Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

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Token
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby Token » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:23 am

Not sure if it was mentioned and too lazy to read all posts ...

Clutch.

You probably need two and a big-ass flywheel.

Lemme esplain.

Getting the rig to start moving will be a pain. All torque and no momentum on the power source if done with shoulder strength.

Having a big-ass flywheel that has a centrifugal clutch lets the operators pre-load the energy into the spinning flywheel which will auto-engage via slipper clutch at a set rpm/power level. Cart then takes off without much fuss.

Second mechanical clutch that is user operated to disengage flywheel before breaking and stopping. I'd make the break lever part of the mechanical clutch linkage - applying the break disengages the clutch. Releasing the break does not re-engage the clutch - must use separate clutch engagement lever.

And finally, all control levers - make them big bold exaggerated, with long throws and big clunky sounds.

And a steam whistle of some kind. Doesn't have to be real steam but you gotta have that.

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:11 pm

We've been discussing a flywheel for exactly the reason you describe, Token. It does make things more complex, with the clutches and all. Might look into scooter centrifugal clutches... If we forgo a flywheel, we figure we give the thing a running push start. It'd suck when getting stuck in a playa snake though.

We're definitely having kerosene lanterns all over the thing (duh!). I also considered a ship's bell. A steam whistle would fit right in, but ideally would poof fire, rather than steam.

As for control levers... steering is still our biggest issue. Current plan is to try to steer using the angle of the lever handle, pivoting on the lever arm. The ergonomics and efficiency of this is questionable.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby Elliot » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:44 pm

I like Token's idea of a flywheel that engages automatically with a centrifugal clutch. From the engineering viewpoint, it is lovely. Such clutches are indeed readily available -- used on scooters, go-karts etc.

But they are made for the much faster-spinning gasoline engines. You could install lighter springs and/or different weights, but this is probably uncharted territory.

And from the safety viewpoint... I would probably want to engage the clutch with a deliberate action -- lest the machine take off when you have just decided to remain stationary for a while longer.

And you would definitely need the manually operated clutch so you can stop anytime.

There are handcar races. Not the artistic hand- (more often foot- ) cars of recent popular events, but the traditional hand cars. A team consists of five people. Four to pump the handle, and one giant fellow to shove the thing off from the standing start. So yeah, flywheel is a good idea.

That said.... A flywheel can do damage if it disintegrates or disengages from its moorings. So this system should be competently engineered.

Le Chat Noir (Matt) hand built the flywheel on The Contraption. Of course, he has tremendous credentials for such.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby EspressoDude » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:39 am

Looks like a great project. and one that can fit in the back of a pickup. But methinks it needs to be longer.......longer wheelbase, less overhang. First person stepping on will possibly lift the other end off the ground. even though real rail handcars have about a 3 ft wheel spacing and are over 6 ft long, there is a lot of weight in the middle(crank and gears) and low rolling friction o the rails.

If you are thinking of motorcycle wheels, check used Harley parts dealers. I bought some for a project, 2 years later sold them back.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:44 am

I've been thinking hard about the steering.
Articulating the pump handle will just suck too much, as mentioned it will screw up the ergonomics of an already-hard--to-operate rig and it'll require too much coordination, too many "drivers" (everyone on board!).
And you'll need a lot of leverage on the steering because two people will be standing right over the steer axle.

So what I would do if I were building this is put a large, tall tiller stick at the steering end of the cart. It would be right behind the people pumping on that end. I'd make it a sideways-action tiller, shove the stick left or right to steer. One of the two steering-end pumpers might be able to reach behind and steer with one hand and still pump with the other. Or, just stop pumping for a few seconds and reach back to yank the stick.
I think the other trick would be to have detents so that you can "set and forget" the steering, and have it stay where you put it last. It's only gonna go real slow, someone could reach back and make steering actions as needed but most of the time they could just pump.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:23 am

Tiller stick steering was Le Chat Noir's solution for The Contraption, though I think he did front/back rather than left/right, perhaps to save space, perhaps for easier linkage. What I do like about this option is it means it might be possible to have the thing "headless," by locking one tiller straight forward as the front direction, and then steering with the other end. Changing direction would be a matter of flipping the rotation of the central sprocket, which seems pretty straightforward in the videos of actual handcars doing it.

EspressoDude, we've been meaning to do the math for front/back tipping, especially because of future mods that will make this more problematic. We are referring to actual rail car schematics as reference, though it's likely our decking will be lighter, which is an argument for an even longer/wider wheelbase. As you caught, we're mostly designing around the interior dimensions of a trailer we already own and are comfortable hauling to/from playa.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby Elliot » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:42 am

I second the notion of a steering lever that latches in straight-ahead, and perhaps in a couple turn-angles also. The straight-ahead notch could be adjustable with a stop-screw or two for fine tuning of "straight".

You would pull the lever slightly toward you for free steering. Let go, and a spring pulls the lever into the nearest notch.

(Could also use a finger lever such as on antique cars, but this would require more complex and precise -- and slower -- use of the hand to release the steering from a notch.)

My vote is for having the steering lever move side to side, which is logical and intuitive. I've used a fore-and-aft lever to steer on a Kinetic Racing Sculpture, and I sometimes turned in the wrong direction even after miles of practice.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:43 am

Newest proportions, probably last iteration before we purchase the steel:
- 5x7 foot platform
- slightly longer wheelbase than before, at 39" (was 37"; every little bit helps the tipping issue)
- 3.5 foot handlebar instead of 3 foot
- 3 foot tower height (center of the shaft to the platform)
- 3.5 foot lever

Image

Here's the layout from below. Remember that this isn't our plan for the drive train! It's just parts to hold the 3D-printed model together.

Image

Also, after further rumination, we're convinced that steering with a stick is preferable. However, we're probably going to attempt to have the steering near the tower, rather than at one end of the car. This will still be behind the steerer, however, as the safest position to pump a hand car is actually from inside the lever arm, not outside like you see in cartoons.

Image
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:05 pm

Oh! Well that's an interesting development! If the people will be located inside the pump arm area I would consider forgetting the lever idea and instead use a wheel for steering, mounted upright like a ship's wheel. You need lots of leverage and may not have the space to use a giant lever to get it.
A wheel can easily be geared down to whatever ratio you need.
To convert the rotary motion from the steering wheel to sideways motion, you might try using a manual-steering box from a junkyard small car. You won't have to worry about breaking it. Overbuilt steering is always good.

Stretching the wheelbase slightly was a good call. Small amounts do make a difference.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Sun Jun 25, 2017 1:03 am

Image
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby burner von braun » Sun Jun 25, 2017 1:15 am

:D

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:44 pm

:D
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When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:09 pm

:D
Image
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby Elliot » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:13 pm

.
Motive Power Tower Subframe Assembly Unit fabricated and trial fitted; check.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:05 pm

:D :D :D
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When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:39 pm

...Which brings us to the point where I'd like to solicit more suggestions from you wonderful eplayans:

1. Dust and moving parts. I have seen massive projects out there literally grind to a halt from dust, so this is a big worry on my mind right now.

Our points of articulation currently rest on flange sleeve bearings, pillow-block bearings (these are reasonably well-sealed already) and rod-end ball bearings. For holding rotating shafts in alignment, the flange sleeve bearings are bronze, riding on bronze washers. The fit is snug, but we know dust will get in there. Will the dust gum it up? Should we switch to plastic bearings? They are more expensive but more slippery.

We're considering switching to needle roller bearings on the front (turning) wheel assemblies if the flange sleeve bearings give too much resistance under load. But this is more moving parts, so more room for dust to gum it up.

We've read that oil-based lubricants are worse in dust, so we're debating between teflon and wax lubrication. There's also the option of simply sanding and polishing all axles and their respective bearings so they're slightly loose. Will dust in the bearings scratch up and increase friction, or will it act as an abrasive and grind out points of articulation?


2. Metal finishing. I'd love to powder coat the frame but I doubt we have that kind of cash, or the time to remove all the oil from the metal. The cheapest option might be simple spray paint, but I doubt that will help against corrosion. The good news is that we have access to an air compressor, so we can spray on paint. I'm soliciting suggestions about the type of paint, given that pretty much the whole thing is unfinished steel. Marine paint? House paint? Automotive paint? Oil based? Water based?

We're not trying to go crazy with color - saving that for the lighting, which we have more expertise in. So, our axes of optimization are: 1) higher durability in the face of corrosive playa dust, 2) lower cost, 3) ease/speed of application, with a goal of maximum one weekend to complete painting of the frame. Slight preference for matte or flat over shiny.

I am elated that our "little" project is on wheels and rolling, and am very grateful to all of you for your help in getting us this far.
:D
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby EGAZ » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:44 pm

For paint I would go with a good Industrial primer & paint. Do the proper prep/cleaning, shoot it and be done. Rustoleum makes paint you can mix and use in a sprayer, which would be cheaper than rattle cans in this case. You could go with Imron if you really want some abrasion/nick resistance but its bit pricey and requires a more controlled environment to spray. (it orange peels easily)

I have hiem joints on my Quad. But the sand/dust we ride in as not as fine as the playa. I used teflon & silicon based lubes. Haven't really noticed any difference between the two. They both do not attract dust like oil/wax based lubes. I think there will be some daily maintenance (clean and lube) just given the environment. Anything greased will be ok if you add more grease to push out any dust the may have entered. So zurk fittings would help.

there's my two cents FWIW..... :coffee:

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby Elliot » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:03 pm

Generic "Rustoleum" is available as Ace Hardware Rust Stop for less money.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby Popeye » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:42 pm

I'd put dust caps on the wheel hubs. Then when I got it home after the burn I'd repack all the bearings. If any bearing housings have a plug for a zerk fitting, remove the plug and install a fitting, grease just enough to get a dab of grease coming through at the end of the day. Wipe it off so it doesn't get on the playa.
Manufacturers say that mixing different types of grease may actually increase friction (say lithium and petroleum) but if that is true I haven't been able to see it. However I do try to match grease to original.

I like 2 part epoxy paint. Comes in many colors, easy to mix and use and I'm guessing a quart should be enough so fairly inexpensive. Excellent wear resistance. Slow to fully dry.
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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:26 pm

Thanks for the input, fellas! The pillow block bearings do have zerk fittings, so that should help.

I'll be posting more updates as things move along. We're hoping to get drive train in by Sunday, as we're starting to have second thoughts about our current gear ratio.
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:54 am

:D :D :D

Finally moved it under pumping power last night! Exhilirating!

Steering's in good shape, too, with some tweaks on the way. Brakes are nearing completion, still need to route brake lines.

All kind of plans for next steps, including wheel covers, decking, undercarriage storage compartments, paint, lights, decorations.
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Little girl's off-rail industrial hand car

Postby burner von braun » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:45 am



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