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ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ
 
Jack Olsen's Avatar
 
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Poor Man's Aero: Building Your Own Wing (many pix)

For those of you who haven't been following along, this was my dilemma: I decided my 3.8RS tail and 58-inch wing was too ugly for long drives to the track, and that I'd rather have something that did as much for my car on the track (where I don't care so much about looks) but would allow me to drive to the track itself looking like a normal widebody early 911.

Yes, I know. A widebody early 911 ain't exactly normal. But I prefer the look of a ducktail on it to the huge apparatus that I would previously put on for track weekends:



Plus, the 3.8RS deckild is heavy (45 pounds, with the wing and extensions), and it's not the right decklid for my era of 911.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Who really cares about what their car looks like on the drive up to a track? Well, I don't care that much, honestly. But once I get an idea in my head, I often have a tough time stopping things. Plus, it appealed to me to run the same decklid on the street as I do on the track.

Everything got its start in this thread. And this was my rough sketch:




I got lots of feedback, and I did some wool tuft testing, and things evolved into this thread, where we worked out an idea for an airfoil to use.

So the goal was this: build a full-size wing that I could take apart and put inside the car pretty easily. I don't care how ugly it is at the track, although I have to admit I thought the previous test wing, at 42-inches wide, looked a little goofy and maybe a little too 'girly' for my tastes:



This was the profile that Pelicanite Peter Bull worked out for me:



I ordered up some aluminum and did some tests with different adhesives. I'd never built anything like a wing, previously, so I kind of made it up as I went along. I'm going to post a whole bunch of pictures showing the steps I used. I'd appreciate it if the guys who know about this sort of thing let me know where I screwed up (or, if it happened, what I did right).

I'm reasonably happy with the end result. It's big -- since my thinking is to find the point of diminishing returns with this and then back off to a smaller wing down the line. But it's surprisingly strong. I don't think it will have any problems with the forces involved once it's up to speed.

Final size: 70 inches wide, 10.25 inch cord length
Final weight: 4 pounds 12 ounces for the wing itself.
Final cost: About $75 for the materials, and $50 of that was for the Scotch-Weld DP460 structural adhesive. It's expensive stuff.

For most people, a pre-made wing from a fiberglass/carbon fiber place is probably a smarter way to go. I was limited to a straight wing, and it will no doubt get more damage over time than my old carbon fiber one did.

Comments? Questions?
Old 09-01-2006, 04:47 PM
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:48 PM
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:48 PM
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:48 PM
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nice job jack- about how many hours for the actual fab and assy?
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:20 PM
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Nice work Jack, it looks really good.
I appreciate the design, fabrication and effort that you put into it.

Regards,
Ed
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:22 PM
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Wow! Not too shabby! Impressive fab work, and lots of it with home tools. Nice!
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:23 PM
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Does the FAA and NASA know about this
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:28 PM
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I see that I'm not the only one that built model airplanes when I was young.

Nice fab.
Old 09-01-2006, 05:40 PM
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Very cool, I'm impressed again. Between Your and Thom's fabrication skills you guys should start making cars.

At this point, the only thing that I wonder about isn't the strength of the airfoil, but the strength of the duck tail and uprights that attach it to the car.

Have you done any high speed tests?
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:44 PM
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Jack,
It looks like you put a lot of thought into this. Nice job, especially the nice smooth bend at the leading edge. Not sure where I could improve upon it. All you need to do is fix the camera on it at speed and a stopwatch to tell you all is well.

Sherwood
Old 09-01-2006, 05:49 PM
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Neat - I look forward to seeing her run at speed at WSIR.

Minor fabrication suggestion for v2.0: Bend ever other tab on the ribs in the opposite direction (except the ends). But given the size of the box section probably unecessary.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:20 PM
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Very cool. I would be curious to see how the uprights mount to the body.

Fantastic!
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:32 PM
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Nice work jack. Makes me think of the modern GT3 wing mounting style.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:46 PM
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That's is pretty damn clever man. Great DIY fab work.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:57 PM
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Thanks, guys. As a non-fabricator by nature, this was a learn-as-you-go type of deal. But I think it will hold together just fine on the track, and it will allow me to fine tune a wing solution for my car without breaking the bank.

Answers to questions:

Time involved: It's hard to say, since I did it in little pieces, allowing the glue to cure in between. Putting on the skin was done in four steps, each with at least four hours of curing time. I think it's safe to say that if my fabrication time is worth $10/hr, then this wing is a great deal. If my time is worth five times that amount, then it probably would have made more financial sense to buy somebody else's wing.

Most of the time for the job was spent learning about how it's been done in the past -- mostly from RC aircraft sites. I've never done any modeling with airplanes or anything else, so this was all new to me. But the problems faced by guys building their own aircraft are similar to the challenges for this project -- and RC guys usually are on a strict budget.

The trickiest part was thinking up a way to have the two halves join together, and lock and unlock easily, in a way that didn't add too much weight. There are two 18-inch aluminum tubes set into each center section, with end stops, and a 35-inch length of smaller tube goes inside them (half on each side), bridging the two when they're together and also making the wing more rigid. There's a shorter tube aft of the longer one. It also has an insert whic is permanently fixed inside it. There's a pre-drilled hole for the pin that holds the two halves of the shorter tube (and the wing) together.

Don, that's a good idea about alternating the tabs. It would mean less snipping to create enough of a gap between the tabs so they don't overlap.

I've already tested the uprights and the base for three full track days. The base mounts are really simple, but I think they'll hold up fine, even over time. All of the force from both drag and the (reverse) lift of the wing go right to the frame, with fasteners in the fiberglass only having to hold the mounts in position. I'll try to get some pictures of it all tomorrow.
Old 09-01-2006, 07:13 PM
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Of course, I shouldn't have questioned, you've thought of everything. If you wore glasses, I'd say you had 2 personas. Glasses on you'd be a mild mannered writer, and then glasses off, automotive engineer extraordinaire.
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:59 PM
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Outstanding - the wt. & cost comparison at top is fabulous.

IT will be easier & faster to do the next one...

YOu might also make a wooden buck to form strips into various curves.

How thick are the tubes?
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:31 PM
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Hi Jack,
Next thing you know you'll put a difusser under the car or even on the under side of the wing.
Good luck
Richard
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Burns
Next thing you know you'll put a difusser under the car or even on the under side of the wing.
You'd be correct. I did the world's least-scientific diffuser a while back.





I'm going to do another one in the future, this time with some input from a friend who's an actual aerodynamicist.

I've got one other crazy idea in mind, as well, although it's one the aerodynamics guy has told me is nutty.

But I may try it anyway.
Old 09-02-2006, 08:13 AM
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