The high today was 81°F the warmest day since last November. This day last week the high was 18°F and it is only a coincidence that the digits are reversed. I make frequent reference to how volatile Texas weather is this time of year, but this is insane. The sudden change in temperature came with powerful south winds that almost took me off my feet just going to the mailbox. Today was a little breezy but nothing like yesterday or Monday.
Yesterday I mentioned having difficulty in bending the plastic rods to make the main and side hoops for the Mini Sprint-T, but when I mention a problem it triggers a search for a solution to the problem. I can’t jump up and shout “Eureka!” yet, but I’m sneaking up on the solution. There is a single plane available as reference on the bender, and I can make marks on that plane to get the distance between the legs and the right angles right.
And you know what? I have completely run out of things to write about.
An I know I didn’t spell it right, nor use it right. I used a colloquialism to express how insane the weather is in TX after enduring a Not In Recorded History cold spell we go right back to Warmer Than Normal For This Time Of Year. And I just tried to see exactly what that was and the almanac has been disabled on Weather dot com so I can’t tell you exactly. But as I understand the weather because of climate change we will continue to have warmer winters, except when the unstable Jet Stream dumps arctic air on us again when we all turn blue.
In other news I got the liner and curtain rings for the new shower, so we can pick up the towels we laid down to catch the back spray from using the shower without a way to contain what comes back off of us. Mrs. the Poet is especially happy that the liner holds the heat from the hot shower. And also that since the hole in the wall has been plugged with a new wall there is less cold air that needs to be kept out. So better than what we had before. Also the new faucet for the shower doesn’t leak, but it takes a long time to purge the cold water from the hot water feed line.
Still in other news but a repeating motif, my sleep schedule has slipped again to Mostly Vampire. I went to bed about 0515, and it was after 0600 that I finally shut down and went to sleep, and I finally woke for the final time today about 1630. And yes it takes me 11 hours± to get an adequate amount of sleep that most people get in 8 hours. And yes, that does annoy me.
Another thing that annoys me since we are on the subject, is I can’t find tools that let me miter the joints in the frame for the Mini Sprint-T. I mean I can use a triangular rat tail file to cut the rods to fit close enough, but what I really want is to have some kind of reamer that machines an exact fit that I can then dab a tiny amount of solvent cement over and it looks like a scale TIG weld. I know these tools exist but I keep coming up short of actually finding any for sale. I know that 0.060″ reamers exist that would allow me to use them as side mills to fish mouth the rods, or I could cheat a little and use a 0.0625″ (1/16th”) diameter of the same tool. I found some on the internets in the 0.0625″ size, but at $28 before tax, plus shipping. That’s too much for one bit to make a few cuts to do something I can almost do as well with hand tools. It just looks like I used a stick welder and made a bunch of cold booger welds instead of a more scale-like condition with better quality welding, which is why I’m still thinking about it.
While we are on the subject I’m having all kinds of difficulty bending the rods that make the hoop structures of the frame. It’s not that I can’t bend them, I can’t bend them right. The problem is I need to make 4 bends in exactly the right place that need to be exactly 90° and all in the same plane. What I keep coming up with is either too much or not enough bend, not in the same plane, or in the wrong place and frequently all of the above. I finally learned how to make the bends the right radius and stay the same diameter and not stretch the sprue into a smaller diameter. I need more practice doing all the other things to get it right, I just lack the patience and materials to practice on. I guess a few more dollars’ worth of raw stock would be a good investment if I want to make this model look IRL like I see it in my mind. And if I don’t make it look like I see it in my mind, why even bother to make it?
And this seems like a good place to end this rant, as there is little productive that can be gleaned from it.
Well according to the last daily paper in North Texas what I experienced was a downburst and what felt like a tiny tornado was probably the center passing over me.
And I did a selfie facing away from a mirror using the front camera on my phone to check for bruises on my back and there are a few small ones and I have some stiff spots that don’t correlate well with where the bruises are visible. So I mostly came out of the storm undamaged except for some soggy shoes and muddy clothes. I may go for another massage to have the tech check for bruises I couldn’t spot because I look like Bigfoot’s long lost cousin and I couldn’t see them under the fur given the resolution of my front camera. Not that there’s anything I could do about it, but I like to know what damage I have sustained, so that I might direct my healing powers to correct it.😎
And that pretty much covers it, I survived OK, roof inspection says the roof survived OK and we didn’t lose any tree limbs, and the cat that was outside didn’t appear to be anything worse than frightened and damp.
And I almost got to see it. I got caught in a thunderstorm trying to get to RPG group this afternoon, that turned into a tiny tornado that went right over me. I couldn’t see it, or much of anything really, but I know I was standing still while I got hit with wind from 3 different directions in about as many seconds. Plus I got hit with nickel sized hail, that felt larger when it was hitting me but what I could see was only a bit larger than nickle sized.
The fun part was watching the trees floating down the street while the flood waters swirled around my ankles and calves. I was standing in a pedestrian refuge back a bit from the street, but not far enough back. This was a few seconds after I stepped off the bus into light rain, it literally went from light sprinkles to rain of Biblical proportions in seconds and then a F0 tornado (or maybe more, I made that judgement based on the fact that I managed to stay on my feet and I was right in the middle of it) and rivers in the street (and sidewalk). I’m catching reports from other areas that didn’t get tornadoes but did get 70+ MPH straight line winds, which I could also believe as I have walked around in tropical storms before and this felt similar to that.
So as I was standing out in the hail and the flood and the wind watching half-trees floating down the street the host for the game managed to get a car up to me so I can get off the corner. We eventually get to the house after weaving through the various bits of tree in the street. I’m soaked to the skin of course, even my phone was affected, underwear wringing wet, and puddles in my new shoes. 😛 So, dry clothes were rounded up, not an easy thing as I’m Rather Large with a deep pelvis and broad shoulders. And everyone except the GM at the house are a bunch of beanpoles with no hips or shoulders. So I’m running around in pink sweatpants and the largest T-shirt they can find, and of course everything looks like I was spray-painted into the clothes from the knees up. So, now I have to make myself something to eat, check my e-mail, and maybe get some sleep.
Two days ago it was 80°F for the high, this morning it was 24°F for the morning low. The cats can’t figure out what they want to do, one stays out all night and as much time on my lap as he can during the day, the other spends all night inside and most of the day outside. Both of them are crazy by human standards, and at least one by cat standards.
I need to find where the woodcutting saw went other than “in the garage somewhere” so I can finish making the bending jig for the Mini Sprint-T. And I have determined the Mini will have Tri-Y headers on one side and Sprint style Four-into-one headers on the other because it will be an engineering model and both options need to be shown for “reasons”.
Also I want to build another chassis with an extra rear hoop for a cover over the pickup bed to provide covered storage on the road, someplace to put my luggage than inside the cockpit or in the tire trailer with the gas storage tank. I don’t want my clean clothes and driving suit for racing to reek of E85 or 87 octane. Yes I’m still planning on running two tanks on the car and offloading the cheap transit gas and switching to a separate tank with the “good” gas at the track since I learned that E85 can give a power boost to the midrange and bottom end even if the engine runs fine on 87 octane. If the engine is set up to barely tolerate 87 as long as the gas pedal isn’t pressed too firmly then E85 can give a boost through the entire RPM range. Also I kinda need to figure out how to cover the pickup bed without creating a huge flat surface to catch the air driving down the road. I’m thinking making the roof contiguous from the top of the windshield to the rear of the cover would do it, but that would make getting in through the top of the roll cage tricky to impossible.
Something else I have been contemplating is quickly removable fenders for streamlining and spray control during transit, given how bad huge exposed tires are for both of those. Again the issue is enough coverage of the exposed frame to work as intended without keeping me from getting in and out of the car at gas stops. The plan is still climb through the roof using the diagonals on the sides of the cockpit as a ladder to get to and from the top of the cage, so those diagonals need to be usable as a ladder while also out of the airstream for the highway. I’m thinking lots of hook-and-loop fasteners for the roof and the parts of the body that need to be movable for getting in and out. But that’s for after I get the car running enough to see if I even need to use a body and fenders beyond the fiberglass bucket.
Mrs. the Poet said I should just put the checks for the taxes in the mail this week and not worry about it. We kinda played some for the Shadowrun game on Sunday, but mostly with the weather doing the yo-yo thing I have been doing my “bear in winter” impression. Seriously this weather is seriously sapping my desire to even get out of bed at whatever time I stop sleeping. I have been huddled under the covers being borderline depressed, as in episode depressed, and not managing to work up a care to even check what has been wrought against the country by People Enabled By Russians. I mean I saw the kid from the Catholic school bothering the Native American Elder after marching against women controlling their own bodies. Because that is a thing that Catholic School Boys do, protest women controlling their own bodies and bother Native elders.
Other than that I have to pretty much force myself to eat anything after breakfast because I’m just not hungry after I get morning coffee, even if “morning” is 1300-1600 or so, like I wrote earlier getting out from under the warm blankets is very hard because warm, and because there is a cold draft blowing under the desk where I do my computer stuff now. Out away from the desk is fine, but under the desk is freezing (well colder than the rest of the room) and I really don’t want to get out from under the blankets to go work on the computer, which I have to do because otherwise I can’t post to this blog. Seriously, I can’t type worth a damn on my phone so if there is going to be a blog post I have to stick my legs under this drafty desk. I keep a blanket to cover my legs when I’m using the computer because otherwise I’m overdressed for the temperature if I’m warm enough under the desk. And with the current weather it’s even worse than normal because the wind forces the cold air through the leaks in the window.
Anyway, to kill time I have been looking some more at the FIRST TPI intake and fuel injection manifold, and it seems to be an intermediate step for the SBC between the LS engines and a carburetted engine, with low RPM torque like a dual plane intake and small 4BBL and high RPM like a single plane intake with a huge Dominator-style 4BBL. Or in other words very much like an LS engine with the plastic manifold but still only coughing up SBC change instead of LS engine co$t$. I think I mentioned this build is more about powerband than peak HP, because there is at least one turn that will see near idle speed in first gear on the majority of Goodguys courses and almost no place to use a high peak power. That is exactly what this manifold is made for.
And making another right-angle turn at full speed in the narrative, the stainless steel raw stock for the Mini Sprint-T suspension came in today in another ridiculously overpackaged container. The shipping container was worth more than the raw stock inside it. Anyway what came today was 1mm OD stainless tubing that will fit the simulated heim joints perfectly from Dirt Modeler and is something else that requires the use of the butane torch I bought at Harbor Freight to join together with intended parts. I still have the pure solder (no flux) left over from making the hot water heater for the camp shower a few years back, there was a minimum required quantity that was about 3 times as much as I needed to make the heater, so I have enough for several thousand simulated heim joints that require only a tiny drop of molten solder to affix them permanently.
Life has been very uninteresting lately, it’s winter and that uncomfortable kind of cold that can’t be dressed properly for. I’m either still cold, or sweating because I have too much on, or both because the temperature can’t figure out what it wants to do. I still have to pay my property taxes now that I found out that at least one of the offices does not accept debit cards and I managed to track down my checkbook that I hardly ever use except to void a check when someone prefers to pay by direct deposit.
So I have my checks for whenever the weather improves to the point I can do the walk between the three offices on State St. in Garland. In good weather it’s a nice walk from 5th to Garland Ave, less than a mile. And there are bus stops on both ends but it is only a short walk from Downtown Garland station to the first tax office, less than a quarter of a mile.
And at some point I really need to stop at a CVS or other store that carries butane to fuel the torch that heats the bender for the plastic rod I’m using for the frame of the Mini Sprint-T. And while I’m on the subject of cars I found a really good intake manifold for a SBC to use should I wind up running a SBC on the 1:1 Sprint-T. This manifold is an evolution of the TPI GM intake from the late ’80s early ’90s, that produced prodigious low-end torque but ran out of breath above 3000 RPM partially because of the state of the art for EFI at the time. Well this version breathes all the way up top, with “top” depending on displacement but generally higher than a factory cast crank will live with. The tech person I was in chat with says for a 383 the “top” is above 6000. The tech manual advises against using E85 but the only thing I can find that might not be compatible with the fuel is possibly the fuel injectors or the rubber injection lines supplied. Those are all easy to replace with alcohol rated devices or materials. The crank and piston kit I’m looking at has a max continuous of 5200 RPM or a short-burst redline of 5500 RPM.
Finding a kit to build a 383 that runs on 87 octane NA is another problem entirely. Most of them are too high a compression ratio for 87, or built for forced induction and cost too much because they are designed for higher HP than a NA engine can make on either 87 octane or E85. Sure that makes for an engine that is unlikely to fail even during racing, but I could buy a kit not made for boost that would be just as reliable and a bunch less expensive if they would use the same parts they use for 93 octane except for the extremely dished pistons in the hyper eutectic material instead of forged used in the boost-capable kits. Locally the difference between 87 and 93 octane is $0.30-0.50/gallon, or about 20-30%, and E85 is about a penny more than 87. Depending on tune it might be cheaper to run on E85 all the time using the 93 octane kit if I wasn’t concerned with availability for long trips. But for that I have the possibility of running a storage tank in the tire trailer to extend the range enough to get between E85 stations on the Interstate when driving between races, and there are plenty of places to refuel locally.
The office temperature was 74°F (23.3°C) this morning! It was cooler than that when I went shopping for a solution to the drain plug problem we are having in the kitchen sink and redeemed a coupon for a free Avocado Bacon Burger at the local Whataburger. Then it was about the same as it is right now outside: 66°F.
Mrs. the Poet is not sure she likes the solution I found for her constantly failing drain plugs: what Lowe’s calls a “suction stopper” which is basically a round sheet of rubber that covers the drain, and a stainless mesh filter that fits inside the drain and removes for cleaning. Total cost $7 and the only failure points are eventually the rubber will age into uselessness (almost typo that would also have worked: “uselessmess”) and the mesh can be torn if a fork gets caught in it. Unlike the one we bought last year for $3 at the local grocery that has a built-in failure that is pretty much guaranteed because that’s exactly how all 3 of the last ones we bought failed, there is a barbed insert that fits through a hole in the rubber stopper, and after some use the water pressure in the full sink will overcome the tenacity of the barbed insert and the stopper gets left behind when the rest of the assembly is removed to allow drainage. This is another design defect in that the strainer has to be removed to drain the water so it doesn’t actually strain the debris from going down the drain. The new plug and strainer doesn’t have this failing.
I’m still thinking (Danger Will Robinson!) about the Sprint-T design, this time about the lateral location device for the rear axle. With the various types and sizes of tires I will be using some adjustability in the rear suspension to change the balance of grip front to rear. Looking at the many ways to get this adjustability the simplest way is adjusting the rear roll center height by moving the vertical attachment of the rear lateral location device. Well, I did the bending stress on a 1.125″ fine thread bolt and for the LS and lighter engines this will be just big enough to not fail in long term use. There might be some flex while racing, and it is a definite failure point if I bang a curb with the right rear tire on the street, but the flex will not be noticeable to the driver and I’m not supposed to be banging curbs anyway. Construction will be super easy: After I cut the pivoting piece for the Watt’s link I cut a 1.125″ hole in the center for the pivot bolt then weld a fine thread nut with a grease fitting over the hole and machine out a bit of the arm to clear the bolt in use. I don’t know how much adjustment I will actually need and I could probably rebuild the mount for the pivot arm with only as much bolt as I need left unsupported from flex after I finish testing. Then I could just machine away the rest of the bolt past the support structure and save that little bit of weight.
Speaking of saving weight, I’m having some issues with how to attach the bracket for the Watt’s link to the rear axle housing, mostly because I still haven’t settled on which rear axle to use, the nine-inch Ford with an aluminum center section and a fabricated aluminum housing and axle tubes or the Winters V8 quick change with a magnesium center section and aluminum side bells with aluminum axle tubes. The generic Nine Inch would be a touch cheaper and has more clearance at droop, while the V8 is slightly lighter and has a better selection of final drive ratios. That availability of final drive ratios might be the thing that swings the decision. Anyway, the Nine Inch housing will have to have a mount welded on the back, while the V8 can have the bracket bolted with longer studs on the side bell, making modification a simple matter of unbolting the test bracket and bolting on the permanent bracket, another point in favor of the V8 QC axle.
And this once again points out that designing a car from scratch is a good thing to do for us old people with ADD because there are so many sub-systems that have to be hashed out so progress can still be maintained when interest fades on whatever I’m working on at the moment.
Yesterday I was depositing checks and picking up my pulls from the comic shop and basically melting in the sun as the temperature again approached the triple digits. I also got my toes done as I was snagging the sheets again when I didn’t wear socks to bed, then walked the 0.9 mile from the nail salon to Casa de El Poeta for a full limit on my Sweatcoin collecting. Speaking of Sweatcoin, I still don’t have enough to cash out any, but I’m getting there, almost $15 right now. I need to get a bunch more to have enough to cash out at $50.
One thing that is hard for me to get used to is the thought of actually having money to spend on days I’m not doing the lab rat thing. My mentality has been when I’m out and not visiting the LRK I don’t have any money unless this is a trip to actually spend money on something specific. And that I wouldn’t have a couple of bucks to spend on a cold drink and a snack if the urge took me. So I stopped at Jack in the Box and got a Cherry Coke Zero Sugar™ and a slice of half-price cheesecake one because I needed it and the other because I could. Well I didn’t need the Cherry Coke Zero Sugar™ specifically, just something cold and wet, but the cheesecake was definitely because I could.
Now today it was much cooler as the first of two cold fronts passed through leaving temperatures in the mid-80s most of the day. It’s only 91° as I get ready to get the lottery with the $15.25 million jackpot. Back from the store. And just for giggles I also bought a ticket for the Powerball $223 million jackpot, which the first year payout will have more than enough money for us to live on the rest of our lives. I suppose we could move to a small town without internet and set them up with Gigabit internet just because we want it and letting everyone else have access just makes sense. Seriously, I have so little experience spending money in large sums that after setting up a retirement account to take care of my financial needs for the rest of my life I have no idea what to do with the rest of the first year payment.
Well if tomorrow’s post doesn’t make much sense, I’m still drunk from celebrating winning.
Well you know the saying about best-laid plans of mice and men. About the time I got free to take that walk last night we got more severe weather. Tornado watch severe weather, with high straight-line winds, and much lightning. But when I went shopping today the app seems to be counting outdoor steps just fine. But I’m still not seeing the daily bonus coins after I click on the designated ad.
C’est la vie.