SWITCHBLADE UPDATE: 23 October, 2015

SWITCHBLADE UPDATE:  23 October, 2015

We continued assembly of the wing fixture or jig, which holds the wing parts in position while the wing is bonded and bolted together. Checking accuracy took some time, as we want the jig to be correct so we don’t introduce error into the future wing building, as well as our prototype wings. The jig will be used in our assembly line into the future. Above, Sam Bousfield is bolting up the brackets that ensure proper alignment of the wing swing mechanism and its connection. Below, those brackets now completed. Below that, Sam is shaping an attachment that needed additional work.

The testing of the Garnet Tread tires occurred several weeks ago, but I don’t think we showed you any video of that event. This doesn’t quite do it justice, as it looks quite different from the driver’s point of view. The whole course is eight hundred feet, with cones every hundred feet. Our speed increased by two miles per hour using the Garnet Tread tires and by tightening up the steering response.

Composite Approach in Bend, Oregon, is doing the plugs (solid forms/shapes from which we will make multiple molds) for the front of the vehicle. The nose is being done first, followed by the main cabin area. Another group is doing the rear of the vehicle, as we are working on this simultaneously to reduce the time spent on this process. A plug is used, as it takes considerable time to make a shape, whether as a mold or a plug. Making a plug can speed up the process of making future molds, and is used by most manufacturers to reduce the cost of replacing molds when they wear out. Even expensive production molds will only last so long, but the plug may last for a decade of use. The plug is made from high-density structural foam, and then has a tough coating placed over it. The resulting shape is then machined again to close tolerance to final shape. Some handwork is necessary to produce the Class A (paintable) surface of the plug, but in the end you have a durable and accurate shape with which to make multiple molds.

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