This post is about an idea. An idea I had while on vacation at the beach in 2017. I haven’t talked about this much because it was just an idea and ideas are funny things. They are not really real, until they work. Until that moment, when something actually happens they are just a collect of thoughts, some parts, a design, and maybe some equipment. But not real. So unless you stumbled into this lost corner of my garage sometime over the last 4 years or were another racer there wasn’t really much to say.
In 2017, I had just returned to racing and while on vacation ( see vacation photo as proof I do occasionally take vacations) I decided that we needed a way to test an engine without actually putting in a car and driving on the track. We needed to test it before we got to the race. Now every racer knows you do that on a dyno. Dyno is the short name for Dynamometer – a device for measuring force, torque or power and they are crazy expensive. Even just renting time on a dyno is hundreds of dollars an hour. But I do not require all the workings of a full dyno shop just to test our small 1-2 liter motors. So I designed a test stand that could be used as a dyno.
I didn’t know anything about building a dyno, or how they work, or even how to weld. Really I knew nothing but had an idea. But that was enough. Like the Vacuum Former and the CNC projects before it, I just needed an idea and time to follow it through. I started collecting bits and parts. A pump here, a transmission there, an extra this, an extra that. To make a motor run without the car you still need all the systems of a car. The fuel system, the electrical system, the hydraulic system, the cooling system, etc. I would say it’s just as much work as building a car, it just doesn’t go anywhere. Over time (the last 4 years) it has come together.
Today we tested the pump. It worked. We successfully pumped water with a car motor. Now that doesn’t sound all that impressive. Why would you want to pump water with a car motor anyway? Well, we pump water because it is Work (physics definition of Work) and it is Work we can measure. Like MPH, RPM, or 0-60 it’s force and power. In the weeks to come the motor will run, the pump will turn, the torque will create force on the load cell and it will no longer be an idea. It will be an actual working Dyno machine.
It’s been a journey. I’ll post some of the steps and phases that lead to here. I hope that some of you have ideas that lead to things that work too. Happy workshoping.