Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Kickoff!

After a successful display at Commencement, we were ready to get back to work in the lab on the trike project.  We're hoping to finish up the last bit of work and plan out the trip to New York soon.  Saturday was our first meeting for the summer, and it looks like we're in good shape!

This summer is shaping up to be a very exciting and busy EVT season.  Jacob and I (Jarrod) are the two full full-time UROPs for the team, and a number of other members are around the area and helping out for the summer.  We have a lot of different projects going on, but the priority is still getting the trike ready for New York.  Here're some updates:


We're still plugging away on our wooden picture frame style cage to encase the trailer.  Erich modified the front panel so that if fit around the fixture we mounted to run the necessary wires from the trailer up to the trike.  Now we just need to finish priming, painting, and mounting the plastic within the panels.

We also wanted a slight curve in the top panel, so that we could avoid any potential issues with water puddling up on the top in the case of rain.  Jacob went ahead and ordered some PETG for the walls since it is flexible and could be easily heated and formed if we needed to bend it.  At 1/16" thick, the sheet is also slightly thicker than the clear pvc sheet that we were going to use, and hopefully more durable.  

I ended up just laser cutting a couple ribs that mounted directly to the top panel of the frame and give us the contour that we wanted.  Initially, the plastic sheet fits in decently, with some minor bending at the sides where we might end up bending the plastic.  Hopefully we are nearing the completion of the final waterproofing stage of the trike.


So we finally had to go back and correct the rusting problem that we were experiencing on the steel trailer brake mounts and the surrounding hardware:

The mud and salt from the wet roads on the Providence trip did a number on the exposed steel angle iron and motor mount, and had just been setting up until this point.  We finally took everything back apart, sanded down the pieces, and sprayed it with rust reformer, a couple coats of primer, and black paint to try to minimize the rusting on the New York trip.

Other Considerations:

Hanna also started looking into using Xbees so that we could wirelessly transmit the data from the Cycle Analyst to a laptop on the chase vehicle so that we can keep up with the condition of the trike throughout the duration of the trip.  We also discussed trying to get radio equipment in the helmet of the rider so that we can communicate much more easily on the road.

We also started to briefly look into planning the trip to New York.  Ideally, we want to plan it much more carefully than the Providence trip, so as to eliminate some of the unnecessary stops that we needed to make.  We also considered whether we want to make the trip multiple days, or just continuously drive the entire distance with multiple drivers rotating.  At over 20 hours, it would definitely be a long trip, but many of us felt that a trip from Boston to New York is not quite as exciting of a story if it takes us all week to get there, and we want to show that our trike is durable enough and capable of working through the sustained demand of 200+ miles in 20 hours. If we do attempt the 20 straight hours, then we do need to work out the logistics of traveling at night as well, and install lights and plan accordingly.  We've got a lot more to plan out, so we will hopefully be making these decisions soon.

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