse are this much (holding fingers almost touching) and I haven’t got the touch down yet. I need to get the spatial relationship between the heat source and the bending post better, but ATM I have zero idea what that should be. What I’m looking for is close enough to get the soft tube to the bending post while it’s still soft and so I don’t have to let it get too saggy and stretch it out and make it too small. There are literally thousands of ways to screw this up and I’m finding most of them.

Mrs. the Poet wants me to be in bed at the same time she is, and so do I. It’s getting close to the time she gets up, so I’m putting this to bed now and me shortly after.