Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The "tank"

The idea for keeping a "gas tank" form incorporated as part of the final design didn't come easily. As a designer, I usually try to ensure that everything is justified by function and this is usually reflected in form. The decision to place a volume where the gas tank usually is, came from the insight that riders expect and need to feel something substantial between their legs. The need is both a function of control in corners and to inspire overall confidence.  The form that you see today went through several tens of iterations from bare essential "knee-paddles" to more traditional forms. Finally I settled on a shape that would offer enough volume and surface area please the rider's ego and hide some electrics; yet, still be minimal and light in appearance and weight.
Tank/seat half way through clay
The process of actually building the seat and tank was long and exhausting. For the sake of staying interesting, I will try to stick to the highlights:

     1.  Build the base and pack on clay.
     2.  CNC the basic SolidWorks model into the clay.
     3.  Make changes in tape wall drawing and then on one-half of the clay.
     4.  Get help from Ryan Black-Macken with mirroring and adding a body line.

Initial hand modifications
     5.  Finalize changes in tank and mirroring.
     6.  Spray clay with magic rubber spray paint.
     7.  Make a three-part mold utilizing soft silicone surface backed by 20 min plaster.
Part sprayed with barrier and beginning to make parting line for mold
     8.  Cast multiple layers of fiberglass and carbon fiber to ensure strength.
     9.  Clean up edges with die grinder and begin Bondo work.
   10.  Enlist help of paint guru brother Antonio Yorba to tirelessly straiten wavy surfaces
          and fill pin holes.
How the lower fairing looked after removal from mold
      11.   Prime and sand at intervals of 100, 180, 240,320,400,and 600 
              (the last two being wet)..
      12.   Mask and spray interior surfaces with textured paint for
              durability and aesthetics. 
      13.   Mask and spray two tone parting lines for color graphics.
      14.   Paint is three-part base/pearl/clear.

This is pretty much where I am at now.  This still leaves a need for a way to mount the seat and tank on the frame. I have a good idea of how that will happen, and I will be posting sketches and solutions on that as it comes. 
More appropriate tank photos to come

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