Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting back up to speed pt 2: Bike Project!

For those of you following my bamboo bike project progress, I previously left off at how my inspiration came about.

For the engineering classmates, my "BME" inspiriation was not Biomedical Engineering (sorry!), but rather a fellow by the name of Brano Meres. From is "About BME" page, you can easily tell he is a seriously smart bloke, and has produced some truly drool-worthy pieces from carbon fiber and bamboo. http://www.bmeres.com/bambooframe.htm

I took the inspiration from him to build my frame jig, though mine is probably nowhere near as robust as his. Still, it got the job done and I was ready to do the carbon fiber layups.

The layup process was very similar to his (using perforated electrical tape to apply pressure, etc), so with some help from my roommate, we finished the first layer for a couple of the joints in this time lapse:
video
After the first layer of CF, I added some high density foam to help fillet the corner and reduce stress concentrations...
As the project stands now, I've finished almost all of the layups... It's just waiting for a final sanding (to smooth out the CF and get rid of excess resin..) and then it'll be ready for assembly. The project is a bit of a standstill now because it is physically difficult to work on something when it's over 1000 miles away...

Getting back up to speed: Summary of Summar

Once again, I've fallen waaay behind in blogging; a LOT has happened in the past few months so I don't know if this is enough to fit in to one post.... I'll start with some summer summary (alliteration ;P)

Summer was spent with my last co-op term at Fenwal. Work was pretty chill, and we were on summer hours ( M-Th 9hrs, Fri 4hrs) so I had a lot of free time on Fridays. One milestone was finally replacing the broken LCD on my car radio with an entirely new unit, so now I have MP3 CD, and in theory an aux in/satellite radio port available if I were to add some more hardware... The surgery went OK; just an afternoon's work.
(picture coming soon!)


I think the highlight of the co-op term was filling one of our boss's office full of balloons to look like the makeup of blood while he was away for his birthday.. Needless to say, he was in for a bit of a surprise when he returned.
(picture coming soon!)


We spent a lot of time playing on weekends. One very interesting weekend was for Chiarng's birthday. We started out with dinner at Buca di Peppo, then drinks at a lounge called Murasaki. Very stylish, and the drinks were pricy, but the atmosphere was great



We crashed at friends' apartments in Chicago, and explored more of Chicago the following day. We went up to Belmont for dinner, and stumbled upon a promotional event by Lexus for the upcoming "sporty" hybrid- two words that I would rarely use together.




Exterior is typical Lexus, but I don't know if younger people would be drawn to this... Lexus sure has some work to do to shed its old lady stereotypes and warm wallpaper paste feeling when driving along...




Verdict? Well, it's a hybrid for sure. Beyond that, I can't really say since we only drove it for a total of 4 blocks on public roads, never exceeding 25 mph. I can't really compare to other hybrids since I personally haven't driven one, but I think the biggest challenge the CT 200h faces is the other "sporty" hybrid: the Honda CRZ. That has the big advantage of a manual transmission (a must for a driving enthusiast!), and most likely a ~$15K price advantage(!!??!!)
And the big question of "sprotiness"?? Doesn't even compare to my big Subaru station wagon, let alone my parents' BMW, so it's a resounding no. Still, being handed the opportunity to test drive cars that are the only two working prototypes in North America is a pretty special ordeal.