Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NACA pic

The NACA duct just out of the mould and trimmed up ready to be bonded in.  I suppose that you could even bond it in with silicone but I will most likely glass it in place or use a higher strength adhesive.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Carbon Rear Swing Arm/NACA Duct/Milan XL(MaX) Progress

The third try at building a carbon swing arm for the Milan.  It is still a work in progress but very nearly ready.  Still needs to have nicely machined dropouts rather than the present trial ones.  The steel version of this weighs in at 1150 g while this one is 700 g. 

Two views of the NACA duct installed.  The NACA duct itself weighs in at around 30 g.  You end up adding a good portion of that weight to bond it in place.  The duct is made to fit onto the door with a small flange that matches the shape of the door.  The tricky part is cutting the hole to just the right size.   You should be able to retro fit this into existing doors with some care and patience.  I have tried it out a couple of times now  and it moves a surprising amount of air.  I can feel the flow almost at my face once you get to about 20 kph.   If you ride with the hood I would highly recommend adding one.  Also in the picture you can see the larger knee pumps in the door so I can pedal the SL without having to move the BB forward of my favored spot.   I will eventually make a new door as this one was a bit of an experiment with the laminate and I cut out the knee bumps and made them slightly larger.  This door now overlaps the shell so water runs off to the outside.  There is still the rain gutter under it which very effectively stiffens the edge of the cockpit opening.  The knee bumps being larger than the original ones must be slowing me down.  I sure can't tell as the SL is a real rocket even compared to the GT which is already pretty quick.   On some of the hills here it is scary fast.  I use the brakes more than with the GT.  

Lots of progress on the larger Milan.  I may end up calling in the Milan MX.  Most of the moulds are now made and the first two bottom parts are moulded.  I ended up having to remake the rib mould that stiffens the sides.  They are a few days away from being done and then we can carry on assembling the velo.  Looking forward to being able to sit in it and see how big it is.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Lights, 103 km ride

Here you can see the mounting bracket I have made up for some Lezyne lights.  Just three layers of carbon around a 1" tube,a teardrop shaped price of wood and a bolt to hold it on.  The tube is stiff enough to be a tight spring fit around the light such that you can slide it in and out.  I use them as daytime flashing lights.  Definitely lights to be seen by as the normal headlights are brighter by they don.t have a flashing function.  
The second pattern for a NACA duct is in the background while the mould for it is in the foreground.  The mould is ready to be used so I can try the duct out in the door.  With the hood on this should help by being able to direct some of the airflow onto the front visor.  I will have to experiment some to see how it can be made to work best.    

On the island here there is a New Years's Eve Epic Ride.   The goal is to ride about 100 km for the day and less if you are less ambitious.You start out at 9 am and the first section is a going north to Granite Bay about 20 km away.   I wasn't sure if I could ride by upright bike for three hours and about half the distance is on gravel road so I ended up using my short wheel base recumbent. It proved a bit tricky on some of the downhills when you encountered loose gravel.  Once at Granite Bay you ride back up to the paved road and then the group splits up.  The less ambitious folks head back to the start and ride the rest of the 100 km on the less hilly and mostly paved south end of the island.  The more ambitious ride out to Surge Narrows on a very twisty and steep road that is mostly gravel.  I rode back to the start and then home for lunch and to change bikes.  It was a welcome change to ride the Milan.  Much warmer and quicker, it being less hilly helps too.  The first bit was cold as it was at or below freezing so staying warm wasn't easy.  I stopped briefly at Granite Bay to take a picture and was soon back on the bike to try warm up a bit.  I slowed down going downhill a few times just to stay a bit warmer. Rode the last half in the velomobile and was nice and warm except my feet started to get cold after a couple of hours.  I could have put the neoprene covers on the cycling shoes or switched to regular shoes which would have solved the cold foot problem.   Ended up riding most of the day to get the 103 km in with over 1700 meters of climbing.   I have ridden over 250 km in a day that seemed less difficult.   There was a great turn out for the ride this year with about 60 participants.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fit in Milan SL, Progress, ETC

I have finally gotten the Milan SL so I can fit into it properly.  I could pedal it before but I had to extend the BB forward from my optimal position.  The reason I now fit is that we built a new door gives me a bit more knee clearance.  Here is a picture of the new mould just after laying it up.

 It still needs to be trimmed to size,  sanded smooth, polished and waxed.  I did make a couple of trail parts off the plug to be sure I got the fit right.

So the size that fits the Milan SL is an X seam of 44" measured by sitting against a wall and measuring the distance to your heels with your leg flat on the floor and your foot at right angles to the floor.  My X seam measures 45" and you may fit if you are this size but I would recommend a test fit just to be sure.  I will have my SL here for this.  If you are willing to extend the BB position forward getting a fit if you are tall is a bit easier.

We do now have a few orders.  Looks like we will be able to build at least one per month maybe  more once we get better at the process.  I am surprised at how long the ones to date have taken but there has been a bit of a learning curve.  I am sometimes my worst enemy as I kept making improvements but I can now see that those are mostly done.  I will still make improvements as I find this part of building them interesting.

The pattern of the Milan XL? or Milan Max? is now ready to mould.  After laying up the door mould I will have to set up my supplied air respirator for laying up this much larger part.  Its OK in the summer but if I ventilate the shop for hand laminating at this time of year it gets too cold rather quickly.

I have had a couple of rides in the rain and at below freezing and as a result put the hood on.  At 80 kph rain really hurts your face.  I even found myself braking to limit the effect.  I had the hood on with only a partial front visor( an experiment) and it was plenty chilly at speed as the wind hit my forehead just above my glasses.   I will also have to find my over boots for the cycling shoes as my feet got cold after an hour or so.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Larger Milan

We have been working on building the pattern for a slightly larger Milan for a while now.  It has languished for quite some time but has seen some work lately while I have been waiting for parts to arrive for  Milans that are on order.   It is a bit taller, about 2 cm at the shoulders and a bit more at your feet.  Most importantly it is longer by 8 cm with the door opening moving forward the same amount.   The limitation for really tall folks in the GT was that if they had really long legs their shins would not clear the front edge of the door unless you moved the bottom bracket further forward.  Short cranks help some for this but mostly you ended up with the bottom bracket too far forward to be in a good pedaling position.   I have also increased the width at the shoulders by 6 cm.  So now if you only just fit in the Quest you will have space in the Milan XL.  Any suggestions for a better name?
Here you can see the extra width at the shoulder.  I have the first side almost done and just need to make more templates to be sure the two sides end up being the same.  
The other side with the template in place where all the fill needs to go.  I have left the shell open just in case I need to add some material on the inside.  I did need to cut some away and fill in the nose to get a nice shape as just cutting the  original apart and rejoining it longer caused a bump to show up.  The orange bit is the modification to add the rain gutter to the mould.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014


This ride turned into a long way to go for a couple of beers.  My friend suggested we ride to Powell River to check out the craft brewery there.  Sounded like a good idea.  The weather was nice, the ride is a reasonable distance the only complications being catching ferries and getting back before it was dark.  I left here early caught the 7:00 ferry and met my friend south of Campbell River.  Had a leisurely ride down to the next ferry.   A half hour wait for the ferry, one hour and half ferry ride and just a short ride to the brewery for beer and lunch.  Arrived at the brewery, as cars were parked out  we pulled around the side.  It didn't look very open as we passed by.  In fact it wasn't open but not all was lost.  As soon as we pulled around the side we were invited to help pick hops off vines collected from the local area that were growing wild.   No sooner had we started and we were offered free beer.  A new enthusiastic employee was quite diligent at keeping my glass filled.  After picking hops we were given a tour of the brewery.  Ended up buying some beer and then off for lunch a short way away.  Just barely made it to lunch and didn't need to order any more beer.   After lunch not 100 meters from the pub I had a flat.  Didn't stop soon enough and I ended with three punctures.  After fixing these and using all my patches it was a bit of a rush to the local bike shop for another repair kit and then the ferry.   Getting off the ferry was interesting as I had to rush to refill both front tires which now both had slow leaks.  Rode about twenty minutes pulled over and refilled the tires.  Did this once more and then decided to try for the ferry home as it was getting dark.  The rest of the way was mostly downhill with two smallish uphills.  I was suitably motivated at this point.  Not only was I losing air but there was still an hour of riding to go.  Probably was over 60 kph for about ten-fifteen kms and then over forty most of the rest of the way.  Made it to the ferry with half an hour to spare.  Added more air and made it home before 9 with a total distance of about 140 km.
Link to the brewery  townsite brewery

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Front Boom

Have been working on this since last year.  After a few false started we ended up with this.  I have the parts in the mould( the orange thing) for alignment purposes.

So far it seems to be stiffer than the aluminium boom it replaces.  The limitation for stiffness is the stiffness of the shell as the boom has to be attached to it.  Having the rather large "I" beam in the front of the wheel wells should really stiffen up the front end.  The really good part about this is we are saving around a pound.  The bad part is that it will cost more.

A close up of how you adjust the bottom bracket. There are to be four bolts that hold it in place.  One may get away with only using two saving a bit of weight.  Adjusting by two holes will most likely require changing the chain length as every two holes is two links.  The holes are spaced 1/2" apart.  Before coming up with this boom I tried wrapping a foam core with carbon.  That really got out of hand quickly as it ended up being a mess and went in the garbage.  Then I tried making the same thing in a mould but that got quite messy too.  The precision required to do it properly would require a CNC machined mould and a separate mould for the core.  I could infuse a top hat section in the mould and then fill it with foam.  This would take quite a while making it far too expensive.  After some calculations I determined that the carbon/foam one would only be 20g lighter than the wood core and carbon one.  I rather like using a bit of wood as it is nature's carbon fiber and can rival carbon when combined with composites and epoxy.  So what we have ended up with is a chunk of an expensive ski as the boom.     

I have had the bottom bracket shell in my GT creaking some.  After tightening the clamps a few times I finally took one out to see what was going on.  It would go away for some time after each tightening but would be there again after riding some tough hills. Here is a the first attempt at making a replacement and the used clamp.  Upon looking closely at the clamp it has started to bow on the vertical sides.  It was only applying pressure at the top and bottom corners.   I was using a torque wrench to get the bolts evenly tight and getting worried about snapping the clamp.  The first attempt at an improvement, while it works it wasn't easy to install as it has too many loose parts.

This is about version eight.  Only two parts with some flex in the corner.  I can't see why it shouldn't be an improvement unless the hose clamp isn't up to the job.  There are much stronger hose clamps than the ones I am trying out if these fail.

What it looks like installed on the boom.