Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year and New News

Hello all! Sorry for making all of you wait for another update for so long. My last real progress was back in October when I stated my intentions for building the fan a new frame and getting it a new prop. Well, I haven't done that yet. You might have noticed the pace of the build was starting to slow back around September-October and there is a good reason for that (which I wasn't able to share at the time)....

I'm engaged!

I was putting most of my extra money away to buy a ring for Ms. Kelli Cherry (remember the cherry on my parachute??) soon to be Mrs. Kelli Veliz.
So, now that the proposal is out of the way....back to the hard stuff!

Although I haven't fully decided on the design for the lower end of this build, I haven't been short of ideas. Here are a few drawings I sketched up. They are not meant to be realistic, so they are not exact measurements. I was just trying to get an idea of where I might start to approach this part of project and used the grid to help me sketch a little more accurate than freehand drawing.

As you can see, I am using a horizontal 20 gallon Aerostar tank. The seats are actually polyurethane racing seats and are very comfortable to sit in.
Here is another sketch I made up.

So after doing a million sketches I decided to start building a prototype out of 1.25" Galvanized pipe. The reason? It is cheap, light and I have 100+ feet of it. Here are a few pictures while moving around the components, welding and cutting up pipe and trying to figure out what will work and what wont.
*Please keep in mind this will NOT be my final design. The frame will be much more carefully constructed, there will be more bracing and my welds will be clean and strong.*

What I learned from building these prototypes is that i should have built a larger envelope. Limiting myself to a specific weight for the gondola has posed more than a few complications for me. However, I have decided to continue with a design like the one below. If it ends up being too heavy, I will build a one man cloud hopper lower end and use this lower end for my next experimental envelope.

Like I stated earlier, the frame will not be EXACTLY like this. I will not be using a single upright tube in the front because it will not provide enough structural support. Sometimes you just have to use your imagination.

That is it for this update. Expect another in a week or two. I will be building a demo frame out of mild steel which I will then destroy in load and drop tests. As long as everything turns out fine, Ill be ordering the stainless steel and have this project finished by the end of March!

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