Commutamatic III
development log, part four

in which we make a first commute, and other red-letter days

last updated 9/16/02

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Red Letter Day

Wednesday, August 29th 2001, despite a ~25 mph top speed on the flats, I drive to work and back. Woo!

Later, I order sprockets and shaft components for completion of an improved transmission tuned for 35 mph cruising speed, and about a 45 mph top speed.

And who banged their digital camera (yes, by accident!) and caused it to have a strange maracca sound? I did. It's "in the shop."

BOY do I need to do some updates! Some notables before I get there... in the meantime..

- I put in twin motors in, with chains and jackshafts; got my 45 mph speed.

- made about 5 commutes (~19 mi round trip ea)

- here's the thing behind the science building just a-settin' during the day

- here's a pic of some of my Electric Vehicle class students hanging out on the vehicle on one of my spring commutes. (Note the converted Craftsman lawn tractor in the background.)

-When school let out, I started chopping things up. First item: move axle forward.

- Next item: chop up some extra overhead weight. (Lighten roll cage.)

-And then come The 7th Micorcar and Minicar Classic in Boston, MA.

Red Letter Day

Friday, August 9th, 2002. Declare the vehicle mechanically complete.

- the steering mechanism has been reversed to make the caster angle right, finally. Much better.I like the steering, weight distribution, etc. Wow.

I added a spring to the rear wheel , too, before I turned the steering ass'y around.

The seat is from the Transfer Station, and before that, a Honda CRX from the 80s. On the right , a view of the firewall and it's mounted control components.

Behind the driver's seat is the 12v accessory battery (left) and the DC-DC converter that keeps the accessory battery charged. (There's no alernator, of course, so this is how it's done.) On the right, the dash.

Two motors, one for each wheel, eliminating the need for a differential.

More soon!


Paint! Rustproof the work done this summer.


Ok, one more mechanical change. Adjusted as it is to allow wicked tight turns (preferably at low speeds), it's a little squirrely at full speed. It's manageable, but it made me nervous.

So I made a mechanism that allows the steering link on the rear wheel to slide on a trolley from a position very near the steering pivot (that's the tight turn end) to a position about 6" farther out (that's rock steady, though with a much bigger turning radius).

The driver will adjust ("will"; I only had a few hours) the turning sensitivity by turning a crank on the dash which moves the trolley inward and outward.

This, I think, is much safer, without giving up the oo-la-la of wickid tight turns. It seems so very much steadier, and stronger than the linkage was anyway.

NEXT SECTION: chapter 5...

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