Finished the Turbine Fabrication

I managed to succeed at today’s goal of finishing the fabrication for the turbine.  I actually got started after lunch today because my daughter and I were having too much fun at the skate park.  She was carving it up BIG TIME on her scooter 🙂

The flat mounting plates were welded to the curved sections that were previously created. Then it was on to cutting some strips and drilling them to be used as flanges to connect the legs of the cone. These were then tack welded in-place while the cone was inside the tub to ensure everything was positioned properly.

I then unbolted the plates from the tub and pulled out the cone to make the section easier to access.  From there I added four screws to each leg using the holes that were drilled.

After that I was able to do the finish welding on the flanges before putting the cone back into the tub and re-bolting it all back together. I made sure I had the cone propped up on the fins so that they had enough room to tuck back up inside the cone once everything was done. I just left the fins off for the time being so that it was a little easier to work with.

Now I needed some plates to be used on the inside of the nose of the body shell that would eventually get some feet welded between them and to the flat sections on the turbine.  I used a vise and hammer to give these a bit of a curve to match the opening of the nose of the car.  These were then drilled for two 3/8″ bolts for fastening to the nose.

I temporarily placed the turbine into the nose opening to see where I was going to have to mount the plates.  Then it was just a matter of marking them, drilling the holes in the body shell and fastening them with some bolts and washers on the backside of the body shell.

Now came the trick of trying to get the turbine centered in the opening.  This in general should have been easy, however I also needed to make sure there would be enough clearance from the back of the turbine to where my A/C condenser is mounted.  I layered two 1/2″ pieces of MDF to replicate the spacing in front of the AC condenser.  I also jammed in some pieces of MDF and some wedges around the outside to hold the turbine in-place.

The tricky part was trying to get the right distance for the turbine to stick out of the nose as well as trying to get it positioned so that the cone didn’t look like it was pointing too far down or too far up.  You basically have to eyeball it up and compare it with photos of the actual car.  I was checking it from the front, looking down from the top and also from the side of the car. The goal here is to get it as close as possible, but it will never be perfect.

Templates were then created out of bristol board to fit between the flat mounting surface on the turbine and the curved mounting plate in the opening.  I wanted the supports to be 1/4″ steel but I only had 1/8″.  So I made doubles and welded them together to make 1/4″.  This process was repeated for all three mounting points which were all just slightly different.

These were then ground down to have nice flat sides and were welded into place.  In some places I was only able to get a small bead of weld because of the limited amount of space while the turbine was in the nose.  I did all of the finish welding afterwards when I took the turbine back off the car.

Overall I think the finished product turned out pretty well.  Now I just need to disassemble the turbine, clean it up with the grinder and then give it a coat of the black primer that I’ve been using on the body.  I’ll finish up the body work around the nose opening before re-installing the turbine with the attached fins.  Eventually the turbine will get a round of body filler and sanding to get it looking all pretty.

Oh.. and I now have a nice big sheet of Lexan that I’ll be cutting up tomorrow using the temporary windows as a template.  Tomorrow’s goal is to get the Lexan into the canopy and finish the body work on both the canopy and rear fins.

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