Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

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parajared   10 kW

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Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Feb 02 2013 11:32pm

For build five I said to heck with off-road abilities; forget being all-around good. I wanted something to fill the void my off-road setup was lacking: top speed, efficiency, range and ninja like noise levels.
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I should point out this thing has some definite pros and cons to a diamond frame however. Let’s start with the cons.

Cons:
-Bumps jumps and curbs: I quickly found out how much I utilize the “bunny hop” to pop over curbs and other little obstacles. It’s a bit awkward sitting there in your trike having just a mere curb smite you down from your seated riding experience. Until the spring loaded trike launcher finally hits the market (fingers crossed) you are stuck dragging the thing around by hand every time you want to ride through that ditch, or that big bump, or that trail with the big rock in the middle.
-Getting run over: You are riding along staring up at undercarriages of big trucks and car grills and tires right there at eye level. Traversing a crosswalk is mighty daunting when you have a tire staring you down. The trike is also wide, so no squeezing through traffic or down the edge of the road. Flags can help, but I sure wouldn’t rely on them.
-It may sound funny, but all your change and stuff falls right out of your pockets, I have to hurl all my pocket goodies into my the cargo hold. I lost a cell phone due to a flagrant violation of this rule.

Pros:
-Trikes feel fast; I’m amazed at how hard you can crank around corners in them. Very sports car, race-kart feeling.
-Loads more comfortable than diamond frame: it’s a lawn chair on wheels! Years of bunn toughening upright bike rides going to waste here.
-efficient, I can get to work and back (32 miles) on less than 15ah.

Look out, it happened again; I went with a sensorless controller, this time intentionally even (fried the hall sensors off the last motor) and I put a Vuelta 60t chainring on the front because the stock chainring was just pathetic and being able to assist in peddling at higher speeds. I built the battery bay huge: (e-bike wise) big enough to hold a whopping 1760 watt hours of hobby lipo.

I built the battery bay from thrift store bedframe because when you have $200 of lithium hanging two inches away from ground it's best to protect them with $2 worth of bedframe :roll: . I welded some braided steel to the bedframe so that I could lock the batteries to the bike and I also delved into some amateurish upholstery and made a little squishy foam enclosure for my lipos. Padded cells seemed oddly appropriate for rc hobby lipo.
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Total price minus batteries: about $1200
KMX Typhoon: $700 “in new condition” (actually not) off e-bay
EM3EV MXUS: $200
Lyen 12 fet Sensorless: $150
Thumb throttle: $20
Three way toggle: $20
Vuelta 60t chainring: $45
Epoch 11-32 freewheel: $30
Bedframe: $2
fabric and foam: $15

Battery: 44volts 20ah swappable to 10ah 18s depending on what mood strikes me
Top speed: mid 20s mph on 12s, low 30s mph on 18s
Efficiency: 10watt hours per mile if I do pretty much all the work and go slow as heck, 20watt hours per mile is about par for the course, 40+ watt hours per mile when I'm lazy and want the bike to do all the work.

update 5/24/13
I was pretending the trike was a luge and bombed down the side of a mountain. I was flying along pretty fast and caught one wheel in a pothole and it violently yanked me sideways. Fortunately I didn't flip but slid sideways for a while ripping the tire clean off and giving the stock 16" rim got one heck of a bend. I switched to 20 inch rims which aren't as squirrely at high speeds as 16s and allow you to drop off curbs without scraping. You don't feel the bumps of the road as much buy they make the trike a tinch more flippy so no more encounters with potholes, or hard cornering.

update 7/17/13
I'm starting to do distance runs. I did a 72 mile trip the other day using just a mere 650 watt hours of power. I was amazed at how easy it was to maintain my top speed with just a paltry amount of power helping me along. I'm starting to have as much fun playing with low power for the distance as I am with high power.

update 1/6/14
Little fleks of dirt seem to make it past the mud flap and peg me in the back of the neck. I tried taping a piece of cardboard to the flap with limited success, then I found a bike rack at a garage sale. Rear rack seems to be the best solution to the lousy mud flap problem.

update 9/25/14
I took the Black Bullet on a 185 mile road trip to the Grand Canyon. Read about it here: My first cross-country trip: 185 miles
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Update 5/2/16
I built a solar attachment for my e-trike
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update 5/20/16
the Black Bullet goes on a 251 mile solar ride
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update 9/28/17
I left Arizona and did a 207 mile ride in Utah
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update 10/1/17
KMX gets some new upgrades
-panniers added: after I attempted to get around for a while solely off leg power I thought not having an electric motor kinda sucked, I thought road bikes were uncomfortable compared to bents and sold my touring bike but decided to keep the panniers. I like them because it kinda hides the motor and its nice to have the extra storage space (which never gets used, but hey it's there if I need it :D )
-rear bag added: after swapping the rear rack with a pannier rack I started having fleks of dirt pelting me in the back of the neck and I added a rear bag to block the dirt. Also works nicely as a Subway sandwich holder.
-switched to Trisled 70t chainring: minor issues with throwing a chain on my Vuelta 60 tooth chainring; Trisled chainring has a little plastic lip on the edge that helps keep the chain from flying off. Issues with leg cadence- I can only comfortably spin my legs and help propel the trike to about 24mph or so with 60t/11t. I can hit 28mph or so at a comfortable leg cadence with the 70t ring.
-switched over to Multistar 10c batteries due to better wh/weight ratio (compared to Turnigy 25c batteries)
Last edited by parajared on Oct 25 2017 10:27am, edited 31 times in total.

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MattyCiii   100 kW

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by MattyCiii » Feb 08 2013 2:38pm

Really nice!
And at the rate you're going, you'll probably be done with build #6 by the time I hit "Submit" :mrgreen:
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Apr 07 2013 11:35pm

Really nice!
And at the rate you're going, you'll probably be done with build #6 by the time I hit "Submit"
Not quite, but build six is in the works. I am converting a power rider exercise machine into a trike. I will start a thread on it once it's done. I just had to slip out a sneak peek.

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update 1/1/14:
My "power rider" build failed. I built several of the sections out of heavy steel and thing ended up weighing a ton! Also building the seat both comfortable and adjustable is harder than it looks. The Power rider is back in the scrap steel pile.
Last edited by parajared on Jan 01 2014 2:44pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by docnjoj » Apr 09 2013 4:17pm

Is that thing gunnna tilt?
otherDoc
E-bike stable at our house

Steintrike Mad Max full suspension trike rear Cute 100H going on: Whoops, Cute wheel broke but I fixed it.
Sun USX delta trike EbikeKit small geared front wheel sort of front suspension for wife

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Apr 10 2013 5:46pm

Is that thing gunnna tilt?
Tilters look pretty cool. I watched a bunch of youtube videos and read a few articles comparing tilters to regular trikes. I was planning on building a tilter like in this pic before I bought my KMX. After sliding around a few corners on my KMX I came to the conclusion of "meh", and just stuck to a regular build.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by xenodius » Apr 25 2013 8:20pm

Looks good, great commuter! A couple questions for you as I consider a similar build. I've read that the Typhoon/Tornado both have enough caster so they don't turn "twitchily" at high speed. If you had to go down a 60mph laser-straight road with the occasional bump/crack at 50mph or 60mph, do you think you'd feel stable? I'm not worried about damaging the trike at high speeds, but even if the steering felt stable... do you think hitting a small pothole or large crack at that speed would be kick you out with the small wheels and no suspension?

Also, do you feel the weight of the batteries in the back hampers handling at all? I'm thinking of doing 36s 20ah A123's in the back, 3x12s packs-- one in the middle, two on the sides. 44+lb's of lifepo4. I'm going to weld ABS sheets into a custom box to house all 3 packs, one in the middle and two on the sides... either along the rear chainstays or in a somewhat-FFR-wing formation. But I don't want it to be vulnerable if I hop onto two wheels. I'm going back and forth about how to arrange them. If you're feeling generous, It would be super helpful if you could take a measurement or two of the area behind the seat-- preferably at 45 degrees, seat-to wheel. Or just give me the exact distance of some reference point and I'll use photos. I've tried estimating the dimensions back there based on total length of the trike and I always come up with more room than I feel like it is, I'd like to be sure my estimations are somewhat accurate. If I'm going to have to modify the frame to make it fit, I'll just build my own instead =)

Thankyou in advance. Super jealous :D

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Apr 25 2013 9:26pm

I've read that the Typhoon/Tornado both have enough caster so they don't turn "twitchily" at high speed
I think that they are considering 30mph "high speed" When I ran my setup on 66 volts (18s) and started getting into the high 30s low 40s mph it seemed to me a bit dangerous. Bumps and small imperfections in the road cause the trike make too large of course direction changes no matter how hard I tried to stiff arm the steering into not moving. I think doctorbass put a motorcycle steer dampener on his to fix this problem. 30mph seems fine however.
do you think hitting a small pothole or large crack at that speed would be kick you out with the small wheels and no suspension?
That exact thing happened to me. A pothole sucked one tire in and the other two kept going straight. I ended up bending the rim. I decided to switch to 20" rims ($120 per rim at utahtrikes.com), and I like them much better. They make things better in three ways 1) ride feels much smoother 2) dropping down off curbs without bottoming out is now possible 3) high speeds aren't as twitchy. They have the unfotunate side effect of making the trike flip slightly easier
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I played with a number of battery positions before I finally chose the position I like best which is as low as you can get away with and as close to middle as possible. I was planning on putting the batteries up in front of the seat but ended up not liking it. Also because my "wings" are a bit wide they scrape whenever I put the trike on two wheels. You may find it better to keep those batteries hugging the middle rather than layed out flat like mine.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by xenodius » May 01 2013 9:14am

Thanks parajared!! That's exactly the info I was looking for. A couple people on these other forums said they went 58 and 66mph top speed respectively going downhill. But I wouldn't doubt that they're simply crazy =) I begin to feel sketchy when I'm over ~45mph downhill on my bicycle. Motorcycle damper it is, then! I hope to be able to take this thing on long tours. Which means lots of slow curves at moderate to high speeds. I'll need a damper!

I've thought about 20" rims, and I would like to prevent bottoming out. I just really don't want to tip over, so I got to have the low CG. *sigh* Perhaps the perfect trike really is a leaner. Maybe for now I'll just build one with the 16" rims, put some truck-bedliner under the frame, and call it good-- then when I have space, build another one and give the KMX to my wife :D

An alternative would be widening the frame, which would be a bit of work but might end up being worth it. I'll decide once I have one in my hands-- I'm pretty tall, so It might be more ergonomic for my monkey-arms.

Thankyou again! The recumbent e-triking community is awfully small :roll:

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by migueralliart » May 01 2013 9:25am

I totally concurr with the 30mph happy medium. Anything over that you're looking for trouble really unless you're driving on a solitary road.

What I do love about trikes is their efficiency at higher speed. With the same battery you can go much further. I sure recommend them to people that commute more than 10 miles each way. Althou I've been thinking of changing my setup from a rear 3540 on a 20" rim to a 24" 9C fast wind for some weight savings and so that I can lower the battery voltage and have more capacity. Right now I'm running 15S on my trike and it is really scary to think that with the 3540 the PUSH comes along after 20mph and it keeps climbing to 35mph+ easily.

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Holocene   100 W

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by Holocene » May 09 2013 5:25am

xenodius wrote:The recumbent e-triking community is awfully small :roll:
Hi xenodius,

There are several excellent KMX trike build threads here on the 'sphere. Here's a sample :)

Some custom work going on in the "Matt-Cave" :~)
Postby recumpence » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:29 pm

Look how Matt 'Recumpense' Shumaker reinforced the KMX frame to handle all that RC outrunner / lipo power :shock:

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KMX trike build (updated pics)(new HD video)
Postby migueralliart » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:43 am

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migueralliart runs on 20" hookworms, with a rear hubmotor. 44 v gives him ~30 mph. I like the way he's mounted the battery box in space Recumpense uses for the RC drive.

Here's a 9 minute video of migueralliart riding the trike:



Enjoy your trike! 8)
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2007 Giant Revive, Crystalyte 405 20" fr, 35A/72V + Cycle-analyst 2.1

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by xenodius » May 09 2013 9:41am

Hey, thankyou for the links! I'm familiar with Matt's trike, it's a beast, I do still want to go with a hubmotor for a simple maintenance-free drivetrain, and the possibility of more seamless assist. =) And regen, save those brake pads! =) Migueralliart's build looks like almost exactly what I was hoping to do with mine! Or rather with my battery. :) I'm thinking for now a 24s A123 pack and, for now, a cheap hub (9c/hs3548) or I'll go all-out and do a 36s A123 pack and a Cromotor. =) I'd like to use one of John in CR's hubs but until I build a custom frame that won't be possible.

Thankyou for the video, I find myself in disbelief about the aero of bents-- I'll look into his build thread =)

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by thundercamel » Oct 16 2018 2:19pm

I really like your build and trips! I'm hoping to build a trike next year if I have the money, and there is some good information here. Any new updates?
My Ebike builds - Existing bikes, affordable motor kits, self built 14s6p batteries

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Oct 16 2018 7:26pm

I really like your build and trips! I'm hoping to build a trike next year if I have the money, and there is some good information here. Any new updates?
The material on my bike trailer wore out and started ripping at the seams. I removed all the nylon and got on the mig-welder, started building a trailer that can hold 50ah of battery (Hobbyking was having a sale on 6s 10ah multistar and I may have gone a bit overboard), 300 watts of solar panel and a load of camping gear. I'm 70% or so done with the build with intent on doing another solar adventure.

Last time the solar panel was set up as a sun shield for the rider but was too floppy to use at length on bumpy roads. This time I the solar panel is built to be used exclusively on the dirt roads. I have charted a ~225 mile route through back-woods with intent on doing another long-distance "mini cross-country" attempt Spring 2019.

Progress so far:
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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by thundercamel » Oct 17 2018 1:09pm

Nice work! Glad to see you're still at it.
We have a single seat version of that trailer for my son to ride in; I keep seeing them pop up on endless-sphere for projects :P
For our honeymoon in 2015 we flew to Las Vegas, got a rental car, and immediately left so we could explore a different national park every day for a week. It was wonderful! Kinda cool that that area is your backyard.
My Ebike builds - Existing bikes, affordable motor kits, self built 14s6p batteries

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by ScooterMan101 » Oct 18 2018 9:43am

Parajared,

You have the talent, and the tools and shop space to make your own trike

Wider , Longer , Full Suspension.

Using tubing you can buy at any metal supply warehouse . Like 3x3 inch or 2.5x2.5 or even rectangular tubing for a little more strength in one direction.

Using 26 inch wheels front and 27.5 rear or even 29er rear. Note by designing your own trike you can still make it low to the ground for rollover prevention and still have larger wheels.

Anyway, looking at trikes I still am not seeing any afforadable, full suspension trikes .

100-120 mm travel can use off the shelf shocks that are readily available , especially at discount internet sellers that sell 1/2/3 year old over stock bike parts.
My first conversion ...

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 1#p1077497

It's 2018 already, lets get some real , improved e-bike / e-velomobile / e-motorcycle designs .

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parajared   10 kW

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Oct 18 2018 6:01pm

ScooterMan101 wrote:
Oct 18 2018 9:43am
Parajared,

You have the talent, and the tools and shop space to make your own trike
In 2013 I purchased the "Street Fox" design from Atomic Zombie and endeavored to build my own trike (www.atomiczombie.com). I found some exercise equipment at the thrift store that seemed perfect as steel beams. I liked the springiness of a thrift-store snowboard and used that as the seat, going so far as to even upholster it with some foam mattress pad and some fabric. The tail end of a dual-suspension wal-mart bicycle got the old choppo treatment and two different thrift store bicycles became front wheel #1, front wheel #2, the steering mechanism, the bottom bracket and the front chainwheel.

I was well on my way with the build but what AtomicZombie doesn't really tell you is how much "devil is in the detail" kinda stuff involved with these things.

The seat was on it's 3rd rendition or so before I finally got to something I actually thought felt comfortable-ish... maybe. The steering mechanism ended up needing to be super-precise. Just getting the two wheels to move exactly the same is harder than it looks but that's just step one. Caster, camber and Ackerman Steering Principal all played an effect too and getting one angle on this ungodly triad of misery one tiny bit off meant the whole thing worked positively awful! We are talking a design ruining "off" by a matter of millimeters or less than .5 degrees in angle.

I finally got it all sorted though. I got caster lined up with a builder's level, camber straight with a home-made plywood contraption that measured wheel angle correlatively. I got Ackerman tamed with a whole hell of a lot of trial and error.

The end result was a one wild machine! It turns out that thrift store exercise equipment steel is super heavy and different in rigidity than the steel you buy from an actual honest to goodness steel supplier. Every bump in the road of significance would cause a wierd flop-wobble where the middle of the trike would bow in and temporarily send you and the wheels on harrowing adventure. Like you would be cruising along an think hey this is alright, this is fine, what a great trike and then a pothole or something would blip the wheel and I swear I thought I was going to die. The seat, that f-ing seat would be fine to sit on in the garage, it was great, but when it came down to really putting pressure on the peddles and digging it it was just unbearable to peddle with.

I want to say about $400 went into all the crap that went into that miserable "Street Fox." If you want to truly make your own home-brew trike and you are okay with a bit of misery, spend the extra money and get your steel from a proper supplier. If you want to save yourself the grind of setting up Ackerman maybe buy a KMX, chop the tail off the thing and arc-weld some rear suspension back on. :roll:

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by craneplaneguy » Oct 18 2018 10:47pm

Never use a nico press swedge OVER the vinyl on the cable, always strip the plastic off first. I saw that in one picture of one of your earlier builds, I know aircraft wire rope (and working techniques and just had to comment on that! Your use was probably not structural, so no biggie. But for a second or two of time, and no extra cost, why not get the full strength when done proper? A few hang glider and ultralight builders, whose use WAS structural (wire braced air frame) learned this the hard way. I just didn't want someone else to see that pic and think that's how it's done, ever.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Oct 19 2018 12:29am

craneplaneguy wrote:
Oct 18 2018 10:47pm
Never use a nico press swedge OVER the vinyl on the cable, always strip the plastic off first. I saw that in one picture of one of your earlier builds, I know aircraft wire rope (and working techniques and just had to comment on that! Your use was probably not structural, so no biggie. But for a second or two of time, and no extra cost, why not get the full strength when done proper? A few hang glider and ultralight builders, whose use WAS structural (wire braced air frame) learned this the hard way. I just didn't want someone else to see that pic and think that's how it's done, ever.
Do I remember what type of aircraft structural braided steel attachments my Wills Wing Falcon had back in 2006? Sorry no, but Nicopress Swage over nylon looks quite awfully familiar. It's very possible that exact system very well may have been on a hang glider I owned and operated. If you told me that at one point it was the industrial standard for aircraft grade applications, I would be inclined to believe you but I honestly can't remember.
21056192_10209893491355144_4333593346653287256_o.jpg
If the question you are asking is, how well is that 2012 braided steel mod you installed holding up? It's dusty and worn, but honestly doesn't look too bad at all. See for yourself.
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If the question is would I dangle myself from an anchoring system that has proven to be ineffective well heck no! I just welded her on there to keep thieves from jacking my stuff man.

If you are asking if I would weld a dog tether to a KMX again as some kind of security measure, I mean yeah, not sure what kind of lunatic would weld a dog tether to a $1000 trike, but I did and it seems to work fine as a mild deterrent for thieves. Thieves lacking easy-access to bolt cutters or portable angle grinders that is.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Oct 19 2018 1:29am

Nice work! Glad to see you're still at it.
We have a single seat version of that trailer for my son to ride in; I keep seeing them pop up on endless-sphere for projects :P
For our honeymoon in 2015 we flew to Las Vegas, got a rental car, and immediately left so we could explore a different national park every day for a week. It was wonderful! Kinda cool that that area is your backyard.
I have been wanting to do that sort of thing, travel the United States focusing on national parks. I have been considering building a "tiny home" out of a Tacoma or a Frontier. My thinking on it is goes as follows:
I want to hike and ride bikes and play in national forests all day
therefore I want to shower the sweat and grit off at the end of every day
a low flow on-demand tankless water heater = 1.3 gallons per minute
therefore 2 weeks of boondocking without water refill x 1.3 gallons per minute = still a lot of water. 5-ish gallons of water per shower?! Sheesh that's an easy 70 gallons for 2 weeks.
Therefore necessity for a 55 gallon drum of water just for just shower water therefore pickup truck instead of van or SUV to haul said water barrel + propane tank for said water heater + e-bike.
A Toyota Tacoma double cab from dashboard to rear wall is about 7 feet, so enough room to install a cot if I remove the passenger seat, and elevate the cot I should be able to store 2 weeks worth of supplies under the cot.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by craneplaneguy » Oct 19 2018 9:33am

Your Wills Wing for sure did NOT have swedges over the plastic, ( NO hang gliders did, hell we knew better, and I actually flew with company founder Bob Wills a few times, an awesome pilot) it had 7x7 stainless aircraft cable, galvanized was not used as it'd leave black on the sail and on your hands. If you have ever seen a swedge over plastic, it was wrong and not on any decent flying machine. Back in the '80's during the height of the ultralight "craze" one new company thought it'd be a good idea (flying in the face of basic long term aircraft cabling practice, they've had this shit figured out for 100 years) to swedge over the plastic. After a few in flight structural failures they went out of business. Your use of this technique was super minor, no flying loads anyway, so no biggie, but it's like seeing a u-bolt type cable clamp installed backwards ("never saddle a dead horse") it is no more work or money to do it right, doing it wrong could lead others to see it and do it that way in a use more potentially dangerous is the only reason I'm harping on it, and think they were doing it right, but only achieving a fraction of the rated strength of doing it right! It's like using a grade 1/no grade nut on a grade 8 bolt, just ain't right, nuff said. Cool trike!

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