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Switchblade Progress Report, September 19, 2010

We changed out the chain drive for a belt drive.  You can see the new set up in the images.  There was a very distinct improvement in the drive quality.  Much less noise, much more power available, and a completely different feel to the vehicle.  The chain was transferring power via a secondary shaft, and so it went through two chains and three gears.  We now have just two gears and one belt, so is much more direct and simple.  Our future set-up is even simpler, but we will show that when we have it ready.  We re-positioned the battery to balance out the engine, as it was slightly off-center.

One thing we didn’t like was the spring force.  It seemed too stiff.  We got help from Downsouth Motorsports, and came up with a compound spring system.  There are two springs on either side, one stiff and one softer.  The softer knocks out the bumps, and the stiff one soaks up the bounces (and ideally, hard landings).  Shown here are the single springs before we changed out.   I will post the double spring images shortly.  We also moved the shock mount location to the top of the spindle/hub rather than on the suspension arms.  This was to take the load off the suspension arm joints, and take them to the hub which already has ‘beef’ to the part, and can handle the loads.  In doing so we take loads off the suspension arms, which can be kept lighter.

We improved the cooling to the oil cooler and the radiator to ensure the engine was cooled adequately even though the final vehicle will have a duct for the radiator and oil cooler/evaporator coils.  We just want the vehicle to be in top operating condition for testing.

We re-did the side window area to include an opening for the radiator duct, and to move the bottom of the door window inwards so it would be able to roll down in the door.  This type of fine-tuning is what we are working through, so that we can have an accurate flight test model when we do fly.  We may not have windows that roll down for the prototype, but they will have the aerodynamic shape of the ones that do.  The image shows a ‘zebra stripe’ model, which is used to check continuity of surfaces.  I think it might give people a headache if you painted your Switchblade like this!

If you want a thrill, check out the video being added shortly.  We went to a deserted strip and chased our tail around for a while.  The vehicle behaved well, and we shot some footage to share.  It is being edited and will be posted next week.



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