Build starting on a steam racer.

See cars and bikes being built for the salt

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ReeceJames
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Me playing around with designs

Post by ReeceJames » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:42 pm

I've given up trying to get the time to complete this this side of Christmas, so I'm putting it up as a tease.

Image

Been way to busy with work and just have not stopped the last few weeks. Not finished yet, just nailing down the rollcage.

Moreover, I'm working on the rest of the designs. Slowly getting there. There's a lot to draw it turns out!
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Reece James

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hills

Post by David Leikvold » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:28 pm

Nice work Reece, but it needs more low, brown hills in the background! That frame looks suspiciously like the one in your avatar. Just remember to build it as low as possible, as narrow as possible and with the wheelbase as long as possible. Don't make the area above your shoulders any bigger than it needs to be, that just means more work and more compromises restraining your head and arms. Look hard at a Top Fuel style roll cage. Make sure the seat is on the floor, wasted height is wasted speed. Taper the front and rear of the chassis so the body can be more streamlined. Those parallel chassis tubes aren't ideal. For real inspiration go to the Poteet & Main Speed Demon website and look at the cutaway drawing of their 400+ mph streamliner, which I think is in the Aerodynamics section. Imagine, if you will, using the front half of that car and then tapering it to a vertical finish like Neb 2 and making it only about 12 or 13 feet long. That car would be very fast with any kind of engine and, properly done, would be something to be very proud of.
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Post by ReeceJames » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:40 pm

Hello David,

It does a bit now doesn't it! :oops:

The chassis pictured is 1m from ground to top with the exit strategy through the top! The coverings over the wheels are only half done and I'm yet to add in the rest. What I was envisioning was something that looks like a Le Mans car, with the streamlining in the fiberglass body.

With the cage, it's tight as I can make it. (I'm not fat but I'm not a rake either) Thanks for the tip[s though, I'm still playing around with designs. Will nail something down in the new year. :)
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low

Post by David Leikvold » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:37 am

A metre sounds pretty good to me. I remember I once sat down next to a Ford GT40 (40" high). Even though I was sitting on the floor my head was still higher than the roof line! If the top hole is your exit point make the top of the cage rounded so that the car can't come to rest completely upside down and block your escape. Design the canopy so that you can get out the sides too, should the need ever arise. If the car was to finish upside down resting on the edge of the roll cage and two of the wheel tops there still wouldn't be enough room to squeeze yourself out the top hole. The best exit point would be out the "side window" on the high side of the car. Hopefully it won't ever happen! I know the car won't be very wide but if you intend to run a Le Mans style body, don't have a large flat undertray, the last thing you want to do is a Mark Webber style backflip. Without any proof of the idea, I think having a shallow V in the floor pan would encourage air to move away from under the car. Anybody got a wind tunnel? :wink:
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Post by Reverend Hedgash » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:49 pm

Good to see some one else using some 3d.

Looks like your front strut will interfere with the front wheel when it turns... don't forget with camber and castor for speed the wheels wont turn around a vertical axis but an inclined one, so you will need to allow for that.

I have modelled our car in 3d and can send you some bits if you need them.

For example the Goodyear landspeeds with moon discs, also have a good salt map for the salt... No point in you wasting time modelling them again hey?

What package are you running, 3Dmax?

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ReeceJames
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Long time no see

Post by ReeceJames » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:53 pm

Hello all,

It's been one hell of a Christmas and new year. So much to be done and not enough time to do it.

David: Mark Webber/Mercedes style backflips are not on the agenda. :) That's a prime example of them not doing enough time in the wind tunnel and designing an aerofoil. The moment the nose lifted by a few degrees air got under the car and over she went. A very good example of what not to do.

Reverend: I'm actually using Lightwave as that's what I was trained in at Uni. Might take you up on the offer of some of your models down the track. For the moment though I'm messing with ideas. Suspension, you're entirely right, and I'll be building a double wishbone configuration from scratch, rodends and motorcycle shocks. Kingpins I'll cannibalise from a VW or something similar. Rear end's a bit easier even.

Dad and his brother build a few cars back in the day. Finally got some pics of one of their last and probably what I'll be basing the design on.

I'm working on the engine design at the moment and was hoping to be further along and ready to start manufacture by now. Unfortunately I hit a snag just before Christmas when my MX6 dropped its gearbox. $3700 later it's got a new gearbox but that was the money for the steam engine. Oh well maybe by August I'll have the money for the engine. :)

One of the design changes I'm looking at with the chassis is the bolting of the front roll cage and lower rails to the engine and rear suspension. The useful advantage that gives me is the ability to build the engine and the steam generator on the bench and fit them into a box of sorts with the rear suspension and brakes all setup. It then just bolts into place. Makes it easy to work on as the rear end just unbolts and rolls away :)

Here's some pics of dad and his brother's car.
Image
Image
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Reece James

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Post by Cookey » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:07 pm

Reece,
Are you looking to build just for outright land speed or to show other aspects of your chosen means of propulsion??

My thoughts are if you are scratch designing and constructing a racer that can only be run but once a year on the "Big White Dyno" you may consider other potential class options.

For example build up a track roadster that will also give you alternate opportunities to run with conventional powerplants while you are perfecting your steam package.
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Post by ReeceJames » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:48 pm

The ability to use other power plants is useful, but ultimately I'm treating this as a fun project to build a steam power plant. Call me crazy, but conventional power plants don't really appeal as much I'm sorry to say.
:lol:

The ultimate speed I go isn't as much of a concern. I'l love to get above the 100mph mark, but that's only half the fun. (The current record for a piston powered steam car is 112mph, the Poms in their steam turbine behemoth weren't much faster and they broke it) I'll settle for once a year on the 'Big White Dyno' as it will probably take me the other half of the year to pay for it :)
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within reach

Post by David Leikvold » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:18 am

Reece, if you're looking around for inspiration for your suspension you could do a lot worse than to have a long, hard look at the simple and effective setup on the '83 Reynard Formula Ford. I read recently that the new steam record was only about 140mph, which a Formula Ford can almost do with 110hp. If you optimised the aerodynamics of your project car, even built as a lakester and built a steam engine that was good for maybe 120 or 130hp you could go faster than the official world record!
Suddenly it gets serious :shock: !
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Post by Reverend Hedgash » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:39 am

Reece, we don't run any suspension except for the rubber of the tyres and that has worked out fine already to 160mph.

I wouldn't bother with it and concentrate more on the overall vibe of the car. If it is just for fun, then the world is your oyster in the looks department, but when I think of steam I think of those fantasic streamline locomotives.

Remember weight is not really an issue in dry lake racing but aero really is.

I would stop trying to think stock car as a basis as it is designed to go around corners and deal with lumpy tracks, and start thinking trains which were designed to go fast in a straight and flat line.

You could then have a very interesting and unique car which is more than fit for purpose rather than twisted for purpose.

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Post by ReeceJames » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:23 am

Thanks Reverend,

I was looking through the rule book and read that each wheel must be sprung, not that each sprung wheel much have a shock. (Pays to read the rule book a few times) What's the vibration like without shocks?

You're right on the vibe, this is a fun project and it need not be shoehorned into something that doesn't look any good. Thanks for the inspiration.

The weight issue I'm concerned about comes two fold.
The first one is the final output power of the motor, it's not like I can buy a bigger one, I've got to build a bigger one. The steam generator's a mass of copper and water anyway, so it will be quite heavy. :)
Second, I heard on previous occasions, some people have had real trouble getting out and back to Lake Gairdner with their cars due to the conditions of the road, weather etc.
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Post by David Leikvold » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:43 am

Dik's right, if you're starting with a clean sheet of paper design it really should be optimised for salt use only. Compromises just slow you down. If you decide to run without suspension a chain drive, narrow track rear end might be all you need (see Rick Yacoucci's Nebulous Theorem 2 for details). Dik's car uses a conventional car diff bolted (or welded?) to the chassis, which is a simple enough solution. Chain drive offers the advantage of essentially unlimited final gearing, which is not so easy with a diff from a road car. The only thing you need to be aware of with fixed "suspension" is that the ride height can't easily be changed if you want to alter gearing with a different diameter tyre, a problem Dik and the Doc have already mentioned elsewhere on this forum. Not insurmountable, but certainly needs to be considered when designing. The other advantage in not running wishbone suspension is the large amount of money saved by not having to buy all those race quality rod ends.

By the way, your Dad's JPS "Lotus 79" looked great. Was it quick?
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Post by ReeceJames » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:18 am

By the way, your Dad's JPS "Lotus 79" looked great. Was it quick?

For a speedway car I think it was, I don't think dad's brother managed to keep it out of the walls for long though. Dad's brother moved onto race boats, (Airborne) and now runs Horizon boats. That happened before I came along, I'm 15 years too young it seems.

Chain seems to be the way to go. Means I can fiddle with the gearing quickly. Also, if I build the rear end like an ATV, the rear wheels move in an arc around the motor which gives me simple height adjustment.
I'll go read up on 'Rick Yacoucci's Nebulous Theorem 2' and get back to you.
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Post by DLRA » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:14 pm

Hmmm, just doing a search for some cool looking steam loco's and came across this.

Image
http://www.techeblog.com/index.php/tech ... engine-car
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Post by ReeceJames » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:38 pm

Yep that's the current record holder. The Pom's turbine behemoth. Weighs in at a couple of ton and the only way they managed to get it to go as fast as they did was pack it full of dry ice. Cost a lot to build as well!

Thanks for the link and the picture, I hadn't seen if from that angle before. Nice car, excessively heavy and overbuilt, but a nice car. It's really the only recent contender for a high speed steam car.

There's a bunch of americans who also play with steam. The fastest they've managed is a converted lawnmower engine on a gokart. I'm hoping for the middle ground :)
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