Return to Home page

Search | Statistics | User Listing Forums | Calendars | Albums | Quotes
Sidecar.com Forum ->  General discussion -> General Discussion -> View Thread

You are logged in as a guest. ( logon | register )

Random quote: Smile it's contagious.
- (Added by: George Ryals)

Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance
Jump to page : 1
Now viewing page 1 [25 messages per page]
View previous thread :: View next thread
   General discussion -> General DiscussionMessage format
 
Johnny Sweet
Posted 10/1/2012 3:05 PM (#67331)
Subject: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Veteran

Posts: 164
1002525
Location: In South Carolina but grew up in Massachusetts.

                     Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance.

Sometime last Winter I saw a post asking if it was posable to cut a door in the side of a Velorex sidecar body. The usual negative responses were thrown out and everyone went on about their buisness.  I thought about it and figured that it was posable, but what is a Velorex sidecar. I remember seeing one once or twice over the years but I couldn't remember any details so I looked up Velorex sidecars on Goggle images just to refresh my mind. Once I saw what the body's looked like I new that cutting a door in the side of the body wasn't plausible  but how about a flip up nose section. Not ever seeing a Velorex up close I had no idea what the body was even fabricated out off. I figured it had to be fiberglass or plastic with both being easy to work with.

  I then emailed Charlie and told him that I would consider taking on his project and had he thought about a flip up front nose section. Charlie wrote back and I could tell at once that he was an articulate fellow with a lifetime of experiences. I had a foolish question to ask. Is the body made out of fiberglass or plastic ? He wrote back and told me that the top was fiberglass and the bottom was some kind of plastic. At that point I new that something was posable but what was yet to be determined. I emailed Charlie my phone number and a few days later got a call when he got a break in a heavy work schedule. We discussed cutting the front section of the body along the seam line and reinforcing it somehow so that the top section could be designed to flip up in a forward motion. A price was set and plans were made for Charlie to deliver just the body to my shop in South Carolina. Come to find out Charlie lives only around four hours from me. Charlie and his lovely wife delivered the sidecar to my home on a Saturday afternoon and after introductions we started figuring out a plan of attach to make this project work. I always like designing by committee because everyone gets  involved.  Over the years I figured out that the woman almost always have the best ideas when it comes to the more practical ingredients of a design.  Even my wife got into the conversation and our little design group in less than an hour came up with a solid design plan. My design studio is a well naturally lit area and almost all of my work id done in the day light. So we placed the body on one of my custom built table called a surface plate that has a grid printed on the surface.  I then noticed that body was built in two sections with the top being fabricated out of what's called RTM fiberglass and the bottom in an ABS plastic or a cross between a Poly Pro and a Polystyrene plastic. The aluminum rubber trim around the seam is held on with aluminum pop rivets and the two body sections held together with the same type rivets. As we formulated our plan I placed green tape on the area that would be cut and the girls chimed in on the smallest details like the angle that the body would be cut at. The interior trim and the carpet, the how it would fit once the body was cut. The foot rest and was it even used. Another big thing was how high should the top section of the body lift up so that it will be easy getting in and out of.  All these thing were taken into consideration and a solid plan was put into place. I figured between other projects in the shop It would take me a month working part time to complete the project.

    I started by placing the body on a center line on the surface plate with a datum line at two of the bolt holes on the bottom of the body. I then drilled holes threw the surface plate and bolted the body down to it. I then drilled the pop rivets on the trim and removed it marking everything with for documentation so that when it came time to put it back together nothing would get lost. I them marked out the top body section where it would be cut and took out my fiberglass cutter with the diamond grit and cut the body lifting off the top front section. Care had to be taken not to scratch the gel coat finish on the outer surface.  This was an almost new sidecar body and I didn't want Charlie to pick up his body with it being all scratched up.

   Velorex uses fiberglass for the top section of the body. It's made using the  RTM method, Resin Transfer Molding. The RTM method is used in building all Corvette bodies not like your run of the mill fiberglass boat that are made using an open face mold. Parts made using the RTM method have a smooth finish on the outside and inside of the piece. The production process that Velorex takes requires two molds one on the inside and a highly polished outer mold. The polished outer mold has a Black gel coat sprayed into first, this is like the paint job. The next step is for the production crew to place a special fiberglass mat into the mold dry. Depending on the thickness of the piece being made, in the case of the Velorex top body section three layers of 1 1/2oz. mat material is used placing one layer on top of the other achieving a thickness of 1/8" . Once all the mat is in place the inner mold is slid into the outer mold somewhat like a sandwich. The molds are then clamped together and a resin delivery system is attached to the mold. The system forces resin that is catalyzed at around a 1% rate into the mold under pressure. Every square inch of the mold surface is covered with resin and mat at this point and the mold is set until the resin hardens. This takes from 20 to 35 minutes depending on the temperature and the amount of catalyst percentage used, never being above 2%.  The part can be removed from the mold in a matter of a few hours or this duration can be shorter if the molds have a heating devise built onto the outside of the mold surface used for faster production time.  When the parts are removed from an RTM mold they have a smooth highly polished surface on the outside and a smooth white looking appearance on the inside. Many company's do not use gel coat in the production of RTM parts going with a painted finish.  Much time and energy can be saved using a gel coat finished fiberglass part.

 I took the front top section and placed it on a pad on a separate table and found that it would need some additional reinforcing along the front leading edge. So I took out my small grinder and a shop vacuum designed to catch the fiberglass dust and ground the inner fiberglass along the edge and up into the center of the top section. Grinding the inner fiberglass allows the new fiberglass to have what's called a tooth  for good bonding. I then built up the glass to a thickness of around 1/2" along the edge and blended it up into the center of the body. This reinforcement took all the flexing out of the top section and at the same time allowed for  a good strong area for the hinge to be bolted to.

 

The next step was to design a sub frame for the lower body section. The Velorex lower body section is made out of a poly plastic and once the top front section of the fiberglass body  section was separated from it the lower plastic section had no integrity. So a sub frame had to be designed that would allow the lower body section to be stiffened up. A little time and energy was spent figuring out just what materials should be used.  I settled on a flat hot rolled steel material 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide, the same material I used in over 450 of my Sweet SL-110 Sidecars for the mounting brackets. I could have use other materials but I was limited in design space and the flat stock took up less room and at the same time had more than enough strength.  I started laying out the sub frame with the two  longitudinal strings placed flat on the floor of the lower body section. I then marked for the mounting holes  and drilled the the holes 1/16" larger so that I had room for adjustment. The sub frame was built one piece at a time and every piece was first tack welded in place and then the entire assembly was dissembled and permanently welded. The reason I had to do this was the plastic would melt if it came in contact with the hot metal so every step became a time consuming affair. Once the sub frame was constructed then came the hinge. I had designed various hinges on other projects like my Sweet 55 T Bird and my Sweet 427 Reproduction Cobra's so  the design process has always been the same. Find the pivot point and the swing pattern and your home free. I made a few model hinge patterns out of wood for my trails testing and hit it on the third try. I took the third trail and reproduced it using 5/8" round stock along with some flat stock and placed it onto the sub frame. I then installed the reinforced  top body section to the hinge for a trial run. First time out it worked with just a small adjustment.  

The last two items were the gas cylinders and the locks/catches. I went to a junk yard and got two gas cylinders off a Ford Torus with the mounting brackets and installed them on the sides at shown in the pictures. The locks come from the Hot Rod industry, they call them Bear Claw's and are used in many new Hot Rods. I used them in my Sweet reproduction 427 Cobra's in the doors. I installed the Bear Claw's on both sides at the rear of the top body section with small arms attached for easy operation. The locks being in the top section keeps them out of the way when the passenger is getting in and out of the sidecar.

   In all the modification only added 20 lbs to the sidecar and as it turned out helped Charlie with the extra sidecar weight.

I made this post so that others with fabrication skills could see that such a modification is posable and just how I went about doing it on this Velorex sidecar body. A modification of this type is not only limited to the Velorex but could be used on many other type sidecar body's like the Harley for instance. A Harley could be modified so that not only the front but the trunk could be modified for easier entrance.

Thanks for reading,

Johnny Sweet   jsweet450@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top of the page Bottom of the page
notanlines
Posted 10/1/2012 3:29 PM (#67332 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Member

Posts: 40
25
Location: Germantown, TN
I might also add to this that your workmanship appears to be wonderful. It truly does look great!
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Reardan Tom
Posted 10/1/2012 7:00 PM (#67338 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Elite Veteran

Posts: 1174
10001002525
Location: Reardan, WA
Gives new meaning to what one could describe as a "sweet job." Well done Mr. Sweet!!
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Phelonius
Posted 10/2/2012 3:54 AM (#67361 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: RE: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Elite Veteran

Posts: 725
50010010025
Location: N.lat 20- 13' -58" W.lon 155 - 48' - 31"

Having had that model Velorex in the past I understand the difficulty of getting in and out.
Nice work there.

 




Damn photos, I can post them from my computer but not from bikepics.
Top of the page Bottom of the page
zipper421
Posted 10/3/2012 6:30 AM (#67385 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Member

Posts: 27
25
can you post or send close up pics of your project
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Wolfhound
Posted 10/3/2012 7:04 AM (#67387 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance


Veteran

Posts: 227
10010025
Location: Ball Ground, GA.
As usual Mr. Sweet has produced a wonderful engineering job. Thanks for sharing, sir.
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Johnny Sweet
Posted 10/3/2012 7:52 AM (#67389 - in reply to #67385)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Veteran

Posts: 164
1002525
Location: In South Carolina but grew up in Massachusetts.
zipper421 - 10/3/2012 6:30 AM

can you post or send close up pics of your project


email me at jsweet450@yahoo.com and I will send you personal emails of the steps I took to complete this project.
Johnny
Top of the page Bottom of the page
sfchock
Posted 10/3/2012 10:59 PM (#67407 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: RE: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Member

Posts: 39
25
Location: Fairport, NY
I had a 562 hooked up to my 76 GL1000. The wife was fine with it, myself being a larger (remember round is a shape) fellow found it extremely difficult to get in and out. Current rig is an 82 GL1100A with Motorvation formula 2 flip nose (wife has more miles in this chair in the last three years than she did in the 562 in 7). Johnny has done a wonderful job with the modification that if Velorex did the same I am sure that there would be a lot more on the road. Thanks for sharing your talents.
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Hack'n
Posted 10/4/2012 12:02 AM (#67410 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Expert

Posts: 4833
2000200050010010010025
Location: Boise, Idaho
If Velorex did the same it would greatly increase the price of their product. This isn't a quickie modification by any means.

Nice, but labor intensive.

Lonnie
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Johnny Sweet
Posted 10/4/2012 5:33 PM (#67432 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: RE: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Veteran

Posts: 164
1002525
Location: In South Carolina but grew up in Massachusetts.
Thanks for all the kind words, and all the emails. For those of you asking for information I’m in the process of posting pictures to my photo bucket account for all to see. This may take a few days.

When I started this project it was more as a challenge than anything but as I was finishing up with the design aspect I soon discovered that this could be a product that someone could take to the market place. My first thought was if a kit was manufactured what would be the price and what would the market allow. Using a common sense approach I came up with a $500. price tag on a kit. The next thought was the complexity of the modification for a regular Joe, or for a dealership that would take on a project like this. The first thing that would have to be changed would be the fiberglass work on the top body section after it was cut. The solution to this would be a metal hoop running along the bottom edge of the top body section that would be attached to the fiberglass by way of pop rivets. This way no messy fiberglass work would have to be done and the metal hoop would give the top the needed strength, plus the gas cylinders and the locks could be attached to the hoop. The kit would have a sub frame fabricated almost the same as what I had built for Charlie and could also be packaged and shipped easily. The entire modifiacetion only weighed 20 lbs. and with the newer top hoop would still be less than 25 lbs... My projection on a time and skill requirement to accomplish such a modification once the design was completed surprised me. This modification could be completed in less than 8 hours and the skill level would be someone with experience using wrenches, a drill, and a saber saw. Most guys driving a sidecar would fall into this group. If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the last forty years is that sidecar enthusiasts are not your run of the mill idiots on the street. I’ve had some very interesting conversations with sidecar people over the years, and have met some interesting people. We truly are the one per centers; I think it’s more like one hundred of one percent, and I’ve yet to meet anyone that wasn’t above average.
If Velorex did a study they may find that the per unit cost to include this modification would come to less than $80 per unit. Like any project once the design work is completed the production time and basic cost of materials can be brought down. The last thing to be looked at is the learning curve for the employees assembling each unit. This is just my opinion, but I have worked at times for some of the larger corporations designing and improving production schedules on some interesting products. A knee replacement component comes to mind.

So in closing I don’t see this modification being expensive or labor intense for any that would care to take it on provided they have basic fabrication skills.
Thanks for reading,
Johnny Sweet

Top of the page Bottom of the page
Peter Pan
Posted 10/4/2012 10:45 PM (#67437 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Expert

Posts: 1914
1000500100100100100
Location: San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica
Johnny,
the first moment I saw your photos I remembered my first days with the Velorex sidecar.
I simply was missing the bajonet closure and hinge top of my first metalic MZ-Superelastic sidecar:
one 50l beer keg, 4 boxes of beer and Guinness, 1 wooden box of whine. and still space left.....for bread, grapes and all the food for 38 people.
With your set up it would become even possible with the Velorex again.
--
By the way, if someone is interested I still own the mold for the lower bowl of the same sidecar as you show in the pictures.

Sven

Edited by Peter Pan 10/4/2012 10:46 PM
Top of the page Bottom of the page
pappyxmas
Posted 10/10/2012 1:31 PM (#67535 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Member

Posts: 21
0
Location: Mentone, AL USA
The rig Johnny modified was mine. My wife had gotten to the point (back problems) that she could not get in and out of the sidecar. After Johnny's modifications, she walks in, sits down and is good to go. This has given me back my riding partner and made me a really happy guy! The mod is near perfect, very sturdy, no vibration, no change in the way the rig handles at all. I can see where we will still be riding for many years to come thanks to Johnny!
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Hack'n
Posted 10/10/2012 3:16 PM (#67538 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Expert

Posts: 4833
2000200050010010010025
Location: Boise, Idaho
And the cost for this modification was?
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Johnny Sweet
Posted 10/10/2012 3:46 PM (#67539 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Veteran

Posts: 164
1002525
Location: In South Carolina but grew up in Massachusetts.
Nun ya,
Johnny
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Hack'n
Posted 10/10/2012 6:05 PM (#67540 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Expert

Posts: 4833
2000200050010010010025
Location: Boise, Idaho

Doesn't hurt to ask since you made it sound so affordably simple in your last dissertation.

It is a nice looking conversion.
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Johnny Sweet
Posted 10/10/2012 6:45 PM (#67541 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Veteran

Posts: 164
1002525
Location: In South Carolina but grew up in Massachusetts.
It is affordable and simple and you made it sound like it would greatly increase the cost if Velorex attempted the same thing, and it is a quickie modification. If charlie want's to tell how much I charged then he will. You may be very surprised at the price but it's not for me to say. The deal was between Charlie and myself and not public information.
Johnny jsweet450@yahoo.com
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Hack'n
Posted 10/10/2012 7:35 PM (#67544 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Expert

Posts: 4833
2000200050010010010025
Location: Boise, Idaho
Johnny,
Ease off there, Partner. I asked a question of pappyXmas and you gave me a short answer. In an open forum questions are allowed. Answers are optional.

No harm intended,

Lonnie
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Lloyd
Posted 10/10/2012 9:15 PM (#67545 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance


Veteran

Posts: 161
1002525
Location: Columbiaville, MI.
Great job, Mr. Sweet, the results are very impressive. I worked for one of the big 3 auto makers, in product development for 30 years, so understand the effort and engineering that had to go into such a project. Thank you for the job, and posting the story.
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Johnny Sweet
Posted 10/10/2012 9:46 PM (#67546 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Veteran

Posts: 164
1002525
Location: In South Carolina but grew up in Massachusetts.
Thanks Lloyd, I to was with one of the big three starting out almost fifty years ago At General Motors institute. I moved on and It's been one grand ride and I'm not done yet. As of late I'm working on a three wheel Tilting Vehicle project that I've taken a $10,000 electronically controlled tilting mechanism and designed my own mechanical version that will cost $200 to build. I'm really into this Tilting Vehicle project, it will fill out my three wheel vehicle adventure with sidecars, trikes, and the Tilting Vehicle. The original concept came out of GM thirty years ago, and Its held my interest for twenty five years. With retirement and my position in life I can spend the time on this project as long as my health holds out, its now or never. The biggest problem with guys like us it our minds never stop, and it drives us nuts when were not designing something.
Thanks again for the kind words.
Johnny Sweet jsweet450@yahoo.com

Top of the page Bottom of the page
Peter Pan
Posted 10/11/2012 3:01 PM (#67554 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Expert

Posts: 1914
1000500100100100100
Location: San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica
Johnny says: "The biggest problem with guys like us it our minds never stop, and it drives us nuts when were not designing something. "
...
Or as I saw today, that the continued work of 18 years gets destroyed by dummies in a few month....
It takes a lot for me to out rage. But today I could not hold back, and had to say to the last intelligent guys in that steel sales what stupidities and damage their followers and nowerdays contractors did.
Wherefore someone gives his best for years, if soon idiots take over?
Sven
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Bob Hunt
Posted 5/8/2016 4:15 PM (#89030 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: RE: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance


Veteran

Posts: 241
10010025
Location: Boiling Springs, NC
I just ran across this, typical Sweet!
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Peter Pan
Posted 5/8/2016 5:11 PM (#89031 - in reply to #67331)
Subject: Re: Modifying a Velorex Body for Easy Entrance



Expert

Posts: 1914
1000500100100100100
Location: San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica
As I see today this comment of mine from 3 1/2 years ago. My wife gave me the surprise that the main subsidiary of the steel sales was shut down from Thursday to Friday 2 weeks ago without any advance note. Stupid MBA.

My good buddy Alvaro "(Black bird) Zanate", the storage foreman was unemployed for exactly 1 day. Good guys never have trouble to stay home for long.

A lot changed in these 3 1/2 years and I am thinking about to hire a man of the caliper like Johnny Sweet for to put a sidecar to my new W800. Manfred Stahmer a racer since the fifties. Old in years and golden, but nothing slow and nothing old at all in brain.
http://www.stahmer-nf.de/
A real stand up man who's example is worth to follow.
Sven
Top of the page Bottom of the page
Jump to page : 1
Now viewing page 1 [25 messages per page]
Jump to forum :
Search this forum
Printer friendly version
E-mail a link to this thread

 


Copyright 2004-2008, The United Sidecar Association — Built by BarringtonPress — Send your suggestions and comments to the webmaster
USCA Web usage policy



(Delete all cookies set by this site)
Running MegaBBS ASP Forum Software
© 2002-2017 PD9 Software