Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Batmobile

Work in the Bat Cave (thanks for the re-branding guys) is progressing but very very slowly. I need to get the main room re-pointed and then build a wall, a workbench, fit lights and sockets and build some stairs before I concentrate on building a shell to go around this trike.



It is a KMX Venom with a back rack and some home made wheel covers. I have been riding this around a bit (~200km) and it is a lot of fun. It has more rolling resistance than a bike but less aerodynamic drag so it works out to be about the same speed as fast normal bike. I can average about 30 kmph for about 5km and have a top speed of about 40kmph on the flat. This is my benchmark to beat once I have built the shell. There is a really good bike speed calculator here that shows how fast velomobiles should be.

The aim to to make something comparable to the Sinner Mango velomobile. It is a bit of a silly project but it is also very interesting technically. I am doing it the easy way using the trike as a bike and making a shell to go around it so it means that I have a working bike (which I know little about) and can not go too far wrong (I hope). However the proper developed velomobiles have suspension, structural body, central steering stick etc... but this project should cost under half the costs of a new one, and we will see how it turns out.

The plan is to use some pink house insulation foam to shape up a male plug. I will then put a layer of glass on it for a bit of surface stiffness and then filler and paint. I can then vacuum some carbon and foam sandwich laminate on to the plug. I will then cut the carbon shell in half with a knife and should be able to pop off the two halves off. I hope this method will work well and mean I do not have to mess around making proper female molds which is very expensive and time consuming. Maybe I can reuse the male mold again but I suspect this is realistically a one off project. Any advice and tricks from you composite gurus out there is very welcome.

4 comments:

Cookie said...

Have a look at some of the polyester highbuilds.

I use something called primecoat which is a paintable polyester filler than can be sanded back then polished and moulded straight off. Great for quick tooling...

Doug Culnane said...

Thanks Mike that is a great tip I will do that.

Limbic Candy said...

Love the bat! I hope it makes an appearance in every photo of yours from now on...

Cookie said...

I suppose I should add that the styrene in the paint will eat polystyrene so you will need to put a layer of glass/epoxy down first...