I have a very important goal added to the design phase of PIE 2.0. It is something that crossed my mind in the beginning but was not something that was as important as simply getting the drive to work. Now it seems more important than ever to stay with the true spirit of a “Grassroots Mechanic Movement”!
Simply put, the PIE needs to be an engine that can be built by mechanics everywhere with average shop tools & equipment with a minimum budget. No needing a lathe, milling machine, shaper, dividing head, or other tools which are common in machine shops but not in the average mechanic’s workshop or garage.
I do have most of these available to me but as I was getting ready to buy material and set up machinery to make parts, I asked myself “how many mechanics have this option available to them?”, and the answer was “damn few, that’s how many”.
The common hand tools along with a welder, grinder, and chop saw are all the equipment required so far and it is my goal to keep it as simple and inexpensive as possible. It would be great to use machine shop equipment and expensive off-the-shelf components, but I think that these things are unnecessary to build a working unit (PIE, Thorson Drive, or any other)!
The updated “To Do” list (for PIE 1.0):
1- A better locking mechanism for the sun gears to the axles. 2- A way to vary the sun gear timing by adjusting axle position. 3- A different drive system from the motor to the plates, maybe a double-sided timing belt or a roller chain drive.
4- Explore the possibility of having sun & planet gears on both sides of the plates.
5- Mount in a motor vehicle for road testing.
6- Collect “Empirical” data from real world testing
7- Make sure PIE can be built/fabricated without the absolute need for machine shop tooling
8- Keep material total for one completed PIE under $200
9- Complete testing of PIE 1.0 & start building PIE 2.0
10- Start To-Do list for PIE 2.0