Hi everyone! Now that my research thread has served its purpose, I'm ready to actually begin work on the project, so here I am with a fresh start.
Having no experience or equipment for welding, I'm wary of building a Frankenstein trike out of chopped up bikes bolted together.
A more sensible idea to me (and reinforced by my research) is to build it from a material I DO have the materials and skills to work with. This blog showed me that a wooden tadpole is indeed doable. He says he's already put 7000km on it and no major problems.
Plans for his "Zelo" can also be found on his site:
While his design is beautiful and functional, he mentions in a few places that the steering is not very good, and that the design is not terribly efficient. It's mostly attractive and durable.
The design I've decided on for my trike is the Thunderbolt by Practical Innovations:
and incorporating some elements of the Thunderbolt MKIII / Spitfire later developed by the same person:
My end goal is to use the design precision of the Thunderbolt trikes, and some of the methods of assembly seen in the Zelo. In this way I should end up with a vehicle that is structurally sound, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.
I will of course need to work the electric motor, batteries, and supporting hardware into the design, but I'm fairly certain the motor will fit under the seat, and the batteries can be built into a framework on either side of the rear wheel. If I need additional battery space I could foreseeably put some below the crank in the front as well to further balance weight distribution.
Because I'm building out of wood I decided the methods used in the Thunderbolt construction via welding tubes together would be impractical to emulate. Instead I've decided to use methods of joining wood together used in boat building, which will give it a bit of a nautical visual theme.
Thus the name: The stormy element of the Thunderbolt name, combined with the nautical visual theme, evoked images of Shakespeare's "The Tempest", and I instantly knew the name would be perfect for it.
And now for some images! The following are my concept sketches that may or may not reflect the actual placement of components. The crank will likely move farther aft, since it was designed for a 36" inseam and I'm a 34". Doing so will also reduce the amount of material going into this and make it lighter.
Aside from the sketches we have some photos of my work space and available materials. The boards I've got laid out on the floor are a sketch model of approximately what the body will look like when assembled. The pieces are not cut to scale and were simply pulled from the pile based on their approximate sizes. Also while doing this I realized the 2"x2" main bar (I keep wanting to call it the keel) is going to be far too slender for the amount of weight that'll be going on here. It'll need to be a 2x4 instead, or maybe two 2"x4"s bolted together around the horizontal frames, the way the keelson is attached to the keel on a boat. Hmmm I like that idea.
Without further ado, the pictures from Day 1!