Monday, December 30, 2013

A New Project For The New Year...... Giant Gyrocopter Lego Man

Now in the deep freeze here in the Midwest with temperatures well below zero today I find that I need to start another new project for the coming new year. This new project is similar to one that I completed some time back.  It has been on my mind and so now is the time to start making it happen.  I originally designed and built a large scale Lego man with a jet pack on his back.

This little or should I say big guy has gotten a great response from my readers here on the blog and from those people who have been lucky enough to see the model first hand.  To give you an idea of scale a regular size Lego man is standing next to my version of "Jet Man" in the photo above.  The big model is around eleven inches tall.  The only drawback to this guy is that I did not allow him to be removed from the jet pack.  So that has led me to version two of this guy.

Here is the next project that I will be starting to print parts for using my 3D printer today.  I have it 99.99% designed and only have one little tweak to lock the design down.  This is Gyrocopter Man and it is a BIG model.  The dimensions of the entire model are impressive to say the least.  The gyrocopter will be 23 inches long, 14 inches tall (top of rotor mast) and 9 inches wide.  

The man sitting in the seat will be removable this time around with an improved helmet design which includes goggles.  He will be fully pose able and is the same scale as the jet pack Lego man. The gyro will have a full compliment of instruments with each gauge being 3/4 of an inch in diameter.  The wheels will be mounted with 1/4 inch aluminum rod shafts. The propeller and the main rotor will even spin if I choose to make it happen.

The engine for the gyrocopter is also impressive in size as it is 5 1/4 wide  and nearly four inches tall by four inches long.  I especially like the velocity stacks on the top of the engine as well as the exhaust headers on both sides.  
  All parts for the model will be made using my 3D printer except for the axle shafts and the decals for the instruments.  It will be another nice addition to the other models that I have put together over the years.  Check out the completed projects link at the top of the page to see these models for yourself. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nicely Fitted Hood For The TerraTrike Velomobile

The past couple of days have been pretty cold here in the Midwest and so I was happy to get back to the garage and do some more work on the velomobile project.  I had did some tweaking of the fit up of the hood and I wanted to check it all out to see how it all turned out.  Here is what it looks like now.

With the work I had been able to do in the workshop on the hood it was nice to see it back in place on the velomobile.  With different lighting I was able to see more tweaking that will be needed before I can complete the finishing work on the hood.  All part of the process but progress is progress.

I finally have the hood dialed in where it closes up nicely without fussing with it to get it lined up correctly.  With the hood fully fiber glassed now it was an easy task to match up the body seam to the edge of the hood.

Nice straight lines are always a good thing to see.  I have a little more work to do yet to make this portion of the hood mounting process complete so that I can move on to the rest of the body.  I am very happy at this point that the hood is lining up properly and looks as good as it does.  The rest of the body work will be a snap compared to the constant fussing that needed to be done to get the hood where you see it now.  But there is a lot that needs to be done to get the body smoothed out for paint.  Luckily I am still able to heat the garage up to a comfortable level to get some work done during the cold winter days.  Check back to see further developments on this project as I will post more info when I can get more accomplished.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quick Update On TerraTrike Velomobile Progress

With Christmas fast approaching I have been doing all the usual things to get ready for the big day.  Wrapping presents, putting up the tree and not so much fun..... shoveling snow.  So my progress on the velomobile project has slowed down a bit but I wanted to show you some of the progress that I have been making just the same. 

This is a good shot of the front of the hood for the velomobile after it has been fiber glassed and  puttied out with a micro-balloon and resin mixture.  This putty mixture is used to fill the weave of the fiberglass cloth.  Once this had cured for a couple of days I was able to start sanding on it.  I am more than happy to get the hood glassed as the Styrofoam is very easy to dent or damage before fiber glassing.

 Another view of the hood with the second coat of resin mixture freshly applied.  Several coats of the resin mixture are needed to fill the little voids and pits in the surface that I found after sanding the first coat.  But with each new coat less and less is needed to cover the surface of the hood.  Another thing that is nice now is that the part is getting more and more of the pink covered up.  Makes me feel like I am accomplishing something at least.     
  I will be happy to go to the next step of putting primer on the hood and then more sanding. This is where the imperfections really show up and I can start working on making it as smooth as glass. Like I said in an earlier post. I see lots and lots of sanding in my future but the work will be worth the effort when it comes time to prime and paint the velombile.

This photo of the velomobile is new though it looks very similar to previous photos that I have had on the blog over the past few months.  The big difference is that the cowling or blister behind the cockpit has now been fiber glassed. YAY!  I was happy to be able to get the garage warmed up enough to get just this portion of the velo body glassed and looking like something.  You can see that this part of the body now is starting to be transformed into a white color similar to how the hood looks. 

The body looks kind of strange without the hood in place but it is necessary for now while I am working on the hood to get it into shape for the next step in the build.  Once I have the hood the way I like it I can start doing the body work on the velo to match up the body to the hood and continue working on the fiber glassing on the body.  

I also took this shot a couple of days ago to show everyone how the front headlight assembly looks mounted to the underside of the hood.  This is the correct orientation that the hood would be in once it is remounted to the velomobile body.  Kind of looks like some kind of space gun but the light worked out very well no matter what it looks like and that is a good thing. 
  So that is where I am at today on the project.  It is slow going at times. But like anything that is this big as far as projects are concerned is better to take it slow and steady than try and rush.  Besides there is way to much snow outside my house now to even think about driving it so slow and steady is the plan of action at this point.   Have a good one, keep tinkering, and stay warm!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

TerraTrike Velomobile Headlight Mounting, Wheel Caps And Hood Lock

Great progress over the past couple of days with all that I want to show you today.  I have managed to install the new headlight assembly into the front hood of the velomobile, work out the locking setup for the hood and create new wheel cover center caps!  Now I can catch my breath and show you what I've put together for this post.  We'll start with the mounting of the new headlight assembly into the hood of the velomobile.

 This is a photo of the front hood for the velomobile.  I took a piece of painters tape and marked off where the underside of the bracing is in the assembly.   The oval circle is where I needed to cut and I did not want to end up cutting through the front cross brace.

Here you can see where the tape is in relation to the cross brace. 

 Using a Dremel tool with a carbide blade and a sanding drum it was an easy task to cut the hole to match my drawing. 

 The underside of the hood took a bit longer as I needed to cut through the next cross brace and two sections of the center brace to allow room for the headlight enclosure.  I had to be extra careful not to grind to deep into the area where the center brace was as there is no fiber glass covering the outer skin yet.  It would have been a pain to have to patch a hole I never wanted in the first place with this part of the job.

Here I'm test fitting the new headlight assembly.  I wanted to make sure that I had no fit up problems and that there would be no interference with being able to remove the headlight from the outer housing when I needed to recharge it.

 A triangular piece of Styrofoam was added next to keep the headlight in the proper orientation for fiber glassing. 

 I also had to fill the void that now appeared beneath the headlight enclosure at the center brace.  I added two smaller pieces of Styrofoam to cradle the headlight housing to keep it from moving from side to side.  Once I was happy with the fit up off all of this I hot glued the parts into place to secure them into position.

 I then hot glued the headlight housing into place on to the foam triangle.  This held it secure so that I could put a fillet of epoxy micro-balloon mixture around all of the mating edges of the assembly.  Then all of the parts were fiber glassed with several layers of three ounce fiber glass cloth.  

 After the fiber glassing had cured overnight I inserted the headlight assembly back into the newly mounted housing.

 Here is how the light looks switched on with the assembly retracted inside the housing.

Another shot with the light extended out through the outer opening. 

 This gives you a good idea of how it will look during the night time.  The light pattern is now unobstructed and it will give me the light I will need to see the way down the street easily. 

 With the completion of the new wheel covers for the velomobile I originally was going to leave an opening in the cover to access the center wheel mount.  The look was ok but I thought why not make a removable center cap.  

This is what I came up with.  The cap could be printed on my 3D printer.  I originally thought I would like it in red and white but this turned out to be a bit more complicated to make than just printing the parts.  As it turns out the red plastic over time will fade with age, sunlight, weather etc. So I decided to make the parts in black and white plastic that holds up better over time. 

The new name for the TerraTrike Velomobile will be called the Radius T-T.  Radius for all the curves that are in the body and a T-T designation for TerraTrike.  I thought it sounded good and so the name is born.  The first cap on the left I printed just using white plastic.  Again I was going to paint this part red and show the white lettering.  Just got more complicated just thinking about it.  So I set up my Makerbot 3D printer with the dual extrusion heads and printed the center cap in black and white all at the same time.  Fast, simple, and best of all easy to do.  Looks great and it's ready to use.  The last part on the right is the mounting ring that fits into the center cap to hold it on to the wheel cover.  This last part will friction fit with the center cap and keep everything in place. The center cap can easily be removed with a screw driver if need be.

 Here's a closer look at how the center wheel caps look side by side.  Both would be good but the black and white cap stands out much better than the white one does so it's go my vote.

 The last assembly that I want to show you today is the simple locking mechanism that I set up for the hood assembly.  This strap assembly is exactly how a motorcycle helmet is held on to someones head while driving a motorcycle.  A strap of nylon webbing is looped through two "D" rings so that when it is pulled tight it stays put and does not move until you move the strap in the opposite direction and it loosens the strap that was originally pinched between the two rings. 

 Here is a good view of just the smaller "D" ring strap mounted to the underside of the hood. 

 A small wooden block is mounted into one of the cross braces of the hood. Inside the block is a threaded rod connector that has been inserted into a hole and bonded into place using my favorite material..... epoxy micro-balloon mixture.  This is used for one of the mounting points for the hood strap assembly.

 Here are all of the pieces for the two strap assemblies for the hood lock.  I had my sister Rose do the sewing needed to hold the two "D" ring straps together.  A nice job of sewing that I simply do not have a sewing machine for nor intend to buy one for such a little job. 
  So that's about it for this post.  At this point it looks like the building of parts and assembling them on to the velomobile is done!  Next I will be working at getting the body of the velomobile into shape to get the outer skin finally fiber glassed and ready for paint.   Total hours now on the project have risen up to 480 hours.  I suspect there will be many more hours to go before I am ready to drive my creation down the street.  Lots and lots of sanding and puttying is in my future but the more time I take with this portion of  the project better the body will look once I am done.  All part of the plan. Enjoy the photos!