DIY Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 20 of 50 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My goal for this project is to build a commuter vehicle capable of highway speeds (60 mph), a reasonable range (25 miles) and a budget that won’t require a second mortgage ($5K).

I have chosen to use a three wheeled trike design for the following reasons:
a) I am familiar with it from prior builds.
b) It is relatively light weight.
c) It is more stable (for me at age 72) than a two wheel “motorcycle”.
d) It is easier to license here in CA as a motorcycle than if it were a hand-built four wheel vehicle which would require licensing as a car.
e) although the trike will be “open air” I am fortunate to live in California’s Central Valley where year-round motorcycle riding is quite common.


The trike will be built using two 3000W, QS Motors hub wheels mounted on the rear. The hubs have 16" rims, 273 ring size, 40H magnet size and are dual shaft, requiring drop outs on each side of each wheel. The other major electronic components include:
*Two Kelly controllers model KLS7230S (includes regeneration, electronic reverse, and cruise control)
*Two controller heat sinks
*Cycle Analyst V3 instrument cluster
*Dunlop Motorcycle tires (150/80/16)
*Kelly 400A72V contactor
*Holdwell ED250B-1 emergency shut off
*Hydraulic disc brakes on both rear wheels
*Dual disc hydraulic brakes on front wheel
*Mechanical parking/emergency brake kit
*6 - 12 volt EverStart 29DC deep cycle lead acid battery pack rated at 125 amphour.
*4 awg welding cable for all main battery wiring.


I will be posting my progress to this thread as well as a somewhat more detailed version on my own site,https://hotrodjalopy.com/ . Once on the site just click on the Electric Chopper Trike button to navigate to that build. You can follow the build and ask questions or make comments from either place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Donor Bike

I will be custom fabricating the frame for the trike but many of the basic parts and pieces will come from a donor bike. For this purpose I purchased a 1989 Kawasaki Voyager 1200 which fit my needs and my budget ($500).





The bike was in good running condition and had a clear title and the registration was up to date. So I will be able to use this title as the basis for legally registering the vehicle after the modifications are completed. (See Photo 1) Note: Please click on any photo for an enlarged version.
The parts I intend to use from the Voyager include:
*Front fork assembly
*Front wheel and tire
*Steering head
*Front dual disc brake assembly including hand controls and hydraulic system
*Seats
*Luggage carrier including adjustable (sliding) base and rack
*Progressive coil over shocks (Series 412 Model 4221)
*Headlight switch and dimmer
*Turn signal switch
*Rear brake pedal assembly
*Horn(s) and horn button
*Rear brake light, turn signal and running lights
*12 volt charger (for my separate 12 lighting system)
*I also intend to use the 97 HP Voyager engine and transmission in a shifter cart project which is next in line after this trike is completed.

The first step of the build process is to totally strip the Kawasaki down and set aside parts and pieces to be used for the trike build.




The main component I am after on the donor is the front fork/wheel/dual disc brakes assembly. On the Voyager the front fork is welded directly to the frame and must be cut away. I left the "junction box" welded to the steering head so that I have something to weld the frame too.





 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Fabricating the Base Frame

The pieces for the base frame are cut from 1x2x.090 wall rectangular steel tubing.




The frame pieces are squared up for welding. The red arrows note where the side rails were pie cut and bent inward.



The base frame welded up.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Mounting the Front Fork

The front fork will be set at a 28 degree angle (matching the angle of the original voyager) and held in place using two upright supports and two angled supports. While being set up for welding, the fork is held in position on an adjustable tripod (the orange legs in the first photo) to keep it at the correct rake angle. Note the lengths of 1x2 tubing (red arrows) which have been clamped to the side rails of the base frame, squared, and extended forward. These rail extensions act as guides for centering the front wheel and fork with the frame base.



The steering tube and front fork have machined “stops” (red arrows in the photo below) and a centering pin (white arrow) which prevent the front wheel and fork from being turned too far left or right thereby creating a dangerous or unstable condition. By fitting identically sized wooden shims between the center pin and the stops on each side, the fork and the “junction box” can be clamped in place at dead center to insure the junction box, steering head and front wheel will be pointed straight forward when the fork is welded to the frame.








The two front uprights and the two angle supports to the frame are then welded in place to permanently mount the front fork.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Battery and Electronics Box

The batteries and electronic components will be located between the rear wheels and behind the seat. The box will be 24″ x 29″ x11″ (external dimensions) to accommodate the six lead acid batteries. 1x1x.0625 square tubing is cut for the perimeter of the battery box.



The tubing is squared up and welded to the frame base to form the box.



Additional 1×1 tubing is cut and welded to form the box’s angle bracing. This bracing provides support and strength to the box and to the frame itself.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Swing Arm Fabrication

The rear wheels will be mounted to the frame using U-shaped swing arms which support both ends of the wheel’s axle shaft. Fabrication of the arms begins by making drop out brackets for the axles. The drop out plates are cut from 1/4 inch steel plate. Two holes are drilled in each plate. The larger whole is drilled to match the axle diameter. The smaller whole is for mounting an axle torque plate. The holes are drilled using a jig on the drill press to insure all four drop out plates match up. The torque plate is also made from 1/4 inch flat stock and is designed to prevent the torque of the hub motor from twisting or spinning the axle within the slot of the drop out. The QS hub wheels come from the factory with prefabricated torque plates which have a very precise fit on the axle shaft. The axle holes in the drop out plates are cut open to allow the axle to slip out the bottom.



The side arms for the swing arms are cut from 1x2x.090 rectangular tubing. The tubing is first cut to TWICE the length for each arm. My arms are going to be 13 3/4″ long but this will vary depending on wheel/tire size and other design differences. Draw a line exactly half the length of the tubing and then drill a hole 1 ½” in diameter in the center of the arm. I used a metal cutting hole saw in the drill press to do this.



Cut the 1×2 tubing exactly in half based on the center line which was drawn earlier. This cut will also be directly in the center of the 1 1/2″ hole.



You now have two arms notched to fit quite nicely around 1 ½” O.D. tubing and ready for welding. The pivot tube for the swing arm is cut from 1 1/2″ O.D. tubing. The length of the pivot tube will vary depending on wheel width and mounting position considerations but for this project the tubes are 13 3/8″ long.



The drop out plates are tack welded to the side arms and then the side arms with drop outs are bolted to each side of the wheel axle. The pivot tube is lined up in the side arms, clamped in place and tack welded.



The completed left swing arm.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
734 Posts
If that's thin wall electrical conduit you're using for the swing arm pivot tube, it might not be strong enough for this application. I would use the stock swing arm tube's wall thickness as a guide for what would be required. You probably have pivot bearings lined-up that fit nicely in the conduit. But, be prepared to have to reinforce the conduit tube or switch to a heavier wall tube.

I've actually used thin wall conduit tubing on a swing arm before. But, it was on a bicycle trailer 1/10th weight of your trike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Brake Caliper Mounting

Although I take no credit for planning it out this well, the brake caliper can be mounted in the correct position on the disk by simply dropping a piece of 1/4" flat stock directly down from the swing arm drop out plate and then bolting the caliper onto the plate. I made a pattern on card stock paper to get the bolt holes right and then drilled the plate for the mounting bolts.



Here's a shot of the simple plate/bracket bolted to the caliper. Not so pretty, but functional.



The wheel and swing arm are positioned on the trike's frame and clamped tightly in place. The caliper and bracket are fitted in place with the brake pads slipped over the rotor to insure everything lines up correctly and that the caliper does not interfere with any frame components. The bracket (see arrow in Photo 3) is clamped to the swing arm and then tack welded in place. The caliper is unbolted and removed and then the bracket and swing arm are removed from the wheel and trike as one piece for final welding.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Mounting the Swing Arms

A swing arm mounting bar which spans from wheel to wheel is cut from 1x2x.090 rectangular tubing and clamped to the existing frame of the battery box with the 2″ dimension in the horizontal position. (See upper arrow in Photo). A second bar is cut from perforated channel strut and is welded with the long dimension in the vertical position to the underside of the 1×2 tubing (see lower arrow in Photo). This prevents the mounting bar from flexing either vertically or horizontally.



Brackets for attaching the swing arm pivot tubes to the mounting bars are cut from 1/4″ flat stock and drilled with ½” holes. There is a size and shape difference between the inside brackets and outside brackets but all four bracket holes must line up in the same position. So as each plate drilled it is marked for proper positioning. The exposed corners of the bracket are trimmed off and ground to a smoother shape.



Half inch steel rod is cut to length to fit the pivot tube length plus bearings plus brackets plus end collars.



Flanged bearings with ½” I.D. and 1 3/8″ O.D. are fitted into each end of the pivot tube (see arrow in Photo). These particular bearings are rated for a dynamic load of 4900 lbs.



With the swing arm, wheel/tire, and pivot tube square to the frame, the pivot tube brackets (arrows in first Photo below) are clamped and tack welded to the horizontal mounting bar. Once it is certain everything is square and true, the brackets will be permanently welded to the mounting bar. The passenger side swing arm is then welding in place in the same way. The 1/2″ rod is capped on each end with a 1/2″ I.D. collar and set screws. (last Photo)



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
It's a Roller

This is a fun day in the progress of any project. The day you can roll the beast out of the garage on its own two, three or four wheels. The chopper trike has no rear suspension yet but with the swing arms clamped in position the bike sees daylight. These photos also begin to hint at how the trike will look in a more finished state.









 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Rear Suspension

Positioning the rear spring/shock mounts and setting them at the right height can be a daunting task on any scratch built project. During the fabrication process there is no weight on the frame and the mounting points for the top and bottom of the spring/shock are just theoretical points in space. Once the vehicle is completed and under full weight, including the rider, the suspension is going to compress and the vehicle is going to end up at a different ride height than during construction.

The Kawasaki donor had a nice pair of aftermarket Progressive 412 Series, adjustable coil over shocks on the rear which will be used on the new trike. Calculating final ride height and shock compression can be even more of a challenge when using progressive coil springs such as these. With a progressive spring, the spring rate increases as the coil is compressed. My 412-4221 coils, for example, have a spring rate of 140 lbs per inch when fully extended. But they have a spring rate of 200 lbs per inch when fully compressed. And that rate is constantly changing and getting greater over the full 3.52 inches of spring travel. Theoretically the spring rate increases with every incremental increase in compression distance. In actual practice, however, the increase is not perfectly linear. But for estimating ride height one can assume a linear rate increase and get things relatively close.

For this trike I wanted the springs and shocks to be compressed approximately ½ way when the trike is completed and sitting at ride height with the rider aboard. So I calculated an average spring rate over the first half of the spring’s compression (155 lbs per inch for my shocks). I then estimated the total weight of the finished bike and rider AND the estimated weight distribution front and rear. In my case the battery pack will weigh 360 lbs and I estimated 85% of that over the rear wheels and 15% over the front. The rider weight will be 170 lbs distributed 50/50. The frame, seats and all other components were estimated at 150 lbs also distributed 50/50. These calculations put the total weight over the rear wheels at 466 lbs. That weight will be distributed 50/50 between the rear wheels so each spring/shock will support 233 lbs. Dividing that number by the spring rate of 155 lbs per inch indicated each spring would compress approximately 1.5″ with the bike finished and the rider aboard. I wanted the finished bike to sit level at 6″ above the pavement with the rider aboard so I set the frame on 6″ blocks at the front and 7.5″ blocks at the rear. The swing arms, however, are positioned absolutely horizontal to the pavement. With the spring/shock fully extended and the lower shock eye bolted to the swing arm, the position of the upper spring eye can then be identified relative to the frame and future shock mount.

Since my knowledge of spring physics is quite limited and my mathematical and theoretical calculations always suspect, I allowed myself a fudge factor during fabrication by making my shock towers adjustable. I cut the 1×1 tubing for the towers about 2″ longer than my calculation and then I drilled a series of 11 holes, at half inch intervals, in the tower. (Photo below) This will allow for adjustment of the upper spring brackets either up or down should the spring position calculations be in error. Once the trike is complete any excess holes at the top of the tower can be cut off and removed.



The upper shock mounts are created by making 3″ x 4″ plates cut from 1/4″ flat stock. Using a simple jig in the drill press, the four shock mounting plates are drilled out.



The large single hole in the plate is for the shock eye bolt and the two smaller holes are for bolting the plates to the shock tower. Each plate must also be notched on the bottom to clear the top of the coil/over shock. A total of four matching plates must be made, two for each shock tower.



The plates are bolted to the spring tower at the estimated height indicated by the spring rate calculations. Note the extra mounting holes for adjusting the ride height.



The lower spring mount is much easier. It is a 5/8″ grade 8 bolt inserted through the swing arm and drop out plate.



To align the top mounting plates with the lower mounting bolt, a spacer cut from 1″ x1 1/2″ rectangular tubing is welded to the shock tower. (See red arrow Photo below)



The spacer and shock tower will be welded to the frame base and battery box in a vertical position. The tower, however, will be positioned so the upper shock mounting hole on the tower will be a little forward of the lower shock mounting hole on the swing arm. This creates a forward shock angle of approximately 10 degrees. Putting the spring/shock at an angle reduces the effective spring rate. I used an angle similar to what was on the donor Kawasaki. If the ride is too harsh or to spongy once the bike is completed, the Progressive 412 shocks can be adjusted to compensate for the miscalculation. With the swing arm parallel to the ground and the lower spring eye attached to the lower mounting bolt, the shock tower with mounting brackets attached can be positioned on the frame so that the upper spring eye, with the shock fully extended, fits exactly between the holes of the shock tower brackets. If things are “off”, the shock tower brackets can be moved to a higher or lower hole in the tower until everything lines up. When completed the shock tower should be in a vertical position with the bottom of the tower even with the bottom rail of the battery box. The photo below shows the shock tower welded in place after the position had been established with the swing arm and spring/shock in place.



With the shock towers welded in place the swing arms are once again installed and the coil over shocks can be bolted in position.



To see if our calculations, estimates and guesswork for positioning the springs is anywhere near correct the batteries are loaded into the battery box . At this point the trike is still about 3/4″ above my design ride height. Once the rest of the framework, electronics, seat, and driver are added, the trike should be within 1/4″ of where I want it to sit. So I may have lucked out with my original calculations and hopefully I won’t have to make any major alterations.



With the upper shock mount position now established and reasonably tested for accuracy, an angle brace is cut and welded to each shock tower to triangulate with the frame and stabilize the towers.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Mounting the Controllers and Heat Sinks

It may seems a bit early in the trike’s progress to by mounting electrical components, but the controllers not only pose a size factor, they must also be positioned so that all the wire harnesses will reach, they can be properly protected from the elements and they will not interfere with any of the other main components of the trike yet to be fabricated. The controllers will be positioned just above the battery box and will be covered by the deck lid which will be constructed later.

Two support bars are cut from 1x2x.090 rectangular tubing and they are bolted in the battery box so that they are removable (see arrows in Photo below) The bars serve a dual purpose. First, they lock in the batteries so they can not come loose in the event of an accident. And second, they provide mounting support for the controllers/heat sinks as well as other electrical components which will be located under the rear deck lid.



Brackets to mount the heat sinks to the bars are cut from 1 1/4″ angle iron.



The brackets are bolted to the pre drilled holes in the heat sink.



The heat sink with brackets bolted on is then positioned and clamped in place so that the mounting brackets can be tack welded to the outer perimeter of the battery box and to the inner support bar. (See arrows in Photo below showing the heat sink brackets welded in place)



The heat sinks are temporarily bolted in place.



And the controllers are bolted to the heat sinks.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Rear Deck Lid

Now that the position and height of the controllers and heat sinks have been established, a rear deck lid/battery box cover can be constructed using 1x1x.065 square tubing. Note that there is an indentation in the front portion of the deck lid. This space is needed so that the seat back will be able to recline into the deck lid.



The deck lid is then test fit on the battery box. Note that the controllers are still bolted in place to insure there is proper clearance with the deck lid. Also note the indentation in the front of the lid where the seat back will recline.



And a view of the deck lid from the rear being checked for proper fit.



The lid is hinged using common steel door hinges. However, the hinges must be cut down and then re-drilled so that the mounting bolt holes will line up properly with the 1×1 tubing of the battery box and deck lid. An original hinge is shown on the right and the cut down version on the left.



To mount the hinges flat on the surface of the battery box and have them operate properly, spacers are cut from ½ x 1/16″ flat stock and welded to the back side of the steel hinge.



Bolt holes are drilled through the hinges and tubing and the hinges are secured to the battery box and deck lid. (See arrows in Photo below).



With the hinges in place the rear deck lid can be swung to the open position.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Mounting the Cargo Case

The cargo case from the donor Kawasaki will be mounted on the deck lid and will also serve as a portion of the seat’s back rest. The Kawasaki was equipped with an adjustable sliding base which will be used on the new trike to provide some flexibility in the positioning of the cargo case and allow for a bit of fudge factor when the rest of the seat is constructed later. The slider base is a little too long to fit in the deck lid so the front legs will be cut off approximately at the red arrows.



Rear mounting brackets for attaching the case to the base are made by welding flat stock to angle iron.



The front of the base frame will bolt directly to a cross member in the deck lid and will not need mounting brackets. Photo below shows the underside of the installed slider frame. The rear mounting brackets are indicated by the red arrows and front mounting bolts are indicated by the white arrows. In this photo you can also see the slider release mechanism which allows the case to be moved forward or backward.



The installed slider frame from the top.



The cargo case can now be bolted to the slider frame.



The deck lid now swings open with the cargo case attached.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Seat Back

I am using the passenger seat from the Kawasaki donor as a seat back/back rest on the new trike. The underside of the seat back is formed plastic with four threaded bolt receivers fused into the plastic. These will be used for attaching to an adjustable bracket which will then be mounted to the frame of the trike.



Four mounting tabs are cut from angle iron and drilled for bolts and two mounting rails are also cut from angle iron and drilled for bolts.



An adjuster arm is cut from 1/4″ flat stock and drilled with a series of adjustment holes. This will allow the angle of the seat back to be altered for the most comfortable riding position.



The tabs, rails and adjustment arms are bolted to the bottom of the seat back. The bottom of the seat back rail (on the right in Photo below) will remain in a fixed location but can be pivoted around its attachment bolt. By selecting different mounting holes the top of the rail (on the left in Photo) can be adjusted either forward or backward to provide optimal back support and a comfortable riding angle.





The mounting assembly is taken apart and the two side rails (see red arrows in Photo below) are positioned and welded to the frame of the rear deck lid.



The mounting hardware can then be reassembled and the seat back bolted in place and adjusted to the desired angle.



The cargo case now opens normally from the rear while the deck lid, cargo case, and seat back can be swung up and open for access to the battery pack and electronics.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,130 Posts
I just thought I'd take the time to post and say that I've been enjoying your build log and I learned a bunch of things.

I love a well-explained process. Great stuff. Can't wait until it's done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
... I've been enjoying your build log and I learned a bunch of things.
Thanks MattsAwesomeStuff. I think the primary function of a build journal ISN'T that folks will want to run out and build an exact duplicate, but rather they will discover a little trick here or a little technique there that they can incorporate into their own personal creation. Some folks may not like the final product at all, but hopefully in the details they can find some useful tidbits. So I share your enthusiasm for detailed journals with lots of photos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Mounting the Seat

The seat is taken directly from the Kawasaki donor bike. Like the seat back, the seat itself also has a formed plastic base. But unlike the seat back it does not have terrific mounting points. The front of the seat originally mounted via a pair of “C” shaped plastic tabs shown with the white arrows in the Photo below. The rear of the seat was held in place with a pair of plastic mounting tabs shown with the red arrows. Unfortunately the rear mounting tabs are not very strong and are meant only to keep the seat from moving around and not meant to be load bearing. Instead, all of the weight on the seat was originally transferred to the formed plastic which rested directly on the frame of the Kawasaki. As a result, the two plastic attachment tabs at the rear of the seat can not bear much weight.



Fortunately, there is a strong, flat area molded into the back edge of the seat (see red arrow in Photo below). This area is strong enough to support the back end of the seat while the front of the seat will rest on the frame of the trike itself. The front “C” clips will still be used to keep the front of the seat held in place but will not be load bearing.



A support bracket at the rear of the seat is made using a length of angle iron which is bolted to the two plastic mounting tabs. Quarter inch flat stock is then used to make a mounting pad which rests on the solid flat portion of the formed plastic. The flat stock is positioned and welded to the angle iron cross piece.



This is what the rear mount and seat support looks like when it is welded together and removed from the seat.



With the rear bracket back on the seat, two support posts are cut from 3/4 x 3/4 rectangular tubing and bolted to the support bracket.



The seat is then flipped over and the support posts are bolted to small tabs welded to the frame of the trike. Additional holes can be drilled in the support post to raise or lower the rear of the seat to get a more comfortable angle if necessary.



The front of the seat is held in place using a ½” steel rod which passes through the trike frame (enclosed in a steel tube) and the two “C” clips on either side of the seat. The inside of the plastic “C” clip fits snugly against the trike frame preventing the seat from moving left of right and the clip and steel rod prevent the seat from moving upwards. The rod and “C” clip act as a hinge so that the angle of the seat can be adjusted by moving the rear seat bracket up or down.



While the seat can not move forward because of the steel rod and “C” clip, it could possible collapse toward the rear of the trike if the bolts on the support posts were to loosen slightly. To prevent any rearward movement of the seat, brackets are welded to the rear seat support and the center of the trike frame and an adjustable turnbuckle is bolted to the brackets.



The completed seat with adjustable back rest.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Brake Pedal Assembly

The rear brake pedal assembly from the Kawasaki Voyager donor will be used on the new trike.





Quarter inch flat stock is used to create a mounting plate for the brake pedal assembly.



The mounting plate bolted to the brake pedal assembly.



Since the lower frame rail of the trike runs at an angle, the brake pedal bracket must be offset so that the brake pedal arm will clear the frame. A wedge shaped spacer is cut from 1/4″ flat stock to set the brake pedal assembly at the correct angle.



The wedge shaped spacer is welded to the mounting plate. (See red arrow in Photo below)



The entire brake pedal assembly and mounting plate are positioned on the frame to place the pedal where you want it and the assembly is clamped in place for welding.



The final mounting position of the mounting plate is too close to the frame to remove the attachment bolts. So the bolts are permanently welded to the mounting plate. The Photo below shows the completed mounting plate welded to the frame with the pedal assembly removed.



The completed brake pedal assembly bolted to the frame.

 
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Top