Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dune Buggy Wind Deflectors Project Testing.... Part Three

Up until last weekend I thought that this project had been one of the easier projects that I have worked on in a while.  I had to correct myself when I tested the new wind deflectors on the dune buggy.  

I took this picture of the dune buggy in my garage to show off the new wind deflectors. Hard to believe that they are even on the car by looking at this photo, but they are there.  Actually kind of nice that they blend in so well with the rest of the car.

This is what the deflectors look like with the mounting hardware installed on them. This part of the project went very well as there were no issues in getting the 3D printed parts mounted to the polycarbonate pieces that make up the deflectors.  The polycarbonate by the way is .21 of an inch thick and is very strong and stiff.  I think they will do the job very well.

Here's a close-up view of one of the mounts for the deflectors.  I 3D printed the parts with a 60% infill which again is very strong and solid. The upper portion and bottom portion of the mount have teeth that mate to one another so that the assembly will not rotate when it is mounted to the dune buggy. This gives the assembly also the capability to be able to change the angle at which the deflectors are installed on the car.  Something that can be done without completely taking them off of the dune buggy so that is another plus in the design. 

It took around 20 hours to 3D printe the mounts for the deflectors. After sanding and painting these parts the total time came up to 22 hours.  Then cutting out the polycarbonate, drilling holes and sanding edges smooth took anothe hour or so.  Total maybe 24 hours after you include assembly. 

Here is a much better view of the wind deflector mounted on the driver's side of the dune buggy.  I was concerned when I designed the deflector mounts that the deflector itself would be spaced to far out from the windshield frame. I am happy to see that this is not the case.  The gap between the deflectors and the windshield frame is roughly one inch. Much tighter than I had imagined it would be. The fact that the deflectors blend in so well with the rest of the car hides this gap also.

This is a good view of the upper mount for the wind deflector.  With all of the black parts that are in the car the mounts again blend in very nicely. 

I had to put the roof on the dune buggy to make sure that I did not have the wind deflectors up to high. The installation on the car I had figured out ahead of time as the aluminum mounts needed to be installed first. I mounted the upper one first, then placed the wind deflector on to the mount with a mounting bolt.  This showed me exactly where the lower aluminum mount needed to be placed.  I placed a piece of tape on to the windshield frame where I thought the lower mounts should be installed and removed the wind deflector.  I thought it would take me several tries to get the lower mount to line up correctly but I got it set-up after only a couple tries. 

Once I had the aluminum mounts lined up where they needed to be I was able to fully tighten them down and mount the wind deflector to them. With the deflector mounted to the aluminum mounts it is not possible to adjust the aluminum mounts afterwards as the bolts are covered by the wind deflectors. It looked like it was going to be a difficult task to work this all out but once I had gotten the driver's wind deflector installed the passenger's side went on after only one attempt. 

In the photo above you can see the passenger's side wind deflector already mounted. To get it in exactly the same position as I had mounted the driver's side I took a piece of tape and marked the spacing between the upper roof mount and the upper wind deflector mount on the driver's side. This I then transferred over to the passenger's side so that I had both deflectors perfectly matched as far as there positioning goes. 

Up until this point in the project I had not been able to take the dune buggy out and do a test run with the new deflectors to see if my design would work properly.  They did and they didn't to put it simply.  The new deflectors made a nice difference in driving the car until I had encountered winds last weekend that were gusting to 28 mph. Not a good thing even if I was not testing the new wind deflectors.  I was driving around 55-60 mph. So factor in a 28 mph wind gust to that speed and now you have as much as 88 mph winds hitting the deflectors.  

This was the end result of such high winds. The lower mount on the passenger side of the car broke and the drivers side cracked.  I simply had not thought about dealing with high winds. Back to the drawing board.

To correct the problem with the lower mounts I beefed up the design as you can see from the image above. The problem with the original mount was that the mounting surface was too thin.  I doubled up the thickness  to take care of that issue.

Also with the new design I installed holes in the parts that will have brass rods inserted into them to add additional strength. This will stiffen the mount up further so it will have a better chance of withstanding the winds that I had encountered on my first test run. 

Here the brass rods have been partially inserted into one of the mounts. Once the rods are fully inserted into the part they will be epoxied into place and the outer opening closed up so the brass rods can never be removed.  Not that I would want to do that.  

I will sand the new mounts down and prep them again for paint then do another test run hopefully on a less windy day.  The high wind gust may have turned out to be a good thing that happened so that the wind deflectors will be stronger and safer in the long run.  I think this new design should be exactly what I will need to put the finishing touches to the wind deflector project.  I'll let you know after I get the new parts installed on to the dune buggy and get to test them once more.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dune Buggy Wind Deflectors Project Part Two

Last week I had made some nice progress with this project and I have been lucky so far again this week with what I have managed to get put together. 

Some changes along the way needed to be done with the design simply because of the hardware that was available for the project that needed to be found and one or two errors on my part also.

Pictured above are the mounts for the right side of the dune buggy wind deflector.  The upper and lower mounts look great but I can not say the same for one of the two inner mounts.  As you can see one has a large hole and the other a small hole.  I had missed this fact while designing the parts in Fusion 360.  Both of the inner parts needed a large hole to accommodate the 10mm bolt the holds these assemblies to the aluminum mounts.  So the upper middle mount needed to be reprinted, and painted in primer again for both sides of the deflector assemblies.  Another five hours of 3D printing not counting the sanding of the parts and priming once again.  

This past week the polycarbonate plastic that I needed for the wind deflectors showed up in the mail. I had contacted my local maker space and thought that it might be possible to have these parts cut out on the laser cutter that they have.  No such luck.  Polycarbonate is not something that should be cut on a laser cutter.  We tried before we found this out as the laser only would make the plastic turn yellow because of the heat along with some other issues that would not make it safe to do so in the first place.  So back to the workshop I set out to cutting the parts on my bandsaw.  

I did have the foresight to buy a new bandsaw blade to do the job and was rewarded with the pieces that you see pictured above. The bandsaw blade had 14 teeth per inch and cut through the polycarbonate like a hot knife through butter.  I took my time with the cutting and was very pleased with the end results.    Also in the photo above you can see the holes for the mounts already drilled.  Another easy task using my drill press. 

Here is one of the wind deflectors set up to have the second set of holes drilled into the polycarbonate plastic.  I took two of  the mounts that will be installed on to the deflector and carefully drilled a 1/4" hole through the mounts as a guide and then into the polycarbonate plastic.  Once I had gotten that far I slid a bolt into each mount so that the next holes that needed to be drilled would match up perfectly with the mount and the first holes drilled.  Not a difficult task. I just had to take my time and not rush the process. 

Once I had the four holes drilled into each of the deflectors my next task was to sand the edges smooth with sand paper.  I started with 120 grit, then on to 400, then 600, and lastly with 800 grit. This made the edges very smooth to the touch and cleared the edges very well.  To finish this part of the project I took a small butane torch and slowly heated up the edges to bring a nice clear finish back to the edges.  Again not a difficult task to do but one that needed to be done slowly so as to not damage the edges in the process.  This final step took less than ten minutes and as you can see the deflectors are ready at this point to be installed. 

After having 3D printed the mounting hardware for the deflectors I sanded each part smooth and then painted them with primer. When I was happy with how the primer turned out I was able to finally paint the parts a nice gloss black.  I purposely assembled the two mating parts together when I primed and painted them.  I did this so that I could keep paint out of the toothed surfaces on the parts that keep them locked into position when they are mounted on the dune buggy.  I was afraid that if I had painted these surfaces that they would not fit as nicely as what you see here.  

The picture shown above is one of the aluminum mirror mounts that are needed for the wind deflectors. This mounts to the windshield frame first and then the 3D printed parts are mounted to it to hold the wind deflector in place when the assembly is completed.  The 3D printed parts were printed with a 60% infill to make them strong enough for the job.  I think this amount of infill will do really nicely and should hold up very well.  I also think you would have to smack these parts with a hammer to break them so they should do the job.   

The hole in the center of the aluminum mount is a 10mm in diameter with a fine thread.  It took some doing in order to find the right bolt for this portion of the assembly. I needed the right size bolt of course but I also wanted something that fit the look of the windshield and the wind deflectors.  

The bolt on the far left of the assembly in the image above is what I was looking for rather than a large standard bolt head.  This looks good and it took me some time to find it simple because of the size of the bolt (10mm) and it having to be fine thread along with only being 16mm or a little over a half inch long.  I contacted my local Fastenal company and at the moment have the hardware I need on order.  It will be here in a couple of days.  At that point I should be able to start the final assembly of the wind deflectors and install them on to the dune buggy.  Stay tuned for the final part of the build coming up soon. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Dune Buggy Wind Deflectors Project Part One

As the work progresses on with my Bugatti model project I also started looking at another project for my dune buggy once again.  As most of you already know I have done a lot of work on the dune buggy to make small improvements to this already outstanding vehicle. I thought I had all the projects done but as usual I spoke to soon.

I have been learning a lot about how a dune buggy drives like even though I have yet to have a chance to drive the one I have down the road due to lack of warm enough weather here in the Midwest.  With my online research I have found that the dune buggy will have a lot of side draft wind when it cruises down the road. Or better know as turbulence because of the flat windshield. To eliminate this side wind deflectors normally are installed to stop this from happening or at least reduce it.

Here is a list of what projects that I have completed or have planned for the dune buggy so far.

1. Create and install license plate mounts on front of car
2. Install of 3D printed housing cover to hide ugly hydraulics between the seats
3. Installation of a lock to the rear deck behind the seats
4. Installation of a GPS mount on the steering column
5. Removal of speakers that were badly placed and not hooked up to anything
6. Created 3D printed housing for a 40 watt wireless Bluetooth speaker mounted in roll cage
7. Created and installed fiber glass glove compartment for dash
8. Installation of a video backup camera with LED lights. (Note...there were no backup lights on car)
9. Install needed of wind deflectors on both sides of the windshield
10. Install needed of removeable vinyl Sombrero top
11. Install needed of correct rear tires to match front tires

So you can see I have been busy over the winter months and still have a ways to go before I am done. With that in mind the wind deflectors are at the top of the list now and so the reason for this posting.

With my research online to find information about wind deflectors I came across several manufacturers of this item.  Prices ran from around $200 on up to as much as $300 or more.  I looked at the different assemblies and how they are installed and once again knew that I could make the assemblies cheaper without having to drill holes into the windshield frame of the dune buggy.

Pictured above is what one of the deflectors look like.  This photo is of a deflector sold by Meyer Manx dune buggies. It was a good place to start as from the site I was told that the holes in the polycarbonate plastic were 14 inches apart.  From this bit of information I was able to create a template of the shape and scale it so the holes would be exactly 14 inches apart.  This would make the rest of the drawing to also be correct.  At least that is what I thought. More on this later.

Here is a good example of a pair of wind deflectors for a dune buggy.  Nice but once again holes would have to be drilled into the windshield frame to mount them.  Not what I want to do.

Again another good set of wind deflectors also needing holes drilled in windshield frame to mount.  Plus the fact that these deflectors cost around $300. Not what I want to spend.

Here is a good looking buggy with the wind deflectors installed.  I think this will be great for my buggy as well but I want to keep the cost down without having to drill into the windshield frame to get them installed.

This gentleman has the same idea that I have by using mirror mounts to hold the wind deflectors in position without having to do any drilling.  I found this photo online.  What you see here is actually part of a glass shelving unit for a bathroom.  Not sure how he managed to get the shelving mount to mate to the mirror mount though.

What I have in mind is to use the aluminum mirror mounts along with 3D printed pivot mounts for the wind deflectors.   The deflectors themselves will be made from 1/4" polycarbonate plastic and the 3D printed parts will have a 60% infill to make them strong enough to do the job.  With all of the 3D printing that I have done over the years I thing that a 60% infill should do the job nicely.  The only way the parts could fail is if as my brother had said was to have a major bird strike the mount or at least hit it with a hammer.

By the way for those of you unfamiliar with the term infill in 3D printing this is the amount of plastic within a part when it is printed. If you 3D printed a cube with nothing inside it would be hollow and have a 0% infill.  If the cube was solid it would have a 100% infill.  So I think 60% should work fine for the mounts.

Here's a good look at how the upper and lower mounts would look.  The mounts are attached to the aluminum mirror mounts so there will be no need to drill into the windshield frame which makes the installation much quicker and easier. 
Here's what the aluminum mirror mounts look like and I will be using to mount the wind deflectors.  I have these mounts on the car now and they are well made and are easy enough to install.  Just a couple of minutes to mount all of them for the deflectors so that is a plus.  That and the fact that a mounting hole is already for use could not make things simpler. 

I have the polycarbonate for the deflectors already ordered for the project.  To mention the shape of the deflectors again I originally had copied the image that I had gotten online from the Meyers Manx site.  I cut out a template and this is what I found out.  The shape I had created was good but it looked way to large to use for the project. You can see in the photo above that the deflector if mounted would extend above the edge of the roof line. Not what I wanted at all. Just does not look right in my eyes.

I went back to my computer and reworked the template for the deflectors by shortening the height by three inches.  Now this looks more proper so that is the plan now to use this template for the project. 

It will take me a couple of days to create the 3D printed parts for the mounts which should not be any big problem.  I have the aluminum mirror mounts ordered and should receive them in the next couple of weeks.  When the polycarbonate for the deflectors also arrives I will see if I can get the parts cut out on a laser cutter at my local maker space. If not I know I  can cut them out using a band saw but then some work will have to be done on the parts to sand the edges smooth and then make the edges clear again by using a butane torch to heat the plastic.  I have played with this process before so I know it will work and not be terribly difficult to do.  Just will have to take my time with the parts to get them the way I want and looking good when I am done. 

That's about it for now on this project.  Once I get the materials together and start making parts I will post more info.  It will be another nice addition to the dune buggy.  By then the weather will have warmed up enough for me to actually get it on the road and test out the deflectors too.  Should be fun to be sure.