10.5.19

Akira Mobility bike complete



















Even thought the main part of the Akira Mobility bike was completed last week there are always small details that need attention, It is these small details that define the final product and that attention to detail is so important.
We had to add some higher visibility front and rear indicators due to the fact that the original ones fitted did not meet the spec to make it road legal. They integrate well but it is still annoying to have to add parts that I did not want in the original design. Lower console screen has now been fitted which takes its feed from the rear camera. The rear view camera can be switched into this screen or both. A larger sub woofer system has been added behind the battery box under the seat and it does make a considerable difference to the overall sound, not sure what effect it will have on the battery. 
An idler gear has been added between the main drive sprocket and rear wheel sprocket, takes up the chain slack really well and makes the drive much smoother. 
I decided to fit a bigger/wider rear tyre which looks so much better. All of the details that were outstanding have now all been sorted. 
I have still got a smoked screen to fit but as yet am in two minds about adding it to the detail, we will see.

Initially a Raspberry Pi computer was controlling the stabiliser wheels but yet again the system is proving to be unreliable. I used the same controller on one of the Bat mobiles to control the after burner but that also failed regularly until replaced with a better system. Not sure as yet what I will use on the Akira mobility bike to control the height adjustment of the wheels. Currently there is a mechanical switch which raises and lowers the wheels and they can be locked in any position. 

The bike went out on the road for the first time last week and generally worked well.
As a concept vehicle it works really well however as a day to day Invalid carriage there are a few problems.
The turning circle is a nightmare, not much I can do about this but if this was ever produced for full time service the turn angle needs to be increase considerably.
Reverse switch is on the wrong side of the bike, you can't hold the front brake and switch reverse in which is a problem on a hill.
The stability control system needs to be better as mentioned earlier and a better computer system is needed to keep the bike level in four wheel mode.

Lighting wise a few more areas of the bike have been lit and I am experimenting with variable voltages depending of day or night for the green wheel Neons. They are now much easier to see in strong sun light than before.

I was going to do a battery upgrade but the 25ah batteries seem to perform really well, 36v for the drive system and 12v for everything else. Onboard charging has now been fitted as well as a solar panel charge system, which can be connected into an external panel. 


24.4.19

Akira Mobility bike






Ok, at last our Akira mobility bike is complete.
The aim was to create the worlds first Class 3 invalid carriage but with style and what better style than the famous Akira bike.
Our bike is not a replica of the famous 1988 Anime bike.
Influence for the bike came from different sources including the film Akira and Ready play one. We have also given it a 2019 make over and added in a more extreme Cyberpunk makeover.

Part of the shape of our bike had to be sculpted to accommodate the extra  wheels which electronically come out of the fairing to turn a two wheel vehicle into a four wheel one, all at the press of a button.  
The bike is powered by a 450w electric motor running at 36v which is more than powerful enough to move the bike at considerable speed. In four wheel mobility mode the speed is limited by the onboard computer to 8mph for the road and 4mph for the pavement. 
Bike comes fitted with GPS Sat Nav, sound system with sub, heated seat, horn, front and rear lights, indicators and of course the famous green Neon LED wheel lights. The overall size is built to the original spec so this is not a small bike and at over 9ft long not the easies to turn in a small circle.


6.4.19

Akira Mobility bike

Here we go, about a week from completion.
There are still a few things to complete including the console and adding a bit of reinforcement to the drive motor mountings. The bike use a 350w electric motor connected to the back wheel via a chain drive, so as you can imagine this machine has huge amounts of torque. 
The bike can run in two modes, two or four wheel. In two week mode it is an electric motorcycle. In four wheel mode it is a road legal class 3 mobility scooter. With the flip of a switch the two stabiliser wheels come down and turn it into a four wheel vehicle which is very stable. The on board computer limits the speed in four wheel mode to make it legal. All the gadgets are fitted including Sat Nav, sound system, disc brakes, horn, brake lights, indicators, hazard flashers.
The wheel lighting was particularly successful even though it was a real pain to do. The green neon projection LED lighting works really well even in daylight. 
This bike was never intended to be a replica. it was always going to have a unique look plus it is a worlds first, Akira bike class 3 invalid carriage. 










11.3.19

Akira mobility scooter

As well as our new Bladerunner Spinner we have a new edition. Taking inspiration form the Akira Motorcycle our new bike will be something very different.
In essence we are going to build the worlds first Akira Mobility scooter, road legal. It is powered by an electric motor and conforms with all the UK legalities regarding putting a mobility scooter on the road. There is still along way to go with the build as currently we are only a few days into cutting metal and fabrication. The bike is a bit of a beast at over 9ft long and 3ft wide but should be fun to move around on. The stabizer wheels at the back have yet to be fitted and we need to work out a system which will raise and lower them.




31.7.18

Just in Time

Here we go, at last we can announce our latest creation , our very own Time machine.
In the 1980's film, Back to the Future, the choice of the Delorean seemed perfect.
Not really wanting to create a replica of that famous car we wanted to do something a little different.
Bringing the whole concept into the 21st century the Smart Car seemed the perfect choice to turn into a Time machine. The little city car has become iconic and was just begging to be converted.
One thing the build had to have was Gul wing doors, something that is not an optional extra on a Smart car. After working out how to get the doors working but still keep the overall look of the Smart the project was born.
As well as taking inspiration from all three Back to the Future films references are made to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and general life in the 'City'.
This build has everything, white wall wheels, Huge amount of LED lighting, 1000wrms sound system, touch screens, voice control via 'Alexa', steampunk styled interior, the list goes on.
Forget the Flux capacitor and Mr Fusion, we have a BIC Capacitor( now you know what happened to all the biro's, and a working Cappuccino machine, which should be great for cold comic cons.
One of the challenges of the build was the guy wing doors and ensuring that the interior of the car was kept dry when it rained. This was achieved by a system I designed to duct the water from the roof inside pipes through the car which works really well, no more gun wing door leaks.
Building this car was so much fun that I have decided to create a collection of Smart cars, built and inspired by iconic films. Keep an eye out for our next build, a Smart Car Dark Knight Tumbler.








Some Build photos constructing the doors.




Rear Vents made from 3mm Alloy


Everything mocked up in wood.



8.5.18

Raspberry Pi nightmare



You know when you think everything is working fine then it all blows up, welcome to my world and the Raspberry Pi.

For those that don't know the afterburner and the large fins on the 95Spider bat mobile are controlled by a Raspberry Pi controller. 
A few months back the manual triggers to open and close the large fins on the back of the 95Spider where replaced with the Raspberry Pi system, in essence it controls the opening and closing of the actuators. We also had it triggering the solenoids that control the release of gas for the propane after burner. The idea was to run a simple program that would open the fins as the car drives away and trigger the burner. It worked well up to the point where I experimented with taking a trigger from the vehicle ECU. My new idea was to open the fins and trigger the burner at a certain RPM. This was met with limited success as it was a bit unreliable, not sure why, so I tried an optical trigger on the speedometer, which, when the needle hit 25mph the circuit was triggered. 

This system seemed to work fine up until today. I went to run the program to move the fins to check something and nothing worked. It looks like the whole system has burned out, Raspberry Pi is dead. One fin actuator works but the other does not. The relays all seem fine as do the fuses, very strange.

I am not sure what cause this massive failure, it might have been down to a power overload. This weekend we were at the Makers Central Fair at the NEC and the vehicle was powered up via its mains system for the longest time yet. Normally the system runs on the internal 12v AGM battery. I am wondering if some sort of power spike simply took out the controller. It has defiantly burn out as it has that unmistakable smell. 
Anyway this might be farewell the the Raspberry Pi controller, it simply is not robust and reliable enough for what I need and so susceptible to tiny variations in current.

I am going to go with my tried and tested Pololu Maestro controller, the same one I used on all my robots, as I have never had a single failure with one in over five years.
I will use the optical trigger unless I can get the OBD11 interface working reliably, straight into the Maestro controller, output to the relays which will control the actuators to move the fins. Using a time delay in the program the burner will fire once the fins reach a certain position. 

The Raspberry Pi was also going to be linked up to a new head tracking camera for the VR driving system but that is now scrapped. I will instead use the Arduino board with the Wii Nunchuck to control the pan and tilt of the camera, same as I did when I built the Predator should canon.
The tiny board from the nunchuck will be glued onto the top of the VR goggles. A cable will run form the goggles to the Arduino delivering both control, power and video feed to the pan and tilt camera mounted on the front of the 95Spider, simple really. I am going wired as opposed to wireless because the goggle will be left with the 95Spider at public events, wired won't go walkabout.



All my research for building this including the base code came from this great resource: