Rick Wianecki's velomobile project
Velomobile 6

A project by Rick Wianecki

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08/14/2010
I still has some rubbing of the rear wheel when I turned sharp at higher speeds. I looked at increasing the slot in the bottom of the Velomobile for the tire and decided to install 2 additional body mounts at the lower rear.

I first bent up some 1/8" thick X 1" wide aluminum to form some "L" brackets. Mounted the aluminum in my vice and bent it over with a plastic mallet.
And rounded the corners in my 1" bench belt sander.
 
Here is a picture of one of the completed brackets after I cut an adjustment slot and both of the stud inserts I will be bonding in the bottom of the tub.
 
I decided to use one of the electric motor mount locations for an attachment point for one of the mounts.
 
On the other side of the frame I will add a mounting bracket to the side of the battery cradle.
Here I am brazing the mount tab to the battery cradle .

I then bonded the studs into the bottom of the tub. Tomorrow more testing before I have to go out of town for 2-weeks for work.

08/14/2010
Here is a picture of the studs bonded to the bottom of the tub for the new rear mounts.
 
08/15/2010
The electric motor is connected to the drive system through a jackshaft. On the drive side of the jackshaft there is a freewheel that the crank is connected to and a fixed gear that goes to the rear wheel. This allows the electric motor the drive the rear wheel through the gears in the 14 speed rear hub. I hope I explained it and maybe the following pictures will help.

I started out by making some adapters to use on a square ended bottom bracket. Here I am using a tapered end mill to cut a tapered square hole.
I made 2 adapters one with threads for the freewheel and fixed gear and one that would adapt to a #25 sprocket. Here is the completed Jackshaft with the adapters and gears mounted.
This is how the drive side looks.
08/15/2010
The electric motor is connected to the drive system through a jackshaft. On the drive side of the jackshaft there is a freewheel that the crank is connected to and a fixed gear that goes to the rear wheel. This allows the electric motor the drive the rear wheel through the gears in the 14 speed rear hub. I hope I explained it and maybe the following pictures will help.
I started out by making some adapters to use on a square ended bottom bracket. Here I am using a tapered end mill to cut a tapered square hole.
8/29/2010
Well I made it back from my 2-week road trip and had several packages waiting for me. I took Warren's advice and ordered some tail lights from China.
Here are the two lights I ordered, I am going to use the one on the right.
Next is where to mount the lights?
Mount them High?
or mount them lower?

I need to make up my mind and get the lights mounted. I want to be able to take the vehicle to the Niagara Velomobile Happening SAT/SUN Sept 18 - 19.

Here is a picture of the completed rear body mounts I installed earlier.I ran out of light gray primer so I used dark gray on the battery holder.
10/6/2010
Well it has been a while since I have been able to work on the velomobile. But I was recently able to check a few more things off the to do list. While I at the Niagara Velomobile Happening, I talked with John Tetz about some steering issues I was having, mainly a heavy feeling in the steering. I traced the problem to an out of round steering shaft that was sticking in the frame bushings.
I machined a new one from an aluminum round and bolted a stainless bar to the bottom. That appears to have solved many of the issues.
Next I needed away to hold the battery to the frame more securely. I started out by covering the bottom of the battery case with several layers of cooking wrap and laying up 3 layers of fiberglass with a sheet al .060 aluminum imbedded between the first and second layers.
Once the epoxy resin cured I trimmed and cut the lower pan about 2" deep.
Next I added a center support bar to the battery holder so I could bolt the pan down.
 
Here is the pan bolted to the frame and the battery secured with a elastic strap I added some 1/8 inch wire brackets to make installing the strap easier.

Next I will be working on a rear fender, and a 12v lighting system with turn and brake lights.

10/7/2010
Did a few other things to the Vm before I take it to the HPRA races in Springfield Ohio this weekend. I installed a 1/8 in plastic coated cable to hold the top in the open position. I installed it at the front so it would not interfere with the rear wheel and the seat if it as installed at the back.
One problem with this instillation is that when the top is closed the cable gets uncomfortably close to the peddles and chain ring. So I added some elastic to pull the cable away from the peddles when the top is closed.
Here is a picture that shows the cable neatly stowed at the front of the vehicle when the top is closed.
The next thing to add is some sort of latch to keep the top closed. I looked at several types of mechanical latches but decided to keep it simple and use a bungy chord latch. The cord is attached to the top and has a hook on the other end.
 
On the tub section I installed a concave bushing on a short bolt. The hook is just slipped on to secure the top closed.
lastly I have started to gather the parts for the turning signals and tail and brake lights. Here are the led turn signals and a DC-DC converter that I will be using to convert 24v to 12 volts.

I still need to get the switches and flasher along with the tail/ brake light.
11/20/2010

Current Specs:
Body 45 lb. 20.5kg.
frame 33 lb. 15 kg.
Electric stuff, 18 lb. 8.2 kg.

Well it has been a while since I have been able to do any additional work on the velo. It has been working great but I really need to get going on the lighting system. I am going to make a clear lens cover the the tail and brake light with the help of Garrie Hill. The fist step is to sand and tape off the rear section of the body where the tail lights will be mounted.

I taped off the area and applied sever coats of wax and used some spray mold release.
 
I then applied the first of 9 layers of fiberglass cloth. The first layer was .75 oz veil cloth and I made sure there were no air bubbles.
I let the first layer of veil and epoxy start to gel and then added 8 more layers of 8 oz cloth.
I added 4 layers let the epoxy cure for a day, sanded and then added another 4 layers. After it cured for another day I removed the tail mold and will send it to Garrie where he will cast a mail plug and then vacuum form a clear tail lens.

 

12/27/2010
Garrie Hill continues:
Rick sent me the female cast of his tail light area. I'm going to modify it into a cavity style vacuum forming mold. The formed plastic part from this mold will then exactly replicate the outside surface of Rick's velo. Once he cuts out the tail opening for the lights, this "lens" will fit perfectly flush to the surface.

Step 1
Rick used a marker to designate the final lens trim line. I rough trimmed ( bandsaw) the mold a few inches beyond Rick's line. This will delineate the new mold flange area.

Here's a view of the inside of the mold to be.
Step 2

Now I start building up a nonporous flange all around the mold. This flat flange will be the airtight clamping surface for the plastic to be formed.
Step 3

After building up a thickness of 3/16" in the flange, and letting the epoxy completely cure, I bandsawed the perimeter to a more-or-less uniform width. A vacuum hose fitting was bonded to the deepest point of the mold.
Since we decided that the taillight lens would be made from .032" thick plastic, I drilled a vacuum port hole through the fitting into ( and through) the mold. The hole is .025" diameter. By making the hole diameter smaller than the thickness of the plastic being formed, the plastic will not be draw down into the vacuum hole.


1/12/2011
Here is a video of the lens being vacuum formed. - http://vimeo.com/18730038

The quality of the bubble is primarily governed by two variables:

1) The quality of the surface of the mold. Just as in forming a fairing from a female mold, if there are waves and pits in the mold surface, there will be waves and pimples in the molded parts. I spend lots of time on getting the mold surface perfect. The plastic is formed completely down into the mold. Anything less in depth of draw is inconsistent.

2) The speed of forming. In all plastic deformable materials ( my Real Life Real Money Job TM is in deep drawing metal ) the rate of forming is related to the material thickness/depth of draw/material physical characteristics/material temperature. In the case of the Varna canopies, I form at the lower end of the temperature deformation band, and form slowly. The Varna canopies, from PETG plastic sheet, take almost 25 seconds to draw into the mold.

01/14/2011
Back to Rick
I decided to make some changes to the front suspension of the velomobile before I finish the body work and electric. I decide to change out the sliding pillar front suspension and install a McPherson strut style suspension. I am also going to increase the front track to 28.5 from 27. This will allow me to increase the room between the inside of the front wheel wells by 1-2 . I will also be modifying the front boom to make it adjustable and also raising it up 1.5.

I have worked up the design for the modifications and will start making parts this weekend.

More Soon...

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