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:








24.2.18

Apocalypse BUG or ABUG.









The ABUG is ready for its first adventure at DevCon in Plymouth on the 3rd March. Hopefully everything will hold up to people climbing all over the bug and having photos taken, we will see. The Flame system has been improved to make the flames fire from the exhausts and upwards as opposed to out of a type of afterburner, looks better to. There will be some major changes to all the flame system both on the BUG and 95Spider over the next few weeks giving the system more flexibility in terms of altering the throw of the flames. 

21.2.18

A Tron Light Cycle for the 50's






The Retro-Iron bike is fully complete at last. There were a few modifications needed to the lower sections as the bike was simply to wide and would not go round corners when ridden. New chrome dials have been added and even more lighting all which is now programable so colours can se set.

25.1.18

A Retro-Futurism Tron Light cycle.

It has taken a few weeks but our Retro take on the Tron light cycle is nearly complete. A bit more work on finishing the dials and detailing but on the whole it is ready to go.  The styling is very Retro, almost with a hint of Egyptian Art. It is built on a Kawasaki ZZR600 so it has a fair amount of power when wound up. It is completely ridable, if you have the nerve and has a fairly comfortable riding position until the Moto-T bike. It is finished in brushed aluminium which will be a nightmare with finger prints. It is finished of with hundreds of LED's hidden throughout the bike which provides a great glow in the dark look, just like the Tron light cycles.

15.12.17

Moto- T Motorcycle

Our latest creation is our Moto-T motorcycle. The influence for this bike comes from the film Terminator salvation and the famous Moto Terminators. Again, it is not a replica but a different take on the film bike, very heavily influenced by the artist H.R.Giger.
The aim was to try and combine the almost impossible CGI elements from the film bike into a rideable machine, with working guns and a unusual riding position.
The machine was constructed over a Kawasaki ZZR600 mainly due to the fact that the wheelbase was the same as that used in the film. Using a large four cylinder bike also gives it a great exhaust note. The whole build was a mega challenge in that the whole riding position had to be changed and the bars lowered and narrowed.  A normal fuel tank and air intake system would not fit so a custom solution had to be worked. The biggest challenge was to make the mini guns work and articulate and still allow the bike to be ridden. It is a challenge to get your feet down when you stop but the guns are removable to make this easier if needed.