Sept 29

September 29, 2005

Rotating camera, rear wheel fin, carbon seat, fairing primed and new plug progress

I bought a new Sony mini-camera. It has interchangeable lenses and is very low lux for night vision. I think one of the issues with the camera view, it the lens on my Marshall 1/4" CCD camera is 3.7 mm which is a wide angle view. When I was going around the track the other day using the camera to view, I noticed that I would come very close to the track edge, and before I could correct for it, I would be off onto the grass. The same thing was happening on the street out front of my house - I would tend to veer dangerously close to the edge of the road without really realizing it. The reason I am sure, is because of the wide angle view from the camera lens. You can see more of the road on each side of you, but visual feedback from your movements from side to side and greatly reduced. You just don't even notice when you are steering off to the side of the road.

I figured that a narrower field of view lens would fix that problem, but the Marshal camera has a fixed lens. So, I went to the Spy Shop here in Calgary and purchased a nifty Sony low lux, high res camera with a 8 mm lens. During a test with the 8 mm lens, the image is about exactly what your eye would see, and it is much easier to judge where you are on the road, and also your orientation for balance inputs. I don't think the issue before was due to a lag in the video system - I think it was due to the wide angle lens. The normal angle lens seems to resolve that issue.

However, this narrow angle view limits how much of the road I can see. So, I decided that it might be cool to make the camera rotate (or pan) from side to side. This works VERY SLICK!!

The aluminum strip below the cross bar on the frame attaches to the top of my helmet. When I turn my head from side to side, the camera rotates with it. For the 'proof of concept' version, I used a threaded rod through a skateboard wheel which is screwed onto the frame. The rod goes through a hole in the frame and attaches to the control strip. The action is very smooth and I can't even feel it. The motion is very intuitive and I can see from one side of the road to the other.

My helper for the day came all the way from Paris, France to assist me. In fact, it was Francois's idea to join the rotating rod to the top of my helmet. My idea was this convoluted over complicated push-rod contraption. From now on, I'll call it the Francois pan cam.

Francois is a recumbent builder from France and is in Canada touring through the Canadian Rockies with his girlfriend for three weeks. He had a spare day, so he called me up and volunteered to spend the day with me.

For every successful idea, you must go through at least one failure. Before the pan cam, I duct tapped an aluminum rod to my helmet, taped the camera to the top of it and hooked the camera up to a head mounted virtual display. It generally worked, but the view from the video goggles was super crappy. Very small and a bit blurry and almost no color at all. I'm going to send the goggles back - not impressed with the product.

Video goggles way too silly to be shown (as if this isn't goofy enough...).

To supplement the 100th attempt at getting the video system to work for me, I cut new larger window openings for the fairing and spliced in some PETG windows. The window splice method I used seemed to work fairly well - This fiberglass fairing is just a 'work' fairing, so everything is still kind of experimental with this fairing. When Ben finishes the new plug, then I'll make 'race-worthy' carbon shells and do the windows super nice.

I printed out an oval shape from my computer that is based on the same shape as the fairing. I traced that onto both shells, then cut out the hole with my Dremel. Then I found a piece of PETG from a previous attempt to vacuum form the fairing that had a similar curve to the fairing side. I taped the plastic to the back of the hole, and traced the hole onto the plastic. I used scissors to carefully cut the oval out of the plastic, then placed it directly into the hole cut in the fairing. I used tape on the back side to hold the plastic in place, then spread a small strip of silicon around the perimeter of the cut line which filled in the seam.

Then my shop helper Angel spray painted the fairing shells with primer:

Angel cleaning the PVA off the fairing shells. Yes, that's SNOW!!! Our first snow fall of the year and it's still September!

Bens fairing design called for a single long fairing to enclose both the front and rear wheel:

At this point, I'm thinking that it's just too much work so I made a rear wheel fairing by adding a fin to the front and back of the rear wheel dome.

The photo shows the fins epoxied into place before sanding. They were actually fairly easy to make:

1. I used a sheet of clear PETG plastic to trace the shape I wanted:

2. Then I transferred the shapes to a piece of 1.5" thick Styrofoam:

3. I cut the shapes out, then sanded them using a wire brush and sand paper:

Then I sprayed a light coat of contact cement on the foam part, and 2 layers of 5 oz carbon fabric. After wrapping the cloth around the foam I wetted it all out with epoxy, then wrapped it up tight with electrical tape.

I used basically the same process to make my carbon seat. I cut out four shapes from a piece of sandwich board that I had cut out of the wheels from the original sandwich board that I cut the frame out from. I clamped the shapes onto the frame and drilled two holes through the whole stack and bolted it together:

Then I used a grinder and sand paper to rough out a slight 'cupping' shape for the seat. Then I epoxied the shapes together and onto the frame, then spray glued a single sheet of 11 oz carbon fabric to the seat.

After wetting the carbon with epoxy, I wrapped plastic wrap around the whole thing to keep the carbon fabric tight to the seat.

To keep the wet carbon down on the top, I put crumpled rags on the seat, then 25 lb weights on top of the rags.

Ben is making good progress on the new fairing plug. He fastened the fiberglass shell to a base:

Then filled the shell with expanding foam to make it strong enough to bondo and sand:

Man this IS a lot of work!!! I can't believe that on top of all the work and progress on CP1, I am still keeping up my training. That, plus every time I make some serisou progress I seems like a dozen more things need to be done. I have indicated before that I am getting the CP1 ready for an event of some sort (details will be forth coming - no, not Battle Mountain on Oct 3rd), and I feel like time is running out. Not because there is any actual official date of any sort, but because the weather here is slowly closing in on me. To continue my training, I need the weather to cooperate. We have already had our first snow - by the end of October it isn't unusual to be taking the kids out for Halloween wearing full winter gear and dealing with ice and snow on the sidewalks.

Tomorrow I am planning a 14 hour training day - probably around 375 km I figure. I will probably wake up at 4:00 am, put a few hours in on the CP1 frame on the wind trainer inside, then head out at sunrise on the M5 for another 11 to 13 hours - basically to sunset or a little after.

I got some really good news from the Glenmore Velodrome today. Dev is the manager there and he's super enthusiastic about what I am doing. He is willing to let me use the velodrome anytime I want as long as it doesn't interfere with another booking. And, they have lights for night time available!! I want to start incorporating more velo time in these long rides, but the CP1 isn't quite ready yet - soon. Very soon.

The goal for next week is to Definitely do a velo run with the fully faired CP1 !!!

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. Sand down rear wheel fairing attachments
6. Test out the new windows / pan cam

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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