Thursday, March 27, 2008

Starting to lay stuff out

The time has come to start to put things together with the design of the Spartan. I've reached the point where I've got far too many ideas for the frame and layout and it's becoming difficult to keep them coherent in my head.

I work with CAD every day (Pro/ENGINEER to be specific), so I can get quite a lot done during my lunches at work. Fortunately, the software is flexible enough that I can lay out a tremendous amount of detail before actually having the critical components in hand.

The chassis started as a Gibbs chassis, but I've already made several mods, most notably reducing the length 2". I think the Gibbs design is pretty long, and I'd like to get the wheelbase down to 95"-98". I'll post more about the frame once I get the preliminary design done.

The components are rough models based on pictures of the actual components and a few key dimensions. Already I'm pretty concerned by how big the stock Miata intake manifold is.

For right now, though, this will give me enough information to pick components and place them in the car. I'm hoping that I can do an accurate enough job to reasonably predict the CG of the car and do some tweaking. Eventually I'd like to have a very accurate model of the entire car.

Besides, frame development in CAD is cheap and easy. I have access to FEA software, so I intend to model the "stock" Gibbs chassis and compare it to my evolved frame so I can get an idea if my ideas will work or not.

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