Sept 20

September 20, 2005

Landing gear and gull-wing opening fairing shell.

Step one to self sufficient starts and stops is being able launch with the stability of three wheels. That's what a landing gear is for.

I used a piece of the stock carbon tubing I bought and added an elbow to the end of it and bolted on a roller blade wheel. This strut slides through a short section of carbon tube that I bonded into the frame below the seat. This allows me to extend or retract the landing gear so that it hides inside the fairing when cruising.

When it retracts, it will rotate such that the wheel tucks inside the fairing.

It works quite well so far. I rest on all three wheels and clip into the peddles and start moving forward. When I reach a speed of slightly faster than walking, I jerk the steering bar to the right which lifts the bike up onto two wheels. I have not made the retracting mechanism yet, so for now, the gear stays extended. When landing, I slow to a stop, then let the frame fall to the right. If I don't shift my weight slightly to the left, then when the bike hits the landing gear, it feels like it wants to tip over. I am afraid that with the added weight of the fairing shells, it WILL tip over on landing if I am not really careful.

Here is a MOVIE showing CP1 landing and taking off

Step 2 in a self sufficient start and stop is to gain entry and exit to the vehicle without having to have a helper bolt the fairing shell to the frame after you get it. I was going to cut a hole for a door in one side, but I do not want to do anything (if at all possible) to disturb the flow of air over the entire fairing shell. Seams for windows and doors can be tricky (for me), so I figured it would be safer to make the entire fairing shell open from two hinges at the top like a gull wing door.

This thin fiberglass shell needed to be reinforced first. I cut thin strips of pink Styrofoam and bonded them to the inside of one fairing shell. Then covered the ribs with 2 layers of 5.3 oz fiberglass. This is fine for the 'work fairing', but when I make the carbon fairing shells, I will use a core material like Nomex rather than Styrofoam, and perhaps I will use larger sections rather than thin strips - glassing in these thin strips was more work than I expected.

This photo shows a my pretty new blue vacuum bagging film I am trying called Stretchalon. Supposedly it stretches 500% and you don't need to pleat it as much. Since the pleats are always my source of grey hair, I figured this would solve all my vacuum bagging woes. The advice I got from a few who use this stuff is that it still needs pleats, so I added pleats and got a crap vacuum again. Oh well, it was good enough to hold the wetted-out fiberglass cloth and Styrofoam ribs in place while they cured.

I added two hinges to the top of the CP1 frame and mounted the gull-wing fairing shell and it worked perfectly! The entire fairing shell hinges up and it's light enough to easily lift with one hand on a handle I bonded to the inside. I don't have any photos of the hinged door yet, but additional details and photos of the construction are below:

1. The landing gear strut: I made an elbow in the strut by joining two stock carbon tubes together using crazy glue to temporarily hold them in place.

The I sprayed a light coat of contact cement on some strips of carbon fabric and wrapped them around the elbow joint.

2. I thoroughly wetted out the carbon fabric which consisted of a couple layers of unidirectional tape with a few layers of weave over top - WAY stronger than I would ever need.

Then I wrapped electrical tape around the part and poked small hole in the tape using a pin. The holes allow the excess epoxy resin to bleed out.

3. The slider tube is another stock carbon tube with an ID that fits the strut tubes OD. When I purchase the stock tubes from carbon Fiber Tube Shop, I asked them to give me two tubes that would slip-fit together. For some reason, they don't actually make tubes designed to do this, so the guy had to go into his stock and play around with various tube sizes until he found two that fit together.

This is SUPER handy and I think I will order some more. There are probably a million things you could use them for.

The slider tube fits into a hole cut through the frame. Since the strut is basically a trike wheel, I figured that the area of the frame that takes the load would have to be pretty strong. I added multiple layers of carbon fabric around the slider tube-hole.

4. Here is the completed strut that has been sanded smooth. The roller skate wheel bolts through the tube, so I added an aluminum collar to prevent the wheel axle bolt from crushing the carbon tube.
5. This photo shows the wheel mounted to the inside of the strut. I found that the strut was too narrow, so I moved the wheel to the outside of the strut.
7. The wheel was rubbing on the strut, so I added a short aluminum spacer to the axle bolt.
8. Angel sanding down a radius on the Styrofoam reinforcement ribs.
9. The foam ribs were contact spray glued in place, then 2 layers of 5.3 oz fiberglass cloth was also spray glued and wrapped around the ribs.

To do now:

1. Build retractable landing gear
2. Build a window for the nose
3. Fit and securely fasten fairing into place, then cut a removable door for self-entry/exit. I'm thinking a simple hinge at the top would work
4. Make THIRD fiberglass plug for body work
5. Finish the rear wheel fairing attachments
6. Work on vision mirror system - AGAIN...

To do eventually:

6. Build a new fairing mold from the new plug
7. Pull carbon fairing shells from the new mold
8. Build proper SEAT!
9. Mid-drive lightening holes (James Kenny)
10. New carbon fork?
11. Add a thin coat of epoxy to the left hand wheel disc because it is not air tight
12. Carbon wheel disc for front wheel

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