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Rear seat and luggage tray

26 Oct

The rear seat and luggage tray are now affixed to the taxi. After we’ve finished glassing the final edges and affixing the front seat, the chassis fabrication will essentially be complete.
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They call him “The Stippler”

16 Oct

With the chassis construction almost complete, stippling work nearly is nearly at an end.

Using his farming ingenuity, John has come up with a neat solution to make stippling much quicker and easier in future:

http://scg.ml.unisa.edu.au/Stippler.mov

Stippling

17 Sep

Applying Kevlar and fibreglass involves a lot of “stippling” with paint brushes: forcing epoxy resin through the woven material and then through peel ply.

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Applying Kevlar

15 Sep

Parts of the vehicle which require particular strength or impact resistance will be fitted with Kevlar.

Yesterday we applied Kevlar to most of the underside of the floor.

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More glassing

6 Sep

Today we affixed the front bonnet panel and the front panel of the central tunnel, and fibreglassed the joints of the front seat assembly. Next we’ll apply Kevlar to the underside of the chassis.

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Front seat and rear luggage tray

7 Aug

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Front seat and rear luggage tray folded and placed on chassis

Folding the composite panels

1 Aug

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.