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Monday, January 21, 2008

Cargo pods that don't suck anymore

I got an inoperable Samsung upright vacuum to use for parts via the Freecycle mailing list a few days ago. It's not really anything special in and of itself, but since I had to take it apart into it's primary three sections (handle, bag area, and base) to transport it home on my bike, I had an inspiration when I saw the bag section sitting there separately. As you can see below, it's about the same width (little more) as the bike seat, and just a few inches longer than the space from the seat to the back of the rear wheel.

This means it would fit nicely in place of my kitty-litter-pail cargo box, when I eventually start making one of the bikes look stylish and neat, instead of sloppy and junky. I haven't done that yet because cool-looking stuff is asking to be stolen, and I also don't have a final idea what this will all look like, since I don't even know what motor/batteries/etc will be like. Once I have an e-bike that works, and a job I commute to with it that I can take it inside with me or have in a *secure* area not publicly accessible, I'll be able to get as stylish as I want to, within the limits of what I find recyclable from other things. It's got a lot of space inside, perhaps not quite as much as the kitty-litter-pail cargo box does, but enough for some things, and I could put more than one on the bike. Say, one on top and one on each side down by the rearwheel axle (better balance the lower they are).

I've also got a Dirt Devil upright that has a working motor, but a fused-ended brushroller (looks like it got so hot from friction it melted the ends around the bearing assemblies, and won't spin anymore). It too has a potential cargo-container for a bag-body.

They're both ABS plastic, which means they shouldn't warp in the Phoenix sun in summer, (unlike the scooter casing which is just polystyrene) and they shouldn't just break when I crash (which will happen; it happens to everyone eventually if they ride the roads long enough, usually more than once). They're also easy to modify, because I can glue other things to them (I usually use Plastruct glue for this type of work, as it melts the pieces together at the join, making them one piece), or drill and bolt-on things. They're reasonably weather-resistant, once I seal up the holes hoses and cords went thru (they are meant to hold very fine dust inside as you vacuum your house, after all).

The teal one (Samsung) is my favorite, because of it's shape mostly, though I also like the color. Doesn't matter what color it is now, as it will be painted fluorescent colors later, after I can find paint for the whole bike. I've even got the option of mounting a motor (if not too large) inside the large end of the case, and running the shaft out the side, just like the original vacuum motor did. This would reduce any motor noise, and keep dirt/etc out of it. Unfortunately, it'd also hold in the heat, unless I added a cooling fan and ventilation, which might defeat the whole enclosure idea. The end where the handle used to attach is perfect for an integrated taillight/brakelight, and I can add the turnsignal/marker lights on either side of it externally. All I have to do to make it lockable is drill a hole for the lock off the scooter (from it's battery compartment cover), and make a slot for that lock's swingarm to engage with inside the case. Not much of a lock, but it will keep honest people honest, just about like anything I do on the bike security-wise.

The motor from the new vacuum is definitely unusable in it's current state--one of the bearing cups on the shaft has ruptured, and spilled shorn bearings and bits of the cup into the motor. Doesn't appear to have damaged anything other than the bearings themselves, and the cups to hold them, but it means the mechanics of this motor need repair before I can use it. Of course, the windings from the shunt coil can be used regardless, since I won't be using that part as a motor anyway (all these motors will be rebuilt to use permanent magnets instead, even if I leave their armatures and rotor windings intact). So, another few dozen feet of wire, and a potential motor once repaired and "upgraded". The cords from both vacuums could make good wire for the bike, since it includes the outer covering, and is fairly heavy wire, stranded instead of solid, and might be suitable for battery-to-controller and controller-to-motor connections, and be weather- and abrasion-resistant.

Most of the rest of the vacuums are not really useful for the bike right now, but since I never can tell what inspiration will hit me or when, I'll save all the parts in my "other" bin. :-)

That's it for now.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. Almost two years now, and I never did actually use one of these for a pod (got better ideas and more usable space in other ways).

    I may now revive the idea and use one of these on DayGlo Avenger for the motor with the NiMH packs. The whole package ought to fit in there, motor controller and packs, and I can make it so it comes off to take in with me to charge if I need to (or anti-theft, since with the labelling removed, these cases can look quite nice, and might up the bling factor of the bike enough to encourage a thief, compared to the junky look it has now).


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