Thursday, March 22, 2012

Working out the final design kinks

Long time no update.
Truth be told, lots of informative and pertinent information regarding the build has been gathered,but I have been much too lazy to type it all up. So I will now dump it onto the internet!

I am still rather upset at the slow pace at which this conversion is taking place. While I work on the designing the car for countless hours each week, I can't help but feel like I am moving in place. I assume most builds feel similar, but darn. Oh well, with the motors nearly mounted and the battery packs finalized, the so called 'light at the end of the tunnel' can now be seen with a telescope. 

Anyway, here we go.....


A serious milestone was passed when I was finally able to order a coupler for the two warp motors. I called probably 300 different businesses, trying to find a reliable and trust worthy solution to coupling the litte red monsters. The solution to all the chaos finally came when I gave up on locating an appropriately rated coupler, and purchased a $20 generic set screw coupling. 

It basically is a steel oxide coupler with a 2 1/4" outer diameter, and  a 1 1/8" inner diameter, with a keyway. Not much to it, but it is only rated to 2500 RPM and 100 Ft Lbs of torque. My car will be hitting a 5500 Rpm redline, and have a max potential torque of 1500 Ft Lbs of torque. Quite a disparity between the two specifications, however I am hoping for the best. In the worst case scenario, the coupler explodes while on the freeway, sending shrapnel everywhere and destroying anything in its path. But what are the chances of that *knock on wood*??

With the coupler out of the way, I had a U channel made out of a 1/8" piece of aluminum. I then had two 1/4" arms welded to this channel, which would be situated in the original motor mount locations. The large U channel came out surprisingly cheap, ringing in at $60. Seeing how cheap a large piece of custom bended metal was, I returned back to the shop to have the 2 aluminum arms welded onto the channel. I was then hit hard with a $350 bill. I have no idea how two small arms took $350 of welding, regardless I was kinda upset and purchased a new tig machine.

I went ahead and spent a little extra to purchase a better 'starter' model. 
With the new machine, I carried on finishing up the motor mounting. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that having a nice welder doesn't ensure good welds.

My first project was to weld up some steel brackets to hold my differential in place. I used stick welding to do this, and was surprised by how straight forward and forgiving of a process it was. Needless to say, I welded up the two brackets, and had the differential mounted back into the car in a day or two. (more on this soon)

All my good luck was forsaken later that week when I began aluminum welding.  I practiced on some scrap aluminum with relatively good results, however when the time came to weld two of the motor end place onto the U channel, my welding suffered severely. I could not get the base metal to melt, the filler rod would always bead up, I would constantly spoil my tungsten. It was simply a bad start. 

I never really got any better at it, and as a result the welds look horrible. But I suppose it works.
I feel as though my failure was due to the large shape of the U channel, which acted as a giant heatsink wicking away all the heat I was producing. 

Regardless, I was able to horribly weld the front most motor holding place, and I simply tack welded the back plate, so now I can drop it off at a welding shop and have them actually do it professionally. Two more plates will be bolted to the U channel, but will be removable to allow for the movement of the warp motors. 

With the motor positions finalized, I will be able to put the motors in the car and get an accurate measurement for a driveshaft length. 
I hope to have the driveshaft ordered by tomorrow, since my custom driveshafts are ready to ship! (more about this soon also).

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