Jan 17

Jan 17, 2005

Sliding canopy progress.

I modified this image because I wanted to see what the new canopy cover would look like if it were painted.

The canopy seems to work just fine - the glassed foam parts are super hard and strong. I could easily stand and jump on them without breaking. The slider works well also - firm and doesn't wobble or vibrate at all.


One problem - when I'm sitting in the vehicle I can't see very well out the front or the sides due to the thick lid.

I'm going to remove that front surf board and simply bond the front bubble half directly to the top of the fairing lid. Then I'm going to cut down and taper the sides of the rear bubble slider so I can see out the side. After assembling the whole thing, I realize now it's way over-kill and a lot of it is not required. The fiberglass roll bar part seemed to expand after glassing and now it doesn't fit in between the rear slider arms. Although, again, that might have been over kill also - as the lexan bubble seems to be stiff enough to stay in place without that support.

Overall - I'm fairing happy with how this slider is going to work. I've gained some valuable experience working with fiberglass and I want to continue to add features to the vehicle to further improve my composite skills. Next step is to buy a vacuum pump and start bagging my composite parts. That will produce a much stronger, lighter and better finished part.

The Sintra wheel discs were a poor idea - they split apart at the seam and were too heavy. I think the next composite project will be some wheel fairings for those rear wheels - maybe even carbon fiber. Then I want to build a panel inside which will feature some switches for lighting, a power level meter for the rechargeable lithium ion battery, a place to mount the iPod and boxes for speakers, bracket for an amp and a battery holder. Yep - this is going to be one sweet ride when I'm done!

I'm also thinking about an add-on fin for the back to hold and display the safety lighting. That may simply mount directly onto the rear of the canopy slider.

And finally, following are some various shots of the last few days fiberglass fun:

I found that 3M photo mount was the only spray on contact cement that wouldn't react with the Styrofoam. It does a great job of holding the glass fabric onto the foam without clogging up the pore in the fabric which will prevent the resin from thoroughly soaking through.
I can't imagine doing this without the spray adhesive!
They cured over night and within two days were as hard as rock, but almost as light as the Styrofoam. A light sanding took off the resin drips and bumps, etc.

I can see the need to put a coat of Bondo over these parts to properly finish because if you don't vacuum bag, your surface finish isn't quite good enough, so that's probably what I'm going to do.

I bought some car door moldings which work great to cover the edges of the lexan bubble. Some stick-on foam insulation strip does a great job of filling in the gap between the lid and the lexan.


TCR Do LIST:

1. Strut slot sliders - Simplify to a folding cover
2. Canopy Bubble - make a sliding convertible top
3. Front wheel well - Make glass version
4. Wingnuts for fairing mounts
5. Electrical - rechargable battery with a panel with switches for rear strobe and front headlight
6 Add a second front caliper brake
7. Make a portable wind trainer using the (mini-rollers)
8. Look into painting the fairing
9. Find a helmet that fits in the bubble
10. Add second brake
11. Install sound system
12. Rear add-on lighting system

TOTAL distance on TCR1
866 km


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