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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    Three rounds of quality work was had yesterday along with one little "I guess I should have gotten stitches" moment...

    First - Mirrors

    Rigid Reflect mirrors are pretty sweet - have them on our XP41K. Not only do they have turn signals in them but they have flood lighting that spreads out into the peripheral area of vision. They make for a good fill in from about 1:30 and 10:30 back. It's surprising how much more they fill in the big picture at night.

    The downside of Rigid is getting parts. I need a second pair of the adjusting wedges. The stockers don't have enough range and my mirrors aren't sitting flat.



    Got in touch with Rigid (they're a local company) and the guy I talked to said "We don't sell just the rings but we can put in a warranty claim and get you a pair. I'll send an e-mail."

    Couple days later, still no e-mail. Get online, start hunting and pecking on the keyboard and find Rigid Service and send them an e-mail.

    Thank you for your email reply.
    The item that has broken we do not sell or ship.
    But we can service the unit for you.
    Please email me back with a few full pictures of your whole reflect light.
    So we can email our techs to provide us with a service repair quote for you.


    I snapped a couple of pix of the rings and of the tilted mirror for them in response.

    Thank you for your request.
    The item that has broken in your picture. We unfortunately do not sell or ship for service.
    We can service the unit for you, for a service fee.
    Please email us back with a few full front pictures of your reflect lights
    Showing the complete situation. So we can email you back with a service repair quote.


    To which I reply: Itís not that there is anything broken or wrong, I need two more of them for more adjustment range.
    Itís not a service or such, I just need two more of the rings.


    And get the response of (italics) (which I responded to in bold)
    Thank you for your reply.
    Can you please email me a picture of the rings you are needing.


    Here you are, again:
    (sent two pix of the adjusting wedges)


    So we can see if it is something we can sell to you.

    That's the idea - I just need two more; one for each mirror that I have. The single ring (as supplied) does not allow for enough adjustment but I can stack them and get the angle that I need. Simple, easy.

    Or if it is something that will need to ship in to have serviced. If it is not a piece we sell.

    There is NOT a service issue. I pulled the screw out of the back side to mount, the rings are loose. Nothing is broken, there is no service needed. I just need two more of the rings to make things align correctly.

    We typically only sell the replacement hardware kits. All other request must be shipped into be service by a Rigid tech.

    This part should be available as it's more than likely in the hardware kit.
    May I ask why purchasing a pair of rings that are probably worth 5 bucks is so hard?
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with what I have. Nothing is broken, nothing is damaged - heck I've not even used the mirrors yet. I just need another pair of adjustment rings. Very simple.
    Thank you, have a wonderful day.


    Rigid is DETERMINED to get me to send my lights in for warranty work! What in the world? I need parts! Their next response (gee, seems like a previous one - I'm seeing a vicious circle starting to form. Jumping ship)

    Thank you for your email reply.
    The item that has broken we do not sell or ship.
    But we can service the unit for you.
    Please email me back with a few full pictures of your whole reflect light.
    So we can email our techs to provide us with a service repair quote for you.


    I'll not shoot the messenger (would like to strangle instead but it's not her fault, she's reading a script...) but I did send this:

    Hi Carrie,
    I give up. There is not a broken problem or is there a service problem. I just need a couple of adjusting wedges.
    I'm a machinist - I'll make my own.Normally I'd say thanks for the help but I'm just going to wish you a good week instead.


    Screw you Rigid! 9 degrees of "I'LL FIX IT MYSELF!"



    Which lead to this:



    I am pleased.

    I also finally found adjusting rings on Rigid's site - 53 bucks!
    WTF???
    For two little FRP wedges?
    Seriously? They cost them maybe 10 cents to make.

    I'm glad they pissed me off and I went the route I did.
    Got the wires routed properly and connected and all works. Yay!
    ------------

    Part Dos - A/C Condensor Installation

    A/C Condenser core in - with remarkably little modification/work. WOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!
    I'd ordered the core a few weeks back. Found one that fits the Jeep radiator I'm using (because it should fit - or at least that would make sense but one never knows using Fleabay).

    Pulled it outta da boxen it came in, walked over to the front of the Mini-Raptor and dropped it in place.



    What's this? It actually looks like it's gonna fit! It's a tad tight at the hood supports and the tubes that lead back to the compressor are interfering with the output line of the radiator.
    Hold on, got this... grunt, twist, yank...
    Cool, no output clearance issues now.

    There was a little grinding and the removal of two pieces of the lower frame edges. I just went after it with a carbide grinder. It dropped right into place.
    Really? You're not gonna fight with me?
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    Knocked out a couple upper mounts that attach it to the studs I'm using to hold the rad in place and a couple little collets to drop the bottom mounting pins into:







    Yeah, this makes me smile even more! Two things checked off the list.
    -----------

    Part III - Coolant Specter Exorcism

    I've put bleed lines in the top of the manifold outta the head.
    I've rerouted lines and copied what Yamaha has done (minus throttle body heat line)
    I've bled the system, vacuumed the system, sworn at the system and I was still getting really weird temp readings. I knew there was an Air Specter hiding in the system and I had to rid the demon! Begone you hot air bastard!

    Started on the engine end - checked for air in all the high spots, nope, getting coolant. If I'd squeeze any of the silicone lines I could hear burbling. Fine, I'll pull lines up front and start working there.

    Pulled the upper line and there's coolant in the tube but none comes out of the rad. Kinda expected this but not to the extent it was(n't).
    Pulled the lower return line. Nothing. WTF??? There's a little drip but not much in the rad. Think I may have found my air pocket.

    So it was a little more lathe time spent, a 1/8NPT adapter was made and some actually decent aluminum TIG welding was done. I have a bleeder on the highest point of the system now.



    Started pouring in coolant until it ran out of the lower return line. Put the line on, kept filling. Half a gallon(!) later coolant starts dribbling out of the rad in line. Attach line, keep filling. The little purge valve was doing a great job.

    Because the rad sits at an angle my filler neck is off and it leaves air in the system - and I wasn't smart enough to set it correctly when I put it on. It put me down and totally kicked my ass when I put it on (correctly sealed) the third time.

    So I'm sure I have most of the air out now. Squeeze the tube and get sloshing, not gurgles. Good.

    Took a brake bleeder system's catch cup and filled it with water. Put a vacuum on the cup and out come de bubbles. Release vacuum and in goes coolant. YES!!! Spent 10 minutes or so pulling air, sucking coolant back in. I'd let it sit a moment and would get more air/water displacement instead of trying to rush it. It finally quit bubbling, got harder to put a vacuum on and didn't draw any water back in. I think I've got it!

    Moment of truth - time to start it up and watch the gauges.

    It started, then started running really rough - almost like it'd lost a cylinder. Uhhh???? NOW WHAT??? Quick look at the gauges and oh, look at the fuel pressure. It was way low. I'm outta fuel.
    Dumped a gallon in and she started right up and sat there and purred at me. Good Mini-Raptor! GOOD!!!!

    Let the temps come up to about 140F or so and then decided it was time for a little easy "let's see what's happening" run.

    I drove around the neighborhood for about 10 minutes at nice slow, easy speeds. The temp came up to 190 and then pretty much leveled off. If I'd get on the throttle much, it would rise above 210 momentarily (temp is taken right at engine outlet so I'm reading hot temps, not return cooled temps). The oil temp and water temp were sitting right where they're supposed to be and following each other appropriately (the Nytro has a water/oil heat exchanger in it).

    The Coolant Specter has left the building!



    Belt temp setup works flawlessly. The belt and primary clutch stayed within a degree or so of each other. The secondary clutch was reading right at 10F higher when I was running. Will be interesting to see what's up with that and what sort of readings I get as more time is put on the system.

    Only getting a max of 3.4 PSI of boost - should be getting 8. Something I have to look into. I'll pull one of the pieces of the filter system just to see if that makes a difference. I should have more than enough air flow available with the setup I have. I did the research, dammit!

    Still waiting on a response on my RPM pickup - not sure what's up there...

    Stuff never goes this easily. Maybe the Mini-Raptor God is starting to look down and smile at me.

    The one down side to yesterday (as mentioned at the start of this long windy) was a possible need for stitches.

    Whilst cutting the tabs for the condenser core mounts I was attacked by my big sheet of aluminum that had fallen away from the wall and against my build table. There's a nice square corner about a foot off the ground and I found it as I stepped off off the pedal.

    Ouch. Probably needs stitches but I was working so I just went the paper towel to bandage route, holding it shut. Didn't bleed or hurt much surprisingly. I'm keeping an eye on it - don't want infection. If it looks good in a couple of days I'll superglue the edges shut and be done.
    Chicks dig scars - I should be a magnet.



    I have found one issue - there's a tad bit of rubbing of the front tires against the back of the head light shields. Gonna have to make some clearance. Just one of many little picky things I'm sure will show up as this moves along.

    Bad thing now is that I'm down and out when it comes to test time.

    We've been under and Extreme Fire Watch for the past month, have had numerous forest fires (including the 5th largest in AZ's history) and the U.S. Forestry has decided to shut down the Tonto (my back yard) and Coconino National Forests. No off roading until we get our first monsoon and the desert gets a drink of water.

    Guess this forces me to work on finishing things up. It's hot too (supposed to be 112F (44.5C) this weekend) so until I get the cab sealed and the A/C running I won't complain too terribly much about not being able to go out.
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    The Wizard bdkw1's Avatar
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    Your Chinese lights have Indian chat help.
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    Man, that cut looks nasty, but I can understand why you're acting as your own doctor. Last time I went to the emergency room, it was $1,000 to just walk in the door. Yeah, "insurance will pay for it", unless you haven't met your $3500 deductible yet.
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    Senior Member jimmyg's Avatar
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    Not altogether bad day.

    When your got a dog on your back you just keep moving. Glad you stuck to your guns.

    Keep this train moving. No stopping you now.
    All dressed up and waiting for the beer to arrive.
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdkw1 View Post
    Your Chinese lights have Indian chat help.
    AHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!! Nailed that one!
    Gee, she never asked me about my car warranty.

    Quote Originally Posted by darwinpayne2000 View Post
    Man, that cut looks nasty, but I can understand why you're acting as your own doctor. Last time I went to the emergency room, it was $1,000 to just walk in the door. Yeah, "insurance will pay for it", unless you haven't met your $3500 deductible yet.
    If it had decided to leak at a high flow rate I probably would have headed off to Doc-in-a-Box but it barely even weeped. Two days later it's looking pretty good. I'll probably end up loosing the flap of skin but eh, whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyg View Post
    Not altogether bad day.
    When your got a dog on your back you just keep moving. Glad you stuck to your guns.
    Keep this train moving. No stopping you now.
    This project has proceeded to attempt to kick my ass and stomp me into the ground from the beginning - and has almost succeeded a couple of times. Know when to walk away (after throwing something heavy/loud at it).
    I'm way too close to give up now.

    I will say that the different aspects of the build - electrical, composite, machining, fabbing - have kept me entertained and given me the ability to change directions when one part gets frustrating or what have you.

    Keeps me pea brain exercised (as opposed to exorcized - that was the coolant Specter's fate)
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    Looks as if I've gotten all my cooling issues and such figured out.

    There will be a lot of tuning and there's gonna be some physical mods for some clearance. The front wheels attacked both headlights in a fight for space on full compression so that's gonna have to be addressed.

    Since I'm getting into composite work, I'm thinking I'll be redoing the lights with a composite piece instead of the present aluminum bodies. I'm not really that happy with the headlights anyhow - they've been a bit of a thorn in my side from the start so I'll just go about it in a completely different manner. I know all the wrong things to not do now.

    The weather here is definitely a no-go outside during the day now. Summer can be a bit brutal here in the desert. Throw in the fire dangers that we've been surrounded by (our local forest has been closed due to fire danger) and, well, the Mini-Raptor's been banned to the shop for a time.

    That forces me to head down another path of this build: The Dash.

    Don't know if anyone's familiar with how the Mini-Raptor bodies came into existence but here's a little history on that:
    Right at seven years ago this past April I'd finished a carbon fiber dash for the XP900 that I owned at the time.



    It was the first time I'd done any sort of molding, worked with foam, worked with a wire cutter, etc. to produce a composite part. Here - the whole XP900 mod/life can be found here on Yellow Dog Racing. Definitely look over the shock section

    Anyhow not long after I'd finished the dash I get contacted by benihana from Knine Racing here on Minibuggy about the dash. Seems that me making that dash inspired Ben to produce the Mini-Raptor bodies. Who would have thought that Ben would end up making these amazing bodies because I made a dash? Makes me stand up straight, head high, wearing a grin. Much appreciated Ben! My dash causing his Mini-Raptor business was what ended up putting the Mini-Raptor body I have in my garage and taking me down this five+ year path.

    So this next aspect of the Mini-Raptor is kinda pulling the whole project around full circle as now I'm starting on a dash board for the MR using the same techniques I did on that original dash but with experience and guidance from Ben this time.

    First things first - CAD work. Pulled out some Cardboard and had it Aid in the Design of the new dash. I've been contemplating the thing for a long time - have part of my mounting ideas figured out, at least around the AiM dash - it's mount will be a key member of holding the dash in.



    The dash will hold a Lowrance GPS, Icom two way radio and a PCI intercom system (basically the standard stuff I've put in everything) and if there's room a glove box. That will depend on how much of the space behind the thing gets taken up by the HVAC system.

    I'd considered running another iPad with LeadNav & onX Hunt like we have in our XP41K but honestly, I'm not that thrilled with the iPad - it glares, you have to download topo/satellite views of where you're going to be and I like the way the good ol' standard of GPS Lowrance units work.

    Once I got the CAD piece's basic design figured out it was time to transfer it to good old pink foam insulation sheeting and start forming the dash.



    I recessed the area around the AiM dash's aluminum mount so the foam fits nice and tightly and gives me a good base to work from.



    From there it was time to start figuring out the full 3D shape. I started with the dash console. This will all get smoothed out with a hot wire cutter.



    The dash will be installed by sliding it forward into the cabin so the first piece with any sort of shape went in, forming the edge of the slot for clearance around the driver's side center down bar. From there I copied (more or less...) the shape of the rise for the AiM dash and started tiering it downward to the lower mounting frame of the windshield.

    The whole dash will lay up against the windshield frame and I'll integrate the Samurai! HVAC venting into it also.
    Actually, holding the defrosting vents up against the lower windshield frame is what made me realize that the dash had to be the next aspect of this project.



    After getting a basic idea of the dash console area I needed to get the other components location figured out. Already knew where the GPS unit was going - cardboard piece shows that.

    I also cut a hot wire template for the area around the AiM dash. I'll use this and the lower windshield frame as my guides to form the dash.



    Another shot of the dash and it's layout.
    Had to split the lower part and angle it back so the dash will meet the top of the center console.



    Here's the GPS unit that will get installed. Five years ago, when I picked it up from PCI Race Radio, it was state of the art with new touch screen technology. It'll be interesting to see how archaic it is now compared to the stuff out there. Looking around on PCI's web page I see it's still sold (albeit quite a bit more expensive) so maybe it's still "modern". I don't care that much about having the latest and greatest - this piece should be a solid performer and I'm familiar with Lowrance's stuff so it should suffice just fine. I may be able to flash the firmware with a more up to date operating system if need be. Dunno - speculation. I've not even put power to the unit and have only recently pulled it outta da boxen to see what I have.



    Over the next couple of days I'll get the raw shape pieces in place between the windshield down bars and also over in front of the co-driver's area. Once those pieces are in, I'll start on the hot wire cutting and get a smooth, useable surface and then it's Bondo and sanding time.

    Not sure if I'm going to make a plug, then mold off of that and attempt the resin infusion again or if I'll take the same path I did with the XP900's dash and use the plug as the final product and just cover it with composites - should still be able to vacuum infuse the piece.

    We shall see!

    More to come.
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    The Bob Ross of MBN Bullnerd's Avatar
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    Looks awesome dude!
    "Speed is time-time is speed"-Dennis Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by TALON View Post
    did you use a special bigfoot camera or something ,you know all blurry could be a tree stump kinda thing .
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    Long windy one here. Had half of it written up yesterday and I guess instead of hitting post I hit something else? What ever, it's gone so I'm writing again.

    Dug around and found my hot wire bow. Ran a couple of test runs, trying to get the power supply's voltage and amperage dialed in. Just a little extra twist of either dial makes the wire glow nicely and smoke the ends of the bow. That leads to the wire drooping and bad cuts and sometimes wire failure. Made a couple of little aluminum feet to keep the wire from igniting the bow (for the fourth time).

    Also, new favorite tool - the electric carving knife. I had no clue it went through pink foam so well. Makes a mess, though.






    My big coping sander is also really nice to use to make mating surfaces nice and flat. Pink dust is starting to creep onto everything in the shop...



    Started out with a practice cut. I want the Lowrance GPS to turn in and face me a little more than flat on the dash. So I made a couple of aluminum templates, Super 77'd them onto the foam and fired up the cutter.



    Ya just stick them to the foam.



    The gouge is where the wire burned into the tips of the bow and went slack. No big deal - this gets glued onto the dash anyhow.

    I keep having to tell myself "It doesn't have to be perfect. You're gonna sand and Bondo a bunch."



    Little more dialing in...
    Next was seeing if I was going to be able to make forms that go around the V-brace in the windshield. The dash will go around them and it'll have to pull straight back to come out.

    So, once again, fired up the bow with it's new fire proof shoes on and the settings were still too hot. I dipped into the foam like, well, a hot knife through butter - actually more like putting your hand in a bucket of water. I didn't follow the form very well and the wire went red then snapped.



    Reset. New wire, turn things down, set wire on test piece and slowly turn things up until wire falls into foam at an appropriate rate and doesn't turn bright red. Perfect. DON'T TOUCH MY DIALS! (:

    Tried the radius cut again - that'll work.



    Started the dash sandwiches. The four pieces in the middle of the middle section are all the same with a little blend trimming at the front.

    The part behind the display will get cut down a bunch.



    Dash has to pull straight back so the two V-brace notches have to be clocked just right. Finally figured out that a flat plate across the back of both of them put them parallel to the groove's angle. Once I got those in place it was fill in the angled bits.



    Not even half way in and there's a mess about!



    GPS angle piece in place. I'll be adding angled fillers on the three sides that extend out. The whole thing will be nice and smoothly blended.



    Another view. This side will extend towards the right about 3-4 inches when I'm done blending.



    Center section complete and rough sanded.



    Fits like a non-OJ glove.



    Close up of the fit between the center and the tube piece. The cardboard strips (three of them) are perfect spacers to keep it all centered around the tubes.



    Straight shot of the groove that the bars fit into.



    I cannot get over how well the electric carving knife works. Wish I'd known about this 7 years back when I did the RZR dash.



    That's it for now.
    Wife's taking online night classes - starts in about 10 minutes. I get 4 shop hours this evening.
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    Senior Member jimmyg's Avatar
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    Looking great. Let's hope next roast your wife does not roast you over her carving knife.

    Ps I Lol at your GPS drawing and the OJ joke.
    All dressed up and waiting for the beer to arrive.
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    Re: The Mini-Raptor, K-fab Style
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyg View Post
    Looking great. Let's hope next roast your wife does not roast you over her carving knife.
    I'm safe with this one!
    The knife came with a pour seat foam kit that I did a year or so ago, not the kitchen. I had the hot wire pulled out and was getting it dialed in when the realization of having the carving knife in house might work.
    Climbed up on the bench, pulled down the foam seat kit bucket, took the knife out, did a test run and though "Oh yeah, this is the shit."
    I'm impressed how well it works.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyg
    Ps I Lol at your GPS drawing and the OJ joke.
    GPS - total self entertainment. You'd be amazed at the number of little things like that written here and there on the Mini-Raptor.

    OJ comment - not sure where it came from. Just popped into my pea brain and tickled me. It's an OLD reference so I wondered who'd get it.

    Spent quality time getting the dash's final shaping dialed in and starting on the detail that you'll see from the seats.

    The three main sections in the windshield had to get trimmed down a bit to get the line across them to be more consistent/blend better.

    This is the three pieces in place but untrimmed. Center section sticks about .500 - .750" (12-18mm) proud of the passenger's side and the driver's part is not shaped quite right and proud relative to the center.



    Thought I was doing pretty well until I looked across the dash and saw just how much the three pieces differ.



    Here, this shows how much better they look with blending. I can lay an edge across the pieces now and they blend pretty well.



    I've also reshaped/removed a bunch of material where the bubble for the AiM dash is. Test fit the windshield (surprisingly it didn't hit anything!) and realized I had more room to make and remove more material for better aesthetics.



    Still want to knock out another .500" (12mm) off of the hump and finish the blend from the hump back down to the part next to the door/cabin wall. While it does clear the windshield, it's a tight fit - I'll not be getting my hand down between the windshield and dash to clean the window (even with more clearance).

    Also started getting the GPS mount blended in. Added a couple thin strips on top and bottom and the main blend back to the dash on the right side of the mounting pad.



    Still have to get the blend between the center console and the upper dash figured out and dialed in. It's more of an abrupt angular change between the two pieces than I was hoping for but oh well, it is what it is (God I've said this too many times building the Mini-Raptor).

    Also got the ends of the dash secured to the frame (only have a shot of the driver's side - passenger's side is still in process).



    Spent most of yesterday filling gaps, making shit fit more tightly and I'm starting to pin the big pieces together so I can start doing the testing of pulling the dash in/putting it back. I'll have to see what else gets trimmed so it just pulls straight back and comes out.

    I also have to start placing the defrosting vents from the Samurai! HVAC system into the two outer dash pieces.

    At first I was thinking I'd make this a plug, pull a mold off of the plug, then vacuum infuse the dash in the mold but after the work I've put into this (and I'm not anywhere near being done), I've decided to go the same route I did with the XP900's dash and keep the foam dash and then wrap it in composite.

    First, I'm not making more than one dash so making a mold to make more is a moot point. Why have something, make a mold, then make that something again? Nah, I have something, let's use it and skip two processes.

    Second, like the first time I did this, the foam makes an awesome mounting material. I can cut holes through it, glue in aluminum sheeting for component mounts and have a nice solid piece that holds everything really well.

    I'll make mounting rings and such that will get sunken into the foam and integrated into the final covering with glass & carbon.

    It'll also let me integrate mounting tabs/studs and such directly into the dash so when I slide it in, it'll just drop right into mounts and a few nuts will keep it all in place.

    Thirdly, once the foam is wrapped it makes for one extremely stiff component. Even with all the compound radius surfaces and blends and such, a composite shell will still be flexy to a point. With the foam in it there's no flex at all. It adds, maybe, 5 lbs keeping the foam in so I'm good with that.

    More shop time today. Gotta do a little more detail on the dash pieces and then start working on the front part, blending the dash & center console, finishing up the passengers' end where it goes to the a-pillar, stick the HVAC tubing in and deal with what ever else shows up as I move along.
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