2010 Ideas

As noted in the section detailing my 2009 plans, I had anticipated doing the following:

  • Get larger tires, with more flotation, and add weight to the driving wheels.  The total weight of Roboshaw (people + vehicle) is probably 1800 lbs, and the driving wheels carry perhaps 300 lbs of that.... so we we spent some time pushing to get through the dunes.   Getting larger diameter tires and lowering the gear ratio significantly looks like it would really help.  I'm curious about the effects of better tire traction on steering, but so far this hasn't appeared to be a problem.  The steering remains pretty high effort at slow speeds - not surprising given the lack of a differential.

  • The chain again appears to be a weak link in terms of drive, although given the weight we're carrying it's not surprising.  A proper gear-type final drive would help a lot here; the torque converter seems pretty  immune to the dust, but the chains bite it in one week - about 120 miles or so... 

To accomplish the above, I've obtained 11" wide x 22" diameter lawn tractor tires, and a 11.7:1 gear box that will serve as the final drive, and designed a largely new front drive unit. However, this year we're in the middle of restoring a 1971 Airstream trailer, which we'll take to Burning Man. As a result, RoboShaw will once again go largely unmodifed; with all the rain we've had this year, I anticipate better playa conditions than we've had for the last few years. We will add a large illuminated TAXI sign to the top of the sunscreen to properly fit into the city environment and advertise our goal of giving folks rides....

Of course, we still have to do the following maintenance:

  • replace once again the final drive sprocket and chain.

  • leak check propane system, redo steel wool on ignitors.

  • spot paint rusty areas (RoboShaw spent the year outside).

  • repaint wooden seats.

  • check wiring.

  • lube all bearings, change engine oil, service air cleaner, leak check tires.

I also need to work on more rapid assembly at the playa; we cannot pull both the equipment trailer for RoboShaw and the Airstream.