Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Project From The Past.... A 3D Printed JN4D Jenny Aircraft

This week at the Tinker's Workshop I have been working on a project that has combined two of my interests at the same time.  One as most of all of you already know is 3D printing and the other is airplanes.  I thought it would be fun to create a model of the famous World War One trainer the JN4D Jenny.  So with this posting I thought I would give you a look at how the project is coming along so far.  The first thing that is called for as is with most of my projects is research on what I plan on making. 

 I started by tracking down some photos of the famous plane that I will recreate using my 3D printer. 

I wanted to make a biplane model and I always liked the look of this famous plane and so the project was born. These photos are a good start but did not give me enough info to layout the computer model to design the model.

I was lucky enough to come across this image online to get me started with this project.  The JN4D plans here were designed to make a balsa wood rubber band flying plane.  I do not have that in mind for this project.  I am going for a larger model completely printed using my 3D printer. (That's the plan anyway). The balsa plans would build a 24 inch wingspan flying model  and my plane will have a 36 inch wingspan and will have more detail in it than would be put into a flying model. So more research was called for. 

I found some photos of a replica Jenny that were taken at the Museum of Flight in Seattle Washington. A beautiful example of a Jenny to say the least.  With this photo and a couple more shown below I was able to get a better idea of how my model should look. 

My model will look very similar to what you see in these photos. (I hope). I do not plan on covering the model with a skin so that all of the internals of the plane can easily be seen and enjoyed. 

Along with my research I have been finding out some interesting facts about the Jenny.  The upper wing is 36 feet long and the lower wing was only 28 feet long.  The plane only cruised around 60-65 mph with a top speed being only 75 mph.  Not surprising with all of the wires and struts causing all of the drag on the plane.  The landing gear for the plane used a tail skid at the rear and the main landing wheels were 26 inches in diameter. It was a primary trainer during WW1 and was supposed to be easy to fly.  Would be fun to take a ride in one that's for sure.

So with the photos and the research I have collected this week, here is how my model looks so far in my computer.  It's starting to look like the real thing anyway and that's a start. 

All that you see in my computer model can be printed using my 3D printer.  The wingspan as I said earlier will be 36 inches and the total length of the model will be around 22 1/2 inches.  This calculates out to 1:14.5 scale. I thought I would either hang it from my ceiling in my computer room either that or on one of the walls.  Will make a nice display in both cases.

I am liking how the detail is coming together in the computer design. I still will have to work out the landing gear, seat mounts, propeller, engine, etc, etc.  So I have a ways to go.  But at least the project looks possible at this point.  I'll keep you posted as I finalize the computer model and start working on printing out parts. 
  I'm not sure about the color for the plane just yet.  What you see here as far as color goes is only set up this way so that I can make sense of all of the parts in the final computer model assembly.  I thought possibly that the planes fuselage would be in read with white wings.  It's and idea anyway.  I'll just have to play around with a couple of ideas before I start making parts. Stay tuned for further developments.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Simple Solution To An Annoying Problem

With the completion of the velomobile project my attention has been moved to another large project this time for my home.  One thing that was missing from my house was an entryway from my garage to the inside of the house.  The garage had been added to the house years after it had been built and no stairway was built to get into the house.  This meant that I had to drive my car into the garage and then leave the garage to go into the house even though the garage was attached to the house. Annoying to say the least. Especially during cold snowy winter months when I had to bring groceries in from the car.  Rather than bore you with the construction of the new stairway I found something else within that project that presented another common problem which I found a simple solution for.

With the completion of the new stairway another problem came up.  On one side of the stairway is a window that looks out over my roof top.  This window provides light and fresh air to the stairway but now with the steps installed is impossible to reach the crank to open the window. 

I thought about this for a couple of days and came up with a simple baton that would fit over the top of the window crank and easily allow me to rotate it to open or close the window. 

I went into the workshop and found I had all of the materials that I needed to make the baton other than the 3D printed parts that would make it all work.  The shaft of the baton is nothing more than a two foot length of 1/2 inch aluminum tubing.  This was strong and light enough for the job I needed it to do so I set about designing the end pieces for this simple project. 

At one end of the baton is a 3D printed cylinder with a cavity large enough to easily slide over the window crank.  To hold this piece on to the aluminum tubing I drilled a 3/16" hole in the end  of the tube and fit the cylinder over the shaft.  In the cylinder is a mating hole with a hexagon cavity for the nut and another 3/16 inch hole through the part to mount it to the aluminum shaft. 

The opposite end of the shaft has a small end cap with the same mounting set up as the head of the shaft and makes for a simple nice looking finished end to the baton.  When I am not using this simple tool I lean it into one corner of the stairway where it is out of the way but still handy when I want to use it.  This simple solution cost me all of maybe a dollar to put together but will be a big help in opening a window when I need  fresh air without having to risk life and limb trying to do so.  So now I have a new stairway and still can get fresh air into the space when it is needed. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One Year = 600 Hours Work = One Velomobile

YES! My velmobile is completed!

 After one years time and 600 hours of designing and building I officially declared at 7:00 pm tonight that my Radius T-T velomobile project is completed.  It has been a long and fun process to create what you see here.  For those of you who do not already know the name Radius T-T comes from radius being the rounded shape of my design and T-T being short for TerraTrike which is the recumbent trike that is the heart of the machine.

I spent last night mounting the body to the chassis, mounting the hood to the body, installing the windshield, and mounting various locking straps and check straps to the interior of the velo.  By nine o'clock I was done in for the day so I called it quits until this evening when I installed the rear view mirrors and finally put my tools away once again and grabbed my camera.

The paint as you can see from the photos turned out beautifully.  Hard to believe that this paint was not sprayed on but was brushed on.  I love the gloss and the whole paint scheme turned out great.  I really like the little mirrors being a useful and great looking addition to the velo.

I took all kinds of photos tonight of the velo and this one stood out as a keeper.  The body of the velo has a very clean smooth shape and this photo shows that off nicely.

This is what the velo looked like last September.  Hard for me to imagine back then that it would turn out like the photo below. 

My velomobile is 8 1/2 feet long, 37 inches tall, and 36 inches wide.  I weighed the body before I mounted it to the chassis of the TerraTrike Tour II.  The TerraTrike weighs 35 lbs by itself.  The body weighs another 45 lbs with absolutely everything that you see on it.  So I am happy that I got the weight pretty close to my target weight that I wanted and looking as good as it does.  
  Now once I get some free time I can start doing some test runs with it and getting any bugs out of it should they show up. I know the neighbors have been lining up waiting for me to roll it out of the garage after all of this time to get a look at the finished product.  It will be a show stopper in my little town that I live in.  
  First stop will be the police department in town.  I know for sure they will pull me over just to find out what the heck it is that is cruising down the main street.  I know I would do the same if I saw something like this and didn't know that it was human powered.  Will be interesting to see the look on their faces when they take a look at it. As soon as I can get a video camera operator I will shoot a short video of it running around.  Should also be interesting to see.  In the mean time enjoy these photos.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Velomobile Mirror STL Files And Instructions Now Are Available

With the massive amount of interest and email I have received over this past year about my velomobile project I have decided to make available to all you velomobilist (is that a word?) out there that I am offering for sale the STL files and instructions to make your own rear view mirrors for your velomobile project. Sorry I'm not about to make plans for my velomobile itself.  That would take another year  at least just to figure out how to put that all together.  But at least you can make the mirrors that you have been looking for.

These files and instructions can be purchased on my Projects Plans and  3D Printer STL Files link on this site for only $5.00.  To make a set of mirrors you will need to have a 3D printer, purchase simple to find hardware, a set of two inch blind spot mirrors, and paint.  In the easy to follow instructions you will be shown how to assemble the mirrors and mount them on to you velomobile.  Place an order for the STL files and instructions and make your payment using PayPal.  Once I receive confirmation of your payment I will send you an email with the files that you ordered.  Fast and easy and usually orders are emailed out within a couple of days.  So if you have been searching for the right mirrors for your velomobile project now is the time to place an order. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Big And Little Tweaks For Final Assembly Of The Velomobile

My last post I spoke of the problems that occur from time to time in any project.  With the velomobile project I have been fortunate enough to not have to many stumbling blocks that held up progress.  In the past couple of days I have finally ironed out the kinks in the signal light assemblies and got everything up and running properly.  So it looks like I am on the down hill slide as far as this project is going (I am keeping my fingers crossed).  With that in mind here are a few more photos of what I've managed to put together over the past week or so.

In the interior of the velomobile are two control boxes (one on the left of the seat another on the right) to activate the signal and emergency flasher lights. The right control box holds the battery pack for the lights that can easily be removed when need be for replacement.  

  The photo above shows all of the wiring that needed to be place inside the left hand control box along with two signal light controllers.  The 12 volt battery pack is standing next to the stool on the floor which was placed in the right hand control box.  It took me several hours to sort out the wiring, solder all the connections and test everything.  Then stuff it all into place in the velo.  I was lucky I worked out the wiring diagram beforehand otherwise it would have been a real nightmare to figure out.

From the control box all the wiring is placed into plastic conduit and is fed up to the front and rear lights.  This layout makes for a nice clean look inside the velo.  I designed the clips for the conduit to be able to mount on to the inner ribs of the body and made them using my 3D printer.  The plus side to that is if I should have a conduit clip break I can remove it and make a new one in short order.

Here's a shot of one of the front signal light just as it was flashing.  At this point I breathed a sigh of relief as just this portion of the build was one of the more nerve racking assemblies to put together.

Another assembly that I finished up today were the rear view mirrors for the project. Early on in the designing of the velomobile I knew that I wanted rear view mirrors.  I could have used them when I was driving my TerraTrike recumbent so it was a no brainer to have them on the velo.  I originally was planning on painting the velo bright yellow but opted to go with the red and white  paint scheme and in doing so the yellow 3D printed mirror assemblies (photo  above) needed to be redone. (See Sept 2013 post for more info about the mirror assemblies)

I assembled the mirrors and then used epoxy micro-balloon micture to smooth out all the seams. Once that had dried I sanded the bodies of the mirrors using 600 grit wet/dry sand paper to get them as smooth as possible. When I was happy with my efforts I painted the mirrors with primer.  Sanded everything again and got this very finished looking mirror assembly after a couple of coats of gloss white paint. The mirrors themselves are two inch blind spot mirrors that you would normally use on your car or truck.  The mirrors are angled when mounted and can be rotated to any position you like.  This will make it a lot easier to line up the mirrors once I have them located on the velomobile.

This photo show approximately where the mirrors will be mounted on the velomobile body. I really like the look of the white paint on the mirrors as they will match nicely with the white striping on the body.  I won't mount the mirrors in place until I get the body back on to the frame.  Then once I am in the driver's seat I can see where they will best be placed. 
  With any luck I will have the body back on to the frame some time this week.  Again I am keeping my fingers crossed.  Once I do get this project wrapped up I will shoot some video to show you how it all turned out and give you a better idea of how large the velo is.  In the garage it looks big but I know once I get it outside next to a regular sized car it will look tiny.  Either way with the bright paint, signal and brake lights, along with a nice loud horn I will feel a lot safer with it on the street.  Stay tuned as the end of the build portion of this project is near!