Step Three–Building a 12 pound Good Looking Body

Now you’ve come to the slow, never-ending love-hate part of the project. Real creativity, with all its emotional taxation, is  called into play.   But it’s also the most personal, rewarding part.    You need those orange driveway markers from your hardware store, plus black 0.265″ dia X 104″ tent poles from Goodwinds LLC (360 588 4785, item # 020241) in Mt. Vernon, WA, plus aluminum ferrules from Tent Pole Technology (360 260 9527  Terry is your man there and item # 2000-AL) out in Vancouver, WA , to connect the poles together. First extend the front and rear of the quadricycle to receive the poles and start bending!  You’ll have a blast, creating something uniquely your own.   You are limited by the revolving pedals, the lifting knees,  the tub in the rear, and your basic headache is how to relate to the front wheels as they turn side to side.   My first design enclosed the front wheels; but as you see, the final design has them completely outside the body.   Either way,  the design problems here are your main headache.   Either the wheels are inside and therefore need a wheel well to contain the dirt and spray; or outside the body  and the body needs to narrow enough not to limit the turning radius.    Let me know if you find an easy solution!

You’ll find that bending these poles gives you a good head-start on an aerodynamic shape.  Use the driveway markers, instead of the hollow tent poles,  for sharp bends. Use crossways loops to stabilize the shape you want.  Tie it all together with plastic zip ties, which you’ll get to love.   Be sure to  leave the poles and driveway markers intact.   Never drill holes in them or grind the surface.   To do so leaves them much weaker.   If you want, you can use only the driveway markers, and avoid ordering the black, hollow poles.    You’ll need more ferrules, though to make up the longer length of the longer black poles.

Then go to a big city and buy three  4X8 sheets of 1/16″ Ocume plywood at $40/ sheet. In New England, Boulter plywood in Somerville Mass is great. Use brown construction paper to make a pattern for each flat section of the body and then use it to cut the plywood, making sure that the plywood’s grain runs in the direction of least bending. Then paint two coats inside and out and use 1″ wide strapping tape to hold those panels in place. Then use vinyl electrical tape to cover the strapping tape. That’s enough for the first year. Go out and ride the heck out of the machine. Next year you’ll improve it.  Maybe epoxy the panel junctions. Maybe enclose the cockpit with a drape-molded lexan bubble.  See:

Here’s the cockpit view. You’ll see the Schlumpf front sprocket which changes from 1:1 to 1:1.67 by kicking the axle sideways with the heal.  The low gear 1:1  and is only used on steep hills.  You’ll see the thumb accellerator on the right grip, and the Nuvinci twist grip on the left.  The brake calipers have rubber bands for emergency brakes when you leave the vehicle.  You’ll see the inner-tube seat suspension, the ‘dashboard’ having a bike speedo on top, a power switch next below, the the ammeter (very important) and now I use a cycle analyst ($120) to monitor the depletion of the battery.     I have Utah trike fenders front and back. The large front side panels are easily removable for repairs as is a panel under the rear axle.  You’ll notice that I also changed one cross-wise loop to be a plywood bulkhead instead,  since I wanted a flat, not round section there.

To get in, you put your butt on the top of the tub and grip the blue wooden top of the seat. Then put each foot on the yellow cross frame and lower yourself into the seat and then put your feet on the pedals.  Make sure you put a flag on the back, and eventually lots of lights. Enjoy!


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