Ended up riding 45 km yesterday. Mostly doing a couple of errands and going for dinner at a friends. None of the rides were very long but I got cold feet anyway. I had thought that it wasn't quite cold enough to put the over boots on so the first couple of trips were OK as my feet only got a bit chilled. I had a lightweight toque on under my helmet and was happy and warm at -5C. On the last ride home at night in must have been a bit cooler as half way home I put the over boots and some lightweight gloves on. My hands warmed up quite nicely but the over boots just only slowed the cooling of my feet. I ride in road shoes with a thin foam insole I added to block up the vent hole in the bottom of the shoe. This amount of foam isn't enough so I will be adding as much thickness as I can. I have some 5mm foam that I will try to fit in the shoes. If this doesn't work I can always resort to riding in warmer shoes and not clip in.
Managed to end up riding 6,000 km in the velomobile this year. This is a considerably lower number than what I had thought I would end up at for the year. At the beginning of August it looked like I would end with about 10,000 but that never happened.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Did some more experimenting on closing off the wheel wells. At first I tried just using a flat sheet of foam, bending it, making slots for the handle bar and tie rod to go through and holding it in place with Velcro. The slots for the tie rod and handle bar are smaller in area than the holes normally found in velomobiles for the tie rods to pass through. Should be quite effective in keeping the water out. While this worked well it didn't look much better than the cloth covers we have been using. I ended up with a pucker in the back corner under the shifter. So I tried heating the foam and holding it in the wheel well of the Sprint plug. This got rid of the pucker and shows lots of promise as a good solution. The foam shaped quite easily but you would need matched moulds to do it properly. Luckily the shape is fairly simple so it might be possible to do this. Some fabric glued to the foam would spruce up its appearance. These covers would be similar to the cockpit covers on the Quest and Mango velomobiles. The next step will be to make a mould to help shape the foam.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Rode home in the dark today while it was raining. It was a very pleasant time all things considered. It wasn't raining very hard and I arrived at home without any water spots on my glasses . I have been experimenting with the size of the wheel well opening to allow clearance for the handlebar and your hand with the original under the seat steering setup. I bolted in a part off the mould that closed this area in completely and then slowly removed material until I have the minimum sized opening. The reduction in the opening is about 50%. I closed off part the the remaining area with some thin foam that flexes out of the way when your hand or the handlebar intrudes on it. I also removed the fender as with a good cover over the remaining opening it should not longer be necessary. Not having completely closed off the remaining area some spray still made it inside but about half way home the potential solution suddenly presented itself. I had been thinking of a cloth cover but that looked like it would be complex to make the pattern for. It would need some stiffeners or battens added to the fabric to keep it from getting too close to the wheel. An overly complex solution to a simple problem. I will try the new idea out with some scrap foam we get when we order foam blanks for our kayak seats. The scrap is the skins cut off the foam buns to get it to the thickness we use. It is sent along with the foam to protect but I suspect it is mostly packed with it so the supplier doesn't have the throw it out. We use it to pack our kayaks for shipment. Now it has a new use.
Friday, December 10, 2010
To implement the central steering we are making up a new steering arm. I am having it CNC machined to fit on the existing bearings the Sprint come with. It is taking some time to get it right. Here is a picture of the first prototype partially machined. The roughing cut on the second side has been done.
Friday, December 3, 2010
The back top section mould about half done
The plug now only needs two more layers of mat to finish the layup of the mould. Mat is randomly oriented glass fibers held together by a binder. It is available in various weights depending on how much of it you want to use per layer. We mostly use it for building moulds as there is no weave pattern to it that can print through to the mould surface. Its also the least expensive of the commonly available reinforcement materials. It builds thickness quickly but isn't very strong for its weight as it is at least 50% resin. The short glass fibers make it easy to get it to conform to shapes.
The next step is to build the top front mould. The pattern for the top front is almost ready for mould release. Once this mould is done I can use the patterns for the back and front top to build the pattern for the door.
One of the next posts will be about how my Borealis went on a diet and lost two and half pounds.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
We have just opened the bag and poured the resin in. We used about 1200 g of resin to make this part. We could get away using a bit less next time maybe 1000g. Of this amount not all ends up in the finished part as you need a bit extra to chase some air out of the part. There is also some soaked up by the peel ply which gets pulled off the part after its hard. The peel ply leaves a smooth surface and gets rid of bag lines. Bag lines are those folds or wrinkles in the bag from getting it to conform to the shape of the part. There also has to be extra to wet out past the trim edge of the part.