View Full Version : Fauchet Stitch & Glue Velomobile

12-30-2012, 06:21 PM
Thought I'd show some problems I had when building the Fauchet. Later I'll post more of what did work.

The goal was just to make a pretty "antique" looking bike car, to make people go "hmmm!" in a positive way, instead of shaking heads. It doesn't matter how well something works, if the workmanship is rough, or the shape strikes people as goofy, that's all they see.
The name comes from Mochet, the French velo-car guy whom I'm copying, (along with the Fantom (http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://mikesbike.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/fantomCustom.jpg&imgrefurl=http://mikesbike.net/2009/11/why-i-bought-a-velomobile/&h=240&w=320&sz=21&tbnid=MfZ3DHIwKEUdjM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=120&zoom=1&usg=__daWHjFnUZQmWOOx1-u4iCvzEowE=&docid=ig4p0O6KMMp8nM&sa=X&ei=kLLgUMvoCcKviAL99ID4Ag&ved=0CEgQ9QEwBA&dur=110) (paint job)).
So "Fauchet" comes from the French word "Faux" (fake) +"'Mochet"

12-30-2012, 06:47 PM
Hatch on, but nothing to really hold its shape - it flattened out.

This is why the shape didn't hold - my foam sandwich was not sealed around the edges of the hatch. I fixed it by removing the fiberglass, and doing it again with a 1" flange where the fiberglass joined the plywood.

Making a tiny area of 3D curve - lots of fiberglass & bondo - was hard to get it to blend back into the wood areas.

12-30-2012, 07:07 PM
Need to fill & sand over the stitching holes - that's why I painted those areas, not stained. Not really a problem, just a limitation of stitch & glue, you end up with an ugly row of holes along the edges.

Door steamed & mounted- but the curve doesn't really fit - I had to do a few doors. Would have been better to steam on the body, then dry, then do a foam sandwich with flange, then cut out.

Drying to shape after steaming. This door got too soaked at the ends and delaminated.

Trailing arm dropouts - I laminated them in with multiple plywood layers & fiberglass.
They aren't quite straight.... not easy to fix now.

An experiment: inflating the stitched body to make the panels bulge out a bit. I still like this idea; steam it while bulging, then let it dry bulged. It didn't work on this design - the big flat bottom panel bulged down too much, it would have reduced the ground clearance.

Radical Brad
12-30-2012, 09:55 PM
Nicely done! Thanks for posting your work.


01-01-2013, 08:13 AM
What plywood is this? Marine grade?

Can you show us the suspension mounting?

01-01-2013, 03:03 PM
"Luan", not Marine. $15/ 4x8. It delaminated after about 20min steaming, but I'm not worried. It has a couple coats of varnish, and it lives in a parkade.

Trailing arm dropouts (the steel bits) are laminated between layers of 1/8 plywood with epoxy:

01-01-2013, 03:47 PM
Trailing arm mounted:

View on bottom of wheel well:
Dropouts for trailing arm have been fiberglass/epoxied in place, with the bolt to hold them at the right spacing & parallel. I cut thru the glass & dug out access to the bolt & nut after. Room to get wrenches on was preserved by wrapping balls of packing tape over the nut & bolt head.

The little black parts on the white square are clips for the top of the shock towers. They are just wood screwed to the white (1/2" plywood) square. The square will come out, it's covered with wax paper and bedded into a little epoxy to locate it.

The rest of the stitching is still there because it will be filleted & glassed from the other side. The inside corners of the well have already been filleted & glassed. I only did inside fillets, didn't glass outside corners anywhere.

Before glassing:

View on top of wheel well:
What it looks like from the other side - before glassing anything, and no dropouts yet.
The of the wheel well will form a motorcycle style seat for the rumble seat passenger. The shock tower load is carried by the sides of the wheel well. I can jump up & down in the trunk floor and it is not going to break. Plywood looks flimsy, but when curved and joined it becomes strong. The sheet metal for your car's strut towers was also thin and flimsy before being stamped. The gauge of metal for the lower part of the towers could be cut with scissors.

I seemed so easy when I was building this, figuring it out as I went, but it did stretch over a year of spare time, and it is not so easy to describe.

01-01-2013, 03:50 PM
Very nice detail, nicely thought out!


Radical Brad
01-01-2013, 04:31 PM
Cool stuff. What is the watt rating on the hubmotor?


01-01-2013, 04:58 PM
Internal braces for top of front struts:
The braces run from the top fillet to the bottom fillet.
Strut top mounts are bolted thru the outside into the two 1/4" T-nuts.
I wanted to see what little I could do to hold it together. At first I just glued the struts in with white glue. They lasted a few blocks then cracked off top & bottom when I hit potholes. Needs to be glassed right in at the ends! The braces are just pine, about 3" wide x 3/4" thick at the T-nuts. They are strong enough. Eliminating these braces and mounting the strut tops to the top corner of the plywood would be stiffer and lighter, but would need an extension on the struts.

The A-arms are attached to the little black plates which have 1/4" threaded inserts. One has a T-nut in wood (only had 3 plates). I'm not so sure that these are strong enough, but they haven't worked their way loose yet. I think the 26" wheels on standard narrow MTB hubs can't take much side load anyway, so I take turns slowly. With stronger wheels I might make stronger A-arm mounts: probably ~2"x2" metal plates with two welded on nuts each, laminated with layers of plywood like I did for the rear drop-outs.

View on outside:
The A-arms are just bolted thru the bottom with 1/4" bolts. A piece of rubber tubing wrapped around the end of each rod acts as the "vibration isolation", and allows the very small angle of swing needed. Again, I just wanted to see if the easiest thing I could think of would work. Has so far. Even though the bolt can rub against the rods, it isn't too noisy. The plywood is quieter than fiberglass. A friend said one of the commercial VM's (a Waw, I think) "sounds like a drum kit rolling down the street".

01-01-2013, 05:02 PM
Hub motor is rated 1500W.

01-01-2013, 06:14 PM
. A friend said one of the commercial VM's (a Waw, I think) "sounds like a drum kit rolling down the street".
From the studies I have done that is one of the advantages of building a "head out" velomobile.

01-02-2013, 06:21 AM
Wow, looks like my design is over engineered. Then again, it doesn't have suspension...

You mentioned steaming the plywood, to get the shape?

Was that for all panels or just the most curved? I don't have the resources to do something like that, so I'm wondering how much it bends naturally.

01-02-2013, 10:59 AM
I really like watching you work/shape plywood. Its an art form that takes patience.
I also am enjoying watching the design aspects. Great work!

01-02-2013, 01:03 PM
Very interesting work Fauchet. It really shows what one can do with just simple plywood and no steel backbone.

01-02-2013, 03:52 PM
You mentioned steaming the plywood, to get the shape?
Was that for all panels or just the most curved? I don't have the resources to do something like that, so I'm wondering how much it bends naturally.
Just for the door& door gunnel, because the curve is not held by anything else. I wouldn't recommend it. If I do another like this, I will use a foam/fiberglass sandwich on the inside, or no curve, or no door.

My plywood bent to a 10" radius without steaming - that's what the nose is bent to. Might be pushing it - it might start splitting there eventually.
Steaming equipment is easy - you just need some sort of box, and an electric kettle. I've used cardboard boxes lined with plastic, bubble wrap, anything. Getting it bent quickly once it comes out, and guessing how much to over-bend it is the hard part.

01-04-2013, 11:26 PM
OK, time for more entertainment::party:

01-04-2013, 11:31 PM

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01-04-2013, 11:45 PM

Radical Brad
01-05-2013, 12:24 AM
Making nice progress. I can't wait to get back into my Velo project as well.


01-05-2013, 01:01 AM
Thanks, actually these are old pics, the velomobile is complete.
Just trying to create a distraction to entertain the Krew and take the heat off you!

Radical Brad
01-05-2013, 12:18 PM
Ah, good idea! I won't be seeing my place for another 2 weeks. I have only my computer and a desk with me.