Sunday, July 28, 2013

Five Shiny New Assemblies For The Recumbent Trike Project

Nothing is better than a day in the workshop when everything seems to fall right into place.  This was the case today when I put together five new assemblies for the TerraTrike recumbent body project that I have been working on. After having completed printing all of the parts that I needed for these assemblies on my 3D printer and picking up the necessary aluminum tubing I was ready to start assembling everything.

 If you have not seen the earlier post on this project here is what the planned fiberglass body will look like for my recumbent trike.  I had to first work out the mounts for the body and that is what I put together today in the workshop.

The five assemblies that are needed are shown mount onto the recumbent trike image above.  The front mount, two front wheel mounts, and two rear wheel mounts.

 This is a shot of the two rear wheel mounts that I put together.  The top mount is already assembled and the lower mount needs to have the holes drilled in the aluminum tube to mount the upper and lower pieces.

 Here is the second rear wheel mount taped together to hold the yellow 3D printed parts in correct alignment.  The holes in the yellow mounting parts worked out perfectly as guides for the drill press.  All I had to do was rest the taped assembly on a good sized board, hold it down and drill it out.  The bolts then slid into place the first time out.

This assembly is the front mount for the body all taped up and ready for drilling.  The upper tube has already been bolted together. 

 This shot is the front mount again with all of the tape removed and everything bolt up nice and straight. Looks great with the nice bright plastic mounts.

 Speaking of which all of the parts are printed with a 25 percent fill to make them nice and strong.  A hollow part would have a zero percent fill.  With the 3D printer the parts are filled with a honeycomb like pattern inside the parts to reduce weight and the amount of material used to make a part.

This is a complete shot of all the assemblies ready for the final assembly of the body to the trike frame.  I weighed all the assemblies and they come up to 4.5 lbs total. This will be good to keep the weight down in the body project. The best I can figure is that the body for the trike will weigh around 20 lbs or so.  Anything less than that will be a plus for sure. The trike by itself weighs 38 lbs so to add another 20 pounds to this will be a good number to shoot for.  I have found other human powered vehicles similar to what I am building weigh in excess of 70 pounds.  So to have it come in at 58 pounds total would be excellent.  Just will have to see when I get it all done. In the mean time I'll set these assemblies aside until I can get the body put together. Lots of work to be done before I can say it is completed.  But fun work. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A New Look For The Tinker's Workshop

  After having spent almost two years writing on my blog site I thought it time that I give it a new look.  So I stretched my graphic arts ability once again and spent the last day or so working on the new logo that you see now.  I think it says it all with what I do here at the Tinker's Workshop.  Along with the new logo a redo of the site itself was called for just to brighten it up and make it a bit more appealing.
   Lots of great projects are planned for the future and I'll make sure I keep you up to date with what I am working on.  Enjoy the new look of the site.  Let me know what you think of it and the projects that I've already posted. Great to hear from you. Have a good day tinkering!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Updated Blender 3D 1912 Indian Motorcycle

With the success I have been having working with Blender 3D in my last post I decided that I wanted to update my 3D model of an 1912 Indian motorcycle racer that I had done years back.  First I will show you the early computer images that I had created. 

These two images are what I have had posted on my 3D page here on the blog since my first days of writing about the projects that I work on.  I am still very proud of what I managed to put together years ago.  But as with anything there is always room for improvement.  Blender is not an exception to this rule and so with this latest effort I was able to updated the version of my earlier model. 

Due to to updates that Blender 3D had made not to long ago I am now able to create the image that you see here. Much better graphics and more realistic lighting.  Hard to believe it is all just a computer model and not the real thing. 

I have been working with Blender 3D now for around 13 years.  I don't get to play with it as often as I would like with all the other projects that I have going on either in the workshop or my computer room but as you can see my efforts once again are paying off when I can create something that looks like this. Gives me all kinds of ideas on what could be created if you take the time to put it all together and not be afraid to learn something new.  
  This in point with this update was how to get the Indian decal on the tank of the racer.  The process had changed quite a lot since I did the first rendering but after some investigative work online I found out how to put it all together.
   I had to first find the computer image of the decal. Next I had to recreate it in the computer to clean it up as the original was no where near useable.  It was a very poor image.  After I had redrawn the decal I had to figure out how to make the background of the image transparent.  Something new I had never done before.  The image needed to be transparent so that only the lettering of the decal would show up on the tank.  No white background.  After that  I had to find out the process to put the decal on the tank using Blender 3D's new Cycles render engine. Sounds like a long an drawn out process but after I got all the step done it really was just a bunch of small steps to get the end result.  It was worth the effort don't you think?  Enjoy the images of this latest project.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kitchen Remodel Preview Using Blender 3D

  These past couple of weeks I've been putting my new computer to good use with the designing work that you have seen for the TerraTrike body project.  This project is still progressing nicely and that is as with anything you work on always a good thing.  Along with this project I have gotten back to work on another project that Blender 3D is perfect for.  Blender 3D if you do not already know is an open source 3D graphics/animation/game creation software that you can download online for free.  I have been using the software for around 13 years now and am learning new things with it every time I play with it.
  The latest project I started several years back for some close friends of mine.  Garry and Kris (my friends) have wanted to remodel their kitchen for years and wanted to see what it would look like before they started.  This is where Blender 3D comes in.  I decided to use this incredible software to model the kitchen for them. With the latest updates in the software and some tutorials that have become available I have been able to create something special for them.  

This image which I created a couple of years ago was the best I could come up with at the time.  It's an okay image and it gives you a general idea of what the kitchen will look like once it is updated but is far from being something spectacular to look at. To many things wrong about the image to even begin listing them here. So I am very proud to show you what I've come up with now.

This is not a photo of the real kitchen but what I've managed to put together using Blender 3D!  I'm amazed how it turned out.  I took the dimensions of the real kitchen and was able to model it to scale correctly and with proper lighting from the windows in the room.  I really like the marble materials for the island and cherry cabinets.

This is the same computer model but with different lighting to show you what the kitchen will look like during the night time with only the under cabinet lights on.  This really gives you a feel for the room and how it will look.  

One last view of the kitchen shows what it will look like at night with all the lights on.  So this is a vast improvement over the first attempt I made to model the kitchen.  This gives you just a little taste of what Blender is capable of and there are tons of tutorials online to get anyone started in using this software.  
  To create what I have done here I used a tutorial from Blender expert Andrew Price who has his own website called Blender Guru.  I have learned a lot from him over the years and his site is the best that I have found for working with Blender 3D,  If you want to get started learning how to use Blender check out the link I have listed below.  Enjoy the photos and good luck on your own project using Blender 3D.

To download Blender 3D for free go to the Blender 3D website link here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Refining My TerraTrike Recumbent Streamlined Body

A very long process of refining the body for my recumbent trike this past week or so has gotten me to the point where I can finally be looking at making some parts for the project.  Here is the next version of the body that I have gotten dialed in.

I had to start over in the computer on the shape of the ribs for the body to get it correctly designed. As you can see the difference from the first post about this project is that now there are more ribs in the body.  These are also spaced closer together and are more accurate in their placement as well. 

This is a shot of the body without the trike inside of it.  The only reason the center rib is a different color is just so that it shows up easier in the photo.  All the ribs will be made of fiberglass wrapped Styrofoam just like a composite aircraft is built. These ribs are then skinned with inch wide by 1/4 inch thick Styrofoam strips much like you would make a cedar strip canoe.  I suspect that the body will weigh less than 20 pounds once it is completed.  

In this photo you can see the trike without the body and the new assemblies that I will need to create to mount the body to the frame.

This is the front mount that took some doing to figure out in this project.  The mount is attached to the front derailleur tube and then to the inside of the nose of the body.  All the red and green parts will be printed on my 3D printer and have been beefed up a lot to make them good and strong.  I will set up the 3D printer to print these parts so that they will be stronger to manage the job they are intended for. The plus side is that the body will be very light weight so the parts should work out nicely for the design. 

This is a view of one of the front vertical supports for the body.  The vertical tube will be 3/4 inch aluminum.  This tube is then mounted to the two part frame mount on the lower end and a smaller upper mount for the body. The upper portion of the assembly will be mounted as all of the assemblies will be to the body using machine screws and hard points embedded into the underside of the fiberglass shell.  This assembly looks quite large but actually is only around 17 and 1/2 inches tall.  The wheels are only 20 inches in diameter so the computer image throws off the scale of the actual parts.

The two vertical assemblies in this photo are on the tail end of the trike and will hold the rear of the body in place.  These are two of the smaller assemblies for the project being only 9.5 inches long from top to bottom. The body will not be fully enclosed so that it will be simpler to remove it if need be and allow access to the mechanical parts of the trike for servicing.  Also without a floor in the vehicle it will be simpler to back it up if I need to.  Otherwise you would have to climb out of the trike.  Just makes it a whole lot easier. 

Here are images once again of what the body will look like once it has been completed.  I plan on making some refinements to the sides of the body while it is being constructed to put a little more flair in my design but for now this will give you a very good idea of the overall shape that I am going for. Also needs some detail in the painting of the body as well.  This is something that will be looked at when I get that far in the build.  It should be a lot of fun to create and use once it is done.  Lots of work ahead but that's what it is all about to get this project underway. I think it will all be worth it in the end.  Stay tuned for further posts about this and other projects here at The Tinker's Workshop.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Streamlined Body For My Recumbent Trike

Over the past week or more I have been pushing the limits once again of my designing capabilities.  This being a design for a body that I have been wanting to design and build for years that would fit on a recumbent trike.  Now that I have the trike the time has finally arrived where I can start thinking seriously about the project.  If you have been following my blog over the past three or four weeks you will have already seen this photo of my trike but for those who have not here it is once again. 

This is my newly acquired TerraTrike recumbent.  I absolutely love it.  It has a 24 speed gear-set with a chromoly frame, with disk brakes. It only weighs 38 lbs and it's fast.  I have had it up to 21 mph!  This is great fun but it could be better.  Thus the idea for a streamlined body which would make it slip through the air easier. 

This is the design I've come up with.  It would be constructed out of fiberglass the way an experimental composite aircraft is built.  Strong and light weight. The body would allow the airflow over the recumbent and driver to be smoother with less drag.  Over ninety percent of the energy to move a trike down the road at 20 mph is used just to overcome wind resistance. So this body even though it will make the trike a bit heavier will travel down the road easier  and faster because of the smooth body shape.

Here's a good view of the back of the design.  These vehicles are used a lot in Europe and are called Velomobiles.  The big problem with purchasing a Velomobile at least for me is the overall cost.  They sell for around $8500 and go up from there!  Way out of my budget.  With my design including the trike it should cost me less than a third of that price.

For ease of access to get into this little road screamer there will be a front hatch that will be hinged to open up.  Then it's just a process of stepping over the outer edge of the body, sit down inside and close and lock the hatch. 

My design as I said earlier uses an internal framework similar to what I used when I built my composite kayak.  The process is the same which is not difficult to make.  It just takes a bit of time for the designing of it along with the construction of the body.  What you see here for the design is just the first draft.  I still have various pieces yet to design to complete the body framework and figure out the mounts for the trike. 

Now for the specs.  The body on the trike would make the entire assembly 33 1/2 inches tall, 33 3/4 inches wide and 7 1/2 feet long. The body would be skinned like a cedar strip canoe with one inch wide 1/4 thick strips of styrofoam and then fiber glassed inside and out.  All of the ribs are all glassed on both side before they are cut into shape.  The best estimate at this point for the weight would be that the body would be around 20 lbs.  That's just a guess as I know that the kayak that I had built the same way was very light and this will have less hardware and fiber glass in it.  I'll keep you up to date on this project as I get farther into it. Should be a fun project to build in the coming months.

Here's a good video I found on YouTube of another Velomobile that will explain a lot more about them and what they can be used for.