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Old 03-02-2008, 12:51 PM   #1
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Everyday objects~Anyone using any for aero?

Hi folks,

I was wondering what ideas anyone else had come up with for re-tasking common products for fairings and aero modifications.

I guess we can start the list with...
Lawn edging for air dams.
Old Election signs for spats, grille blocks, belly pan.

I've got a few ideas in mind, I bought some pool noodles on sale at the end of last summer, intending to split them down into half rounds and quarter rounds. The half rounds are going at the back of wheel arches to stop them catching so much air. The quarter rounds will get stuck around my rear hatch to provide a surface to deflect air behind the minivan more. I've been unable to do this so far, due to missing the good weather, some rust spots to treat and paint before I stick this stuff over them, and need about 10C or so air temperatures to set the paint and glue etc.

Also looking at these large, square section plastic buckets that I got laundry soap in. Think they're around 18L in size, I've also seen them with cat litter in. I'm thinking I could cut an angled section out of them to fair in the rear wheels. Also looking at the 2lb/1Kg plastic coffee cans, thinking an angled section cut from those might find an application. Seem a little small to use on the minivan, but they might suit the Escort.

Also considering the use of the flat type pool noodles as a "survivable" lower airdam section, that won't shatter if struck or rubbed.

Unfortunately I've also got to treat some rust around the arches and on the rockers too, before I start fixing anything over it. Been squirting minor spots with WD-40 for years, but it's just gonna rot out completely in months if I cover it with anything before dealing with it.

Also have some 5/8 closed cell foam strip, draft insulating strip, that I am planning to use as turbulator strip. Might get that on some places as soon as it's above freezing, paint is fine where I want to put that.

So, anyone else come up with interesting aero uses for old containers, or common products?

Road Warrior
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:13 PM   #2
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grill blocks i just use roof flashing, liek a 14"x10 ft long roll of it for like $5... come sin white, brown or bare aluminum. does rip easy tho(about as thin walled as a soda can) but light and easy to work with
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:28 PM   #3
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Ah yes, convenient looking stuff, picked up a part roll for a buck or so at a yard sale last fall, 3ft wide, not sure how much is on it, looks like 6ft+, mine seems about as thick as a soda (pop, coke, sodapop, fizzy drink, soft drink) can bottom rather than sides.
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:17 PM   #4
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Don't forget carboard and duct tape for the prototyping.

RoadWarrior. Great idea on the plastic buckets and jugs. Last weekend I built a cardboard template for deflectors to go in front of the front tires. But now I'll be eyeballing square jugs and buckets for just the right shape. I think that will look a lot better than the Coroplast I intended to use. (LOL, just thought of a new thread, "what trash looks best on your car?") Hmmm. I'll have to look at plastic tubs for aero hubcaps. Maybe the bottom of a laundry basket. Yeah, that would be cheaper and lighter than the aluminum pizza pans.

I don't think you want to deflect air behind your minivan with the 1/4 noodles. The best method is to get the air flow to separate cleanly from your vehicle, either via a sharp lip, ala Kamm back, or with vortex generators. Speaking of that, does anyone know where I can get some wedge shaped rubber molding which I can glue around the back end of my car to create said lip?

VetteOwner, where did you get your flashing? I checked the mega home center this weekend, and all they had was lots of galvanized steel and an roll of *heavy* aluminum, which was about $40. They had a roll of some nice lightweight plastic flashing too, which might be useful for some aero mods. But I was shopping for belly pan materials. Maybe some aluminum trailer skirting...

BTW, I just realized last week that you're driving a Chevette, not a Corvette. Duh! LOL. Okay, back to modding...

I got some rubber molding from the Home Depot last year, which I've used to reduce the grill opening (see garage pic), and for a wiper blade cowling. Also visible in the pic is the the foam weather stripping RW mentioned, used to sealed between my hood and headlights. I also sealed around the headlights tough UV resistant tape. Folks have also used plastic wall panels (for shower or kitchen walls?) and aluminum window screen for belly pans. Pizza pans for hub caps. Dryer vent for WAI. Peanut butter jars for PVC catch cans. oh, I"m getting off the aero now
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:52 PM   #5
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RoadWarrior -

I think that DRW used a red plastic tub as a front wheel aero-deflector. Right now I am doing a side-view mirror size reduction. This means I have to build a new "base" for the triangular shape where the original side-view mirror was installed. I intend to use el-cheapo black plastic mudflaps because they are ready to be trimmed down to the same triangular shape as the side-view mirror base *and* I know they will be 100% durable as an exterior item.

I can spend hours in hardware stores, 1 dollar stores, thrift stores, and "Big Lots" style stores in my quest for items that are "ready made" for the task.

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Old 03-03-2008, 08:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2man View Post
I don't think you want to deflect air behind your minivan with the 1/4 noodles. The best method is to get the air flow to separate cleanly from your vehicle, either via a sharp lip, ala Kamm back, or with vortex generators. Speaking of that, does anyone know where I can get some wedge shaped rubber molding which I can glue around the back end of my car to create said lip.
I do indeed, clean separation is good for clean shapes. Many modern wagons have a sharp lip separation at the roof, because they have a kind of "tumblehome" turning in of the sides at the top rear that shapes the flow differently than older and more slabsided vehicles. I am aiming to make a virtual boattail, a virtual Kammback behind the minivan. Vortex generators don't really separate the flow cleanly, they just enable easier vortex shedding, of smaller vortices as compared to large vortices attaching to the back of the vehicle.

That's really what throws some vehicles around on the highway when others pass, they've got two huge vortexes behind them, left hand and right hand, and the passing vehicle will collapse the vortex on one side with it's bow wave and the other vortex will be doing as much pulling you around as the bow wave is pushing you around, due to the pressure now being uneven. At high speed these vortices start flopping around causing instability. It's probably flopping large scale vortices that will start a boxy trailer snaking on a tow.

A speeding sphere for example still does better for base drag than a speeding cube, despite the fact that the cube has clean edge separation.

I don't think the aero on most vehicles was developed very 3 dimensionally up until the late 90s, or 2000s. Anyway, you don't want to stick these on the trunk lip of a Neon or a Saturn sedan, but a minivan design laid out in ~82 for introduction for the '84 model year is something different.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:58 PM   #7
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*and* I know they will be 100% durable as an exterior item.

I can spend hours in hardware stores, 1 dollar stores, thrift stores, and "Big Lots" style stores in my quest for items that are "ready made" for the task.
Good point about durability, I doubt some of the plastics in used containers will have UV stabilisers in them. Therefore painting them would be a good plan. Any paint with aluminum oxide in should do a good job of blocking UV, plain white paint as a base coat is a good bet for that.

Good point also about the big lots warehouse closeout stores. There is one near me has/had some godawfully colored kitchen garbage pails, the nice tall ones, I think they were going at $4 each. They would be a good size for using on a truck but might be a bit large on my van.
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:29 PM   #8
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Here's a related thread. www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=2381
I posted a few pics, and other members had some good ideas, too.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:23 AM   #9
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Thanks for that link, great thread, how have they held up?

I've often eyeballed a rectangular wastepaper basket we have here, don't think I can get away with "stealing" it from it's present employment (it fits just great between the toilet and washbasin) so I'd have to obtain another. Found a supplier of them online...
https://www.buroplus.ca/catalogue/en...x?Cat=NP200002
scroll down to "Plastic rectangular wastepaper basket" ... I think you could cut them for 2 wedges out of one piece, unless you wanted deeper wedges. There's some taller ones too, be good for a long, shallow wedge for the back wheels.

On vehicles with skinny 145 tires on, 1 gallon oil, coolant, and windshield wash jugs might yield some good shapes.

Rigidity and survivability is something of a concern, particularly it seems for front fairings. Using a foam is suggested in that thread above. I was trying to find a low/no expansion spray in urethane foam like those used for insulation. This would provide I think some support, and "bounceability". One could either use it to fill a thin skin shape, such as some of the floppier product containers, or I guess one could grease up the inside of things like that wastebasket, and just use it as a mould. Come to think of it, I wonder if one could do a ghetto styrofoam moulding with a bucket full of beads and a heatgun... probably would need air vents in the mould.

Another product I had in mind was some rubber or plastic mats that a dollar store had in. I am using a couple inside the van. These are flexible but kind of rigid, and have a smooth back. I had in mind just bending them into a wedge shape and pinning the sides and letting them hang. Unfortunately the store I got them at appears to be out of stock, and I haven't found any cheap replacements to do the job of keeping snow from soaking into my carpet.

If you don't fancy yourself as a sculptor, building aero shapes from styrofoam insulation can be fairly simple if you're not out for looks. Using 1/2 inch sheet, cutting out a series of "contour" shapes to stack up, leaving a stepped edge, would I guesstimate give you 90% of what a smoothly blended shape would. I guess also one could mix up "bean bag" styrofoam beads with a liquid nails or silicone type glue/cement and have a low density filler to blend the steps in with, it would be kind of like trying to plaster a wall with rice krispie squares mix though. Hmmm wonder how effective that would be for moulding though, pack your "StyrofoamRiceKrispieSquares" mix into a mould, might take a few days to set right through, or there might be enough air in there to set the silicone. Doing it with an epoxy might work, but it would get kind of heavy for large pieces still, unless you used a really minimum amount of epoxy and filled the surface when you were done.

Hmmm further developing that thought, you could actually use a gel coat and glass cloth on the inside of your mould, then pack it all round with an inch or two of RKS mixture, then in the middle just use chunked up waste styrofoam packaging... that would come out looking really good. Inset brackets in the higher density RKS mixture, they should hold if the area inside is reasonable...

I guess the benefits of using a container as a mould would be; that you only needed to buy one to make several pieces, that you would have a more rigid piece than using a flimsy container, that you could borrow the wife's baking pans, friends containers, heck even the casing off your vacuum cleaner to make pieces with. You could also cast off thinks like toilet tanks, glass light fittings and ornaments, that would otherwise be way too heavy, fragile or awkward to use.

Holy crap... I just turned round and looked at my TV... it's a CRT... I noticed the big moulding on the back, vented... now this TV isn't big enough, but next time you see a 36" or so model on the side of the road, check out the back of it... I'm thinking I could find one that would make an excellent nosecone/grille block...
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:47 AM   #10
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Uh oh, another brainwave..

Just thinking about those basement window well covers... Kammback?!

Might need to rivet two together if you can't find a wide one. I've seen them in hardware stores and on people's windows... but this is all I could find online...
http://www.lustercraft.com/bubble.html
and these guys will supply them to custom dimensions!
http://www.windowbubble.com/
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