Feb 1

Feb 1, 2005

Tail fin and wheel fairing.

I finished my first vacuum bagged part - the tail fin. Details of the process below. It looks really good, but the fiberglass is pressed into every dent and depression in the foam plug, so I still will be to do some post finishing with bondo. Or, start taking the time to make a perfectly smooth plug.

I sculpted a beautiful wheel fairing using 3 stacked pieces of styrofoam. After coating it with epoxy/micro and sanding, I waxed it a few times to prepare it for using as a male mold to pull two wheel fairings from it. After seeing the finish of the tail fin after vacuum bagging, I decided that the surface finish needs to be a lot better, so I coated it with bondo and I am now sanding it down - VERY labour intensive!!! I am starting to recognize the true value in having MDF or foam CNC machined!

Here are some various photos of the last week or so:

I used 3M spray contact cement to press stick the fiberglass cloth to the tail fin plug.
A total of 4 layers of fiberglass cloth
Here is the vacuum bag.
Coat the plug with lots of epoxy resin, then cover it with peel ply, a layer of breather material to soak up the excess resin, and stick it into the bag. Seal and turn on the pump.
Finito! A light sanding removed some of the resin ridges that built up in the folds of the peel ply. Resin got under my protective tape over the threads on the bolts so I had to re-thread the bolts.
I fastened it to the top of the canopy lid by drilling two holes through the lid and inserting the two bolts. Then I sprayed it with a light coat of black paint
I also permanently mounted the rear lexan bubble - this photo show how the rear bubble half fits into the front half for a semi-water tight seal (I hope).
Design study for the wheel fairing
I started with a cardboard cut-out of the general shape.
Then I traced the shape onto 3 pieces of styrofoam
The three sections weer glued together with a hot glue gun.
Rough shape using a wire brush
A piece of styrofoam makes a perfect finish sanding block!
A coat of epoxy with micro balloons to seal it and fill in any holes.
After the epoxy coat cures, sand it down
After multiple coatings of was, I could see that the surface finish was really bumpy, so I decided to coat it with Bondo. Also - on a test piece I did, the glass pulled off some of the styrofoam plug. Since I am using this as a male mold, and need to re-use it for the other wheel, I want to make sure I don't damage the mold.
Starting the bondo process


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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