Saturday, 25 August 2012

Kate's steering plate replacement

After Kate's steering failure on the way home from CV and Beyss refusing to have anything to do with the the Evo-K problem I ended up having to buy a replacement steering plate from them as the fastest way to get Kate back on the road.
Unfortunately I don't really trust the soft aluminium steering plates - the photo below shows the replacement plate already showing signs of bending after 1000km of road riding - keeping vehicle load 20kg below the stated maximum, 18mph average, 46mph maximum speed - hardly taxing conditions. The original plate on the opposite side had similar distortion.

Not really trusting the soft aluminium steering plates I have, with the help of a friend and a couple of small-order custom fabrication shops, created my own plates in stainless steel. Many thanks to Geoff for translating my source image into a CAD file that the laser cutters at Yorkshire Profiles could work from - the result was this rather beautiful part... for just £8.54 per copy!

The photos below show the sequence of removing the old and fitting the new plates...

Original parts in situ, with the brake caliper removed:

Detail of the old alu plate - I've already replaced the rear rose joint with an automotive quality part. I've had a few failures of these joints during rework, the others will be replaced as funds allow. I'm unsure whether I'm expecting too much from these parts, whether UK riding, with hilly conditions leading to higher speeds and higher loads is more extreme than most velomobile use or I've just had a couple of 'bad' ones.

Suspension pillar removed...

New plate fitted to suspension post using matching 304 Stainless 'angle iron' bracket made for me by Metal Stock. I originally bought sections of right angle stock but found the drilling hard going. Renée at Metal Stock offered a fabrication service so these parts arrived finished and ready to go...


Suspension pillar back on Kate...

Collection of rods hooked up and ready to go...

And brake plate dropped back into place...

So, repeat for other side, check tracking and ready to go...
All set for a test ride tomorrow morning :)


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  2. I hope you’ve made a perfect steering wheel for Kate. I was kinda surprised that you made your own stainless steel plates. I always rely on the aluminum steering plates that I have and it’s good that they’re not failing me. :) I hope you got good results from your DIY plates. :)

    < Carl Patten >

  3. Hi Carl, I checked the stainless steel plates recently and they're just fine - perfectly flat.

    I did notice with the original plates that the domed nut (from the handle linkage to the plate) could strike the front track rod. My rod showed marks from this happening. I think it might bave heen the reason for my original steering failure - the domed nut pushing a rod end apart causing the steering to fail. You might want to check yours is set so this cannot happen.