Wednesday, 2 September 2009

It has finally come to an end!

It is time to conclude this project.
The development of the Roadie is a huge project. There are still some things to do to complete the prototype and produce it.

The work we did is the first step of the project: building the prototype of the vehicle. Yet, it turns out to be one of the most critical stages as it contains the overall design of the car and has a key function in the validation of the performances in real conditions.
The prototype manufacturing has not been finished yet, but the most difficult part has been done. Indeed, the suspension, the chassis and the plug for the body are completed.

For the body, the design and the shaping have been finished. The remaining work to do is the building of the mould and the production of the body strictly speaking.

For the chassis, it is quite finished, but some more small non structural parts need to be added. A series of tests in real environment would check the strength calculation and validate the behavior of the structure in front of several different situations.

For the cycle part, the prototype is ready to be experimented. Some modifications may be useful according to the results of these tests.

The design of the propulsion part has also been made but we ran out of time for the wiring between the controller, the engine and the batteries.
Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done, especially on the inside furnishing: seats mounting, dashboard, ergonomics of the car and its system... This work could be achieved in about 6 months by a team of trainees like us, which means the Roadie could see the light in mid 2010!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

In the beginning of July

The work continues and our days go more and more full. As I mentioned in my previous article, we have really busy days.
During last weeks, we have worked and further a lot the main body mold and the chassis.

The main body:

On the 15the of june, we had just painted the nose. The next step was to finish this part (lesson by a specialist).
To do so, we made a precise sanding with really fine sand paper (380 grid). We then put the final coat of painting on and finished by polishing the hood and the junction with the buttom part.

The next week, we had focused on the roof. We used the same approach we had for the other pieces with Foam supported by wood and covered by fibreglass and epoxy skin. Lot of work was made to make it (priming the foam, sanding, etc.).
In parallel, the windscreen and its support on the car has been made.

Windscreen mold (ready to be sent)

Windscreen junction

Result is quite nice and we are planning this part to be finished on next wednesday.

Roof grey painting

The chassis:

You sure remember that after having made the last roll bars, the next step was to weld them together. So we did! To link them, we are using lighter steel (20/20mm). That is why every steel bar have to be machine. Here are the first results!

Chassis welding

The suspension:

The front suspensions have gone. First master pieces has been made and put together. Then they have been welded to the main chassis.

Front suspension on the chassis

I must admit that we are starting to run out of time. All this work is really demanding but we are putting a lot of ourselves in this project...that is why we hope to be able to finish all of this before leaving this fantastic country!
Next weeks we will finally finish the roof (the next week) and hopefully start to build the mold. On the other hand, we will continue the weld the chassis and will finish the suspension.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

On monday the 15th

We still worked a lot on the car during the last two weeks. We were continuing the main body shaping, the chassis designing and welding, the steel jig and at the same time, the suspension.

The main body:

Final coat of grey painting has finally been put on the nose. In parallel, we did a lot concerning the roof mold part and the rear part.

Nose last grey painting

These parts are a little bit tricky as we want to have the most accurate shape, we need to make lots of adjustments. Sometimes, it is frustrating to be forced to go back but it is necessary to have a perfect symmetrical shape. That is why we had to change some of the back slices.

On the other hand, we worked on mullions and the first ones has been made in wood.

Wooden mullion

The next step will be to finish the roof pre mold by putting some foam and sanding it to get the shape. To do that we already made the pattern for the roof curves.

The chassis:

We are really proud of our work, because we have finished every roll bars. This work was not really easy because of the main body modifications. As you know, the main body has to fit with the chassis as a skin. Every modification on the main body had an impact on the chassis. Because the wood slices of the car were set for good, we were able to finish the roll bars.

Now, the next step will be to join every one of them thanks to the jig.

The jig:

In parallel with the roll bars welding, the jig has been continued. Using the main body to have the correct sizing, we were able to go on.

Buttom part of the jig

Main back supports are now welded. Then we will finalize upper support and starting to weld the whole chassis thanks to that.

The suspension:

As we mentioned in the last article, after finishing the back suspension, our next move will be to make the front suspension. So we did…

To start with, we finished the back suspension and fixed the engine has planned on these suspension. Then after some design, we started the front suspension! We will continue to work on these by finalized the welding and putting the spring.

Front suspension first pieces

As a conclusion, we must say that we had really busy days these 2 past weeks…and we know there is still a lot to do!

Sunday, 31 May 2009

the work continues

As I said in the last article, our goal for the 2 last week was to continue the main body upper part (the nose upper part), the back suspension and the chassis jig.
We did so.

The nose:

The approach was exactly the same we used for the main body bottom part. In fact, we started to make a good shape from the raw polystyrene foam. We put a fiberglass skin to make it solid. Then to make the sanding easier, a Epoxy skin is added (with a lot of Q-cells).
We sanded the body, added another layer of epoxy, sanded again the body and finalized the nose by filling the holes with some polyester. We also focused on the windscreen junction with the main body.

Windscreen junction

The last step was to paint the nose in grey to find the last tricky little holes. After a last fill in, we are now able to go through the final painting!

Grey painting

At the same time, we also worked on the windscreen. Using what we did on the main body, we were able to have a good idea of what the car will really looks like (using some additional wood slices and wooden rods).

Thanks to that, we made a first windscreen. Our goal was then to make the mold for the glass manufacturer. But we knew lots of modifications were up to be made. That is why we keep on fitting that windscreen with the main body.

Windscreen mold

Our last plan is to focus on the roof (by modeling it into raw foam) and to adapt the windscreen top. We will then be able to get a really nice top shape.

The rear suspension:

As I mentioned in my last article, we also wanted to finish the rear suspension.
After having design them during last month, we finally made it. That work called for some blue prints to cut the 2 aluminum pieces. Then we welded these pieces with some other ones to make the structure stronger and to be able to correctly settle the wheel on the suspension. Finally, we assemble the rear suspension. Nice, isn’t it?

Rear suspension

The jig:

During the last few days a flood came down on us. Because of that, we were forced to change our plan with the jig and make it really stronger (the timber jig became soaked with water and broke). That is why we started to build that in steel.

The new jig

As a result, we hope that the main body mold will be finish in the next few weeks. We will then be able to make the mode and to get the first main body!
At the same time, we keep on building the jig (in steel) and we are going to move on to the front suspension.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

End of the main body buttom part

Two weeks has passed and we used this time to futher the car's main body.
The last step was to sand, to fill in holes with filler (Epoxy, polyester, etc.) and then sanding again and so on until we get the silk curved we wanted.

After that we painted the body with some special painting (a black painting) and sand one more time the body. With this black painting, we were able to see where the last holes were and to fill in them.
To conclude with this part, we painted the body with some ultra silk painting that is used to make a mold.

Last painting

Then the next step was to go on, and to focus on the up part of the nose. That is why we turned the body over and put it on some support we welded.

Main body support

To make the up nose accurately, we are first going to focus on the windscreen so as to get the correct curves. Then we will do the same king of work we did on the button part of the main body, and finish the mold for the mold.

We also designed and manufactured the first part of the suspension bars.

First suspension bar

We finished the spine. Because of our batteries choice, we are not sure to use it yet...

Spine welding

Next week, we will focus on the nose shaping and on the windscreen mold manufacturing. At the same time, work will continue on the suspension bars and on the steel jig manufacturing.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Sanding sessions

The work goes on. Last week I was unable to post an article because of my broken camera.
Now let me continue to describe the work that has been done during these two weeks.

You may surely remember that we were focusing on the main body manufacturing, the chassis welding and, at the same time, the jig construction. This work has continued during the two last weeks.

Main body shaping:

With alex's back-up, we were able to further the shaping. As soon as we used polystyrene foam and plywood rods to build the main body skeleton, a lot of work has to be done in order to get smooth curves.
That is why we had long sanding sessions on the car using addition of fibreglass skins (to make the structure rigid) and epoxy and polyester fillers (to get the best curves).

A sanding session

The work was long but we got really good results. We still need to make another sanding step before making the main body mold.

Main body shape

In the same field, we were able to finish the wheel pants. We still have some decision to take about them (mainly about the design) but we may be able to build the mold quite soon.

Wheel pants shape

Chassis and jig manufacturing:

A lot of work has also been done around these two subjects.
First of all, every roll bar has been finished. We were also able to design and to build the car's rear and its jig.

The jig

As you will notice, the jig has also progressed and we started to build the spine jig.

The spine jig

Now, the chassis is in hold. Indeed, we have to wait the main body to be finished so we can use it to get the most accurate mesures. Thanks to that, we hope the chassis and the main body to match the best possible.

On the other hand, we still continued to design the direction and the front and the rear suspensions on our computers.

On next week planning, we will focus on the main body mold. We hope to get the final main body quite soon!
Then, the chassis...the suspension...the direction...and so on!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Shaping and welding the chassis (second part)

Last week, we were able to continue the main body shaping and the chassis’ rollbars welding.

The main body and the french team (Eric, Dorian and Nael)

To be able to mount the chassis, we also started to build the jig, which will be the outside support of the chassis and will let us weld every rollbars together.

Eric, building the jig

Nael, welding a rollbar

On an other hand, we drew on Solidworks the suspension and the direction, so as to be sure to have the accurate dimensions and the blueprints for when the assembly time will come.

All of this will continue next week. In addition, we hope we'll have the main body final shape, thanks to Alex Waters and his great shaping skills!

Anyway, there is still a lot of work to do...