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Stay Focused! - On What?



Much like my last post, it is snowing here in VA (yes, April 9th) and I know I’ve been slacking on the building and blogging as of late.  And by late I mean the last 4 months.  I have had a lot of projects going on.

We had a track day at Summit Point that I signed up for in hopes to motivate me to swap out the head on my e30.  Long story short, I was able to get the parts together in time and build up the head – with a new billet 272 cam while I was in there, duh – and had some fun on the track.  The new cam definitely helped the mid range and throttle response.  Obviously, this project did not come without expense and admittedly the cause of a few headaches for our wonderful vendor Steve at BluntTech.  Steve, I found a set of valve spring retainers in a bag tucked in the corner of my garage.  So yeah, sorry for being a pain in the ass.  Funds have been short for the ’02.

Engineers Digression:

The other projects I’ve been working on have been brining me back to the good(!?) old days of my thesis work.  I’ve been doing some CAD design and CFD work to get back into it before jumping into some complex flow simulations.  Friends are confused and ask “Wait, your doing this for fun?”  Truthfully, yes.  This is fun stuff.  And I’m sure you guys will think its great too – I hope anyway or I really am nuts.   You have access to all the tools!  And for Free!  Legally!

Start here – OnShape.com

This is a really great free CAD software package.  It’s cloud based so you don’t even have to install anything.  It runs right in your internet browser and you can get it for your iPad or phone too.  Look for the IPO of this company, because with the rate they are going, they will be competing with SolidWorks and CATIA in no time.  If you have used SolidWorks, this environment will feel very comfortable.  The founders are x-SolidWorks designers.  Whats more is that they are starting to offer free simulation time.  It is based on core processing time per month.  I think you get like 3000 minutes of core processing time each month for free.  Anyway, check it out. It’s a great tool and it’s a great way to validate a concept you have way before you buy parts.  A seat of SolidWorks costs $7k, maybe even more.  Onshape is about 80% of SolidWorks and growing, and free.  Here is a link to my assembly for my Oil pressure sender for the e30.  This design will just bolt up to the original oil pressure sensor area on an M20.  It uses a VDO sender with 1/8-27 NPT threads.  It’s still working well, just add copper washers on each side of the adapter  

If we all model just a few parts, we could have an entire model of a 2002 for everyone’s use and reference!  I’ll setup a project on OnShape.  If your interested in helping model up an M10 or any other parts or assemblies, PM me and I’ll add you to the list of contributors for the 2002 project.  Its easy, grab your calipers and measure some parts!  Also, fastener models are all free and available on mcmaster.com so don’t worry about modeling a bolt, unless you want to.  

Next – for the hardcore mathematicians out there and people who are ready to learn some multiphysics and flow simulation – caelinux.com You’ll need to learn a few terminal commands.


This is a Linux build that you can either run off of a CD or install as a partition.  This gives you full access to OpenFOAM arguably the best CFD package in the industry.  Its legal, don’t worry.  OpenFOAM is Open source.  This is not an easy program to use, but its accuracy and customization capabilities are unmatched.  If you want to start learning about CFD there are great books and lectures for free here: http://www.cfd-online.com/Links/onlinedocs.html and http://www.cfd-online.com/Links/education.html

I would suggest starting here: http://www.rzg.mpg.de/~bds/numerics/cfd-lectures.html

Also, read this: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME608/webpage/main.pdf

If you are already working on this kind of stuff, I would love to know more about what you're doing.  

One other thing that I am constantly surprised that people do not know about is edx.org Get your MIT degree for free! And yes, it too is legal.  In the wonderful world of the internet we now have access to all these great courses.  No more excuses for not learning.

There you have it.  The tools Formula 1 uses and the courses you can take to get you there.  Who would have thought the most accurate analysis package available is free?  Anyway, the goal for me is to design and do some flow simulation work for a plenum to mate up with the 40DCOEs.  Be careful, because once you get into this stuff, it’s hard to put it down – hence the lack of progress on the ’02.  Ah yes, the ’02.  

The driver side frame rail under the floor pan is finished.  And the passenger side frame rail had some more metal cut out and replaced.  The front of the driver side frame rail was pretty well bent out of shape so I cut it off and worked it back straight.  In the process I found this inside the frame rail that meets up with the subframe.  I vacuumed it all out and I’ll be spraying some rust converter in there.  I’ll be welding in some new metal here very soon.


I also finished up filling the large hole in the driver side foot well.




I was able to patch up some areas in the rear foot well as well.  I have a few more small areas that I would like to address, but had to wait till I dropped the sub-frame to get to them properly.  



I also started investigating the rust on the nose clip.  It seems to be terminal so I’ve been trying to source another one.  I think I’m over budget this month due to an overly aggressive student loan payment so I’ll have to wait till May.  If you have kids going to college, beat them over the head about getting scholarships otherwise it’s like having a mortgage at the age of 21 without a job, (I’m 30 now and have a long way to go) but that’s another rant.  


Shop Manager Poncho fears the worst.  I don't have a picture, but the core support on the back side is pretty much gone.  Odds are this nose becomes a bar or coffee table.


I moved to the back of the car and started syphoning out the 10 gallons of premium fuel into the e30 and removed the rear bumper.  I found a little rust under the bumper and was able to poke a hole into the trunk using the time tested screwdriver method.  There are a few little spots, nothing major, just one on each side.  Spare tire well looks good.   The rear sub-frame has been dropped but is still under the car because I ran out of room in the garage.

I also just picked up a 175CF sized Argon/CO2 bottle from Arc3 down the street.  It’s only $65 a year to lease and $55 to fill.  It’s a much better price than what you can get from Rogers or Airgas. 

Now that I have a MIG setup, I’ll be putting the lower quarter repair panels in place.   I want this thing out to sandblast already.

Onward and Upward!





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yeah!  2002 progress!


and yes...a  bit bizarre the snow and sleet today here in alexandria...

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I will also note:  As I begin welding today with the MIG instead of Flux core I have come to realize my major mistake in ignoring the masses when they said go straight to MIG.  It's clean, consistent and complete.  If you are venturing down the project road to do your own welding GO STRAIGHT TO MIG.  THEY WERE ALL RIGHT! DON'T USE FLUX CORE!  

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Actually,  both are MIG.  one method has the gas released from the wire (Flux core), the other blows the gas over the arc from the bottle. 


You have been MIG welding all along. ...:-)

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Good updates...we (not me) use the latest AutoCad software and Solid Works for drafting at my work.  When I first started back in 1990, I was using DOS based ACAD release 10??.  I let others do the drawings now and I am using Draftsight when I need to do some checking.

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