Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Last week during class I had a good conversation with Ron Swenson and his friends Joe and Paul about the future of Spartan Superway. It was a good conversation that helped me understand the future of the project.

Not much work has been done on the track itself at the moment. Jez has been printing some new brackets that are stronger and wider and a ramp to aid the bogie climbing onto a double track. Once those are completed, we will implement them onto the track and complete our reports and presentations.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


3/22-4/5 This was crunch time to get everything done for Paseo Prototyping challenge. With the help of the team, we assembled the track and I made last minute tweaks and welds to make sure components were going to hold together.

4/6-4/12 On the 8th, Saturday we presented at Paseo Prototyping challenge and everything worked and was presentable. I coordinated and organized everyone's volunteer times as well as set-up and break down.  On the 12th, we gave our presentation and discussed some minor improvements that should be made.

4/13-4/18 As much of the project is already completed, not much has been done since then. I have drawn up a couple sketches for Jez to 3D print. Most of the printing has been completed. At this time, I do not think we have started to print small ramps we would like to add the the U-brackets.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


I missed last week's post so this one will be regarding the last two weeks.

So far, I have welded 6 of the 8 needed corners. I also began disassembling the track to prepare it for modifications so that the new pieces will fit. We discovered that we can use a "U" bracket to connect pieces and the one piece can do a number of jobs. At the connections we are considering a modified U-bracket, but it depends on how much time we will have.

Most of the time has been dedicated to getting something built, which we have been taking huge steps in the right direction.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


This week has been successful relatively speaking, TechShop extended their dates of availability until the 23rd of March which gives us more access to a reliable welder and welding tools. So far, 3 corners have had all the brackets welded to the lower tracks. Welding the upper guideway to the bracket has proved to be very difficult as the cast aluminum, guideway, and filler rod all have different melting temperatures. The guideway and the bracket are also so thin that the welder is basically melting them into oblivion. Jez and I have been looking into aluminum based adhesives. We have not yet found anything that would be economical in quantity. We also expect that if we use an adhesive, it would become easier to build and make sure all the components are within tolerances.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


This last week I have been working on more practice welds. I consulted a friend of mine that is very good at welding and I believe I have gotten it figured out and prepared to start welding the actual project. There have been a couple of complications. The TechShop is planning to close as of March 2nd and I have been trying to get all the mock ups and parts assembled to complete all the welding before hand. That does not seem likely. The welder in the shop works, however, there is no argon in the tank. 

The parts that Kevin bent has been mocked up. It takes a bit of fine tuning to make sure all the needed dimensions are done correctly. It is relatively easy and I dimensioned some blocks of wood to make sure all the parts would be within tolerances. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Last week Jez and I took a welding class. The class was TIG welding but was an introductory course that mainly focused on the techniques of TIG welding. It was very informative, but did not give much information on welding aluminum. over the weekend, I studied how to work with aluminum. We went back on Monday and started playing with different settings on the welder on different thicknesses of aluminum. We went ahead and purchased our own 4043 filler aluminum and 98% tungsten tips.

We are making progress on our welding abilities, but it is mainly been an uphill battle. Our deadline is getting closer and closer. At this time we are looking at alternatives to attaching the brackets like bolts or aluminum based adhesives.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


This last week we got our order in of 6061 Al T6511 and measure and cut a few pieces. After a couple pieces were cut, I realized our estimates on what we were cutting was wrong. This wasn't a huge issue for two reasons. One being that we were planning to shape the material then cut it to specific dimensions. The other being that I caught the error and corrected very early into cutting material and we still have a sufficient amount of material.

Jez and I also registered for our TIG welding classes. We will be taking that class this Saturday, 2/18. After the class I plan to spend the following week doing practice welding with scrap material we have. Hopefully, by the end of next week, welding of the actual track should begin. I say hopefully because this last week has had a number of setbacks and mistakes. Fortunately it is still early and our deadlines should not be affected, it is only going to be a bit more difficult.