Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

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bm_cricket
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Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by bm_cricket » Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:48 am

This year, with the assistance of a great many friends, family, and fellow Burners, I dragged my first art car to the playa. Here is a blow-by-blow of the experience.

Wednesday, decorations are done. It's an art car!
Wednesday, load it into the truck with 5 people helping.
Thursday, Drive to BRC. Nothing bad happens yet.
Friday, offload it on the playa, setup camp. Take pictures while everyone is still glowing.
Friday night, drive to the temple and the man. A few hours on the playa. Odd "clicking" sound from main axle.
Saturday, Unable to find a problem with anything. "Clicking" sound doesn't go away or get worse. Go for an ice run. Part of drive train explodes just as I enter camp.
Saturday, Find replacement drive train parts in camp and replace broken components. Back on the road! Electric motor burns out in deep playa. Push back to camp at night in a dust storm.
Sunday, replace motor with spare.
Sunday night, spare motor fails.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, ride bicycle. Nothing bad happens to bicycle. Bicycle works. Bicycle blinky. Bicycle fuzzy.
Thursday, find enough replacement parts in camp to make the tricycle move again. Drive it around the neighborhood. Nothing explodes or burns up but the drive train is making a very loud "CLICKING" noise. Return to camp successfully and park the blasted tricycle near the back of the truck for easy access.
Thursday and Friday, bicycle works great! Nothing goes wrong with the bicycle.
Saturday, load the art car into the truck....

And here I am.

Lessons learned: The drive train on the tricycle needs to be made out of adamantium or something. Electric motors need to be made from something bigger, maybe warp drives. It was better next year.
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:44 pm

Which motor did you use?

Touch the motor every time you ride it to make sure it's not getting hot.

I used a single wheelchair motor, and even when pushing almost 500 pounds on my little cart, the motor would barely get warm.

My issue was unloading the cart only to find that the one tire and tube I forgot to bring a replacement for was flat.

Half day fighting that damn dolly wheel off and on trying to patch the tube was the only hiccup. 8)
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by bm_cricket » Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:49 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Which motor did you use?

I used a single wheelchair motor, and even when pushing almost 500 pounds on my little cart, the motor would barely get warm.

My issue was unloading the cart only to find that the one tire and tube I forgot to bring a replacement for was flat.

Half day fighting that damn dolly wheel off and on trying to patch the tube was the only hiccup. 8)
I went with two used wheel chair motors. They ran on 24v and were rated at 200 watt each (so says the sticker anyway). My controller was from an electric bicycle. The whole tricycle probably weighs about 1,000lbs and with 3 people on it we are pushing 1,700lbs. I blew a freewheel on the drive train the first day, a motor the second, another freewheel, then the last remaining motor. I think I'm going to go with a hub-mounted motor for next year....
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:01 pm

With that much weight it may be hard to find a motor with enough capacity that won't be a power hog.

I don't know of any hub motors for that load.

I would look for something that could haul 2000 pounds for a margin of error.
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by bm_cricket » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:39 pm

FIGJAM wrote:With that much weight it may be hard to find a motor with enough capacity that won't be a power hog.

I don't know of any hub motors for that load.

I would look for something that could haul 2000 pounds for a margin of error.
I'm still dusting off my boots and cleaning my ears... and already planning on ways to make next year better! I think I'll aim for some kind of motor on each wheel and have the pedal power only assist it when it's going at full speed. I'll have some major gearing changes to do but I think that's the simplest way to go. I think 3 motors will mean I get more spares and none of the motors are running anyplace close to max capacity. What do you think? The motors and pedal gears were the weak point this year. Next year they will be the strongest point on the darn tricycle!
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:43 am

I'm always amazed at how many people ask if I just store the Land Yacht nearby at the Ranch, or suggest I store it in Reno.
These people are CLUELESS about what it takes to put a working MV on the playa! They think we just turn these things on and go, then put them away and come back next year turn them on and go again... fuck. I had some stupid chick on top of a big bus MV I visited giving me shit saying how lame I was, all I did was put wheels on a boat. Yeah... that's all it takes... some wheels and a hammer... truth is there is a lot more engineering in a custom vehicle, even a small trike, than there is in decorating a bus. Party on, dumb-ass chick who didn't even build the bus you were on.

So about your trike: I believe electrics are just plain cursed in BRC. My alternators and electric system are one of my highest maintenance parts of my MV.
If you can go to gas power, I'd recommend it.
If electric it shall be, I think you're on the right track using a motor at each wheel to reduce the load and give you the best advantage in BRC, redundancy!
Redundant electric systems saved Burn night for my rig.
I also think that you'll get a side benefit, you'll be all-wheel-drive. That can be real handy if the playa surface is soft and silty.
Hell, even though the surface was great in town, better than I've seen in a long time, on the outer playa particularly on the 2:00 side it was so soft and shitty that in places I had to throttle up and go like hell, spitting a rooster tail of dirt, just to make it through some spots without getting stuck.

More motors means more batteries, and more or bigger chargers (so charging doesn't take forever).
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:02 pm

Speaking of charging batteries, I had 2 sets to run my cart on, and one of the batteries quit on day 2.

24 volt wheelchair motor.

Set 1 was two 35AH batteries.

Set 2 was two 55AH batteries.

One of the 55s quit, so the 35s had to get me through the week.

This gave me about a 2 hour range, so there was a lot of recharging.

The truck has a 34 gallon tank that I filled up in Fernley.

I charged twice a day by connecting the batteries in parallel and attaching jumper cables to the truck batteries.

Idling for an hour took them from 12 volts to 12.80 volts.

When I left the playa, I still had 3/4 of a tank of fuel! 8)
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by bm_cricket » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:16 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I'm always amazed at how many people ask if I just store the Land Yacht nearby at the Ranch, or suggest I store it in Reno.
These people are CLUELESS about what it takes to put a working MV on the playa! They think we just turn these things on and go, then put them away and come back next year turn them on and go again... fuck. I had some stupid chick on top of a big bus MV I visited giving me shit saying how lame I was, all I did was put wheels on a boat. Yeah... that's all it takes... some wheels and a hammer... truth is there is a lot more engineering in a custom vehicle, even a small trike, than there is in decorating a bus. Party on, dumb-ass chick who didn't even build the bus you were on.

So about your trike: I believe electrics are just plain cursed in BRC. My alternators and electric system are one of my highest maintenance parts of my MV.
If you can go to gas power, I'd recommend it.
If electric it shall be, I think you're on the right track using a motor at each wheel to reduce the load and give you the best advantage in BRC, redundancy!
Redundant electric systems saved Burn night for my rig.
I also think that you'll get a side benefit, you'll be all-wheel-drive. That can be real handy if the playa surface is soft and silty.
Hell, even though the surface was great in town, better than I've seen in a long time, on the outer playa particularly on the 2:00 side it was so soft and shitty that in places I had to throttle up and go like hell, spitting a rooster tail of dirt, just to make it through some spots without getting stuck.

More motors means more batteries, and more or bigger chargers (so charging doesn't take forever).
Years ago now... I was part of a very large camp that had a very large military scissor lift art car. Huge thing... always breaking. So the story goes at least, the repair manual was still classified. It was stored on a piece of land in Sparks and for a few weeks pre-burn each year it received a pretty hap-hazard service before hitting the playa again. It usually worked but good god... that contraption had more sensors, servos, solenoids, relays, etcetcetc than could possibly have been necessary... and they were always on the fritz!

I sprayed my tricycle down with some pretty decent lube in all the right places and I'll give it a better service in a few weeks after more pressing issues get resolved. I'm really tempted to put 3 electric motors on the darn thing... I like the idea of all wheel drive! As for charging and batteries, that's definitely not a weak point right now. It would be better with LiFePO4 batteries but I've got a 4-bank 40A charger than independently "smart charges" all 4 huge deep cycle batteries. It's overkill but at least I've got battery power figured out. If I ever did upgrade the battery tech then I'll have some great RV batteries! My trike doesn't have room to hide a gas motor without really making the ride loud and uncomfortable. I think electric will at least be nice and quiet. Even when my tricycle started it's "clicking" issue it was quiet... I just knew something was wrong and getting worse. :?

The dust this year out between about 3:00 and the first BIG art pieces probably pushed my little motors too hard. That was where they started acting weird. :-(

Oh, and I swear I saw you drive past my camp a few times on 4:30. I was camped at 4:30&D! I should really have said hi. Darn!
FIGJAM wrote:Speaking of charging batteries, I had 2 sets to run my cart on, and one of the batteries quit on day 2.

24 volt wheelchair motor.

Set 1 was two 35AH batteries.

Set 2 was two 55AH batteries.

One of the 55s quit, so the 35s had to get me through the week.

This gave me about a 2 hour range, so there was a lot of recharging.

The truck has a 34 gallon tank that I filled up in Fernley.

I charged twice a day by connecting the batteries in parallel and attaching jumper cables to the truck batteries.

Idling for an hour took them from 12 volts to 12.80 volts.

When I left the playa, I still had 3/4 of a tank of fuel! 8)

Blast! I wish I had known. I showed up with a sickening array of spare parts including a few sizes of spare battery and a few 24v wheel chair chargers. :|

....Also, your charging setup and speed sounds really intense! I think I'll baby my batteries for a little longer... No rapid charging for mine! :shock:
It was better next year. -Burners

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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:26 pm

The rapid charging is fine up to 80% of capacity, then the alternator automatically backs off the charge to protect the batteries. 8)
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by Admiral Fukkit » Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:52 am

I did indeed drive up 4:30 several times, usually to and from Elliot's. One of those times I was delivering hot pizza. Yes, you definitely should have stopped me and come along to Elliot's!

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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by bm_cricket » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:26 pm

Admiral Fukkit wrote:I did indeed drive up 4:30 several times, usually to and from Elliot's. One of those times I was delivering hot pizza. Yes, you definitely should have stopped me and come along to Elliot's!
Darn! I was at Elliot's daily. It was better next year. :-)
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by EspressoDude » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:05 am

looking at your tricycle, the tires seem way too narrow for 1700 - 2000 pounds. probably always sinking into the playa so you are always driving uphill trying to climb out of the ruts. exploding final drive components says too much load.
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:35 am

I think you're right! That just reminded me of something;
Sunday night I was walking and Tiahaar happened by on his trike and picked me up. It has those HUGE Hoosier tires, almost two feet wide. His trike isn't even motorized. It rolled super easy, he could coast and it continued to roll about like a regular bicycle. He said he was doing NO extra work pedaling after I got on.
He was only running 10 PSI in those huge tires. The front was a 4" wide fat-bike tire.
I think EspressoDude nailed the problem. Tiahaar's trike was so efficient that it was easy to pedal across the playa with a passenger. I'm sure that if it had a motor, that motor would have an easy time.
I'm amazed you haven't taco'ed a wheel at 1700 pounds! I don't know how that number got past me before!
My Mazda Miata weighs 2200!
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by bm_cricket » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:46 am

Thanks both of you! I think you helped me make up my mind (not my check book...) about improved tires. Right now I'm considering replacing all three wheels with in-hub electric motors (I've found some for around $80 each without spokes and wheels) and then I can attach them to some BIG fat tire bicycle tires. The ones 4" wide ones. I'll need to replace the front fork because it's too narrow for the big fat tire style but it's also too weak for the tricycle anyway. The other option I have, which would be overkill and much more expensive, is to put motorcycle tires on the contraption. The motorcycle tires plus the weird combination of bicycle electric hub and motorcycle wheel with motorcycle tires would probably get expensive. :-(

In any case, the 2.5" tires I have on there now aren't really cutting it. They did okay on the bumpy roads and compacted playa but they didn't like the dust at all. :-/

Due to the design of the frame I can't go above about 4 inches on the rear axle without major changes. Still, 2.5" upgrade to 4" would help! Plus 3-wheel-drive electric assist!
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by bm_cricket » Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:10 am

Oh boy. I just looked into the cost for the fat wheels and they cost MORE than the electric motors. Hm. There must be a cheaper way to do this. :-(
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:27 am

There are some ways. If you don't mind lacing your own wheels, I've seen people successfully screw or weld two regular bike wheels side by side, put a tube in each, and cover them with one 4" fatbike tire. You could also just run "dualies".
Another option is car wheels and tires. They are readily available super cheap used, and you can either make your own adapters or cut the center out of the wheels, drill 32 holes in them, and lace them onto a bike hub.
A lot of Mongoose Beast bikes get bought just for the wheels & tires and front fork. It's hard to buy that stuff as cheap as just buying a whole new Beast.
I bought a new Dolomite (that's the one with 7 gears and disc brakes) when the price hit $192, the Beast is cheaper. I brought it to BRC this year, rode it once (pre-MV registration) and it's probably going to be a parts donor for my custom lowered stretch cruiser bike - that I almost never really ride either lol.

Edit: Holy crap, the 1-speed Beast is $200 now... rats. I snagged my Dolo when Walmart and Target were price-warring on them.
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by EspressoDude » Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:11 pm

look on craigslist for fat tire. one fat tire bike complete $125 seattle right above a listing about a stolen one. another myrtle creek $200

also check Goodwill

Capt.: I do like the double rim idea. Duallies(complete with hubs) will likely be too far apart to simulate a fat tire vs two skinny tires. ( may not be true just seems right)
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Re: Fruit Fly Art Car, Status Update

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:21 pm

I was thinking dual rims and tires, with the rims welded or riveted together and the whole thing laced onto one hub, but there's plenty of ways to dream up.
At 1700 pounds, if I were going this route I'd even consider triple rims.
BM Cricket, I see that your frame won't allow very large rear wheels, but that's what sawzalls and welders are for! Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
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