Thursday, December 20, 2012

Keeping the Rain Out

This is the part that will keep the rain that runs in along the door edge off of me.  This will fix one of the only criticisms I have come across of the Milan.  There are still the usual ones of cost and weight but they also apply to all other velomobiles.

The flange the door closes on slants inward so any water getting to it will run inside the velo.  The above part has three purposes:  the first to direct water into the bottom of the velomobile, the second to round off the otherwise sharp edge of the door lip and the third to stiffen up the door edge.  One could make the edge thicker but this will add more weight than the above part.   The other choice would be to use a soft gasket the door closes down onto.  For my experience with gaskets in kayaks, this was not the way I wanted to go.  Besides, the finished look of the Milan is nicer without the gasket sticking out. There is a small gap between the front of the hood and the door just above my shoulder.  This lets most of the rain in.  Now with the gutter it can no longer drip down onto me. 

The rain gutter is two layers of carbon fibre with a third layer on the inside edge. Weight of the part is less than 50 grams. If you cost it out based on weight and the time it takes to make it, it might be one of the most expensive bits in the Milan.  At first I thought I could get away with a contact laminated part, but it needs to be vaccuum bagged as the material doesn't always stay in the sharp contours. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Milan Handle

The retracting hand hold on the back of the Milan is easy to install.  Installation on other velomobiles would be similiar. 
Here you can see the two holes drilled in the back of the shell.  I first drill a small hole with a 3/16" bit,  follow this up with a countersink to carefully bevel the gel coat slightly wider than the finished hole.  The reason to bevel the hole is to prevent chipping of the gel coat when drilling the final sized hole.  Then I drill the hole to the final size, in this case 1/4".   
What it looks like on the inisde.  I glassed on the anchor point but you could also bolt the "p" clip in place.  There is a 30" piece of 5 mm rope and a 22" piece of shock cord.  The reason for this much lenght is so you can reach it after the rear fender is in place and replace the cord and shock cord if necessary.  The top of the Milan is permanently bonded to the bottom so there is limited access.   Reaching around the fender is difficult as I discovered putting the first handle on the first Milan GT. 
The finished result with the rope pulled snugly against the back of the shell.  The distance between the holes is 8.5cm.  The previous one was a bit longer but I like the new lenght better.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Heat and hold down jigs

Now that the heating season is here I have had a pellet stove put in the shop.  So far I am quite pleased with its performance.   One does notice how much fuel it uses as you need to fill it manually.  The big advantage over just a wood stove is that to light it you only press a button.   It also burns very cleanly as you do not see smoke coming out of the chimney only some shimmering from the hot combustion air going out.   My other choice here for heat other than wood is to use electricity.  The vast majority of the electricity used in BC comes from hydro power but some is from coal fired power plants in Alberta and some from burning natural gas.  Using  electricity is much more expensive and not the greatest choice for being carbon neutral.  I do have some baseboard electric heaters as backup heat.  They will be used a bit when I have specific areas that need more heat.  Luckily, for the most part, I only need the extra heat for short periods.
A side benefit of having bags of pellets is that I have found another use for them.  Some of the moulds are odd shapes and hard to hold in place when you are working on them.  Partial bags of pellets make good weights to hold them in place. Here is an example of a couple in use.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Here I am weighing the left side bottom part to see how much lighter the carbon/Kevlar part is than the glass part.  This part ended up weighing 2300g with a saving of 1160g.  There is still some potential for a bit less weight maybe 100-200g but that would have to be done carefully after seeing how this laminate works out.  The other two shell parts were a bit lighter with all three weighing in at 6.7 kg (14.74 lbs).

I have made the other major parts and the total weight saving is going to end up around 4 kg.  This will mean a finished weight of around 26-27 kg(57-59lbs) when equiped with 70 mm drum brakes and the lighter rims and tires.