Symmetry and other fun stuff!

I cut up a couple vinyl sign riders, to create some quick measurement guides for checking the symmetry on my plug:

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The upper guide is 48 centimeters between the left and right points, and at top middle there is a small point. The small point lines up on the centerline so I can check that my mold is symmetrical at the sides of the manhole. (On the WAW, the body is 47cm wide next to the manhole, so I went a little wider)

The lower guide is 40 cm between left and right points. On both the WAW and the Milan, the outer edge of the knee and toe bumps are 20 cm from centerline. So that seems like a great dimension for me to use as well!

I did quite a bit of work the new guides, checking measurements, sanding down high spots, standing on a small step ladder and eye-ball from differing angles, measure again, sand some more….. but finally got it to a point where it’s ready for the next phase! Without the rear suspension kit in hand I don’t want to create any more on the turtledeck or the back lower quarter of the velomobile.

The plug is made from polystyrene foam insulation sheets that have been glued together. I’ve done as much sanding and smoothing as the foam will allow, and now I have to use auto body filler as a leveler. But the auto body filler (ABF) chemically reacts and melts or softens the polystyrene foam. So I need to put on a boundary layer first.

I looked around my workshop and found some latex wall primer paint. I put some on a small piece of scrap foam, and after the paint dried I mixed up and applied a little bit of ABF. It cured up fine with no melting, so the paint will work well as a barrier.

I brushed the paint on as heavy as I could; with the slope of the sides and the generally porous nature of the foam it was pretty much impossible to get any runs in the paint. And I brushed it on heavily where there were larger gaps, trying to cover all of the foam board.

I thought I might need 2 coats of paint, but one coat covered very well. While waiting for the paint to dry, I took a couple photos; at this point it looks weirdly long (of course the tail being a big block of foam doesn’t help).

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I couldn’t resist the thought, so I separated the Milan’s hood components, and set the hood on the plug. Looks more appropriate now, and of course once I cut out the wheel wells and finish the tail and turtledeck, the looks will change even more.

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After letting the paint dry for 24 hours with the workshop heat on, it was ready to put on ABF! I’m still working on getting the first coat on both sides and the top. Its odd for me, I can make up a batch of ABF and it goes on in such a short amount of time.

There are a couple areas where I was too assertive with the wire cutter that I have to fill in. On some of those deep areas, I’m adding thin layers of ABF and letting it cure before adding another layer.

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I found these at a yard sale in New Hampshire last year. $5 for a pair of them. They are meant as a wall decoration or something, but they are almost the same size as the front wheels, at least with 28mm Contact Speeds on. I set up the one you see in the above photo as a visual reference while designing.

And the one I’m holding in the next photo is destined to become the building block of a wheel cover mold 😉

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2 thoughts on “Symmetry and other fun stuff!

  1. Hi Dan. I can see it rolling along the road already! I have the same issue with the possibility of foam melting and so I am looking for a foam-compatible filler. I found one such filler here in Japan which is bamboo-based. Not that you would know it by looking at it. It is white and not unlike thick cream (in consistency I mean!!). Obviously you have thought about this and that is sometimes you will rub down your filler layers and once again expose foam, which you must then coat again before adding filler. Are you going for enclosed wheels like the Milan or open like the Waw?
    Nick

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    1. For a separation barrier, I’m using Sherwin Williams brand interior flat latex paint. I read someone’s blog that said it had to be an alkyd based paint, but I’m not having any issues with this. Pro Mar 400 is their brand.

      As for the front wheels, I’ll be building as exposed front wheels, but one of the first molds that I will be making will be to start construction of wheel pants as well. For my typical riding in hilly terrain, I prefer the exposed wheels, but when I travel to a flat land area, definitely will put on the wheel pants!

      Wheel pants will attach using some of the nose cone bolts, and I’m going to add a couple other attachment points, subtly….

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