A New Direction

Hey Everybody,

I apologize for the lack of updates recently. I have decided to take Flux Auto in a new direction for 2013. My hope is to go beyond consolidating automotive news to creating a community that will change tuning and engineering in a big way. The relaunch of the site will occupy most of my focus for now but I fully believe it will be worth it in the end. Thank you for coming to my blog thus far and stay tuned for some exciting changes.


Chevarley Externally Powered Supercharger

Believe it or not, looking at this 1,000 horsepower dragster will actually help you understand some of the new hybrid vehicle technologies currently in development. BMW and SubaruĀ are both working on electric powered forced induction. The idea is to power a compressor for the engine air intake with an electric motor instead of exhaust gas heat like in a turbocharger or off of the engine crank like in a traditional supercharger. Turbochargers are fairly efficient because they harness the heat energy in exhaust gases that would other wise be wasted. However, their main drawback is that they are engine rev dependent. That means that they “lag” when the engine revs are too low to spool the compressor into its operating range. Superchargers solve the lag problem by powering the compressor with a belt drive attached to the engine crank. There is still a little lag, but it’s much improved over what you see in turbochargers. The problem with superchargers is that you are no longer harnessing waste energy from the exhaust. Turning the supercharger uses power from the engine that would otherwise be driving the wheels. Generally speaking, superchargers give a more useful powerband but turbochargers are more efficient and will make greater peak power.

Externally Powered Superchargers (EPS) bring together the benefits of superchargers and turbochargers. Spinning up the supercharger with something other than the car’s engine allows you to get boost at low rpm without the parasitic power losses to the engine. Using a small electric motor makes a lot of sense and there’s plenty of R&D money going into that right now. Jean Beauregard of British Columbia had a different idea. Jean owns a dragster powered by an alcohol fueled Chevy small block. It also has a roots type supercharger on top that pushes the power into the 800-900 horsepower range. Normally this is great news, but Jean figured out that the supercharger was drawing 100-150 horsepower from the engine to work. His solution was to add a gasoline powered 1100cc Harley Davidson Evolution motor to the front of his Chevy V8 just to power the supercharger. Jean calls this awesome mechanical monstrosity the Chevarley.

It turns out the Chevarley was a victim of its own success. The dual engine setup made close to 1000 horsepower which caused the car to do a fairly catastrophic wheelie. As usual with things that prove awesome to destroy themselves, Jean and his buddies were undaunted by the wreck and rebuilt it. Here is the resurrected car pulling a 5.60 eight mile run:

Obviously Jean wasn’t able to just order an off-the-shelf Chevarley kit from Summit racing. He had a brilliant and ridiculously awesome idea that he made happen. That’s the joy of being a maker/fabricator/engineer. All of us are filled with incredible ideas to make the world a better place. Don’t be afraid to put in some sweat on some tools and turn them into reality. There’s no bigger rush than bringing something like this Chevarley to life.

Source: The Chevarley Channel on YouTube via BANGshift.com

No Evidence of Machines – Hattar Cycles

One of the themes that I like to encourage here at Flux Auto is for people to embrace being craftsmen, fabricators and makers. Take a stack of raw materials and use your skills with tools and machines to turn it into something valuable. Nobody sells what you want? Build it. I’m going to go a deeper into this subject in a big upcoming post, but just know that right now is the Age of the Maker. It’s going to be the people with creative ideas and even more creative methods of quick and effective execution that’s going to infuse our slumbering economy with some much needed innovation. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

This video features Evan Wilcox of Hatter Motorcycles. He talks about how he got into sheet metal fabrication and what keeps him motivated to continually improve his skill set. I hope there are more people in this world that have this kind of passion. We need them now more than ever.

Source: Hattar Motorcycles via Bike Exif on Facebook

Translogic Visits Tech Shop San Francisco

This week’s episode of Translogic takes us to Tech Shop in San Francisco. The Tech Shop franchise is a fabrication workshop co-op where you pay a monthly membership fee and take classes to be trained on the equipment they have. I have a membership at the Tech Shop here in Raleigh and have really enjoyed it. I’m going to be using the CNC mill, metal shop, CNC plasma cutter and welders to do the EV conversion on the RX-8. It’s been great to learn all the fabrication skills to supplement my engineering degree. I find myself revisiting all the ideas for inventions that I’ve had in years past now that I’m actually able to make things. If you’re in the Bay Area, the Triangle area in NC, Detroit or Austin, then check out the Tech Shop Website to see what your local shop has to offer. The Translogic video showcases some of the success stories that were born in the San Francisco Tech Shop including a little roadster powered by a BMW motorcycle engine:

Source: AOL Autos on YouTube

G&G GP Exhaust Production

G&G posted this video detailing the fabrication of one of their GP series exhausts for the Yamaha R6. All of their exhausts are handmade in Italy. I thought it was interesting that most of the non-structural welds on the outside of the can were fusion welds done with the TIG torch and no filler rod. It looks like the base of the exhaust was welded with filler for strength and the baffle on the inside was done with a MIG for convenience since it’s not visible. Like all masters of their craft, this guy makes it look so simple.

Source: YouTube user Pielk