Tag Archives: making things

What I was thinking about last night

I have this “problem” with thinking, especially when I’m trying to sleep. This is especially true when I have a niggling design/fabrication issue that won’t let me go until I solve it.

The issue that kept waking me up last night was there will be zero clearance for the oil and transmission pans when the belly pan is installed on the Sprint-T. That also means there will be zero clearance for the drain plugs with the belly pan is installed.

Since the Sprint-T is going to be raced frequently this is a serious problem because racing requires frequent fluid changes to maintain the performance of the drive train, especially since it will be driven to and from the races. Now transmission fluid is not as critical as engine oil, but it will still need to be changed during the racing season and at the beginning of the season. Cars that are not raced then driven on the streets or highways can usually go their entire lives without a transmission fluid change, but even street only engines need oil changes regularly because oil doesn’t last forever and oil filters don’t catch all the contaminants that get into engine oil. And race engines usually get fresh oil every race meet, sometimes during the race meet if there is a lot of dust and dirt in the air, even if the engine is using an air filter on every engine orifice exposed to atmosphere.

Now there are two problems to be solved here, the first is since transmissions don’t normally get fluid changes they don’t have drain plugs, and the second is having drain plugs that are flush with the bottom of the pan but still drain completely dry with a tolerance for cling to the sides and bottom. The solution is to install the drain on an edge with the hole being flush to the inside bottom surface of the pan, and to contour that surface to direct the draining fluid to the hole. This is obviously easier on a pan that is being fabricated from scratch, but since the vast majority of transmission pans are stamped out of thin sheet metal it can be accomplished with a little hammer and dolly work, or a ball peen hammer and a soft 2 by 4.

The first thing to do is decide where the drain is going to be, and then “massage” the bottom of the pan with the hammer and whatever you choose to back it up to make that the lowest place in the pan so the fluids accumulate there. Then drill your drain hole flush with the bottom through the side of the pan. That’s the easy part, the hard part is making a plug that doesn’t hang below the bottom of the pan.

The next step is to pick a bolt that will fit the hole you drilled, ideally that will fit snugly in said hole because it will be used to locate the part that holds it to the pan. This is going to be a nut that is compatible with being welded to the pan. You will thread the nut over the bolt you chose as the plug, then stick the bolt through the hole in the side of the pan and rest it against the bottom of the pan with the nut flat against the side of the pan, and tack weld the nut in place so you can let go of the bolt. Finish weld the nut and make sure you can thread the bolt in and out of the pan. Then comes the part that lets the pan sit flat against the bellypan of the car. Using a cutoff wheel against the bottom of the oil or transmission pan slice off the part of the bolt and nut that stick out past the bottom surface of the pan. Just for insurance you might want to run an extra bead of weld on the part of the nut that was cut where it joins the pan if there is no weld showing, to prevent seepage. Then grind the weld flush with the bottom of the pan.

Now the design of the pan for the engine oil is going to be a little tricky, since it is two pieces that bolt together on the engine and the drain will have to somehow not interfere with the function of the bottom flange that holds the bottom of the pan after the pan is bolted to the bottom of the engine, since the bolts that hold the pan to the engine are inside the oil pan when it is installed. Somehow I have to get the bottom of the nut flush and the bolt resting against the inside of the pan, with the bottom being bolted to a flange around the bottom. Or I can move that flange to the top, the part that bolts against the engine, and do the drill the hole in the side routine like it was a regular oil pan that bolted up from the outside of the engine. The bottom will have to be built like a regular oil pan instead of just a flat plate that bolts to the bottom of the pan. Still easier than welding tubes for access to the bolts that hold the pan to the block on a pan with huge kick-outs to give the engine oil room to be flung from the crankshaft. There was an episode of Engine Masters that used a pan that had the mounting bolts on the inside and that pan actually made more horsepower than a deep sump pan without kick-outs but was way deeper than the pan with the kick-outs. I would link to it but unless you have a subscription to Motor Trend On-Demand you won’t be able to see it.

So anyway, that’s the kind of stuff that sometimes keeps me awake at night, or haunts my dreams (yes I have dreams of making car parts, and no I don’t know what that means if anything). Happy Fourth of July to those who celebrate it.

Swimming as hard as I can but not getting anywhere

One of the things I do is compare and contrast, it’s how I got my stage name when I was a spoken word poet, which became my pen name when I was first starting out as a blogger, and now is just my name. Well now I’m feeling like that place in Wonderland where as the Red Queen put it “You have to run as fast as you can just to stay put.” Or I’m in an infinity pool set on high and it won’t adjust to my speed.

And I have this tremendous urge to write, but nothing to write about except this complaint about wanting/needing to write and no topics present themselves for me to expound upon. I have been looking for things on the internets to write about and coming up empty, except for politics, which I don’t want to write about here for obvious reasons. I mean I have had personal experience with bad police work, but my complaining here about a grievance that is nearly twenty years old or even the most recent is more than 5 years old.

Actually that is a good stepping off point for this rant, stolen bicycles and their non-reaction from the police. I have had 3 bicycles stolen from me and had slight response (they tried to give me someone else’s stolen bike they recovered) to zero response (refused to take a report) to negative response when I attempted to recover my bike from the pawnshop it was fenced to. It took months after people in my bike club saw my bike in a pawn shop before I could take possession of the remains that were damaged even further by the cop trying to stuff the bike into the trunk of the cruiser.

And even more annoying was the “detective” who tried to tell me they didn’t look for the truck that hit me doing about 60 MPH (100 km/hr) because there was no proof it was damaged in the impact with my body that threw me over 100 feet (30 m). Now everybody knows hitting anything weighing as much as I did at the time of the wreck (about 225 pounds (100kg)) at that speed is going to crumple sheetmetal beyond simple repairs (no, that won’t “buff out”), but there was no attempt to find the weapon vehicle at local bodyshops.

So, yeah, I’m on the “defund the Police!” side of the debate. My experience was when I was a victim they did almost nothing to either catch the perp or recover my property, and when I found my stolen property on my own I had to wait months to get it back because someone else might have a valid claim to it (?!).

And I’m stymied on working on the steering arm because my tools won’t work with the stock I have. I need to get bigger drills to handle the drill bits I need to use to make the threaded holes I need to make the part, and I need something like the drill press, but hand-turned, to make the threads straight so the bolt doesn’t get bound up in boogered threads.

Oh yeah, while looking for topics I found this article on German beer types. A Beginner’s Guide to German Beer Styles 

 

Now I have time and I have something to write about

OK I was thinking last night and I figured out how I can do the thing by myself without having to spend $40 for the other thing to use to make the thing. I just need to buy a chunk of extra heavy angle iron and drill 3 holes after cutting to length.

Seriously I can get some thick angle iron from Lowe’s or the Metal Supermarket (yes that is a real place near downtown in Dallas), a step drill bit from Harbor Freight, and drill 3 pilot holes and use the step bit to get the desired size holes and I would have the thing I desired for less than half the cost of modifying the other thing because I would still have to get the step drill to drill the hole in the steering arm from Speedway at the right distance. I already have the cutting tools for the cutting to length and to clear the kingpin boss on the spindle from when I was building bicycles (what, you forgot about when I used to build bicycles?), and I still have many things that can be used to drill precision holes in (other) things if I have the right drill bits. And as I was just saying, I need to get a step bit anyway.

Anywho, it’s really simple. I know what the distance between the ½” holes on the vertical part of the steering arm need to be, and when I get the steering kit from Speedway I’ll know what the distance of the pitman arm is, and by simple ratios I’ll know what the distance to the 5/8” hole for the drag link end needs to be. There will be no need for anything like Ackerman or the like because this is strictly to transfer the motion of the pitman arm to the spindle and the Ackerman is already taken care of through the other steering arms and the tie rod. If I wanted to get fancy I might weld part of the vertical web that I need to remove to clear the kingpin boss on the spindle to the vertical and horizontal part of the arm between the spindle and the hole for the drag link to reduce deflection of the horizontal part under hard cornering. It likely won’t do any good if I buy thick enough angle iron but, you know there’s no such thing as “too safe”. And there is also the possibility that I can’t find angle stock in that thickness. And adding the support from the vertical to the horizontal flanges of the piece will stiffen it up considerably. And if I can’t get the thick stuff I will have to weld the connection from the vertical to the horizontal.

That’s it, I’m starting to get a sore butt from sitting in front of the computer.

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.

Well, let’s do a reset

I just got finished watching a good race, Denny Hamlin won, Kyle Busch won 2 of the three races this weekend but not today, and I have to go do things tomorrow. I need to pay for my phone, I need to shop for a new mattress for the bed in the big bedroom, and I need to get a massage.

Also I need to figure out where the links for the front axle are going to fit on the frame so I can make the links to length in scale for the Mini Sprint-T. It’s basic trig and geometry, the axle is x distance from the front hoop, the lower rail is y inside to inside and y+3 outside to outside and the links have to be l distance apart to clear the tires at full lock. This has been determined previously to be 31″ outside to outside, and the links are 1″ diameter so the links have to be 30″ center to center. The only dimension that is unknown at this point is the altitude of the triangle formed by the front hoop and the lower frame rails, because I still haven’t set how far in front of the axle the forward crossmember is, because I still haven’t decided if I want big or small body shocks. The big body shocks use 3″ OD springs, the small body use 2″ OD springs and there is 0.5″ difference in how far forward the front crossmember sits which means there is maybe 0.125″ difference in where the lower rails are 30″ apart center to center measured from the front hoop.

And it has occurred to me that some of you don’t know where the transverse structural parts go and what they are called on the Sprint-T and because it is the same but in scale, the Mini Sprint-T. From the front, there is the front crossmember that holds the front coilovers over the axle and the radiator gets mounted to the front of it and the mount for the track bar that locates the axle from side to side, then the front hoop that is 1.5″ X 0.120″ for most of the structure and 0.060″ for the rest of it because it’s part of the roll cage that has to be 0.120″ wall thickness except for the part that isn’t roll cage but frame, then the rear hoop that is the same as the front hoop, then the rear crossmember that basically doesn’t do anything except hold the rear of the frame apart and protect the fuel tanks in a rear end crash, and provide additional torsional rigidity by increasing d4. The point of interest in today’s post is the front crossmember because the lower rails meet at the center and the upper rails are right over the coilover mounts and also pick up half of the mount to put the upper mount in double shear. The triangle formed by the lower rails determines how far the rear mount of the links that mount the front axle are from the front hoop because the mount has to be 30″ center to center. The links have to be parallel to work best with no bump steer from moving the ends of the axle when the car rolls in a turn. So the center of the rear mounts on the frame have to be the same distance apart as the mounts on the axle to keep the links parallel.

Anyway finding the location for the rear mount is a simple ratio. The problem is I don’t know the terms for the ratio beyond the first term. That term is 30/46.5 or 0.645161290323. That’s the ratio of the center separation of the links to the center separation of the frame rails at the front hoop, the term I’m missing is the distance from the front crossmember to the front hoop to multiply that by. I know about how far that is but not exactly how far that is. But if I think about it some more I can make it so there won’t be a difference because I’ll use the distance for the larger spring and just enjoy the extra clearance if I decide to use the smaller spring instead, so doing some quick calculations, the rear axle is 5″ behind the rear of the body, the body is 52″ long and the rear axle is 100″ behind the front axle and the front hoop is right in front of the firewall and where the frame rails meet the front hoop is 58.5″ in front of the rear axle or 41.5″ behind the front axle and the front crossmember is 1.5″ in front of the front axle, so the distance from the front hoop to the front crossmember is 43″ so the rear mounts for the links are 43-(0.645161290323*43) or 15.258064516111 from the front of the front hoop. Rounding makes that 15.26″ from the front hoop and links that are 23.25″ center to center after using the distance from the center of the rear axle to the center of the holes for the Heim joints on the 4-link brackets and the size of the vertical member supporting the rear mount which will probably be 1.5″ X 0.060″ to make it stiff enough in bending with the load triangulated at both ends, which I just decided. The diagonals will run from the top of the front hoop and the bottom of the front hoop so there will be no possibility of hitting the frame with the front tire at full steering lock. And as previously stated there is another diagonal that runs from the top of the front hoop to the top center of the front crossmember so there is a parallel frame member to capture the top of the rear mount for the links and make that area fully triangulated.

And this has turned into one of the longest non-wreck report posts I have done. So since I don’t want to overload people doing an archive dive, this seems like a good place to take a break and put this post to bed.

“Is this real life?”

Remember that commercial where the kid wonders if he’s hallucinating? That is the way I’m feeling today, waiting on a book delivery that will tell us how the president conspired with Russia to fix the election so he would win. I mean at this point there is little doubt of the conspiracy since Trump announced it on national TV .

I’m watching Velocity channel again with people making pretty cars or rompin’ cars that aren’t quite so pretty. It inspires me, but also frustrates me as I can see how easy it is to build cars when you have the materials and the equipment to do it. I almost have the equipment, between welders and angle grinders and other cutting equipment and drills, but I still lack the equipment to lift and move heavy assemblies like engines and transmissions. A few more tools and I’ll have it covered. Then all I have to deal with is materials, and depression stealing my ambition to build.

And, to be totally honest, depression is my biggest hurdle on this build. Not money, not spousal disapproval, not lack of work space, depression. That means I just have to stay on my meds, and get myself down to the plasma center to sell my blood twice a week (at an upfront cost of $10 for bus fare), spend that money on raw stock and build the central cage around the body to await the donor vehicle that will define the rest of the frame. I have to get out of bed which means fighting the anti-depressant side effects and fighting to the bus stop and having that $5 in my fist to pay for the day pass, and fighting to get to the donor center and get needles stuck in my arm. After that the metaphor falls apart, partially because I don’t know what comes next and partially because I mostly just have to get home which is not that big a thing as long as I’m on my meds, nothing really to fight there.

Speaking of depression my music app just pulled up a cut from “The Wall“, which is practically a sonic poem to depression. RIP Sid Barrett. And I need to get to bed soon because I took my meds early and now I’m starting to lean to one side and I might fall out of my chair.

Happy Day to my fellow vets

Today is Veteran’s Day (observed), so I’m wishing a happy Veteran’s Day to all my green-blooded brothers out there (in joke).

It was cold last night but warmed up this morning enough that I wore my normal next-to-nothing today, which annoyed Mrs. the Poet as she was wearing long pants, t-shirt, and a sweatshirt over it with fuzzy socks on her feet and complaining about the cold. We have vastly different temperature tolerances all year long as I go out and walk or ride my bike in both the summer and winter in weather that has Mrs. the Poet staying indoors or kvetching about the heat/cold as appropriate for the season. I think it’s kinda funny, but that’s because I’m not the one complaining about the cold or heat. My nose does get cold when Mrs. the Poet is complaining about the cold while I’m in a pair of shorts and nothing else, and when I get cold enough to put a shirt on my ears are also getting a bit chilly while Mrs. the Poet is busy putting on everything in the closet and dresser. And I’m not as cold-tolerant as I used to be back when I wore shorts and t-shirt in freezing weather, scaring the rubes when I walked home from work. I saw people tossing liquor bottles out of car windows after seeing me walk home in shorts and T-shirt with heavy frost on the ground. This was back when I was in my 30s, long before I got hit with the truck. I can’t quite do that these days, one of the downsides of years of conditioning myself to be able to ride in ridiculously hot and humid weather.

I’m still stymied at trying to get something moving on the TGS2 build, beyond getting the spindles installed on the axle, which also hasn’t happened yet. I mean I don’t even actually have the donor vehicle in my hands yet, just a car cover for it when I get it so it doesn’t get towed for not having registration since it can’t pass inspection. Since the registration sticker is on the inside of the windshield if you park under a car cover they can’t check to see if your vehicle has current tags. I guess I should be doing something with the parts I have to work with just to be doing something that moves the car build forward, but it is very hard to become inspired for building when you will still have next to nothing to show for it when you get finished except a few more parts not in separate piles. I guess this is another symptom of my depression, the inability to inspire myself to do things. Writing I don’t consider “doing something”, it’s more of a way to avoid doing things. It’s much easier to write about doing something than to actually drag myself into a situation where things are getting done. Also I write when I’m depressed, the “the Poet” in my name came from writing free verse during depressive episodes. I even got some song lyrics down from some of my depressive episodes. Some were good, others were scary bad. Bad as song lyrics, but passable as free verse.

Mostly running in circles instead of making progress

The headline tell most of the story lately. I have been trying to make some kind of progress on something, anything, and most of what I’m doing seems to be chasing my tail, metaphorically speaking. I don’t actually have a tail to chase and I’m not running in circles or otherwise, but that doesn’t keep me from going over the same old thing over and over, and accomplishing nothing in the process. And yes the new meds are not very effective against the depressing political climate, which is all I’m going to say about it.

I have been doing the stick-aided design thing with the bucket body shell trying to visualize the shape of the TGS2 and also trying to figure out how I’m going to build the plug to pull the mold from. The biggest problem I’m having is the seam between the existing bucket shell and whatever I’ll be using to build the rest of the plug from. That will also be the transition around the cowl that I won’t be using on the TGS2 that I’m still trying to figure out. There is a molding around the top of the cockpit that I want to continue all the way to the nose molding, but the cowl on the bucket gets in the way of just molding straight from the body and carrying that molding to the nose.
The dashboard slightly gets in the way.

and there are other considerations...

see how that dash just barely gets in the way?

As you can see the cowl has a major pinch that I want to turn into a smooth curve all the way to the nose but the dashboard just barely hangs into the transition and there is that interruption of the molding at the top of the cockpit I was mentioning. I might be able to fill in the divot in the mold after it gets pulled from the plug, but I’m not sanguine about my prospects of getting it right on both molds. Plus there is the matter of that molding around the cockpit going all the way to the nose.that I have some confidence in getting right if for no other reason than I can use a template gauge to match the profile to a carving tool I can whittle from sheet stock.

Well I need to stick some sticks on the body and think about the shape again.