VK3CKC's eLecTricks Trike Design and Build.

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Other than it'll probably be heavy at 5mm there's no reason I can see it won't work. It's probably thick enough at 5mm to overcome the inherent lack of strength flat strip would normally exhibit.

I was thinking about kingpins recently myself and thought that the two tube solution was quite neat. One tube to pass the axle end through to mount the wheel and a tube for the kingpin welded to the first tube. About as simple as you can get.
 
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Feb 20, 2013
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Back to the build updates that have lagged seriously behind since Interruption-19 occurred.

Elsewhere in this diatribe there is mention of what I use to trailer the trike around when I have to. It is simply three extruded metal "channels" that attach to the top of a 6' x 4' trailer. The whole affair includes a couple of similar ramps to enable the trike to be loaded. The trike is loaded in the centre of the trailer. It is very easy and quick to load and unload, being tied on with ratchet straps.

I had a need to transport a friend's trike as well. That meant two trikes on board. I can't recall where we went but that doesn't matter.

I moved the right side channel to the centre of the trailer and spaced the other two appropriately towards the left. That shifted the loading of my trike to the left side. I added another full length channel to the right side of the trailer spaced to suit the front wheel track of my friend's trike. A short channel was mounted between the centre channel and the right channel to accommodate its rear wheel.

Both trikes can now be loaded. Mine goes on first, front wheels forward, the ramp channels are re-positioned and the second trike is loaded rear wheel forward. It can be just lifted into place as it is lighter than mine. This method keeps the trikes just inside the outer limits of the trailer.

A side benefit of this trailering mechanism is that the trailer can be used as an elevated stand to support a trike during building, modification or service, something that it has been used for a few times since. The whole frame can be removed in a couple of minutes if the trailer is required for normal duty. Who has time for that when there is trike riding to be done?

I'm getting back into the regular updates today.
 
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So much for the regular updates. I wrote a few to catch up but they didn't make it anywhere.

It's finally happened. I have never been a fan of deltas but I have decided to abandon this build after serious consideration and should I or shouldn't I. This one was taking too long with too many design changes. I had to break free of it. No details yet but, in the meantime, some updates to eventually bring things up to the present day. Someone may be interested in the down side of design on the fly and not moving fast enough.

I had been planning future electrical requirements and connections and, just as Interruption-19 was taking hold in other parts of the world, I received a buck regulator that I had ordered to use for charging my 12.6V 18650 battery pack from the e-Assist battery/charger. This was followed by spending some time on deciding on an altered wiring diagram for a re-hash of the dashboard I was using on the Warrior to get it closer to its eLecTricks requirements.

A dozen spokes that I ordered for the Warrior’s front wheels duly arrived and one of them was installed. A small amount of damaged wheel “re-forming” soon had the wheel looking as good as new and back in operation.

When considering my music and entertainment requirements, I realised that my Lenovo tablet might be able to provide this function and save the additional weight and complexity of using something else. Tests proved that this new Entertainment Centre would be adequate, not with ground shaking audio output but with a not-really-obtrusive level that can be tolerated while talking to others if necessary.

The buck regulator testing also proved satisfactory and will eventually be switched to a choice of charging during e-Assist battery charging or to charging from the e-Assist battery. This will permit me to disable charging from the e-Assist battery if it becomes necessary to conserve what is still left in it.

A complete re-design of the Warrior dashboard was commenced so that it could accommodate new battery management and add-ons. At this point, Australia came into its own Interruption 19 restrictions that impinged on one’s freedom. This gave me time to post an order for various electronic items for future requirements for which there is no need to detail here. There will be a change to the lighting coming up. I intend to change the dashboard repeater lights operation and also modify the operation of the running lights to drop the power consumption a bit. I haven’t done much with it so far but it will be re-visited at a later date.
 
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This post brings things up to date with April 4th. I haven't included any images but I can if anyone asks for them.

The combined mid-drive and suspension pivot was beginning to get a little messy and ugly. I decided to simplify things by separating them into two independent items. The mid-drive was changed so that it could be mounted on its own under the main boom in front of the rear suspension pivot and any change in chain length caused during suspension operation will have to be accepted. It should be minimal and not noticed but I will now have to include some simple form of chain tensioning. The rear suspension pivot is now a modified front wheel hub. It was cut in the middle so that it could attached through the rear end of the front boom and re-assembled. The rear wheel frame, yes, I made a new one, is attached to it with dropouts that will permit easy removal of the complete rear end if necessary. I may have to modify the dropouts if forces that try to dislodge the frame need further resistance. They will suffice for the moment.

I spent some time on the new Warrior dashboard but it will be put aside now that eLecTricks is back in creation mode.
 
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Heading into April, our Covid-19 restrictions are increasing in annoyance level. A digression from shuffling trike building blocks brought about a change in activities – and exercise. It started with a spot of shack (what us amateur radio types call the place where our transmitters, etc., grow old) tidying occupied the best part of a week. You can see where I have been but it is still a long way from a pretty sight.

The next pastime involved felling a couple of trees. This was done to finally convince them that I was not going to fish their no-longer-wanted leaves and sticks out of the rainwater guttering and was no longer going to put up with their total disregard for my well being.

Then came a short period where I tried to break some CAD software by trying to force it to do things the way I wanted. It won, didn’t break, and didn’t do what I wanted. It was capable but wouldn’t do it the way I wanted.

Another 50A Digital Monitor arrived within 3 weeks of ordering and I commenced construction of a new rear wheel frame, suspension pivot, and mid-drive. After getting it all sorted, it came together quite nicely. A mounting bracket was fitted to the mid-drive and it was put aside to wait until I was ready to fit the rear wheel drive sprocket.

I changed the angle of the dashboard on the Warrior trike to slightly more vertical, bringing my line of sight perpendicular to it, ready for a ride.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
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Netherlands
I like that dashboard that you have on your trike.
I was thinking of adding one myself but i am going to ad a second Phone mount. I will have 2 places to charge my Phone, so adding one isn't that hard. One for my route and one for music and giving me info about other things. I have a few bleutooth speakers, but one that is small and is easy to mount on my trike.
Currently waiting for my battery for my e-assist, but my next batteries will i make my self.

As you need help with CAD software, let me know. I worked with it a lot. I needed it for my work and worked with many different versions.
Now ad home i use Fusion360 because it is free.
Emiel
 
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Hi Emiel

I have been using Fusion360 since the wasted time mentioned above and it is working out fine. I wish I had discovered it years ago. I think it was a matter of wrong interpretation as to how the previous software was supposed to operate. Really had no trouble with Fusion360 although there is a lot that I could, and still need to learn.

Something you could possibly answer for me though: I would imagine that each item that makes up an assembly should be drawn as a separate component? For example, using a complete wheel hub as an example, the hub body, bearings (2) axles, nuts, washers, etc., should each be separate components of the one assembly? Although I have intended to try it this way a couple of times I find myself drawing the whole assembly as a component. I don't think there is anything wrong with that except it may prevent re-usability for other assemblies that might use the same item. Old habits I guess. I used to draw 3D shade sails with the other software. They were basically extruded up from 2D ground-based drawings with support posts added. I had to invent a way of doing it as the software designers could not tell me how to go about it. What they suggested did not produce the required Hyperbolic Paraboloid shape that was required. I eventually came up with a method that was satisfactory.

What I have been drawing with 360 is a rear axle, fitted with a thread on one end, a wheel hub (not drawn yet), a mounting flange with protruding studs, a brake disc, two pillowblock bearings, and a freewheel adapter at the other end. I meant to do them as separate components but it didn't happen. Still finding my way around it but OK for my purposes.
 
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By the way, my dashboard modification was related to an additional meter to show charge from a solar panel that doesn't exist yet, individual dashboard repeater LEDs that are just added to the end of the LED strip. Haven't done it yet but I have placed a parallel indicator switch within easy reach. Much, much easier to use than the one that was close to arm's length away and I would suggest to anyone planning a turn indicator switch that it be placed within easy reach. Otherwise you will miss it 80% of the time you have to reach for it - especially on rough ground. It is much the same as reaching for a touch button on a phone while you are riding.
 
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Best way as you want components, you need to make for each part a new component before you start with that component. Then everything is in that component and as you need yo change it, you can easily find it all in there. The time line is than for that component and not mixed with other parts.
Often as you change something in the time line, other parts will give errors. With this way it is solved. Also use the oriantation point and not other components gor oriontation. As you remove that component or change the face angle or add one thing, the other components can loose their oriontation.
What I prefer is making separate folders with parts in it. Like a hub. Make a model of it and save it as a separate file. Later I can pull it into my frame model.
As you use that part in several different designs, it is easier to find back and use it.
Bolts, nuts, hubs, ball bearings and so on.
Frame I do in one model. Didn't make components from them, but you can do that after. Only than I find it harder to go back In the time line. All parts are then in the same time line.

As you as something, watchout that it will not be combined with the other part.

Fusion360 isn't my favorite but it is by far the best free cad program there is. But it is easy yo use and it can do everything I need.
Also, there is a lot of info to find on how to do things.
 
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My thoughts, exactly and thanks for confirming them. I'll just have to get used to confining components where necessary - as I started to yesterday. Correcting things is good practice anyway.

I had woken up to the problems caused with later changes very early on and had used offset planes for various things along an axle, along with parameters. The time line messes up the parameter collection once you do a couple of deletes and fined that parameters are no longer there and have to be added again.

Seems that there was a software update that was installed yesterday. Since then, my scroll wheel/centre button no longer pans the drawing and using the "hand" icon is painful.
 
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My intention all along was to fit a drive sprocket to the brake disc adaptor on the hub that was used for the mid-drive. I didn’t have any 28t chainrings that could be readily drilled for the required 6 mounting studs. All my “spare” chainrings required 5 mounting holes at a greater radius and there was no metal where it was needed for direct fitting to the hub. This had been expected and Plan B, which had always been there, was brought into play. This resulted in fitting a steel disc, drilled for the 6 hub studs and also for the 5 chainring mounting bolts. This worked perfectly and the same process was then used for the rear wheel and tested for proper chain alignment.

A new SharkRF openSPOT, Version 3, was ordered on April 11. This is a much improved version of what is used to provide worldwide mobile Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) (another one of those amateur radio things that some of us fiddle with) connection. They are manufactured in a batch in Estonia and shipped at monthly intervals. This one provides for WiFi connection to a mobile phone used as a hotspot, removing my previous requirement for a router and phone network modem which was forced into early retirement when its ISP just cancelled the connection. It had not been used for some time, had run out of data, and I really think they disconnected it to cut off what was really a good data deal that I have not been able to talk to them into reinstating and not able to find anything anywhere near it in generosity. The response from the openSPOT order was that shipping was scheduled for May 20, with delivery expected late June. It was actually shipped May 29, arrived June 5, with the longest phase of the trip being the delay through Melbourne Customs. A pretty good effort considering the conditions and it may have just got out ahead of the company’s parts supply woes that followed shortly after my order.
 
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It is now mid April.

The kingpins on the front wheels were part of an earlier experiment and were not quite right for the front suspension as it had progressed so far. The problem showed up testing against the track width of my Warrior. It had to be the same to suit the transporting frame used on my trailer. New kingpins, based on my simple design were made, only taking a few minutes. The suspension was then reassembled for further attention. This was expected to square up the suspension a bit.

I spent 3 days trying to set up my earlier openSPOT to work in conjunction with my smart phone as a hotspot. There must have been something fundamentally wrong with my settings in the openSPOT or the router and I gave up on it to get back to trike building.

The front wheels wheels and suspension arms were fitted to the front boom with the same mounting bracket that I had used previously. The track width was found to be too narrow and the wheels were not vertical. I finally realised that the mounting bracket was only ever intended as temporary during much earlier development. Further problems were to materialise later.
 
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I changed direction slightly and fitted the rear suspension upper mounting bracket to the rear frame and considered options for temporary front suspension springing to prevent the trike falling over during construction. As it was to be temporary, I tried a bundle of fibreglass rods and lifted the trike onto the trailer frame which then served as an elevated building platform for suspension sorting. I was able to finalise the general front boom angle (parallel to the ground), the front suspension location and modifications required for the suspension arm length to bring the wheels to vertical.

Rear wheel and mid-drive sprockets were finally bolted to their discs and disc rotor adaptors. I removed the upper suspension arm rod ends, shortened the arms slightly, replaced the too short rod end mounting bolts with longer ones to include lock nuts – if you can’t make it perfect, make it adjustable - and reassembled it once again.

The welds on the rear wheel frame were firmed up and attention turned to the lower spring shock mount required on the front boom. This was made adjustable so that the suspension compression could be adjusted when I could actually sit on it for testing. My attention then turned to the design requirements for the under-frame floor and body framing. This occupied a few days of suck-it-and-see before I abandoned what I had in mind.

It became obvious that the seat position had to be decided before things could move much further forward and an angled tube was fitted to the front boom for this purpose. It was bolted to the rear shock bracket and the front boom.
 
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May 1.

Working out an adjustable top seat support bracket proved a bit tricky as it could not be connected to anything on the rear frame. There were all sorts of bracing and what-ifs tried and I eventually came up with something that at least allowed the seat to sit in place. More support (more steel, more weight) would be provided when the cargo bay is completed. I managed to test the rear suspension springing. I didn’t use the seat, just stood on the frame and bounced it up and down. It should be OK with one adjustment hole still left if it proves to be too soft.

Back to work on the front suspension module. It was made as a removable item so that its final placement could be ascertained once the seat position was finalised. It was placed close to where it would end up and thoughts started to turn to steering requirements.

The fibreglass rods experiment, while encouraging at the time, was discarded as it was too springy and there wasn’t enough room to eradicate this tendency. After thinking about all sorts of weird and wonderful possibilities, I returned to simple, conventional, bike shocks. A search through my parts box turned up two that looked similar enough to not have their differences noticed.

To cut a long story short, there really wasn’t enough room to mount them. I bit the bullet, removed the whole suspension module and started working on using two swing arms instead, not my preferred choice but I needed to get this thing done.
 
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The front suspension module was redesigned to two single swing arms with donor headstems being used for the kingpins. I had decided to avoid them way back when I started but revisited them when I wanted to get things moving, another one of those two steps backwards things.

The headstems were shortened and fitted with steering tabs as in the standard Warrior fashion. The inner ends of the arms were fitted with the same bearing setup that I had been using with the double wishbone suspension that I had been playing with and fixing brackets were made to temporarily attach it all to the main boom.

I initially tried a single bike spring shock across the top of the main boom but that didn’t work. It was obvious once I saw the result. I should have seen it before and saved myself the trouble. I reasoned that two standard bike spring shocks would probably have too much compression resistance the way I was going to use them so I tried another idea. This was to fit a horizontal tube across the top of the main boom and place other springs between it and the swing arms. Lockdown restrictions prevented me going shopping so I tried a pair of double valve springs from a 1966 6-cylinder Nissan Cedric engine. They were the type where one spring was fitted inside the other. Although this worked, they compressed more than I liked and the suspension was more than a little too springy. I played around with various means of pre-loading ant droop limiting and got it to a point where stronger springs would probably have worked OK.

I now had my first opportunity of sitting on the trike - free standing. Brake discs were fitted to the front wheels and a steering connecting rod connected the wheels together.
 
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That first sit on the trike showed that the front suspension had to be moved some 75mm closer to the seat to enable proper location of steering control. It was duly moved and the main boom was drilled to accommodate a donor headstem to take the steering control through the main boom to connect with the front wheels. Once this was fitted, a makeshift steering arm was connected to the right side steering arm.

A resurrection from a much earlier build provided the steering column and standard toolkit ½” universal joint. The complete assembly consisted of four parts:

The headstem clamp part of a handlebar gooseneck clamp to fit inside the headstem fitted through the main boom,

A repurposed ½” socket welded inside a short tube to fit over the end of the gooseneck clamp with three fixing screws to hold it in place,

The universal joint that remained a completely removable and reusable item in case it might find its way back into a toolkit,

A ½” square driver welded to the end of what would be the steering column.

The above arrangement proved my “tiller” steering theory where column rotation would provide maximum turn angle and side-to-side motion would provide a different steering ratio for higher speeds with the tiller requirement to move to the right to turn left action. Centreing the steering, with the universal joint appropriately squared, allowed the steering column to lift upwards to facilitate getting on or off the trike. It was all temporarily rigged but it proved the point. There was one downside though. The universal joint had too much play in it. It had been deliberately made that way with springs between its components to stop it all flopping about when used as part of a toolkit.

I modified the universal joint. Two Allen screws were removed, the two springs were discarded, and washers, finessed with emery paper were fitted to fill the gaps between the parts. Another satisfactory result. A few minor changes in linkage between the headstem and the front wheel kingpins and all appeared OK. Making progress.
 
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It was at this point that information on the ComfoRider was posted on Atomic Zombie. I looked at all the videos and my thinking started to change. It suddenly seemed that a delta, something that I had deliberately avoided so far, might better suit my intended purposes. A delta has the pointy end at the front and is wider in the rear – the opposite configuration to a tadpole. This would make the body roof more suitable for mounting a solar panel. There would be more storage for carrying those necessary emergency bits and pieces as well as other things. Mmm, should I halt eLecTricks Tadpole and build eLecTricks Delta instead? Overall, would it be quicker and/or easier? There were still some aspects of the tadpole build that had to be worked out. I needed to think about it. If I was to do it I would have to have the more difficult bits pre-designed to make up for increasing lost time.

I had been alerted to the existence of Autodesk Fusion 360. After looking closely at it I thought that it would be easy to learn and set about doing just that. I had to work out how I was going to drive the two rear wheels with individual drive, how I would make the wheels easily removable, how I would include suspension, and how the chassis would be. Anyway, after a few days of learning new things and considering it, I decided to build a delta instead. Other than obvious delta attributes, only the steering would be similar to the ComfoRider in that it will be cable operated but quite different.

My design would have a pair of 24” rear wheels with suspension, a cargo bay, a relatively standard mesh seat, a 20” front wheel and my version of the cable steering. As it turns out, I had often thought about cable steering to provide a variable ratio through a non-linear drive but never got around to doing it.

I was going to provide finer design details but decided that I would let them appear as building progresses. That way, you might keep reading along with the build.
 
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It is now June 22 and the eLecTricks Delta build commences. Its design has been changed a little along the way as it comes together. There are always things that you overlook, aren’t there?

I started construction at the rear. I had already decided that as the rear will carry the most weight, I would not fit suspension to the front, only the rear. I had made up some wheels, rear axle and rear assembly for an Atomic Zombie Timber Wolf build that I stopped quite a while ago. The wheels had come up so well that I decided to use them for this build. Unlike the Timber Wolf, this build would have independent drive to the rear wheels for pseudo-differential action and the ability to turn on either rear wheel. Drive could be provided from the left end of the mid-drive via freewheel sprockets to freewheel sprockets on the inner ends of the rear axles. There would not be much chain movement with what I had planned.



The above image, drawn by Fusion 360, is drawn pretty close to scale and shows a single rear axle assembly that would be mounted on a suspension swing arm. The wheel slides on, from the left, locks into the protruding studs and is held on by a large nut and spring washer. The only thing welded to the axle is the wheel mounting flange that holds the studs.

I decided to use swing arms that pivoted on bearings at their inner ends, using the same design as I had been working on for the tadpole version front suspension. Hey, I wasn’t going to make them all over again. The bearings could be connected somehow to the rear cargo bay framing. As it turned out, there wasn’t enough tube length in the tadpole swing arms to use. Unfortunately, the drive from the left end of the mid-drive would result in unequal length swing arms. Would that matter? Probably not. Suspension movement would only result in slight chain twisting. A problem may occur with balancing suspension compliance though. Soldier on and find out later.
 
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Nice rendering ;-)
 
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