6 Jan 2008

Well, vacation has come to an end, though I managed to cross some things off the to-do list: clean the garage, make good progress learning CAD, and added pages to the book manuscript. Also received the suspension design software from Wm. C. Mitchell, along with an amazing suspension book by Rowley, so between these two I’m ready to rock and roll.

Oh yeah, I wore out the little electric RC helicopter, surprisingly, not by crashing it; the tiny plastic gears finally stripped out. So of course I fixed that by buying a bigger helicopter 😉

Looks like, as with Kimini, I’m going to have to buy a drivetrain if I want to know how big it is because no one’s taking the time to help me measure certain drivetrain dimensions. A little disappointing, but as expected. Short of that, I realized that a coworker has one of these cars so I guess I’ll be measuring her… engine.

2 Jan 2008

Got an electric helicopter for Christmas, which is surprisingly capable for the low price. Great fun flying indoors, as long as Cooper doesn’t get at it. From his point of view, it’s a big bug that invading his space!

Spent the day cleaning out the garage, and it’s far more pleasant now,  not stepping on boxes and stepping in grit everywhere. Of course our  trash can now weighs about 250lbs… I wonder if the trash guys will  complain. A clean garage is a vacuum, wanting to be filled with something. I’m working on that.

28 Dec 2007

Ordered WinGeo3 4.03 from Mitchell Software. It’s one of the few (and perhaps the only) suspension software packages that uses force application points instead of kinematic roll centers. I figured out this is a better way to design suspension and will use it to design MidLana’s suspension. It also cleanses my soul – slightly – by finally paying him! See, I had used a very old DOS-based copy of Mitchell’s FreeBody software to design Kimini’s suspension…

24 Dec 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates, things are happening, just slowly. Received the uprights and the steering rack, parts needed before suspension design can start. I also need to choose tires and wheel sizes… not necessarily buying them yet (like I did with Kimini, and have the tires harden for 10 years, but I digress) but a size is needed as they’re part of the overall suspension design. I’m currently deciding between 15″, 16″, and 17″, since I’ve given up finding 13″ street tires.

Started reading up on potential drivetrains; I’m pretty sure I know which one I want. It’s now a matter of finding weight and sizes, which is much harder than it should be.

Learning CAD is frustrating, to me at least. My creativity shoots miles ahead, then stands around waiting for me to use the tools in order to achieve the vision. I don’t blame Alibre Design, I’m just too dumb to know how to use it yet. I don’t have the luxury of using Alibre at work (or any CAD for that matter) so it’s taking a long time to learn.

Instead of making drawings of every tube, there will be one fully dimensioned master drawing. The reasoning is: because metal moves when welded, and tubes are never cut exactly the correct length, exact dimensions are useless. If “Tube 63″ is specified to be exactly 12.48574532″ long, with a 43.2 degree angle, but the space it’s supposed to fit into is physically 12.5” and 45 degrees (due to cut errors and welding distortion), what good are tube drawings? Said another way, having one master drawing means that <i>target</i> dimensions are given, not exact hard numbers. This makes it clear to the builder that while the values are <i>theoretically</i> exact, it’s very likely that the space it’s to fit in won’t match the drawing exactly. That’s okay, and it tells the builder that he can, if he wishes, correct the error then, make up for it later, or just not worry about the slight inaccuracy.

Over the break I plan to clean the garage, as boxes have been creeping onto the floor over the last couple years. Freeing up room gives extra space for, oh, new things. Where Kimini’s going to park once construction starts is something that’ll be dealt with then.

Merry Christmas everyone! Oh, and I have a name for the new car: MidLana. Mid because it’s mid engine, and Lana is our granddaughter’s name. I like the sound of it, and it’s unique on the Interweb… it’ll just take a while before people can remember it off the top of their heads. Hopefully – this time – the car will be done before she’s 10 years old!

2 Dec 2007

Create project weblinks and screens. Starting in on learning CAD… it’s going to take me a long time since I have so little time after work (long work days again.) That’ll improve after mid-December.

What’s happened so far? Lots of thinking, in fact it’s all designed in my head except for styling details. Bought suspension uprights; they’re the first parts needed since everything depends upon the outboard pickup points. As said elsewhere, the plan is to get the entire design into CAD before anything expensive is ordered, unlike last time where I did it the other way round! It was an expensive lesson, buying the engine first so I could design the car around it, but because the car wasn’t done for 10 years the engine sat in the garage, depreciating the entire time – lesson learned. I already have my eye on a drivetrain, but it’s too expensive right now, but hopefully after the design’s all ready (maybe even after the chassis is designed) the price will have dropped.