Commutamatic II

development log, part three

in which the thing can roll.

last updated 08/16/1999

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The story resumes now, after a total cost of $481 and total time of 41 hours, with a work-in-progress chopped-up chassis. (The story started with Part One, and continued with Part Two.)

June 23 to June 27, 1999. After a long hiatus, I am back at it. (The rest of life impinged. Job, stuff like that.)

Total cost so far: $843. Total time so far: 69 hours.

Component transpalnt: golf cart to Maxion. The golf cart has lots of good parts besides its motor. The 36 vdc motor is just one piece. Tie rod ends, battery charge meter, battery cables, springs, brake cables, "weld-on holes," and on and on.

Design note: "weld-on holes."

Drilling steel is time consuming: center puch, oil the bit, drill. Stop and oil. Drill some more. Change bits to the next size up. Oil the bit. Drill. Stop to oil. Finish hole. Etc. To drill a single large hole (say 3/8") can take up to five drill-bit changes. Not only is it tiring, it sometimes weakens the piece being drilled (less material left). Applicable in many situations: the "weld-on hole."

Since I can cut steel easily (14" abrasive wheel cut-off saw) and welding is quick and strong, what I often do is cut a piece of steel with an appropriately sized hole in it, from some bracket or another from, say, the golf cart, and weld it where I need the hole. Bang. Done.

June 28 to July 2, 1999. Root canal narrowly averted, and the pain slowed me down. But still...

Total cost so far: $968. Total time so far: 85 hours.

Taking shape. The steering is in place, the seat is settled, and controls are next.

And it leans. Last year's model, Commutamatic, leaned about 25 or 30 degrees. The Maxion stops its roll at 45 degrees.

July 3 to July 8, 1999. Chuggin' along, but I'm not going to be rolling for the Microcar Classic. Oh well.

Total cost so far: $1088. Total time so far: 125 hours.

The golf cart has lots of good aluminum for the metal bin. The golf cart's chassis and an 18 hp OMC motor with cylinders and heads removed are just some of the trailerload of scrap metals that are bound for recycling.

July 9, 1999. Miscellaneous clean-up for the Microcar and Minicar Classic.

Total cost so far: $1108. Total time so far: 135 hours.

July 10, 1999. Microcar and Minicar Classic: Test Flight!

I unloaded the thing from a trailer, with the much appreciated help of the local scooter contingent, at the top of the hill at Larz Anderson Park in order to get my scooter out of the truck. With time before the scooter ride and the Microcar and Minicar Classic lawn event, someone suggested I take it for an unpowered ride down the long hill to the site of the minicar show. Excellent idea.

I put on helmet, gloves, and my leather jacket, and settled into the seat. Jon and Jay, the Kildevil Crew of 1999, gave me a push, and off I went.

It was heavenly. It rode well, it even rode pretty fast. The tilt lock worked nicely, as did the brakes. (Phew.) The handling was lively and responsive. The ride ended as I coasted onto the grass, to the amusement of those awaiting the lawn event.

How sweet it is.

July 11 to 19, 1999. The road to a test drive.

As it pours down rain here (well needed precipitation) I am pausing for an update.

Total cost so far: $1153. Total time so far: 155 hours.

July 20, 1999. Big day with a big conclusion: the test drive.

Really a matter of doing the wiring.

Here's how it went: I got my wife out with the camera to document the moment, then I drove it. My tilt lock mechanism was not good enough, though, and when one of my tilt limiting nylon ropes broke, the tilt lock was insufficent to keep me from steering into the woods. Dang. But it went pretty darn well!

Total cost so far: $1153. Total time so far: 163 hours.

Happy driver sets out. The first test drive.

Happy driver pulls vehicle out of woods. Oops! You have to either run in tilting mode, or not. You can't have both.

The first major phase is complete, in which the thing is driveable. It's time to pick up with Maxion Log, Part Four.
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More information about the nifty kin of the Maxion can be found at the Tilting Three-Wheelers home page.
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