Oct 302

October 30, 2005

Cutting down the frame for shipping, the new fairing shell, training, etc, etc

I spent almost the entire day yesterday phoning all the courier companies trying to learn about each of their unique limitations of shipping the CP1 to Alabama. What a pain! Basically, I am looking at air shipping only. Ground shipping is way more lenient as far as the size and weight restrictions go, and cheaper, but I am looking at about 7 working days. When you add customs into that and weekends, I would be looking at two weeks at least. Not good enough. My idea is to wait until a highly probably weather window opens up in Opelika, then buy a last minute flight out and ship the CP1 frame by air. Air is usually overnight, but could be two days which would be OK.

I can break the frame in two parts and roll the fairing shells up, so I should be able to get each part into a fairly small package, and I like the idea of being able to make a call to DHL or UPS and have them pick-up and deliver door to door rather than checking multiple crates in as luggage on my flight.

Here are the restrictions:

Courier Measurement method Maximum size
DHL L + W + H 108" max
Purolator L + 2*W + 2*H 144" max
UPS L + 2*W + 2*H 130" max
Air Canada luggage L + W + H 115" max

I measured and remeasured the frame to see where I could break it in two to get the total dimension of the larger part to fit one of these. I discovered that I could cut the frame directly above the head tube and I could get the total length down to 75". The height is 29" if I cut a small corner off the bottom of the frame, and the width is 5.5" including the over the shoulder bar. This totals 109.5" using DHL's calculation which is 1.5 " over, and exactly 144" using Purolator's formula which is exactly at the max.

The red box is the maximum Purolator dimension

I cut the frame directly above the head tube and made a bracket to join the two parts together using some 1/16" thick carbon plate that I bought when I purchased my carbon tubes. The bracket joins the nose section to the main frame with 3 aluminum through bolts. The bolts pass through carbon tubes that are bonded into the frame. The carbon tubes were filled with micro so the bolts fit through snugly. I still need to chop off a small bit of the frame that extends outside my little red box in front of the wheel.

The new plug was finished by Ben Eadie, waxed 100 times and buffed up to a nice shine.

We prayed a few coast of PVA mold release over it.

We layed in about 5 layers of 5 oz fiberglass using the spray adhesive method to lay the cloth in dry. Then wetted it out with epoxy resin. The photo shows Ben smiling as we were able to get a nice 23" of mercury vacuum with the vacuum bag. He stopped smiling seconds later as the mold started to CAVE IN!!!

The mold is filled with expanding foam and we didn't think it would cave-in, but there were some small air pockets and that's where the vacuum pressure pressed in the glass mold. I turned the vacuum pressure down to the point where the mold wasn't caving in, and some excess epoxy was still bleeding out to the breather blanket. I figured this would probably be OK because we need just enough pressure to ensure that the mold surface finish matches that of the plug. Epoxy to fiber ratio isn't really an issue with the mold.

The mold came out quite nice, and there were no visible dents. We made a plywood flange and screwed the glass mold down to it.

Then screwed down some 2x2's to stiffen the edges even more. We tested a vacuum bag on this to see if it would crush or twist the mold, but because the bag is right up against the back and front side of the mold, the pressure is equalized and there was no bending or distortion at all. This is the way to vacuum bag!!!!

Two layers of 5 oz carbon fabric were layed in with spray adhesive. The weaves on the inside layer run diagonal to the weaves on the outside layer.

The fabric wetted out with epoxy resin

Over 20" of mercury pressure and absolutely NO mold distortion this time!

Ben prying the cured carbon shell out of the mold. It took a bit of work because this shell is so thin, but it came out finally.


And light - it weighs only 1.7 kg or 3.7 pounds!

To mark a cut line, I taped a marker to this angle and pushed it along the flat table

Nice cut!

Then I proceeded to wreck it. I mounted it to the frame, and let it sit outside for a second while I searched for my helmet and the wind blew it over. Crash! Crushed the fairing side right in. I popped it back out and I could barely tell that it had been crushed except for two small scrapes on the side. The purpose for the test ride was to see if Velcro was an acceptable method of attaching the fairing shell to the frame. I have 8 Velcro tabs holding the shell to the frame and I don't think it's going anywhere. Anyhow, I got in and taxied down the drive way on the landing gear, and the landing gear cable stop slipped, the landing gear retracted and I went over onto the fairing shell again. Way crushed this time. It took three kicks to pop out the crushed areas and again, not much visual evidence of such awful looking damage.

Upon careful inspection I found three creases that had broken through - those, along with the two small scrapes were the only evidence of a crash. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and repair the cuts with additional carbon patches on the inside, and, paint the inside of the shell with epoxy to seal up all the pin holes.

I put the shell back into the mold, and proceeded to apply epoxy to the entire inside shell as well as a few carbon patches and a long carbon reinforcement strip down the middle. You know what happened now right? The epoxy leaked through to the other side, all over the front side of the fairing shell, and all over my nice smooth, shiny mold. Argh!!!


I figured that I could let the epoxy cure, and since there was mold release wax still on the mold surface, that the cured epoxy should peel right off. Right. uh huh.

So now here I am with a messed up mold, and a total wrecked carbon fairing shell.

I spend the day today trying to get the epoxy off the mold. Tried everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Heat gun, scratch pads, scraper, Varsol, soap. The best weapon against this evil epoxy was duct tape believe it or not. A stripe of tape pressed down onto the mold surface then quickly removed sometimes snapped off an epoxy bead or two. This took hours, and hours, and hours, but finally between my duct tape hair removal technique and a razor blade, I was able to clean off the mold surface.

I spend the afternoon and evening re-wet sanding and applying wax. It looks OK I guess - can't really tell until we pop a fairing shell from it.

I've been getting all kinds of great advice from Matt Weaver. He is the pilot and builder of Virtual Edge, a state of the art speed bike built to set a new 1 hour distance record. It is his recommendation to use a 35 watt HID car light with some rechargable 12 volt lithium polymer batteries. I found one in town and I think I'm going to give it a try. Matt says it will put out 3000 lumins - single car lights put out 500 to 1000 lumins each bulb, so 3000 lumins total seems like it would be PLENTY of light. I will need to mount it in the nose and find a housing with reflector and lens - not sure what to do about that yet.

I'm still finding it REALLY difficult balancing my training with the never ending list of things still left to do to finish CP1. I managed 20 hours of cycling time last week, and hope to bump it to 25 hours this week. My big day last week was Monday / Tuesday where logged a total of 7270 kilojoules worth work on the bike in 15.5 hours. Basically, I was trying to see how many kilojoules I could do in a 24 hour period without going over board. I converted my Kj to watts, and then my watts to speed as if those hours were all spent in CP1 on the Alabama track using the known CdA and Crr. At the minimum, I could predict 618 miles and at the maximum, 731 miles. The record stands at 634 miles. Of course, this assumes the best of all conditions on 'race day' and CP1 performing no worse than previous testing has predicted. Which can all change on race day.

I spent a couple of hours on the phone today with Al Krause from the HPVA. We talked about timing systems, track survey, etc, etc, etc. So many, many things to deal with! Ugh! Anyhow - Both Al and his wife Alice are super great people and have been VERY helpful. It's just such a pleasure working with people who are really into this.

Final push to-do list:

Here is my guerilla schedule to get this puppy DONE in ONE week. I call it my "Guerilla schedule to get this puppy DONE in ONE week" plan.

ANY DAY STUFF (these items can be done or thought about any time during the week):
1. Pick up HID light from Speedtek (nick) 250-7751 1655 32 ave NE
2. After we get the light, we need to find some off-the-shelf product to mount the light to, AND something to act as a reflector AND lens. This could be as simple as some large flashlight - or even a small car headlight or motorcycle headlight. This is really the only experimental item left to be done (Ben)

1. get foam rubber and velcro and bond to frame edge (greg)
2. try to get resin off mold (greg)
3. try to sand down carbon shell (greg) ??????? (may not be worth trying to salvage)
4. cut and prep carbon, blanket, bag and ply for next layup (greg)

1. layup new fairing shell (Ben)
2. Micro rear wheel well (I decided to do the simplest thing with that rear wheel fairing, and that is to just smear with a bit of micro to smooth over the transition a bit - no time to make a full-on fairing for it.) (greg)
3. cut and prep carbon, blanket, bag and ply for next layup (Ben)
4. Call courier to pick up spider at Gregs work (greg)

TUESDAY (Tuesdays are my long training day. If the weather cooperates, I should be gone all day)
1. Pull out new fairing shell (Ben)
2. layup second and final fairing shell (Ben)

1. Pull out second fairing shell
2. Cut both fairing shells
3. Apply velcro tabs to fairing shells
4. Bond-on canopy bungie hooks
5. finish rear wheel fairing micro and sanding
6. Cut 1" off rear and bottom corner (to fit shipping size) and reinforce with carbon strips.
7. Cut off rear wheel fairing and make a way to bolt back on again.
7. seal up rear wheel discs ( will epoxy leak through?)

1. Spray paint rear wheel fairing
2. Spray paint rear part of canopy dome
3. Get disc wheel and new parts from Way Past Fast and install (greg)
4. Cut and install the NACA vent(s). (Ben)
5. Install new tires. (greg)
6. Install landing gear hatch

1. Race City TEST to confirm that everything is cool (Ben and Greg)

1. Test the new HID light and set the correct angle at night (greg)

1. Cut notch in nose of frame for the new light - and place for batteries to go
2. Cut hole in the nose of both fairing shells for the light 3. Install the light

TUESDAY (Greg training)
1. dismantel frame and build shipping containers for all parts (Ben)

1. Continue with shipping containers and whatever else needs to be done.

1. Ship the frame and shells to ALABAMA???????????

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