With the receipt of the body I now consider the design portion complete and so this is the last update for this section of the site. The next phase is development, which has its own section.
02/08/05 FINALLY. The big day. In the morning, went with my friend Satya to pick up the U-Haul truck and then on to Scappoose to get the bodywork. I'm going to be subleasing an 800 sqare foot industrial space from Satya where the construction will take place. So yes, the dp1 gets its own facility! But at the moment I had to deal with getting things moved. First issue was with the truck - the floor is not flat, it has bumps over the rear wheels. This will cause difficulties with the plug. But I just said to myself 'hey, we're engineers, we'll figure something out'... And so after a half hour of piloting the 26' U-Haul land barge to Scappoose I finally see the dp1 bodywork in the flesh.
The whole thing weighs 41.6 lbs (it will be even less after trimming) and is surprisingly rigid. Cool!
The surface has a lot of small, mostly cosmetic problems. Supposedly this is normal. They did fix the molds so while there is a very visible parting line there is no actual step in the surface there, so once it's sanded and painted the line won't be visible. So this will take a lot of finishing work. Eventually I do intend to have it painted because cosmetically the carbon is not going to be all that good. It's too large and complex a piece for that. And I've seen what happens to carbon when it gets rock chipped - not pretty. Anyway, loading the body and the floor into the truck was easy..
Then came the hard part - the plug. The thing weighs about 2,000 lbs and is not very small. Having the forklift to load it made the operation possible but it was quite tricky, especially dealing with the bumps in the floor. The guys at Composites Unlimited asked if I had a forklift at the destination. 'No' was the reply. 'How are you going to get it off the truck?' - 'I don't know, we're engineers, we'll figure something out'. 'Good luck!'. In transit, at first I thought I'd just lock the casters the plug sits on but after driving a hundred feet thought better of it and came up with an arrangement using tie-downs to secure the thing. Very glad I did, because even tied down it shifted around quite a bit. Of course the truck door wouldn't latch because of how I had to attach the tiedown hooks, so we used a handkerchief to tie the latch down and keep the door from flying open. Hey, we're engineers...
Getting to the destination we quickly realise this is going to take equipment. Fortunately, Satya's neighbor is a construction outfit with a nice big forklift sitting in the back. He said he always wanted to introduce himself (being a structural engineer means he's in a related business), so now would be a good opportunity. And so about 20 minutes later there was a forklift removing 2,000 lbs of fiberglass sculpture from the U-Haul. Sweet. Being an engineer is about solving problems, and sometimes the best solution is to get help :) So now the bodywork is sitting next to a Moke and a Caterham, awaiting the demolition of a small office that occupies the space which the project will call home. This definitely feels like progress!
In other news, got some updated pictures of the frame - it's nearing completion as well. a few brackets remain, after that it's off to powdercoaters and then on a truck to Portland. I expect it'll be less than a month before I see it, ready for assembly.
And so this brings me to a couple announcements. First, I now consider the 'design' phase complete - from here on out it's 'development' and so a new section will start. Second, I'm finalising details of production plans, pricing and an introductory offer. Yes, the car will be made in small volume (the plan is to build batches of 5 initially) and sold with first customer deliveries targeted for about one year from now. Details to follow.