Tag Archives: Mini Sprint-T

Waiting on the door installation people

OK I have selected storm doors to replace the ones installed when the house was originally built in 1985, now I’m waiting for the installers to arrive and measure the door to get the right size storm frame. As this is one of the few standard size things on the house, I don’t expect too much hassle getting it installed.

One thing I have to say, it’s easy to get through the door once it’s open, the frame is 3′ x 6′. Looking through the Lowe’s listings this is the largest standard door available. There are taller doors, but they are only available by special order. There are lots of doors that come narrower, but I didn’t see anything wider. So 3 by 6 is as big as you can get without spending buttloads of money. But the installation people have to verify that in person so they get the right thing.

I have been practicing with the bender for the plastic stock of the frame and exhaust for the Mini Sprint-T, as the exhaust in particular requires lots of work to get right and there is a bend for the muffler/tailpipe in particular that really needs to be done right. To simulate the thin wall exhaust tubing of the 1:1 scale vehicle the end of the exhaust tip needs to be filed to a knife edge from the inside and the inside painted matte black or matte silver. That’s something I’m going to have to research, does E85 leave a carbon deposit when tuned for best power? I already know that the highway mileage tune for 87 octane won’t, as it is about as lean as the engine will run right with, emulating a tune that let a ZO6 Corvette get just over 38 MPG in a real-world highway test. For airplane drivers this is the car equivalent of tuning 150° lean-of-peak on the EGT. And for people not aware this is over 40 MPG steady-state from an engine that displaces 427 in3 (7 liters) and put out ~500 HP at the rear wheels back in the day. But anyway the highway tune will not remove carbon deposits at the end of the exhaust, so if the tune for E85 carbons up the exhaust then I need to emulate that in the model. And I just checked the E85 forum and there are 3 posts that say they don’t get any carbon from running E85, and one that said he still has carbon in his tailpipe from the 87 octane the dealer put in when he first bought it, but nothing more than that in 5000+miles since he bought the car, so I’m going with the matte silver for the inside of the tube.

The fuel map is going to look really strange when I get this tune done, because most of the map will be slightly rich except for the RPM block and throttle setting for steady-state freeway cruise at 60 MPH which will have a “hole” that leans the engine as far as it will go and still run right. On 87 octane this will be leaner than the max NOx point so low CO, CO2 and middling NOx.

And I have been sitting here writing for about 3 hours waiting to hear from these people, and it’s about 1630 CST so I’m going to assume they aren’t going to answer today. And this is a good word count to stop at, because I don’t want to bore anyone today. So, I have to go out again tomorrow to deposit a check, which means going on the bus again. But not as bad as Black Friday in the rain.

No News is just no news

Between YouTube and Twitter and clogging the toilet I have been Way Too Busy to put something on the blog. The Big Thing At The House last week was a big fight about moving my projects in-progress off the dining room table to replace the tablecloth, because unless I do it parts get lost, and I Didn’t Want To Do It. And the odd capitalization is on purpose for vocal intonation a la A. A. Milne.

One of the reasons I haven’t had much to talk about is we are waiting for Mrs. the Poet to decide on when she wants to get an operation to fix her back. She has scoliosis and stenosis, which combine to cause her Great Pain pretty much all the time, and sometimes her legs just Stop Working so she falls down, and yells at me to stand there and not help her get back up, which I don’t understand at all. I mean yelling at me to be there I understand, but yelling at me to leave her alone and not help her up? 🤷‍♀️ That I do not understand at all. Why yell for me to come and not help you? And I have no idea why she is putting the operation off, her insurance has already approved it and all they need is for her to say when.

On other things the money to fix the storm doors and pay the property taxes is on the way, so we can fix the broken doors and also open the doors to allow some fresh air to enter without inviting the neighborhood bugs into the house. This would be good because the house gets stuffy in the Summer and Winter because we have to Keep Things Closed Up to keep cold air either inside or outside as appropriate, and we need to let the joint air out a bit in Spring and Fall. Now we have the option of letting some fresh air in.

I have been trying to get something done with the Mini Sprint-T chassis so I will have something to show where the Bits And Pieces will go on the 1/1 version. That and so I’ll have something to point to and tell people what I want for Christmas, “That, in full scale.” I mean, I already have lots of the parts, some need welding to other parts, but I have most of the front end in the house. I have the axle, both spindles, the steering arms, all the brakes and hubs, the brackets that weld to the axle to mount the 4-link, and associated Bit And Pieces. Basically all I need to call it a Complete Front End are the links for the 4-link, the track bar, springs and shocks, and the steering drag link and tie rod. The steering box is one of those things that is frame or front axle, but I need one of those, too. And I have been trying to replicate those parts in 1/25 scale for the Mini Sprint-T.

Well, that brings you up to date Dear Reader, so it is time to proof and publish the post. I will see you the next time I have Something To Say. Happy Thanksgiving, safe Black Friday.

I have been having bad brain days for a while

This is normal right after my death day, and it doesn’t matter if there’s a big shindig, or I’m all by myself like this year. The difference is when there’s a big shindig it doesn’t last very long, and when I only have the cats to be with I get down for much longer. This year the cats didn’t show up either but they did come back in the morning, but I still got way down. This was a bad year for this particular problem. The only social group I interact with any more is the RPG Group. And nobody responded to my Twitter invite or my FB save the date. I never saw the FB thing go live so that might have been a mistake on my part setting that up.

But anyway, the end result was a lack of desire to write anything more complex than a grocery list, or work on the Mini Sprint-T, or the Sprint-T. I knew I was starting to come out of it when I started thinking about building a car for SCCA Solo racing A-MOD using a V-twin engine from a cruiser motorcycle and a setup that was basically a scaled-up shifter Kart with the suspension and brakes needed to be a legal A-MOD car. I planned on using Midget or Micro-sprint spindles (pretty much the same thing) with pavement brackets for big brakes on both sides (dirt spindles have a smaller brake on the left side only), hung on an axle made from wrapping carbon fiber around a foam core and steel inserts for the kingpins to ride in. The idea was to use a beam axle to keep the tires pointed in the right direction for camber and then make that sucker as light as possible for the lowest unsprung weight. I was going to use a rear axle from the mini- or micro-sprint to connect to the chain drive from the motorcycle engine with a jackshaft for initial gear reduction and moving the final drive to the center like on the Grind Hard Plumbing Princess Jeep only with much less articulation because pavement racer instead of dirt crawler/buggy like the Princess Jeep. But what they did prove was that using a small sprocket on the axle prevented chain bind or jumping when the axle was twisted through a range much further than an A-MOD Solo racer would ever see outside of a wreck. So Imma steal that idea for my car.

Also the reason I’m stealing the jackshaft idea is I’m mounting the engine way off center to balance the driver weight and to keep the polar moment as low as possible by keeping as much mass in the center of the car as possible. Driver to one side, engine to the other with both as close together as physically possible given the need to balance left-to-right and the need for the final drive chain to ride in the center of the axle. I’m leveraging my skinny butt to get as close to the centerline as the chainguard will allow, because I’m only 13″ wide at the hips. This reduces my moment arm from 11.25″ in the Sprint-T to 7″ leaving clearance for the chain and chainguard because I don’t have to leave room for another person, just the engine. I have really wide shoulders and a really skinny butt, like my Dad, and that’s the main reason why the driver moment is so large in the Sprint-T because I have to leave room for a passenger by the rules for Goodguys.

I also knew I was getting better when I started looking through the Hoosier tire catalog looking for the right tire to use when racing the Sprint-T in SCCA Solo events. Basically I was looking for short, wide and sticky that would fit a 15″ X 8″ or X 10″ wheel because there are light, strong, and cheap wheels in those sizes available in several different offsets that fit one or the other of the bolt circles on my hubs. I also used more than just the road racing tires and went into the pavement oval listings to see if there were any tires that came close, and I found a couple in the section for Modified class, and pavement sprint and Supermodified classes which despite being vastly different in layout use pretty much the same tires. Those tires were larger in diameter than my ideal of <23", but were considerably wider than most of the road race offerings with tread widths of 11-13" compared to the 8-9.5" of the road race catalog. The suitable tires for the pavement oval racers were 24-25.5" in diameter compared to the road race tires in the 22.5-23.5" diameter but much narrower as the diameter decreased. Also the oval racing tires are bias-ply while the road race tires came in a mix of bias and radial depending on the size, which tosses another variable into the mix. Radial tires have higher peak grip given the same size and compound, but bias tires are much more controlable at the limit and come in wider tread widths with stickier compounds, so ultimate grip becomes a wash. Also, the reason why there are so many size and compound choices in the oval tire section of the catalog is oval cars run different size and compound tires at each corner in the sprint and Supermodified classes to balance the handling or to use different diameter tires to force the car to turn left when running a locked rear or a solid rear axle (same thing, just built differently) so the right tire drives the car to the left.

It has been a bit difficult to type this in as Clint has decided to lay on my lap on his back demanding tummy rubs which means I have to type with one hand while holding the cat with the other to keep him from sliding off my lap and grabbing me with his claws to keep from sliding. That usually results in long deep scratches. And now he lost interest and has left the room.

Which makes for a good time to end this and hit "Post"

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.

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.

I need a new term for “writer’s block”

Because what I have is not reaaaally “writer’s block”, it’s more like “no news” or “not doing anything”, I mean yeah I’m doing stuff, lots of stuff, but reading science fiction on Kindle (Light of Terra: a Duchy of Terra book 1) and watching instructional video on YouTube (I’m trying to find out how to make the lighter 4L60 series transmission work without a computer, like the heavier 4L80 will do with just some shorts in the external harness and a toggle switch to lock or unlock the torque converter as desired) just doesn’t lend itself to epic thousand word descriptions. I mean it took way less than 100 words to describe it just now.

So, I will describe a typical day without Mrs. the Poet here at Casa de El Poeta. I usually wake up around 1300 but don’t get up until 1400 or so because that’s about how long it takes to get my eyes working these days. I grab a bowl of cereal or a package of PopTarts with something cold and caffeinated to wash down my daily meds and read the web comics that didn’t update before I went to bed that morning, then peruse Twitter for my daily dose of outrage to get the blood up. That usually takes me to lunch, usually something with peanut butter on whole wheat bread, when I look up instructional video on YT and maybe catch some old anime or Steven Universe episodes, or videos of cats being silly, and usually about this time I try to make a post here like I’m doing now. About midnight I fix something hot for dinner, then settle in as the web comics start to update starting at 2200 for those posted on Atlantic time and some at 2300 for Eastern, then a whole bunch that update at midnight Central(US) time, including a large batch from the UK and Europe for some reason. Then there is a lull until the West Coast creators start pushing their comics out at 0200 my time. Then I either try to build something for the Mini Sprint-T or open the Kindle for some recreational reading, and usually get to bed about 0500 to 0600. Thrilling, isn’t it?😴

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.

More parts arrived

The parts I bought this January finally arrived today. The backgrounds are the business cards for the company I bought the parts from, to give you an idea of scale for these parts, and I’m using “scale” in two forms for this. The parts are for the Mini Sprint-T in 1/25 scale.

Rod ends in 1/25 scale, the color is because there was a brass lamp bouncing light from the camera flash

The seat in scale. This is actually much nicer than the actual seat in the car that I showed a few weeks ago, but if I had the $ this is exactly the seat I would install

Again, the backgrounds in the picture, the dark part, is the business card of the company that I bought these from. They literally get lost on a standard size business card. And there was a note inside the delivery envelope saying the guy that runs the whole show for this company just got out of the hospital after 2 months. And those thin pins coming off the top row of rod ends fit snugly in the stainless steel tubes I bought to make the links for the 4-link, and the plan is to add a tiny drop of solder to the end of the tube to hold the rod end and jam nut in place. The jam nuts are those hex-shaped things above the rod ends.

And I need to get to bed, so the blog post needs to, too.

Good race today

That used to have “and the Feed” back in the day when I was still covering bike wrecks every day, but since I stopped doing that my mental health has improved considerably. That’s a little on the scary side that this state is “improved” over where I was just a few years ago.

Anyway, the race was in Las Vegas and was 400 miles long, and Joey Logano won. The new package has slowed the cars way down on the track but they still have the same pit road speed limit they did at last year’s Las Vegas Spring race which means the pit crews are still facing Certain Death if they get in the way of cars moving at or near highway speed, but the cars are now going slow enough on the track that there is very little possibility of one leaving the track and going into the stands and killing a bunch of people. The last time they had a car going too fast for the retainment system they got really lucky and there were only minor injuries to the spectators hit by debris. The new rules can be summarized by “Big spoilers, tiny spacers” as the Big Tracks (basically anything over a mile long) have tapered spacers between the throttle body and intake manifold that reduce engine power to about 550HP or a bit less, partially because that was the cheapest way to do it and partially because the cars were Too Fast everywhere except short tracks and road courses. So now they have most tracks limited to 550, Daytona and ‘Dega are going to be about 400HP if I’m remembering that right, and short tracks and road courses are going to get full effective use of the intake system to make the 750 HP those engines are capable of. To make sure everybody stays inside the track fence and out of the crowds they bumped the rear spoiler from less than 3″ to almost 8″ tall and added a bunch of front downforce to keep the cars aero balanced with about the same downforce on each end. Teams are still trying to figure out the suspension settings that work with the new package because this was a major change from last year even though they kept trying to say it was only a “minimal change.”

One thing that is changing on the Mini Sprint-T and Sprint-T is how the rollover structure integrates with the frame structure. Simple terms the upper frame rail is getting moved back out to the furthest edges of the frame again by squaring off the corners of the roll hoops but also leaving the hoops inside exactly like the SCCA wants it. The hoops will be bent from a single length of tubing as specified in the rules, but there will be short stubs of frame-size tubing welded to the outside of the bends to pick up the upper frame rail. The diagonals will still be rollover structure wall thickness and also have the bends to catch the top of the rear hoop, a bent gusset to catch the vertical leg of the hoop, and a frame thickness stub to catch the intersection of the tangent stubs from the vertical and horizontal legs of the hoops and tie everything together in a lightweight super triangulated space frame, and also what I hope is a rule-complaint roll cage. I’ll have to wait until tech inspection to find out, though.

So many ideas, so little resources to execute them with

Right now I’m staring at my laptop writing a post, but last night I was staring at various bits and pieces of T-Bucket waiting to become part of a whole. And I discovered why I was $75 in the hole last week, so that first.

It turns out when I tried to get out of the free month of Amazon Prime I got after cashing all my gift cards in from Christmas it didn’t go through, and my checking account got dinged for another month. I got it turned off this time but not until Amazon took almost every penny left in my account after Mrs. the Poet twisting my arm to get me to pay for the dinner for the kids pretty much drained my balance down under $20. Bus fare took care of the rest and instead of having $14 in my account when I bought my comic books I had less than $1, “earning” me $70 in overdraft fees. So that dinner ended up costing me $150 for hamburgers and pizza, and my Barbecue sandwich.

The deal with the car is much harder to relate. Not hard to explain, “I ain’t got no money!” pretty much covers the explanation. But emotionally it is much harder, because this build has been starved of resources from the beginning back in the late ’80s when the first iteration was conceived in a Nashville TN quick dining restaurant during a particularly creative bench racing session after the TRSCCA business meeting, right before I got the job in TX. Basically the new job paid for a nice apartment and covered food and utilities and some stuff for the kids, but not enough for the race car, and I had another ADHD thing going with homebuilt aircraft so the bucket went on the back burner again for about a decade. I have a drawing from winter 1997 of a version made with a riveted aluminum monocoque pontoon structure that acted as a frame and also housed the cooling system(s) for the engine and transmission. That version was dropped because of construction difficulties (I didn’t have the tools or space needed to build such a structure then) and because I got fired when word got around I was a witch and some people started messing with my work whenever I went on break, causing misprocessing. Technically I was fired for the misprocessing, but I wasn’t misprocessing it was the people doing things to my equipment when I was on break. That’s long ago and already litigated so that’s enough about that.

After the monocoque bucket I was riding bikes and building recumbent bicycles and trailers and working as a computer help desk operator until I got hit with the truck and lost my job. Then years of recovery and rehab, and eventually my fire to build this project flared back up, and I bought an actual bucket body. I thought I had a much larger budget when I bought the body, by about $50K, but life happened and here we are. I have a tiny budget of about $150/month before I take care of everything I need to take care of like phone and meds and toes and haircuts and massages to keep my neck working and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics. Of the listed needs I can live without the $4 comic book, and toes and haircuts are not every month things although they really need to be. So by neglecting my appearance I can sorta pay for parts every now and then. My next purchase is scheduled to be front brakes that will work with just about any rear axle I can buy, or the front heim joints for the four link between the front axle and the frame. I can afford the heims quicker than the brakes, so I might be showing those off earlier…