We mentioned Ben’s “Loop the Lake” project a few weeks ago, and yes.. he made it back! In fact, he was at Maker Faire Milwaukee talking about his adventure, and he just did an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio about the trip.
Ben Nelson may be just a little bit obsessed with electric vehicles. Over the years he’s built an electric car and electric motorcycle, and he’s even got an electric riding lawnmower. He wanted to show the power of electric vehicles, so he decided to have his own “DIY Road Rally” and ride his Vetrix all the way around Lake Michigan.
All way way around the lake!? That’s 1,000 miles with no gasoline. He’ll be charging up a lot, but he knows where, when, and how to charge up.
People often say that electric vehicles are only good for short trips around the city, but Ben aims to prove them wrong. He’s also planning a full-length documentary film about his adventure…
A few of us worked on a car for The Power Racing Series and somehow we got it done at 3:15am on Thursday night after about a week of intensive nights cutting wood, and trying to weld metal, and scrounging for batteries. We then took it to Maker Faire Detroit and raced it.
The car is modeled after Noah’s Ark, supposedly dimensionally accurate, scaled down, of course. It runs at 24 volts and uses one 250 watt hub motor meant for a bicycle. It was not fast. It drives like a boat, maybe because it is one.
We didn’t break down until the last few minutes of the Endurance Race when we popped a tire, so we just kept going on the rim. (Our qualifying lap was 40.40 seconds. Also our car is #40. Amazing!)
We built this in about a week, and made a lot of compromises to get it done on time. Originally we were going to use two 250 watt hub motors for the rear wheels, but… compromises.
The good news is you can spin around in a super-tight radius by turning the wheel 90 degrees and then going full throttle. The bad news is, you might puke afterwards.
Anyway, we’d love to see more people build cars for The Power Racing Series event that will be happening at Maker Faire Milwaukee. If you start now, you’ve got 60 days, and since we built this in about 6 days (and rested on the 7th) it should be totally doable.
Remember, you don’t have to be fast if you’re awesome. You do need to go, and stop, and not take it too seriously. If you can do those things, we’ll see you at the races!
Will Milwaukee Makerspace have a functioning car? Will there be a RAGE BUILD today, and every day this week? Will we pull it off at the last minute and continue our long-standing tradition of racing in Detroit?
Starfleet never produced an episode of How It’s Made, so we’re going to have to do a little guessing along the way when building our bridge. Obviously we still need to install the EPS conduits, Tribble-proof everything, and get the self destruct system up and running. But we’ve got nearly 80 days to get it all done.
Don’t forget to bring your phaser to Maker Faire Milwaukee to check out the final build!
Join us for The Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth at Wisconsin State Faire Park September 24th & 25th, 2016. Admission is free. A joint presentation by Milwaukee Makerspace and the Betty Brinn Children's Museum.
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