Thursday, August 22, 2013

TerraTrike Velomobile Parts Are Stacking Up!

  I have been laying a lot of fiber glass and making a lot of dust in the workshop while working on the TerraTrike Velomobile project this past week or so. In the last post here on the blog I laid out about half of the parts that are needed for the main structure of the velomobile.  These parts were then set aside for the remaining set of parts for the framework that needed to be fiber glassed.  Once all the parts had cured and been glassed on both sides of each of the 4 x 8 foot panels I could start cutting the parts out. 

  The easiest way that I found to cut the parts out of the large foam panels was to use a hand held jig saw. This made short work of being able to get individual parts from such a large panel.  I did not worry at this point about making finishing cuts as this would come later after I had all the individual parts stacked up.

 This was the first stack of scrap that I was able to get rid of after doing the rough cutting of the panels. Some of these foam pieces are still useable and so a little sorting was called for at this point before I declared the rest to be scrap.

  Now all of the parts have been trimmed to a more manageable size to be ready to be fiber glassed on the back sides and later to be trimmed using the band saw and jig saw.  Only about half of the parts needed for the project are shown in this photo.  This was only the first panel of parts but it gives you the idea anyway as to how much I was able to trim out of the panels.

This photo shows all of the parts after they had been cut to correct size using the band saw and a jig saw.

A couple more views of all the trimmed parts for the framework of the velomobile are shown here once again. Everything is numbered so that I can keep it straight when it comes time for the assembly of the framework.  
  I am very pleased with the way the parts turned out.  I spent another 20 hours or so on the project to get to this point. This brings the total hours to 130 and counting.  Not sure how many more hours until completion so I will just have to just keep track to see how it all stacks up. Assembly cannot start just yet as there are a couple more steps in the process that need to be done next.  
  All the parts shown here have now been fiber glassed on both sides and cut to correct size.  The cut edges are exposed styrofoam.  About half of these exposed edges will need to be protected with a layer of epoxy resin and micro balloons.  
  Micro balloons are microspheric hollow glass balls and it looks like talcum powder but is very very light weight.  If you threw a handful of this stuff into the air it would float like smoke. It is that lightweight. This powder is mixed with the fiber glass resin to make a putty. Some of the styrofoam is removed from the exposed edges that you want to protect.  The void left by the removal of this styrofoam is then filled in with the micro balloon mixture and left to cure.  It then leaves a solid surface that will be sanded and painted and will seal up the parts perfectly. If you do not protect the exposed styrofoam it will degrade over time and then your parts or worse yet your entire project will be junk.  I will be posting more about this process once I get that far into the build.

Here is the second pile of scrap from the final cutting of the parts for the velomobile. None of this foam is any good anymore as it has served it's purpose well.  Just to do the final cutting of the parts took about four hours.  But in the end the band saw and the jig saw have paid for themselves once again. Another good day at the Tinker's Workshop.  

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