Friday, October 31, 2008

Finally - Right Side Finish Foam Installed

Well, I finally got the stars to align! Well, actually - it was the alignment of warm weather, not working or not working overtime, some energy left to do the job, and some space in my workshop (The parking lot of our building, which empties earlier on a Friday, due to the early closing hours of the Rehab Center, downstairs)!

I have been letting my electricfly sit for a couple of weeks, doing a battery power loss test, checking the losses from self-discharge, but today I wanted a bit extra space in the parking area, so I moved it next to out building while I worked, and noticed the power level on the pack went from 100% to 95% with that small draw to crawl over and re-park the car, so - it seems that there is definitely some loss after about 2 weeks sitting, but the pack still shows the batteries not significatly below 12.8V.

I am gradually getting the idea of how to work with the Gap Filling Expando Foam, as a filler and glue in attaching the Pink Extruded Polystyrene Foam sheets onto the Expaned Polystyrene Foam base.

This time - when I had the final piece of Pink Foam set up with clamping sticks to spread the pressure better, and sat aside, and similar sticks stuck on the opposing side to spread the pressure of the camping belts and keep from leaving deep compression marks, I laid out the belts under the AeroCap, as it was tilted up to prepare for foam gluing.

Then I cleaned off any residue of expando foam from previous gluing of the forward half of the side skin cover, and used a can of compressed air to blow it clean, I started with the expando foam gluing trails, but this time, I made a specific effort to keep the flow slow and of small diameter exiting the straw on the nozzle - this is to help reduce the expansion mass of foam under the cover sheet I am gluing.

Then - when I applied the foam sheet - I moved it up/down a bit to spread the contact patch of the foam glue, and to make it a bit thinner, as well, so as to allow the foam to lay tighter, and better fit to the base foam curves. Then I squeezed it down and pushed it up to but against the forward half that was previously installed, but with a big bulge in it due to the excess of foam deposited at too large a diameter (from triggering it out of the can too fast).

This looks like it worked out well, in that the foam clamped down very well with the straps, and curved to fit will. Of course - the outside of the foam was scored about 30 - 405 of the depth at least, in both a series of cuts parallel to the bottom, and a group of cuts that follow the top curve, criss-crossing the other cuts, and allowing relief in the curvature when clamping to the curved base foam.

When it had cured in place under clamping pressure for a couple of hours or so (the expando foam says it sets up in 15 minutes, and is hard cured in 8 hours), I began to unclamp the ratchet straps, remove the wood strips, and then I trimmed the foam that bubbled out at the but-joint with the forward piece, and began to use my stanley shaper tool to take down the high step from the forward skin, to bring it at least, to a rough, but reasonablly well fit, smooth joint.

After getting that taken care of, I remounted it back on the Truck, using the squeeze clamps and C-clamps to secure it in six places, with a total of 4 C-clamps, and 10 squeeze clamps, along with some foam rubber strips to enhance the gripping and holding power of all of the clamps.

In the end, even though I have more shaping work to do, the skin now looks more finished on the right hand side, and leaves but one major piece left to deal with - a thin skin of Pink (Extruded Polystyrene) Foam to be glued onto the forward bulkhead of white foam. That, and a little bit of aditional Pink on the tailgate area, for shaping to the curve match of the tailgate skin.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Post Trip Gas Record - Even Better

As noted in the last post - the estimated fuel consumption according to the Scan Gage - was a day average of 10.1 Litres per 100 Km. The Gage calculated we used 36.9 Litres of fuel - but - the fill up only took 35.407, an adjustment from -12.6% to -16.7% on the gage fill up record, and - The total kms driven - including to get gas today - was 351.3 Km.

This means - the fuel fill/distance calculated fuel consumption was actually 10.07885 Litres per 100 Km! (99.79% of the Scangage reading) And - since the fuel consumption rating is hwy 9.8 L/100 Km ( Article!- See Articles Sidebar) - that makes me only 2.845 % more than the Canadian Ratings for the truck!

Don't forget - the right hand side of the foam was short 1 skin, and there is still a bit of a bump in the hinge line area to be smoothed out, and - there were times when the truck, running on cruise, kicked down a gear to maintain 110 Kmh on some of the steeper hills, shooting the instanaeous fuel consumption way up!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Road Trip - opening up the envelope

Today - I clamped the AeroCap down back on the truck after gluing the two pieces of Pink foam on the left side, and set out to do a bigger shakeout test in the form of a longer road trip than I have made with it to date.

I had some things to take care of 175 Km away - in Bracebride, Ontario, so I set out on that trip to do a couple of tests - time & distance endurance, and speed & handling, as well as getting a sample of fuel consumption.

So - I left with a fresh fill on the gas tank, and reset the trip meter and scangage as a new tank fill, and headed off from Keele & Wilson, along the 401 & up the 400 to Highway 11 and into Bracebridge. I returned later, for a toal of 351.1 Km on the tank, and was going to refuel the tank - but on the radio I heard prices will go down 5 cents a litre tonight - so decided to refill tomorrow. But - using the scangage - I got these figures - 10.1 litre per 100 km., 3.6 hours driving - divided int the two basic legs, and a couple of stops in town, average speed 100 kmh, and max speed of 123 kmh (must have been passing a truck with somebody wanting to pass me, as I sped up a couple of times from the cruise control setting of 110 kmh, to allow cars to go by).

The general things I noticed on the trip as a whole - was the feeling of a quieter ride, than without the AeroCap mounted. The cap is secured to the box at thsi time - with 2" C-Clamps and 2" Squeeze Clamps, gripping the inside of the metal plats glued into the foam of the inside of the AeroCap, and the under side of the Bed Rail Flange (the outside edge face of the inside flange). there are currently no vertical clamping points but I hope to add them soon. the Cap did not wiggle or jiggle and squeak, but leaving Bracebridge, one street pothole did shake loose one clamp. Not bad for the trip as a whole!

Before I left - I made up some stickers on label stock (Avery) and stuck them on the back, and left & right sides - with this blog web address on, for a bit of advertising! They Stayed stuck on through the whole trip!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Getting the Left Side Covered

Today I got on with getting the left side of the AeroCap Covered, as the Pink Extruded Polystyrene Insulation foam is the plan for the finished foam surface.

I also got the rear (Tailgate) strip applied and the overhang trimmed.

The process to glue the additional foam pieces on the sides were to cut the long side peice in half (approximately) so there are two short pices - easier to glue and clamp!

For glue - I decided to use a fresh can of Expando Foam - as in gap sealer foam from Home Depot (Where all the pink foam came from , and a good part of the tools to make the cap.

When Trying to clamp down the first part - I realized - I should make the clamping strips and spacers and attach them to the piece of foam before sticking it down on the foam glue. So I cut and positioned the Plywood strips to fit and pinned them onto the skin with 2" nails through the already drilled holes. (Strips are well used from work, [scrap] after they have been used to back up laminated shims on back drilling operations.)

So then the next step was to glue down the aft skin piece, using the expando foam, and positioning the skin with clamping strips in place, pinning it down with a couple nails just to start, and then snugging up the clamping straps. I used 4 ratcheting tie downs over the wood strips to clamp and secure the skin, and to pull it down to the contours beneath, and to squeeze out excess expando foam!

The Ratcheting Straps are two pieces, the handle and a short strap with a hook, and a 15 foot strap with another hook - the other end was just but cut - to slide into the ratcheing handle slot, and crank up to cinch down the load. I got it tight enough you could play a tune on it (almost)!

I will leave the straps on the aft skin for a couple hours until after the glue sets up good.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Aerocap Profile Pictures

As I said - more to come - here are a couple pictures of the Aerocap in progress, on the truck, clamped in place for fitting.

The truck has been driven, on both streets (bumpy, potholes, etc.) and on the Highway, at speeds so far up to about 100 Kmh successfully. There has been added internaly (under the parts shown as visible here) additional foam ribs, and I have yet to complete the side contours and over covering with the Pink Foam, but I do have the left side cover foam set up for once I get the contours right.

Click the small pics for large views!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Aerocap Beginnings...

Well, it has been on my mind for some time to set up a blog for my Dodge Dakota Aerocap Design Project, so - here it is!

Using a both Expanded Polystyrene Foam (the White) that I got for the taking free from work, and Extruded Polystyrene Foam (the Pink) that I bought at Home Depot, I am working on setting up a sample shape for one of my Aerocap ideas.

It will be a sample shape - in that - it is planned to become a plug for a mold if it works as imagined, that is to say - there is a noticiable reduction of fuel consumption of at least 3-5% (minimum), with a goal in the end of up to 10%, this with a desired improvement of at least 1 litre per 100 Km less than without the Aerocap on. I use the scangage to keep an eye on the numbers as I drive, but need to update/upgrate it for showing both instantaneous and trip numbers at the same gage display.

The idea is - to make at least two different styles, with two totally unique blends of curvature and trail-off effects, and see if the difference between the two is noticable, and also which one of the two gets the most local raves - as from the pictures - you can pretty much see the shop space I have - outside!

More Shortly!

Robert - AKA Electricman - per my car - electricfly - at