Tag Archives: making model cars

Lots of road course racing this weekend

There are two road courses today on the tube and one yesterday. And there was an Indycar race from a short (by Indycar standards) oval. And for those wondering we are way north (about 250 miles) of the hurricane down on the coast so all we have gotten was a few showers and some slightly damp kitties. I’m worried about my Houston friends as H is getting drowned with feet (not inches) of rain. Last report they are expecting 5 feet of rain total. I have some friends living less than ¼ mile from the Brazos river which is way out of its banks last report. I’m especially worried for them and their dogs.

I have been thinking about the Mini Sprint-T and the scale mockup for the TGS2 as they both need a body. What I have been thinking about is making a mold off of the AMT kit body then casting a plug from Bondo to use making a vacuformed body after making the desired body modifications to the plug. The plug would then be split in half to draw the body material over to a form with no undercuts so the body can be removed easily from the mold. The TGS2 mold would have the rear hatch molded separately so it can be hinged to work on the engine and I can test side versus top hinges for access to the rear suspension and engine.

Still thinking about making the little V6 run on E85 only. There is a hypereutectic piston I can use that is flat topped and can be zero-decked for the minimum clearance between the head and the piston, and then the heads will have to be angle-milled to shrink the combustion chamber in the head without taking too much material off the bottom of the head. And I realize that the preceding sentence read like technobabble to about 90% of my readers who were not brought up hard-core gearheads, but every word was a valid technical term or connecting word between. IOW it was all English, just not a common dialect of English. Translation: There is a cast piston made with a low expansion rate high-strength aluminum alloy that is flat across the top and can be fitted flush with the top of the cylinder. Then the heads will have to be milled on an angle with more taken off on the big side of the combustion chamber to get the chamber as small as required with the least amount of material removed. Hypereutectic pistons can support about 375 HP on gas for this engine, and I’m only hunting 225 to 250 HP with cooler-burning E85 so well within estimated stress limits, plus they are inexpensive especially compared to forged pistons. In this case that is especially true because forged pistons would have to be custom made, they aren’t available as regular production items.

The last sentence of the previous paragraph pretty much sums up my biggest frustration with this build, almost everything is $pecial order or cu$tom made, especially in the engine. Some of that is because there were no performance applications for this engine aside from the 1991 Shelby Can Am series which only made 150 engines putting out about 225 HP. The other reason is the last one left the production line in 2011, 6 years ago. Compare this to the ubiquitous SBC that was in production as a factory-installed engine from 1955-2001 and is still in production as a replacement engine for emission controlled vehicles of that era, and as a crate engine for new cars that are not required to meet emissions controls like the Sprint-T. There were literally tens of millions of SBC made in dozens of different sizes from 265 to 455 cubic inches when you include the hybrids made from mixing different blocks and cranks. One of those hybrids actually made production status as the Z28 302 in3, which was a hybrid of the 283 crank in a 327/350 block. One of the most popular hybrids is the 400 crank in a 350 block bored 4.030″ to produce 383 in3. How popular is it? There are now twice as many 400 cranks as there were 400 SBC engines made, the aftermarket is producing brand new cranks with the 3.750″ stroke of the 400 crank with the smaller main journals of the 350 block. It’s even easier to get parts for the LS/LT engine families than it is the 3.3/3.8l Mopar V6.

And that’s enough kvetching about the free engine I was given, at least stock replacement parts are cheap and easy to find because of the millions of them on the road. And some of those factory parts are suitable for use in a high-performance engine with a little preparation, like balancing or grinding off flash and light polishing to remove stress risers.

And I have to go now because my friends on the Gulf are finally starting to check in and I don’t want to miss any. Also my back is starting to hurt again. I did pretty well for several hours today but the pains are back.

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Another day that didn’t go according to plan

Well today I was supposed to go pay for the return tickets from the eclipse viewing, and I even woke up early to do it. I was ready, but the check I deposited last week was not. For some reason it still hadn’t cleared. So I got out the money to get replacement ID and get my toes done went to the post office and got the money order for the ID and then got my toes done and walked home. I was a lot more comfortable walking out of the nail salon than walking in. I also picked up some bodywash on sale at the grocery store next door so I don’t have to wash with shampoo or smell bad.

Speaking of smelling bad, Clyde has been missing Mrs. the Poet something fierce. When I was shutting things down last night there was a bad smell in the bathroom where he was resting, so I blamed Clyde for using the bathroom as a litterbox as I took him to the front door. But when I got back to the bathroom the smell was gone. But the front door smelled like a litterbox until Clyde decided to move on to other things. My theory is he’s depressed because Mommy has been gone for so long and he was Mommy’s cat. When Mrs. the Poet is here Clyde spends most of his time on her lap being adored. And now he is going through withdrawal from Mommy Pettings. He did smell much better after being outdoors last night and most of the day. And now he’s curled up next to me a safe distance from my office chair listening to the TV show I have making noise while I write. That’s what he does with Mrs. the Poet except he sits in her lap. I move around too much for lap sitting when I’m working because I move forward to type and then back to proofread and think about it before I lean back forward to type some more.

Tonight I have the Velocity channel program Bitchin’ Rides running as inspiration, not so much for engineering ideas as for paint and trim and general design, and also for fabrication ideas. Also because I like watching people work metal, especially going from flat stock to a 3D part like a fender or a door skin. This program they scratched the entire floor for a ’52 Pontiac. But even when they aren’t making something even close to my car, it’s an inspiration for my car because they are making something. I want to be making something. That’s part of the reason why I’m making the small scale mockup of the TGS2, so that I’m building something.

And now I have to take care of the cats again before I go to bed.

It’s a good thing I checked in

I called the Lab Rat Keeper to verify my appointment and it was a good thing I did. Somehow my appointment was deleted from the book which was why I wasn’t called. Now instead of going to the Dr.’s office I will be paying bills and getting my toes done tomorrow.
You can see why I need my toes done
Ugly, ain’t it? That’s what happens when I let them go too long between getting them done, now I’m going to lose that one again. It happened back in the mid-1980s and it took most of a year for the new one to grow back, and it was terribly uncomfortable until it did.

So anyway I’m going to do tomorrow, or later today, what I was planning on doing Monday or Tuesday, but couldn’t because I was waiting for the Lab Rat Keeper’ office to confirm my appointment. I’m also still cutting floors for the scale mockup of the TGS2 with smaller rear wheel cutouts, but for some reason I haven’t been able to get the front ones square. And that plastic sheet from ADT is almost impossible to cut.

I woke up around 0500 what is now yesterday and I have been having problems all night long with falling asleep on my phone or at the keyboard, so I’m going to pop a sleep aid and try to grab some Zs.

I spent the weekend Doing Things so now I have something to write about

Saturday was grocery and laundry day, and Sunday was RPG day. Food was bought, and fun was had as we tried to save a slaughterhouse from the scourge of demon cattle, and cyber cockroaches, although I still haven’t wrapped my mind around how two such disparate things struck at the same time. The demon rats I can understand they’re just smaller versions of the demon cattle. But where did the cyber cockroaches come from? The demon rats were probably created at the same time as the demon cattle by drift from one group of animals to another, but the cockroaches had to have been a second attack against the slaughterhouse. We never did discover who was responsible for either attack because someone reported the demon cattle infestation to the Health Department.

I also watched the 9 Hours of Indy, formerly known as the Brickyard 400. It wasn’t supposed to take that long but stoppages for rain and for wrecks that completely blocked the track for several hours to clean up debris and spilled fluids caused it to be that long. I tuned in after the RPG group got finished, and still got to watch the last 40 laps. Congrats to Kasey Kahne on punching his ticket to the Playoffs.

Junk Mail has come through in spades in providing raw stock for the TGS2 scale mockup. ADT sent an actual sheet of plastic with their ad printed on it that will make an excellent floor and fender support. Also the local school district sent an ad on very heavy paper that can also be used for floors and diffusers, probably flexible enough to use for actual fenders as well.

Tomorrow I have to go deposit a check, and get my toes done so I can start walking again. I might be getting a visitor after lunch.

I’m melting, melting, what a world…

Heat indexes have been off the charts lately, from what I can tell. I haven’t been able to go for my walks so I have been spending most of the time indoors and hardly check the weather, but it’s 86°F in my office as I type this with the AC going. So it can’t be anything but hot outside. But just FYI my phone says it is currently 98°F outside. At 1855. So by deduction it must have been over 100 at some point today, say like between 1400 and 1500. ETA the 2200 news weather report had a 100° high temperature. And the urban heat island effect keeps the nighttime temperatures up, too. And this is where today’s headline came from YouTube

I’m not happy with the way the floor came out for two reasons. Number one is I forgot to include the front support for the front fenders, and 2) I made the rear cutouts too wide, as shown in the pictures. Seriously I left enough room for a 16″ wide tire and the widest race tire I have been looking at seriously was 14″ with the street tires in the 12″ range. And I have plenty of raw stock for the floor, finally. So the floor will get a do-over. And that’s why those 9″ wide tires in the pictures looked so lost in there. Even the 10″ wide tires for the Mini Sprint-T would have been swallowed up.

While I am on the subject of the TGS2 I have been looking at a pull-rod spring instead of direct mounted springs for 2 reasons. One reason is I can change the spring rate just by changing 2 bolts, either a little or a lot, The second reason is the unsprung part of the pull-rod is much less than the direct mount spring because the entire spring and shock are moving with the car. Yes they move with the axle but they are entirely supported by the frame so they are sprung weight. The bellcrank and mount add a couple of pounds but it is all sprung weight. But the primary reason to go with the pull-rod springing is adjustability, I can change spring rate and ride height in just a few seconds and swapping a different length pull-rod is much cheaper than swapping different shocks and springs. Literally a dollars to donuts comparison, I can buy or make a custom pull-rod for about the price of a dozen donuts where a spring and shock absorber are $200-300 assembled. With my budget this is a cost-benefit ratio I can most definitely live with.

And I need to take a shower and hit the hay.

This just ain’t my week

Yesterday was grocery day where I discovered all my money is in the wrong accounts and I didn’t have anything spendable at the grocery store. Fortunately my son was able to cover the <$20 tab so we could get out. I did manage to grab the last $0.50 pumpkin pie. I'm not pulling your leg, there was a 9" frozen pumpkin pie for 4 bits on my preferred shopper card.

Outside of the grocery store I’m having a shingles outbreak on my left arm, lots of itchy little blisters on my forearm. Also I’m dealing with an allergy attack that kept me awake all night when I couldn’t find the allergy/sleeping pills, so I’m on my 28th hour of semi-wakefulness. My biggest problem is itchy burning eyes, which is also my normal “Hey, Dummy, get some sleep” body response.

On the TGS2 mockup I’m still not happy with the way the layout of the cutouts for the front wheels has been going. The good thing is I just need to get the shape of this floor piece right and tack some wheels on it than tack the bucket on it and the cover on top of the body and it’s picture-taking time. Making the front fenders will be fun so you can see what I have been looking at in my mind’s eye. I’m still debating if I should completely enclose the back of the fender or leave it open for less drag. I don’t know which way will actually have less drag so I’m making both styles and doing A-B-A testing for gas mileage to determine lowest drag by seeing which one has the highest highway mileage. Lacking a wind tunnel or access to a long straight for top speed testing this is the best method I have to determine comparative drag.

I’m on my third car race of the day on the idiot box, Global Rallycross, which followed the 350 lap Indycar race from Iowa, which followed the Indy Lights race from Iowa. I was in bed trying to sleep during the Austrian F1 Gran Prix telecast. Of the 4 kinds of racing the Lights cars are closest in appearance to the TGS2 simply because of the expansive floor pan in front of the rear tires. Of the 4 kinds of racing my preference is the Indy Car, I mostly watch F1 for design inspiration, the Lights are the guys I will probably see in Indycar in future seasons, and the GRC are a bunch of guys getting dirty and sideways that looks like a lot of fun.

And I need to go to bed now before I faceplant into the keyboard again.

The fur kids are starting to miss Mrs. the Poet, Happy 4th of July

Clint and Clyde have noticed that Mrs. The Poet isn’t here to sit on, on the couch. Actually I think they noticed she isn’t here to wait on them hand and foot.

I’m running out of paper cardstock for the scale mockup because we have recycled so much of our junk mail there was only one small sheet left, so when I screwed up the front wheel cutouts for the floor there wasn’t enough left to do another one. And now I won’t get any of that kind of junk mail again for a long time, because I actually want some.

I could make mockup tires from 1″ dowels sliced and painted black. The IRL tires I’m looking at are all 25 to 26″ tall which is 1″ to 1.04″ in scale, and 7″ to 12″ wide which is 0.28″ to 0.48″ in scale. Doweling is cheap and easy to work with, so that might be the tire solution, cut them slightly wide and then sand them to the correct width.

I need to get my act together this morning and get to Harbor Freight for their 4th sale. Mrs. the Poet wants me to get a screwdriver set because I left mine where I was working out in the garage and people have been moving things around and just putting my stuff anywhere in spite of repeated admonitions to not move anything so I could find it again. But nobody pays me any attention when I ask to leave my stuff alone.

Anyway I need to do a lot of travelling locally today so I had better get a quick nap in before I have to go.

I didn’t want to do it this way, but I have a working tire pump now.

Well I had two pumps, one that failed somewhere in the piston and the other one that had a rotting hose from the pump to the chuck. I only have to send one back, so I put all the bad parts in the return box and assembled all the good parts into a working pump. I then used that pump to get my tires back up to the minimum 70 pounds per square inch to prevent pinch flats on potholes.

And after I did that I felt like Superman™ so I tried to mount the tires to the wheels I had just mocked up that afternoon. It was a struggle, but as you can see:
Wheel reduced from a scale 10 inches to a scale 8

I got the front edge even with the bead on the tire, but I need to pump the tire so the back side matches the front.
Back side sticks out a little bit, don't it.

It’s hard to see from that angle, so this is easier.
See all that white? Not supposed to be visible.

So what I do now is talk to my diabetic friends about getting some used needles and syringes to pump up the tires to meet the beads of the rim.

And there’s something good coming on Science Channel, so I have created enough with the words and pictures, Opus the Unkillable

A State of Detent Has Been Reached At Casa de El Poeta

Mrs. the Poet has been complaining about how I’m “not helping” her throw away my stuff when she does it during the part of the day when I’m still asleep. I don’t understand this. I don’t complain that she’s not helping me write when I start composing stuff at 0300 when the Internet is fastest locally and I can get to reference materials most quickly.

So we reached a compromise, in that Mrs. the Poet will not start throwing my stuff away until I get up, and because we both have things to do over the weekend I will start helping her on Monday afternoon after I have had coffee. There is something in the garage that she calls a “box full of rusty metal stuff” that I’m almost afraid to open. Then we don’t go into the garage again until after I get up Friday.

On other things I’m playing some more Shadowrun tomorrow, and there is a late race on Sunday, the Las Vegas race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup. And now that I have a new tube of GOOP™ I can continue to mock up the Mini Sprint-T street version. I haven’t found a model kit that has the Pentastar V6 as an option so kitbashing is right out. But I have that first wheel glued up and ready to test fit to the tire when the glue dries. I’ll probably do that Sunday while I’m watching the race during commercials.

Billed @€0.02 Opus the Unkillable

Just chillin’

I need to go to the hardware and get a file or 3 to fix the steering arms so they fit the spindles, but right now my foot still hurts, so I’m sitting tight and just chilling and reading Twitter and web comics on separate devices. I prefer to use my phone for Twitter, and my laptop for webcomics, so until just now I was bouncing back and forth between the two like some kind of screen addict. Now I just have the laptop active while I do the blog post. The weather forecast is that tomorrow and Wednesday will be much warmer so I’ll do my walk then and get the files. Actually I’ll probably go to Harbor Freight on the bus and get a whole set of files. And I can also use these to make the Mini Sprint-T, files are useful tools.

So I just finished my walk to get the $$ for tomorrow’s shopping trip and it was about the same temp outside as it was in my office when I left, but now my foot hurts again. Tomorrow should be better.

PSA, Opus