April 2014

15th

Outer ring lights This is the outer ring of 24 LEDs lit up. They have come out exactly as I'd hoped. Nice and bright. From any kind of distance, they blend nicely into a seamless ring of light. The bleed through of light from the rear into the centre cluster will not be an issue as each part will be housed in a 3D printed enclosure and all the electrics and soldering will then be encapsulated in black potting compound.

14th

MakerBot Replicator 2 This is the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer that I'm currently using.

Lighting jig Took about 3 hours to 3D print this tool to help me align the LEDs and effectively act as a jig, whilst I solder them up correctly.

Something like this could be made in other ways (e.g. laser cutting) but, I don't have access to such tools for now.

12th

Rear indicator Wired up some of the orange LEDs I'm planning to use for the rear lighting, to check they are bright enough and visible from wide enough angles. This photo was shot using a zoom lens from about 30 feet and doesn't really do them justice. They are nice and bright though and have a wide viewing angle (>160º).

I really like this design and I'm planning to use this round cluster design for the indicators on the front, rear and side of the car. Will also be used for the rear brake lights, rear fog light and possibily the high level brake light. I'm currently designing some parts for 3D printing to house these lights.

I've also now completed the red outer ring (24 LEDs) and these look fantastic! Planning to have four outer rings as rear side lights.

Snape This is the rear lighting design and layout that I'm trying to re-use and improve upon. This is my Fisher Fury R1 parked up at Snape Maltings this weekend.

11th

Kimini This book arrived today:
Kimini - How to design a mid-engined sports car from scratch by Kurt W. Bilinski

Handbrake I discovered this floor mounted handbrake lever for sale on eBay and it looked very light, being made primarily from Nylon. It was in excellent condition and is from a Mk I from Ford Focus (1998-2004). I won the item for 99p, so well worth a gamble. Now that it has been delivered I can see that it is very well made, with an in-built switch [814g]. There is also some scope to make it even lighter by removing some of the metal. I would struggle to improve upon this design and anything I might fabricate would have the same basic structure and dimensions.

Handbrake mechanism This photo better reveals the handbrake mechanism, which has a metal ratchet. It feels very sturdy and has a nice solid feel to it. It is a vast improvement on the Ford Escort one used in my Fisher Fury R1.

8th

Final switches mounted And these are the modified switches mounted in my test 3D print mounts. I will be doing some more testing in the Fisher Fury R1 over the next few months, to see how well this layout works. So far it is working really well.

I've also finalised the electrics behind these switches now and all of the other lighting for this car. I have also completed the build of the indicator logic and timer, along with the relay board to switch the lights.

6th

Modified light switch This is the final, improved switch [5.5g]. The extension has added just 0.3g.

Some people might ask why I've gone to so much effort with a couple of switches. My answer is that my main objective with this car is to provide the best possible driver involvement. Every interface to the driver (i.e. me) is designed to be intuitive, perfectly located and to provide the best tactile experience, feel and feedback. It is also optimised for me in terms of the size of my hands, the length of my fingers, etc.

5th

Lego support structure A quick drive in the Fury showed that the new switches are about 10-15mm too short on their own and need some form of extension on the toggle. I've fabricated some from plastic and fixed them using Araldite. The kid's box of old Lego comes in handy for jobs like this!

The Lego is simply being used to keep everything in alignment whilst the glue dries.

Rear light cluster mount I'm getting better with Google Sketchup and this rear light cluster mounting frame took less than 20 minutes to create. The final piece is slightly different, to make it easier to 3D print.

4th

Switch brackets installed These are the switches and switch mounts installed for usability testing in the Fury. Will try this configuration this coming weekend to see how well it works.

Behind steering wheel Nicely hidden behind the steering wheel when it is in place.

3rd

2nd 3D printed bracket Updated my design to include a switch cover and printed it out again. Printed with the switch mounting face on the bed this time, to avoid bridges internally supporting the new cover. The printing tool added ladders supports for the mounting holes this time though [5.4g].

Google Sketchup design

Kenex ET-600 scales Bought some Kenex ET-600 scales for weighing the lighter components I'm using on this car. These weigh up to 500g with 0.1g accuracy. Popular with drug dealers judging by the reviews on Amazon.

1st

Aluminium paddle This is the aluminium paddle that is bolted to the central 'hub' [124g].

3D printed switch bracket Using Google Sketchup I designed an initial switch bracket to be 3D printed. This is not exactly how the final part will look like but, is an initial test print to help me learn how to use Sketchup and to check my measurements and the 3D printing process.

I know it doesn't look much but for a first attempt but, I am very pleased with the results. This is the start of something very big. The part is very strong and very light (~5g). Even the walls of the 'walls' in this piece are not solid to save weight. The front hole has a 'ladder' printed within it to help ensure the switch hole is printed round. This has been removed. The holes are all 6mm but the switch hole was drilled out to ¼" (6.35mm).

This part was printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer and took about 45 minutes to complete.

Switch mounted This is the part in place, showing the switch and relationship to the paddle. It uses the existing mounting bolts. It is designed to hold both single-pole or dual-pole switches, depending on the application. The gap between the paddle shift and the steering wheel is just about ideal for my size hands. In this new car it will be about 5mm less though.

This is a test piece. The 'final' 3D printed part will have a top cover, so the switch body is enclosed and not visible. It will also be printed in black plastic.

I'd always envisaged 3D printing would be a way to get quality components designed and built for my next car. The whole design and print process is perfect for low volume car manufacture like this and I'm now on the path to designing and printing more parts.

The switch on the left side is a single pole on-off-on toggle switch and will be used for the indicators (left - off - right). A similar switch on the right-hand side will be used for the headlights (high beam - side lights - low beam). These switches can only switch very low currents and this is also true of all the instrumentation switches in this car. The side lights will be powered via a power transistor and the headlights via high-current relays. This approach minimises the length of high current wiring required and means I have more options when choosing high quality, good looking components. I took a similar approach in my Fury build but, this car will go to even greater lengths to reduce the weight of the instrumentation and wiring.

The other driver for taking this route for these switches is to simply improve the usability and driver experience. Mounting these switches in these locations means they are easily reached and have a nice quality, tactile feel. The orientation and location is intuitive (to me) and my testing in the Fury has shown this configuration to work well. Mounting switches here also means the dash is less cluttered and thus looks better.

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