Monday, November 4, 2013

TerraTrike Velomobile Rear Housing Mounted

With all that has been happening here at the Tinker's Workshop over the past week or more I was happy today to get to mount the rear housing for the tail lights of the vehicle.  This went rather smoothly and with the work completed on the insulating of the garage it took little time to warm the new work space up to a comfortable level. So let me show you how it all came together.

Here once again is a computer image of the tail light assembly that needed to be built and then installed on the velomobile.  The upper and lower portions of the assembly needed additional Styrofoam to get the correct shape to match the body.

Here is what the body looks like without the tail light assembly in place.  Just was not correct as it looks like it has been chopped off.  So with this new assembly it will complete the entire look of the velomobile. 

I started with two pieces of one inch Styrofoam glued together and recessed the tail and brake light housings into them.  Along with these housings an additional recessed strip needed to be added so that the door for the light housing could be opened and not jam up on the inner face of the assembly.

The door and door frame for the light housing were then positioned and marked out on the foam surface. This made is simpler to keep things lined up when it came time for final assembly.

In this photo you can see the additional foam that was added to the assembly along with the shaping that was needed for the two inches of base foam that I started with.  I had to keep checking this assembly with the body of the velomobile so that I could get the proportions as close as possible for shaping. 

With the recess strip in the base portion of the assembly the access door is easily able to be opened to turn the lights on or off.  This will also come in handy when batteries need to be changed in the assembly.  The door is held closed with a magnetic latch.

Once the foam had been bonded into place I removed the door as it was no longer needed in this portion of the assembly and could be put aside for safe keeping.

Lines were then marked onto the foam to give me a guide where to cut away excess material to start shaping the assembly. 

I used a small Exacto saw to remove what foam was not needed in very short order. 

With the help of a sanding block and a small rotary sander I was able to get the foam smoothed out to a pleasing shape.  At this point I was not so concerned out getting the shape of the assembly exactly right as I only wanted to get a general shape.  Final shaping will come after the assembly is mounted on the vehicle. 

At this point I added a mixture of resin and micro-balloons to make a putty for filling voids and building up low areas on the assembly. 

Once the assembly had dried over night I was able to mount it to the body this morning.  This was a simple process of using a hot glue gun and sticking it on to the tail end of the vehicle.  This was only a temporary set up as I knew that more of the resin putty mixture would be needed to bond the assembly to the velomobile permanently and make it easier for final shaping. 

Without the clear door or the lights in the assembly the back end looks like a giant mouth that is wide open. 

Here the putty mixture has been applied to the light housing assembly and the body.  This will make a nice light weight strong joint especially after it has been fiber glassed.  At this point I need to let it dry for another day and then I will start sanding on it again to shaped it further to match the body.  

In this photo you can see the difference in the lines of the light housing compared to the body.  The top surface of the body swoops down more at the rear so the housing will need more sanding to match it's shape. This is not a difficult task as the foam and fiber glass resin putty mixture sand pretty easily.  Just will take a bit of time.  

The top view of the housing and the body line up very well.  Not a lot of work to do here to get it all in shape. 

Again another good view of the assembly on the body.  The upper portion of the housing foam will need to be tapered a bit more but with some sanding and a bit of time this will all come together. 

Once I get the top portion of the assembly sanded to my liking I will turn the entire body upside down once again to work on the bottom to match it up as well.  I am really glad at this point to be able to work in a garage now that is warm enough so the work can continue on.  Once I get all of the rear end shaped up properly I'll post more photos of the progress.  Hope you enjoy the photos and come back to see the next installment of the project.

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