Fire Suppression System

Well, its time to get ready to race.  I’m going to NASA comp school at the end of January.  I’ve had a fire system for a few months, in inventory.  Since I have the rest of the year off, I’ve been working on the install.  I bought the SPA Technique 4L alloy manual pull system.  It comes with 6 nozzles that spray in a 90 degree cone pattern.  The idea is that 3 nozzles go in the engine compartment and three in the driver’s cockpit.  However, the Miata has the gas tank directly behind the driver.  So, I decided to place one nozzle in the trunk aimed at the exposed portion of the gas tank and the filler neck.

All of the mounting brackets are handmade out of 1/16” thick 1.5×1.5 inch aluminum angle.  I cut them all to shape and then formed them over some roll cage tubing scrap using a clamp and a hammer.

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Alignment jig and first alignment

So, I made my own alignment jig.  Its a clone of a well known string setup.  These brackets hang off of the inner trunk and hood lips.  Their whole point is to hang a bar down at axel height at the front and rear of the car.  The bars are designed to have grooves on the ends to hold a string.  The grooves are exactly the same width in the front and rear.  A string is placed in the groove front to rear so that the strings left and right are exactly parallel to each other.  Once the strings are lined up with the axels, they are exactly parallel to the car’s axis.

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Intake

So, its been a very long time since I had anything to post!  Months and months.  Unfortunately, this same dearth in posts represents a similar dearth in actual activity on or with the racecar.  I won’t bore you with the excuses…lots of work related things.

Anyway, I bought an SP Induction Systems SPX2 intake, and finally got a chance to install it.   Its a pretty simple install, not exactly a transmission.  Anyway here’s the assemble and the junk that it replaces.  The airflow path in the standard miata is quite odd, and is very restrictive.

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Real Decals

She is done.  Again, Chris comes H. through.  He did a great job cutting my vinyl for me.  I understand he had a couple hicups with his new cutter and the large rolls of black and silver.  I sent him the files to be cut last Friday, he had them cut by Wednesday.  I’ve been putting them on for the last two days.

I used Window cleaner to let them slide, but I think I wouldn’t use it again.  It seems to weaken the adhesive if its too thick.  It works ok if you spray it very lightly, and spray onto the decal.  But, if you go too heavy or spray onto the body it seems to compromise the adhesive and it never quite recovers.  I did the “MAZDASPEED” decal on the bumper first, and I sprayed the windex “heavy” directly on the hood.  This morning after 24 hours the decal was still so loose that I could move it around with one finger.  I tried heating it up and letting it cool, but it just never stuck.  Luckily, I had a second one….so, I just applied that one without any windex.

I think it looks pretty darn close to my digital test run: Decals.

I created all these graphics personally using Inkscape.  Then I sent the files (one per color) to Chris for cutting.  The numbers are simply “Arial Black” font draw large, and then thickened and thinned to create the outline and the inner number.

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Decals

I seem to have contracted a cold over Thanksgiving, so I’m laying low this weekend.  I figured I might as well start working on the graphics set for the car, until I feel human again.  I’ve been using Inkscape (inkscape.org) to do all the decal designs.  Its an awesome tool for vector graphics work (and free to boot).

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Once I had all the graphics “designed”, I decided to lay them out on the car and see how it might look.  I didn’t end up using everything in the layout above…can’t hurt to have a few extras, tho’ right?

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Chris suggested redoing the graphics with a black outline:

 

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Back from Paint!

Chris Haldeman painted the car for me.  This is a purely decadent post of pictures.  I think it looks AWESOME!

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Cutoff Switch Remote Pull

 

My birthday was a week ago, but the family just managed to get together this last weekend.  The two big shop presents?  A new shop stool, and a pair of 18V Lithium Ion batteries and a charger!  Sweet.

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Paint Prep

 

A friend is going to paint the car for me, but I’m doing as much of the prep work as I can.  That way he can just “spray&go”.

But, before I got to sanding and such, I needed to reinforce the new mounting location of the driver’s rear view mirror.  I moved it to the A-pillar, but now it “flops around” while driving.   So, I took some 3/16″ steel plate (probably overkill), cut it to shape and hammered it until it fit the inside contour of the door skin.  Then I buttered the front side with bondo, and slid it into place.

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Driver’s Rear Quarter Dent

When I bought the car, it had a dent in the rear drivers quarter panel…just behind the door.  The tough part is the fact that the area behind the quarter panel is not accessible…so you can’t hammer it back out from behind.

 

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Cool Shirt

Okay, so in the previous post I alluded to making my own cool shirt.  Well, I finally got around to it.

I chose to make a 4-zone shirt like a real FAST shirt.  I don’t know if it is actually better, but conceptually it seems like it could be better having each unit of water only in contact with 1/4 of the total area.

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