So, it’s Christmas day and I’m on a Southwest flight from Columbus, OH to Kansas City (via Chicago) to play in a bridge tournament. On the way, I’m taking the opportunity to work on my latest blog post – describing Wall-E2’s new front wheel guard design.
The impetus for a front wheel guard comes from Wall-E2’s tendency to re-enact the ‘Tractor-tipping’ scene from the ‘Cars’ movie. On occasion Wall-E2 encounters an obstacle like a chair leg with one front wheel or the other at just the right orientation so that it is able to climb up the leg with it’s 4-wheel drive, and, when it achieves a high enough angle, it’s relatively high CG does the rest. So, after the novelty wore off, I decided it was time to do something about the situation. After discussing options with my grandson Danny in a Skype session, we decided that two small wheel guards would probably work better than one big one, so that was the design direction we took.
In the year or so I have been working with TinkerCad and my 3D printing setup, I have learned that it is usually much faster and more effective to rapidly ‘evolve’ a design rather than trying to get it right the first time. A complete design-print-evaluate cycle only takes about 30 minutes, with negligible material cost – so why not!?
In the case of the front wheel guard, the design evolution went through about a half-dozen iterations, (not counting the initial one done ‘on the fly’ with Danny during the Skype session using my pocket knife and a section of a cardboard box). The ‘Evolution of a modern wheel guard’ is shown in the following photo, proceeding from ‘proto-guard’ on the left to ‘fully modern wheel guard’ on the right.
The ‘finished’ (as if anything is ever ‘finished’ on Wall-E2) wheel guard is shown at the far right in the above photo, and the following shots show the installed result.
I haven’t had a chance to try the new wheel guards out in practice, but I am quite confident they’ll do the job, and end Wall-E2’s short stint as a ‘Tractor-Tipping’ mimic! ;-).