Tag Archives: ideas from the middle of the night

My biggest impediment is my sense of esthetics

My main guide to engineering is the math, but after that is my sense of engineering esthetics. And sometimes that gets in the way of finishing a design. Seriously, the single 3″ tube would have worked fine for the de Dion suspension, but a truss would weigh less and be stiffer, by a small amount on both counts. And the new truss is much simpler both to build and to mount than the previous truss of 0.5″ thinwall tubing with a plethora of tiny triangles in two planes as it is just 7, 1.5″ X 0.120 wall round tubes in a single plane. The tube diameter and wall thickness are enough to hold the toe and camber alignment while the truss is strong enough to take all the vertical and horizontal forces with a huge safety margin. The truss weighs 20 pounds with brackets, not including the filler wire from the welds. This compares to the 3″ tube which comes to exactly the same weight but not as stiff vertically. Or as pretty to look at, which as I wrote earlier is an equal criteria after weight.

I mean face it, the 3″ tube would work just fine and probably less than 3 people out of 100 would be able to feel the difference in stiffness compared to the truss. Even fewer than that would care about the looks of the truss compared to the single tube. TBH even I am just the slightest bit ambivalent about the difference in appearance between the truss and the single tube. There is the simplicity of the single tube across the back of the car, but on the other hand there is the zen-ness of the collection of triangles running across the back of the car, even if it is hidden by the bodywork for aerodynamic reasons. There is also the fact that I can lower the roll center by almost 2″ in the rear to reduce oversteer slightly with the truss. And finally there is the cost issue, a single 58″ 3″ X 0.120 wall tube is less than half the price of the 132″ of 1″ X 0.120 I would need for the truss.

And even while I’m thinking about the rear suspension I’m still thinking about the cockpit and a possible roof and side windows. Mrs. the Poet is still saying there is no way I’m going to be able to get in and out going through the top of the roll cage after climbing the side of the frame. I have zero doubts about getting in and out of my own car, if for no other reason than I will have lots of time to use the frame as exercise gear to get my upper body strength up. Or I could screw together some black pipe for a dipping rig and chinup bar and continuously build my upper body every day. 😀

And I think I need to go to bed now, and so become the Nighty Knight.

It happened again!

I was thinking while walking again, and I wondered if a single 3″ OD 0.120 wall tube weighed more or less than the complex truss of half-inch tubing I designed for the de Dion suspension that still needed more work to actually support putting a spring on it. So when I got home I looked up my truss calculations and found I was putting just shy of 15 pounds of tubes in the version that just kept the rear wheels pointed in the right direction.

Then I ran a quick bending load calculation on the 3″ tube and it won’t need any extra support aside from the gusseting action of the spring mount (I mount coilovers in double shear mounts and tie them with bulkheads). Then I looked up how much it would weigh…18 pounds for just the bare tube, 20 with the brackets to make the upright adjustable.

Five pounds, I spent hours with a calculator, and paper and pencil for a design that saved 5 pounds and still needed more work to get right. Five freaking pounds, at minimum wage those pounds cost me about $20 each, maybe more. Probably more. A classic case of over-design. Now granted it would take a huge shunt to make a rear wheel point in the wrong direction and there is a good chance the tire would get knocked off the rim or the rim bend or break first, but the fact remains I couldn’t mount a spring anywhere except the upright or trailing arm without redesigning the truss, and adding weight, when I discovered that there was no way to balance the handling without moving the rear springs inboard. Now the fun part is moving the spring mounts on the frame inboard to prevent frame flex.

There are a couple of ways I can move those mounts in to get the springs off the ends of the axle. One is just change the mounting point to the crossmember and make that a truss to handle the bending load. Or I could continue to mount the springs to the heavily triangulated intersection of the upper frame rail, lower frame rail, center top hoop of the roll cage to upper frame rail brace, crossmember, lower crossmember to watt’s link center mount brace and taillight mount (that’s the intersection of 5 tubes in 3 different planes triangulating the mount to kingdom come) and move that complex intersection inboard a few inches as needed. Right now that intersection exists only on paper, not in steel, so moving it is just a matter of changing a drawing. This would also have an effect on the engine mounts as the tubes they mount on get moved inboard an as yet to be determined amount.

Now I’m going to open up a beer and eventually go to bed.

Opus the Unkillable