MARS Recumbent bicycle projects

Zotefoam Manual - Installing the Trike
A project by John Tetz - April 2005

Introduction   Mold   Layout   Form   Cut   Glue   Internal Braces   Install the Trike   Tail   Door   Canopy   Turtledeck

Set the shell on the floor. Take the wheels (including the rear) off the trike and place the trike in the shell from above, sliding it forward.
This shows the inside of the front part of the shell with the Y-mounts holding this section up and out. The pads which spread the load out are made from scraps of Zotefoam. The tubes are carbon.
Here is the rear support off the back of the seat. A C-clamp is used until everything is mounted, aligned, and checked out. Then the rod will be bolted to the aluminum bracket. This is a damn complicated mount! It has to be adjustable forward/back and up/down, and accommodate the two angles of the side of the shell, one for the foil shape and the other for the sectional view shape. And ideally it should be easy and quick to couple the shell to the vehicle. For this, I plug the rod part of the mount into an aluminum tube mounted on the seat back. The bracket is wood screwed to a block of wood. The wood provides a decent amount of area to be contact cemented to the shell. No doubt there are other ways to do this.
This shows the brackets. The slots are up/down adjustments.

The Y-support and seat mount are all you need for now. I blocked the wheel-less trike up under the cross tube to prevent the trike from rotating, then climbed in to check for toe/heel clearance. Some adjustment of the Y-mount and seat mount may be necessary. The Y-mount adjusts the shell nose height. The seat mount adjusts the shell rear end height and left/right positioning, as well as the nose left/right positioning.

Once the up/down, forward/back, and center positions have been thoroughly checked out, a frame mount can be made which will permanently fix the forward/back position. I use a strip of Velcro along the bottom of the frame to support the bottom foam. Here is the frame mount:
Once this is installed, the wheel holes can be trimmed and the wheels reinstalled. Turn the wheels and make small cuts. The wheel openings will not be round but have some amount of rectangular shape. Seeing the trike on its wheels in the shell for the first time was quite a moment. This represented ten months of work, from the time I started building the trike to its installation in a partially finished shell.
Next, cut the butterfly-shape openings on the grey bottom so the wheels will clear when turning corners. I cut only a minimum amount until the vehicle is on the road, then trim to get the turning radius needed.
Make the spray shields. These make wonderful bulkheads which stiffen the shell, replacing some of the stiffness lost from those large wheel openings.

Note the carbon rod plugged into a small tube brazed on the head tube leading to the spray shield. This is needed to reduce left/right shifting of the shell.

Next: Tail

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