To a casual observer, this may appear like an unruly pile of parts.
It’s the prototype-in-progress African Solar Taxi, awaiting transport from the workshop to UniSA’s Open Day at City West this Sunday.
To those of us who are toiling away to make it, who know what it is going to look like and what it will be capable of, it is becoming an object of beautiful possibility.
Over the weekend, we displayed information about the project alongside Trev at Science Alive and discussed it with lots of visitors to the UniSA stand. There was a lot of interest.
Next Sunday we aim to display the chassis at UniSA’s Open Day. Lots of hard work ahead this week getting it ready.
Last night we finished fibreglassing the remaining panels and folded the rear seat.
Next we’ll fold the front seat, apply Kevlar to the floor, and trim and join more chassis panels together.
All construction photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/93596014@N08/sets/72157645667250991/
The chassis of the African Solar Taxi is formed by folding and joining composite panels consisting of polypropylene honeycomb cores with fibreglass skins.
Folding a panel first requires that a shallow groove be routed through the fiberglass skin, along the joint. A heat gun is then used to heat and soften the polypropylene honeycomb, and the panel is then folded to the required angle. Ultimately, the joints are fiberglassed, making a very strong yet lightweight structure.
The first video below shows a joint with the skin removed, prior to heating and bending. The second video, taken by a thermal camera, shows the joint being heated and bent.