Development Log

part one

last updated 7/21/98

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1995. Buy motor and charger. Put 'em in the basement.

1996. Buy belt, pulleys, shaft, and bearings from Olmstead Flint in Cambridge.

MILESTONE: decide not to electrify my Indian-built Bajaj three-wheeler.

1997. Buy electronic motor controller. Put it on a shelf in my study.


MILESTONE: Decide not to electrify the Freeway, it is too rare. Decide, instead to built a tilting trike.
April 20. Strip Truckster, haul scrap metal to the scrap heap. 8 hours.
Cushman carnage The Cushman carnage. The Cushman guts pictured here are from a 1960-something Truckster with an 18hp two-cylinder OMC engine. It was a real dog, rusty here, corroded there, missing things here and there. But the engine had compression, and the drive train was sound. It even rolled. Little did I know then that the rear differential would come in handy for the tilting trike. Click the picture to see the rest of the vehicle before it went to the metal bin at the transfer station.
May 26. Pick up Honda parts bike at junkyard. 1 hr.
the donor Honda The donor cycle. This Honda 175, with its seized engine, cost me $42. I have my eyes on its front section and rear suspension elements.
May 28. Drafting and design. 1 hr.
May 30. Cut up Honda, prep rear differential. 3 hrs.

Total time so far: 13 hours.

June 9. More Honda cutting and design. 3 hrs.
June 11. While at the recycling center, happen upon trailer axle! 0 hrs. (I was there anyway, honest.)
June 12. Cut up bed frame, begin welding the subframe. 2 hrs.
June 26, Get stock. 1 hr.
June 29 - July 3. Cutting and welding. Actually have something to show for the effort… it is beginning to look like a trike. 15 hrs.
trike taking shape Starting to look like something. I will not be using the molded plastic seat from JC Whitney; it is too bulky. So ignore that. Notice the Honda front wheel, forks and handlebars.
July 10,11. Cutting and welding. 7 hrs.
MILESTONE: first actual tilt!
First Tilt First tilt. The evening before the Microcar and Minicar Classic, I finshed a couple of welds and holes which allowed it to tilt. Notice the plywood and C-clamps which are standing in for an undone suspension.
MILESTONE: show it off at Microcar and Minicar Classic '98 in Brookline, 7/11.
Larz Anderson Park "Some explaining to do." The Microcar and Minicar Classic was great, just like always. Notice the carriage house in the background, and the Vespa 400 ("Vespacar") on the right. On the left, my easel with an explanation of what the heck the unfinished thing (middle)is going to be. I am pleased to say it generated lots of interest… but, as evidenced by the picture, lots of head-scratching, too.

Total time so far: 41 hrs.

July 12. Cutting and welding. Add battery support frame pieces. 5 hrs.
July 13, 14, 15. Cutting and welding, and contemplating ergonomics. Built the crossbar that keeps the upper chassis from moving sideways w.r.t. ("with respect to") lower chassis, and pivot points on upper and lower chassis for same. 8 hrs.
July 14. Find more really good steel at the recycling yard (bedframes again!) as well as a huge fan for my sandblasting and paint booth. (That's later.) Time: 0 hrs. (I go there anyway, consarn it.)
MILESTONE: rear suspension is operational, and it works pretty nicely, too!
rear suspension view Rear suspension. It still needs sway bars, I fear; the lateral stabilizer works, but I need to have it "want" to be a little more level.
side view Side view. You can see that the rear end sits a little high right now; 280 lbs of batteries and me ought to press on the springs a little.
tilting again One more tilt! Just because that's the fun part.

Total time so far: 54 hours.

July 15-17. Staring and thinking, 1 hr.
July 18. Remove lateral stabilizer, add sway bar instead. 5 hrs. (Some days you just can't believe how slowly it goes. One step back, then two steps forward, and that takes time. At least it works nicely.)

Total time so far: 60 hours.

This seems like a good time to break to… The Next Chapter! Go to Commutamatic Development Log, part two.

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