Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
Plug Bug

Archive for December, 2010

Plug Bug: Rear Battery Box

Don’t forget about the original design: I did modify it slightly as I went along. I learned a lesson from the front box: add 1/8″ or so to the total length to avoid it from being too tight. I started the rear box by welding up the bottom piece. I also used this piece to figure out where it would attach to the frame. I ended up using the rear seat belt mounting points and also the side seat belt mounting points; those worked out perfect! The box is quite large, and just barely fits into the car. I... [read more]

Plug Bug: Front battery box fabrication

I’ve been working on fabricating the battery boxes out of 1/8″ steel angle iron and flat stock for the past two weeks. The first step was to strap them together to get an accurate measurement of the size of the batteries when as a group. I then went to SIMs metals in downtown San Jose and picked up some steel. I ended up needing more 1/8″ aluminum plate for the cells, and ordered another 4’x4′ piece from Reliance Metal Center up Union City, CA. I also needed some sheet metal, which I was going to get at SIMs but I... [read more]

Turner’s Cube

Tuner’s Cube. I made it for my dad for Christmas 2010. Aaron helped me over Thanksgiving break to figure out the details and did some machining on it too. It started out as a ~3.5″x3.5″ solid square piece of aluminum. We made a jig to hold it so it could be removed and place back in again at the same position but on a different edge. The rotary table on the mill was used to turn it out: Second half of the jig — this was Aaron’s idea, and it worked great. Just use a piece of mild steel with... [read more]

Metalwork: Wine Glass Rack

Here’s a wine glass rack I made for my dad’s wife, Karen. I made it a while ago, but it was a Christmas present, so I couldn’t post it till after the 25th. It is made out of 1/4″ diameter mild steel round stock. I bent each top piece by hand, freestyle around a little jig. I welded each one to the other one at the base. To cover up the welds, I wanted to curl some of the round stock around it; I tried to pre-bend it by hand, but that wasn’t working. Instead, I started by tacking the... [read more]

Plug Bug: Strapping Thundersky batteries together

Here’s how I strap the Thundersky batteries together. As previously mentioned, I bought the Mini Polyester Strapping Kit 5/8″ x .040″+seals + tools for $80 (plus shipping) on ebay. The pack of 4 (or 5) cells is squared with a regular square. Be sure to line up the terminals in the direction you want them. I ended up restrapping one cell again. Actually, I did it twice; I actually strapped it back together in the same configuration that I took it apart in (doubt!). Tape on the end pieces (1/8″ thick aluminum sheet). Twice I forgot to do this and... [read more]

Plug Bug: Weight Distribution

The unladen weight of the stock bug is 1807 lbs. The gross vehicle weight is 2645 lbs. Front axle load: 1080 lbs, rear: 1609 lbs. The front axle had the 10.6 gallon tank removed — when full, 10.6 gallons is about 66 pounds (6.25 pounds per gallon of gas). The engine, I’m guessing, was about 250 pounds (fairly easy to move with just two people). I probably removed an extra 100 pounds in other various components: rear seat, drum -> disc brakes, generator, smaller 12v battery, etc. So, my starting empty weight: about 1391 lbs, giving 1254 lbs of payload.... [read more]

Plug Bug: Battery Box Design

I did some research on what people have done for battery boxes. The cells need to be contained well so they don’t go flying around in the event of an accident. A few interesting posts I found: — some good pictures. Battery Boxes for the Adventure EV – a 1971 Land Rover, with nice boxes. I knew I wanted to make my boxes out of steel, similar to Travis’ bug. I wasn’t sure how thick of steel to use, so I asked on with this post. That also was a great way of seeing some other boxes that... [read more]

Plug Bug: Batteries Arrived!

I’m a little behind on the status of the project…I got the batteries on Dec 8th, but was really busy that week due to Louise’s show, Left of the North Pole. It was a pain getting the batteries; the guys at the warehouse had some miscommunication and I had to drive up to the place twice, wasting a bunch of gas in my truck and an hour+ of my time. Oh well! The bad news: they are bigger than I anticipated; I was hoping for 200ah cells in a “160ah case”. But, I’m making it work by removing the backseat... [read more]

Plug Bug: Gas Gap Sticker

My batteries are in California! I just need to have the guy call me to pick them up. I’m dying to get them and put the car together, but in the meantime here’s what I did. I’m going to make this into a sticker that goes inside the “gas” cap: Edit: A better png version. Email me for the photoshop file.

Plug Bug: Stereo

I wanted to have a good sound system in the car. I bought an Alpine stereo and a set of speakers. I was initially going to mount them in the doors, but I read that is bad idea for several reasons. For one, the door panels are rather weak, and a hard door slam could throw the speakers out. Second, the doors are made to get wet inside, and I don’t want the speakers to get water damage. Luckily, I ran across some “front speaker panels” on and ordered those. I bought 6.5″ component speakers and I was hoping... [read more]

Plug Bug: Auxillary 12 v Battery

A typical gas powered car has a large 12 volt battery mainly for the purpose of turning the engine over during starting. That usually takes a lot of amps to crank it over. Since my electric car won’t have that problem, I figure I can go with a significantly smaller battery. I heard people can get away with really small batteries, since the DC-DC converter will be doing most of the power providing, and the aux battery just provides some startup power to turn on the contactors and even out the draw for other accessories. I went with a Powersonic... [read more]

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