We’ve been working hard since we arrived at the rickshaw bank factory, and all three projects are starting to look useful.
After installing the fork prototype on an old rickshaw, the fork team
has tested and altered the design until it performs like a half-decent piece of modern suspension. The largely adjustable prototype they are working with allows them to find the exact dimensions and key changes for the final, simplified design that will be reproducible by the rickshaw factory. This also includes testing a variety of different springs made of different combinations of rubber discs cut from old car tires. Today they began actual test rides, but after numerous runs through an obstacle course of bricks and small ditches, they encountered a substantial design flaw when the shaft holding the spring discs buckled. Fortunately, Ali, a masterful factory worker with an amazing mechanical intuition, was able to straighten the 1/4 in mild steel shaft to near perfection with a hammer and his eye in a matter of minutes. The team built a new system for holding the spring and will resume testing tomorrow.
After a week of measurement and calculation, the frame team ordered supplies to build a first draft frame! Starting tomorrow they will finally escape their pencils and paper and start welding. The goal was to incorporate a truss frame into the rear section of the frame to increase strength to weight efficiency over the current design at the rickshaw bank. Such a truss frame was designed by D-Lab students a few years ago, but dimensions generated by the computer aided drafting interfered with the drivetrain and deviated from the standard in some important dimensions for usability: the wheelbase and the shape of the passenger floor. The new design will incorporate this truss design with corrected dimensions to match the existing standards.
The power meter team has battled a number of stressful bugs, defective chips, and lack of needle nose pliers due to Micaela’s airport security incident. They are currently getting the sum of 3 different waveforms instead of the expected 1 as force output data, but will otherwise have to write their own update because I don’t know anything else.