This was my first big project at MITERS, the MIT Electronics Research Society, where, for the first time, I have access to real machine tools. Over the course of this project, I learned how design parts and assemblies in Solidworks, and got fairly proficient at using a manual mill and lathe.
The basic design for this vehicle came from the classic Radio Flyer tricycle, but this was scratch built with a number of performance increasing enhancements. It features side-to-side leaning for better cornering, an incredibly oversized brushless motor, an eight speed manual transmission, and a custom differential, among other things. It has a (untested, because I'm not brave enough) top speed somewhere in excess of 40 mph, enough torque to throw off the unprepared rider, and is guaranteed to get you funny looks every time you ride it.
Submitted by MITERS for the Instructables Sponsorship Program
For the Make-To-Learn Contest:
What did you make?
In case the title was not clear enough, I made an electric tricycle. While it may be comically small, don't confuse this for your average pedal-powered Radio Flyer though. This vehicle was designed solely to be a fun thing to ride, and is more comprable to a go kart than anything else. Although it is an entirely impractical vehicle for doing anything useful, it has been suggested that I ride it to my classes.
How did you make it?
The idea for building this came from a combination of wanting to build a better electric vehicle than my previous one, and from getting the chance to ride some other very small but very fun electric vehicles. The parts were first designed in SolidWorks, and then machine manually, using a combination of hand tools, a mill, and a lathe. Since I designed most of the trike on a computer before building it, I did not have to change any of my designs half way through.
Where did you make it?
I made it at MITERS, MIT's student run shop/hackerspace. In addition to having the tools I needed, MITERS also has lots of awesome people who know about making a huge variety of different things. Especially electric vehicles, multicopters, and Tesla coils, though.
What did you learn?
I learned how to CAD in SolidWorks, and how to use a manual mill and lathe. I also got more familiar with brushless DC motors, and how they are controlled. Most of the actual building of this project went smoothly, so the biggest challenge was diagnosing some very unusual motor and motor controller problems I had. It turned out that the motor I used had an intermittent internal short. Sometimes it would work just fine, which made it very difficult to diagnose exactly what the problem was.