Tag Archives: Saving money

Never stop thinking

I can’t, it’s part of my condition. I have the frame almost complete in design phase, so what do I do? That’s right, I change everything forward of the firewall.

I’m trying to get unsprung weight down so the tires will be easier to keep on the road over bumps. This means making everything between the frame and the road lighter, and one way to do that is indirect springing AKA push/pullrod suspension. The thinking is that the connecting bits between where the push or pull rod attach to the moving part of the suspension are : a. lighter than the spring/shock unit, and : b. more sprung than unsprung weight. The coilovers on a rod-activated suspension are believed to be 75% sprung weight with the same said for the rocker. The rod is 100% unsprung, but the total of the rod, unsprung weight of the rocker and unsprung weight of the coilover is (hopefully) less than the unsprung weight of the direct-acting coilover. Another thing is the motion ratio, or the ratio between how much the wheel moves to how much the end of the shock that moves the spring moves. With the rocker arms the effective wheel rate can be anything just by drilling the hole where the shock bolts to the rocker a different distance from the pivot, and a long travel softly sprung shock can be used on a very stiffly suspended car.

Now what this does is change everything that connects the front axle to the frame. There are no spring mounts hanging out in the breeze and everything is tucked up tight. Google a shot of a modern F1 front end as an example. This means the parts of the frame that would have interfered with the tires when they were steered aren’t there any more, but it also means that I don’t have the same radius of gyration to work with as I would with direct springing. And since torsional stiffness is proportional to the 4th power of the radius of gyration that’s kinda important. Like this is going to make the front a whole lot less stiff unless I add a lot of bracing to reduce the average length between pivots or whatever the technical term is for bracing the heck out of the structure. It has been more than 40 years since my last structures class, the one where we built a scale model bridge with 1/16” square balsa and a piece of Bristol board for the road deck, so my terminology is a little fuzzy. Anyway, major loads would be carried by the .060″ wall tubes, and also the braces since I could use the cut-offs from making the major pieces of the frame.

Another thing on my mind has been replacing the heavy steel tube axle and steel spindles with a carbon fiber axle and aluminum spindles. I have even been heavy thinking about how to construct said CF axle. What brought this on is I have had to move the steel axle I bought back when I thought I was going to be using the minivan engine and drivetrain, every time I needed to go in or out of the office, because Mrs the Poet didn’t like where she put something and insisted it belonged in my office. So because leaving the axle on the floor was a tripping hazard and because it blocks access to the door when leaning against the wall, the axle has to be moved every time I go in or out of the office. And I have come to realize that it is freaking heavy and detrimental to handling because it is 100% unsprung weight, and will work to get the car built but needs to be replaced at the earliest opportunity. Between the axle and the forged steel spindles we are talking about 80 pounds (+/-) of unsprung weight on a 1450 pound car. And replacing it with a 16 pound axle carrying 2 7 pound spindles. So replace 80 pounds of unsprung with 30 and the hubs that fit those spindles are lighter than the ones that fit the spindles I have now, by about a pound.

And final note, I screwed up again in my last correction. I used an old value for the rollover hoops of 16 feet back from when I didn’t have a good idea as to how far the rollover structure had to be over my head. The actual value is about 11 feet which takes a metric buttload of weight off the frame. Well a little bit because 5 feet times 1.75 pounds per foot isn’t much, about 9 pounds per hoop, or 17.5 pounds total. But every pound, every gram, adds up, and the fewer there are to add the lower the total will be at the end of the project. Also the less metal I have to buy, the less money I need to spend. Also important.


Why does so much of my life suck?

That app on my phone that pays me money is glitching big time the last couple of days. I have only been able to get one prize box since Thursday and haven’t been able to check in to a check-in location in that time. I can sometimes sneak in a sweeps entry for the “make an entry a day for 20 days and get a dollar” contest but I missed yesterday. And it isn’t looking good for today either. To make matters worse, some other apps I downloaded because they provided points for the other app no longer pay out at all and one of them stranded several days’ worth of points before the app stopped paying points. IOW I was still earning points and getting told I was earning points but not getting connected to the points server to collect the points, then they dumped everything about points without paying me my earned points.

Since things on other fronts have been floating along like the proverbial lead balloon, I bought some lottery tickets today. To be precise I bought a Megamillions, Powerball, and Texas Lotto ticket with annuitized payments payout. I win any of them and we have enough to live off of for our expected lifespans (well maybe not MY expected lifespan, but I should have enough by then to live off the interest).

I had to stop working on the remaining toaster because the pliers I have been using wore a hole on the top of my pinky finger from using it to open the pliers back up to make another grab at the stubborn screws. I have to admit the manufacturer had an insanely simple anti-tamper method, buy screws so cheap and soft that they strip the heads installing them so there is nothing to grab hold of with a screwdriver to remove them. Problem is from looking at the rest of the device I don’t think anti-tamper was even on the first 2 pages of reasons to buy cheap, soft screws.

On the Mini Sprint-T I was getting ready to mock up a full wheel to check for fit and my mock-up adhesive that I just bought seems to have gone walkabout. I’ve torn the room apart and can’t find it anywhere. That’s $5 down the tubes and no progress until I can get another tube of Goop™.

And I really need to wrap this up and get to bed. I have a busy day of role-playing games ahead.

billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Today’s agenda: Church, eat, Church, watch TV and then Church

Followed by blogging. Yep, I spent most of the day in the church building between services and congregational meetings. I did get home from the second trip to church long enough to catch Joey Logano’s victory circle celebration after the Talladega Sprint Cup race, but I have no idea who won the Formula 1 race down I-35 in Austin because I missed the whole race during the congregational meeting.

The congregational meeting was thrilling (not really) as we discussed the budget for the upcoming year. We then divided the budget into two parts, the “keep the doors open” budget required to well, keep the doors open, and the “everything else” budget, and used the “keep the doors open” budget to determine what the minimum pledge should be. With the number of members divided into the “doors open” budget we determined that we had to make the minimum pledge equal to $240/year, or about $5 a week. If we get more people we can reduce that, but I wouldn’t. We have additional bills that make us a church beyond just keeping the doors open.

The good news is we can make our budget, pay our national dues and still have money left over for building upgrades or buying a new building should we outgrow our current location. This is good.

On another front, I may be turning Mrs. the Poet around on buying a donor vehicle for building the Sprint-T. She can’t stand to lose the sunk costs of the items I needed to have to design the basic frame any more than I do. So I need to figure out how to build the car at the storage facility that has no electricity. Simple, huh?

PSA, Opus the Poet

I’m “Double Nickles” today on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Yes it’s my birthday today, so I’m typing another blog post. I’m so blase about it that I didn’t even post a suggested gift list this year. I mean I have most of what I need and pretty much all of what I want (except that harem). Well there are a few things I still want and/or need, but those are not the kind of things that can be gift-wrapped and placed on a table with a nice card.

I still want/need safe places to ride my bike so that I can get places on my bike. Right now in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell we have almost 10 miles of bicycle infrastructure. Contrast that to the more than 1000 miles of automobile infrastructure and you see the problem. Comparing lane miles is even worse because so many roads here have more than one lane in each direction. We have just under 2 miles of bike lanes, the rest is shared lanes with cars. We have no cycle tracks, and a few bike paths that don’t go anyplace in parks. I don’t include them because they are intended for recreational use, not transportation. That would be like using the number of public swimming pools in an inventory of navigable waterways. And I don’t include residential streets because most of the residential streets are not built to get anything through in a smooth and direct fashion, they are impermeable for every mode. To wit at the end of the next block is a park with a cycle path, that is blocked by a chain link fence and a gate for maintenance vehicles. Entry to the park and cycle path is a quarter of a mile away from the end of my street. This is the opposite of “permeable”. And it makes the cycle path completely unusable for transportation.

I still want/need affordable health care that covers what the gig as a lab rat doesn’t. And that covers Mrs. the Poet. Right now if I have more than $100 in my bank account(s), I don’t qualify for Medicaid in TX. I don’t make enough to even qualify to use the insurance exchange. I’m caught in the middle, and I shouldn’t be because there shouldn’t be a “middle” to get caught in. For that I blame Gov. Goodhair and the Tea Party rejecting any expansion of Medicare/aid eligibility, while simultaneously rejecting establishing state insurance exchanges. I propose a lawsuit that makes Perry and the Tea Party responsible for every death, every person with diminished quality of life, and every child that suffers because of a lack of access to medical care caused by the actions of Perry and the Tea Party-controlled legislature. If they created the situation they can bloody well pay for the damages they caused.

Something else Perry should have to pay for is the 2009 veto of the vulnerable road users law that actually would have punished drivers for killing people with their motor vehicles. As it is now in TX unless you are drunk or have made public statements about killing people not in cars (and the prosecutor bothers trying to look those statements up) you pretty much get a free pass for killing in a motor vehicle. Claim blindness (“I didn’t see him!>sob, sob<"), claim the victim "forced you" ("He was right in the middle of the road, I either hit him or the oncoming traffic"), claim the victim shouldn't have been there, and you walk. Just be sober and don't leave the scene of the wreck and you'll be fine. And if you do leave the scene just claim you didn't know you hit anything, and you'll be fine. People with busted windshields and missing body parts (the vehicle's body, not theirs) have made that claim and it has been accepted as true. You don't even need to be legally driving the vehicle as long as you stay at the scene of the wreck, or stop and return. I want/need laws that correct this gap in prosecution, particularly a law that requires all road deaths be brought to trial so that every death will be investigated and also some kind of sanction against LEO that fail to investigate a fatal wreck. Can somebody get me a law like this in TX?

Another thing I want/need is a local vendor for metals in job-lot quantities and bicycle sizes/alloys. For instance there is a metal vendor 15 minutes away by bus with 2 stops nearby, that doesn't carry the sizes and alloys I need and does not sell in job-lot quantities. Get that fixed and I'll be a happy bicycle builder. I really don't like having to change the design of my bikes to accommodate the metal I can get locally. Having access to sizes and alloys to build that T-Bucket project would be nice, too. And having a roomy workshop without a bunch of other people's junk in it would be a plus, too.

And that's what I Really Want for My Birthday.

PSA, Opus

For those making resolutions this year: Don’t exercise!

I’m making a rare Sunday post for a good reason. I kept hearing during the coffee hour at church how many people were resolving to diet and exercise this year and lose weight.

Bad Idea!

Exercise is literally a waste of time and energy. I’m not saying it isn’t good for you in some cases, I’m saying that if you need to exercise what you really need is a lifestyle change.

Stop and think about it, if you need to exercise what is it you really need? You need to move your body, to use your muscles, to bend and stretch and move and use your body. What you really need to do is bend and stretch and move and use your body all day long in reasonable amounts, which means moving your butt off the couch and playing Wii instead of whatever video game you have been playing, riding a bike instead of driving your car to the corner for a latte, or lottery ticket, or whatever you get from the convenience store other than gas. Think about the things you do that you can do by moving your body instead of pushing a button or a gas pedal, think about how you can arrange your life so that you can do things without depending on a machine to do it for you.

Think about your commute. If you spend 30 minutes driving or taking the bus but you could take a bike in 45, that’s 30 minutes a day you have saved by not needing to go to the gym, not 15 minutes lost to your commute extra. If you can squeeze in 30 minutes a day of mild aerobic activity like walking or riding a bike at a non-sweaty pace, you have added years to your life, if your commute takes 30-45 minutes a day by bike then you have gotten all the physical activity you need to stay healthy.

Think about your home, are there things that you are doing with a machine or paying someone else to do that you could be doing yourself? As an example I have a walk-behind mower that I push to cut my lawn, that I spent about $200 for 3 years ago, before that I used to pay $25 every 2 weeks for someone else do it for me. Now I get a couple hours of low impact aerobics every other week and I save $25 every 2 weeks, that works out to $500 a year with the long mowing season we have in TX. Of course I still have to buy gas for the mower, but before I paid the guy to mow the lawn I had the kind of mower that only required pushing it to mow the grass, that one only cost me $80 and paid for itself in 8 weeks. Unfortunately this kind of mower requires mowing every week or the grass will become too high to use that kind of mower. But think of the exercise you get from using that kind of mower!

The formula for weight loss doesn’t change. You still have to burn more calories than you take in, and you have to keep your activity up so that your metabolism doesn’t shut down when you decrease the amount of calories you take in. Your body wants to hold on to your fat, fat helps you survive in times of famine so when you decrease your caloric intake your body assumes that is because of decreased food availability and tries to hang on to your fat stores by slowing down your metabolism.

What adding activity does is make your body think there is still lots of food out there but the food is harder to get, and keep you from holding on to that fat that might slow you down from getting the food. In other words you fool your body into burning your fat by being more active. You can either be more active in a gym, spending money, or you can be active in daily life, saving money. If you have money as well as fat to burn by all means, burn your money in a gym and stimulate the economy. If on the other hand your budget is strained to the breaking point…

PSA, Opus