Monday, June 15, 2009


This was a BUSY weekend. Friday evening I burned a huge pile of brush that accumulated from recent yardwork. Saturday morning I pulled the upper intake manifold off our 2001 Honda Odyssey and cleaned out the carbon that had accumulated in the exhaust gas recirculation port. $35 worth of gaskets and I avoided a $500 EGR kit installation at the dealership. Saturday afternoon I traveled to the south of Winston-Salem to meet the President of the Triad Electric Vehicle Association and purchase a used Etek permanent magnet motor for a future project I am planning. While I was there, I got to drive his converted Chevy S10 pickup. It was a HOOT! Other than the brakes (which had a mismatched master cylinder), it was imminently driveable. I will use the Etek to convert my current internal combustion powered lawn mower (not Murr-E) to electric this coming winter. Now I have to find room for 48V worth of batteries!

I spent the better part of Sunday felling and bucking 15 trees in an area of my lot that I wanted to open up. By Sunday evening, I could hardly move! I did work a little more inside, cutting leather from some old jackets purchased at Goodwill to wrap the tubes of my 3D steampunk binoculars. I had made a template in AutoCAD that made it easy once I ripped the seams out of the chosen jacket. I conducted a science experiment with a scrap of leather and a small piece of PVC pipe to investigate the bonding of the two materials using a craft glue called Tacky Glue. The next morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bond was substantial. This will work!

While taking breaks this weekend, I documented a design that has been in the back of my mind for over a year. It is a steampunk inspired miniature Gatling gun that is suspended from the forearm with a collar and trigger handle. The 8 barrel assembly will rotate via a 12V cordless drill motor powered from a bank of 3.7VDC lithium ion batteries salvaged from discarded laptop packs. Here is a screen grab of the design. I have the rear section shown as transparent so the drill motor and batteries can be seen.


Enough for now!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Over on the Steampunk Side of the Shop....

video

I decided to give Murr-E a break and add a feature to my Clockwork 3D Binoculars that I had been scheming for a while. I sketched up a scanner dish in AutoCAD and printed the drawing full scale. I cut the shape from .032" dead soft copper and hammered the final form using a ball peen hammer and a leather glove on my anvil. Using the leather between the copper and the anvil allows the metal to be selectively stretched with each blow. Next I cut the brackets from the same material, bent a small lip for increased joint area. I clamped the brackets in place and soldered them with a propane torch. Finally I wire brushed the flux away and drilled the holes to match the clockworks. Enjoy the video!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Meetings and Motivation....

I went to my first meeting of the Triad Electric Vehicle Association (TEVA) today and met a lot of similarly minded people. There was a Tesla there to drool over and an electric go-kart for rides. I had a great time and came home very motivated to work on Murr-E. I cut another half inch out of the rear of the battery opening for comfort/clearance and welded a 3/8" rod across the rear as a stiffener for the remaining sheet metal. I made patches and welded up the openings for the deck height controls since the deck is not used on this project. I hate features that are not used that people point to and ask "What used to go there" oblivious to all the cool things that have been done. I then spent over two hours with a power wire brush cleaning off the rust and emblems seen in the picture in the previous post. The fenders are now ready for fabrication of the mounts and primer/paint.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rear battery & Fenders....Developing







Murr-E survived re-assembly of the transaxle, hooray!!! The picture above is a mockup of the fenders modified for battery clearance and the rear dual battery frame. I need to create a little more clearance front and back, de-rust the metal, paint it bright yellow and add edge-trim to the battery opening. The fenders will be supported by risers from the battery frame which will be fixed to the chassis. The original fender support had to be axed to make room for the batteries. I have included a picture of my design for the battery frame/fender support.