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Old 10-10-2009, 03:37 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Project Update # 8 ( SR-71/YF-12-A look out! )

Hello all,just checking in with latest report.--------- At almost 290 hours into the project the aluminum belly and recycled stamped steel wheel houses are complete now.The underside of the trailer is now as smooth as the top of a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird except for the Howard Hughes' hated pop-rivet heads.I've gone from a surface irregularity of 75-mm ( 3-inches ) to under 1-mm.-------------- Also,the fiberglass axle fairing has been fitted although is only taped in place as I work out other details.This fairing will be "foamed on " with Great Stuff expanding foam insulation which will bond like Gorilla Glue and also weatherproof the otherwise empty- voids inside the fairing skin.------------- The leading and trailing wheel/tire fairings are designed.Three of them have full superstructures and are foamed.One has been net formed to it's aerodynamic shape and awaits a coat of polyurethane spar varnish to allow automotive body filler and fiberglass.I needed extra attachment hardware before I could proceed with 4th unit.I purchased material last night but weather too cold today to use any of it.------------------- The leaf-spring/shackle fairings are requiring the most energy.What I originally wanted to do really aggravated frontal area and interference with the wheels/tires/fairings.The wheel bearings are the only "moving" parts to speak of with the trailer and the source of most breakdowns.Since I'm going to pull the thing about 7,000 miles in December/January,I don't want to take any chances with depriving airflow to these bearings.Anyway,I've been noodling with a more Rube-Goldberg approach to these fairings which will minimize frontal area and maximize airflow.It's all tentative.------------------- I photographed the build progression of one of the rear wheel/tire fairings and Al is going to help me later,to get them posted over at the DIY Forum.I'll use "Rapid Prototyping" for that thread.Whole car bodies can be created this way and if you've contemplated some "scratch-built" mods this is one way among many to realize your designs.----------------- I will wait 'til the first five fairings are dry-fitted for next photos.--------------- My hope is to pre-test the trailer without the gap-fillers before the December departure for comparative results.-------------Also,I'm springing for a 3-inch rise receiver hitch adapter for Gilkison's Highlander,as we want to do an independent mpg test run with his vehicle pulling the trailer also.--------------- PS the final tailfin design waits on the leaf-spring fairing design,as they will give me fin area below the beltline ( ala Dr. Morelli,GM Sunraycer, and the new VW 317 mpg car) and will affect the final area of the upper fin.More soon,Phil.
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