Sunday, October 6, 2013

TerraTrike Velomobile Fiber Glassing, Signal Lights and More!

Hello Everyone!  This past week has been a busy one for me with all that I managed to get accomplished.  I thought it was about time that I got another post put out to show you all the neat things that are happening here at The Tinker's Workshop.  
  First off on my list has been the completion of the the skinning of the bottom nose section of the body for the velomobile.

The difficult part of skinning this section of the body was that the inside half of the nose at this point in the build is an open cavity.  This makes it a real task to glass both sides of the foam strips that I needed to put on.  I taped the foam strips together first and then inserted all the strips into their proper location on the body without gluing them.  The middle section of this panel was then fiber glassed on the outside and let to dry.

Once the fiber glass had cured I was able to remove the panel of foam strips and then fiber glass the inner side of the panel. This would strengthen as well as seal this portion of the body.

The panel at this point was then reposition back on to the under side of the nose after it was trimmed to size.  I made an epoxy putty that I spread on the contacting faces of the body and again taped it down to cure over night.

 Now the panel is bonded into place and is done until final shaping of the body takes place.

  The next order of business that I had to work on this week were the signal lights that I have planned for the velomobile.  This has been a major task in itself just trying to figure out how to make them or even find a light system that would work that was not overly expensive or complicated to put together. 

The photo above shows what I found on Ebay that I think will fill the bill.  These are emergency lights for a  car or a truck that can be put into a back window of the vehicle.  I needed something that could run on 12 volts of power and flash bright enough to be seen during the daytime.  Each light has 22 LED's in them and after I hooked up a 12 volt power supply ( 8 double  A's in a holder)  the little black box which is the  controller makes all the lights flash without a hitch and I was in business. I will use two sets of lights to make the left and right turn signals.  Then all I need to do is connect them to a double pole double throw switch and the power pack and I have signal lights.

Next I removed the lower mounting that came with the lights as they would not work with what I have planned. 

I had to work on a new mounting that I designed for the velomobile body and made on my 3D printer.  This was a simple task of having the mounting encase the light and have mounting points on the ends  to secure it to the next portion of the assembly.  Four of these mounts needed to be made for the project. 

This photo is one of the biggest parts I've ever had to design and make on my 3D printer.  This is the housing that the signal light fixture will be mounted to.  This housing will be fiber glassed into the body and two will be needed in the front and two in the rear to hold the signal lights.  

Here the signal light is mounted into the open side of the housing that will display the signal light when it is in use.  The white housing stands 5 1/2 inches high, 6 3/4 inches long and 3 1/2 inches deep.  This one shown is for the front of the vehicle and the rear housings are similar but just a little shorter in length.  This housing alone takes 10 hours to print on my 3D printer.  So it's a very long day to complete just one of these parts.  Luckily I only have to make four of them.   I also figured out that each housing only cost me around $7.25 each to make.  A far cry from having some company charge me an arm and a leg for what I can do myself.  (My 3D printer just paid for itself again.)
  The four holes in the face of the housing will be used to mount a plexiglass window over the signal lights.  This will give the entire assembly a very smooth look once mounted into the body of the velomobile. 

The next task that I dealt with this week was a flashing light that I wanted for the rear end of the velomobile.  I wanted something easy to mount, as bright as possible and of course not a lot of money.  This little bicycle light from Cygolight called the Hotshot will fit the bill perfectly.  It is rechargeable, can be turned on with buttons on the face, is very light weight and only cost around $30  I turned the light on and was nearly blinded by the 2 watt LED that is in it.  I think you could see this light at night at least a couple of miles away. 

As I again did not need or want the mount for a standard bicycle I removed it and started work on the new housing for this light to be put into the rear of the velomobile. This is a little light as it is only 2 1/4 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide and only around an inch deep.

 To get the new mount for the strobe light figured out I had to first model it in my CAD software on the computer.  The pictures above show you how my efforts turned out.  The back of the light has a belt clip that I did not want to try to remove as I might damage the light.  Not a good idea so I left it on and incorporated it into my design.

I designed a little base the this rear clip will slide into.  I'll print it first on my 3D printer to make sure it fits securely. 

Next comes the enclosure that the light and base mount will be inserted into. This enclosure will be fiber glassed into the rear portion of the body of the velomobile. This enclosure is only 2 inches by 4 inches in size and 2 inches deep.

This is how the assembly will look once the light and the base mount have been installed into the enclosure.

To finish off the assembly an outer cover plate will be mounted and attached to the assembly using machine screws and inner connectors that are mounted into the bottom portion of the blue enclosure.  I'll paint this cover plate a bright red so that it will show up nicely during the day time.  The only thing you will see of the assembly once it has been installed into the velomobile is the cover plate and the light.  To remove the light to recharge it I only have to take out  two screws and the light will come right out.  But from the specs on the light I should not have to do this more than once or twice a riding season.  
  So you can see I have been a busy guy here at the Tinker's Workshop this week and it doesn't look like things will slow down any until cold weather sets in.  Total hours of work on the project so far has risen to 262 hours. With the printing of the signal light housings this total will jump up very quickly in the coming days. 
   I still have a lot of fiber glassing I want to complete before cold weather sets in and work on another mounting for a brake light assembly that I am waiting for in the mail.  This and a list of other things that seem to get longer every day for this project.  But all of it is what puts a smile on my face so it is all worth it.  Enjoy the photos and I'll keep you up to date as I go further with the TerraTrike velomobile project.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible build idea and execution. Looking forward to seeing the finished project.