Human Electric Trike Thesis

Design of an electrically assisted human powered trike

Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

7-25 Update

Posted by Bob Dold on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 3:11 PM

Accomplished alot in the past week, have gone through and pretty much redesigned the entire frame to make it easier to produce.

New Design

The front shocks have been moved aft a few inches so they can have a clevis mount tied to the bottom rail rather than an overhanging bolt mount.

Shock Mounts 

 The rear suspension has been redesigned to move the motor above the swingarm. The wheelbase was slightly shortened to allow for a more compact packaging of the components. The motor mount and geartrain were redesigned to better integrate them into the rear swingarm.


Front disk brake mounts were designed for the front spindles along with the mounting points for the steering arms. The design of the mounts allows the same parts to be used for the right or left spindles to decrease the part count. The front a-arms were redesigned so the blocks that tie the arms and roda ends together are undirectional, again reducing the part count.


 The steering design has been started, a design spreadsheet from Peter Eland,, for three wheeled vehicles was used to design the links so the correct steering geometry is obtained. Without the correct geometry the tires will scrub while turning, increasing rolling resistance, and increasing tire wear. The correct geometry is known as Ackermann steering geometry which basically insures the inside wheel turns at a greater angle than the outer wheel since it is at a smaller radius. The schematic below shows this:

Ackermann steering diagram

The independent front suspension makes design of the rods a little tough since the rod pivots have to be located so they are along the pivot axis of the suspension travel to elminate bump steer. If they were not, every time you hit a bump the tie rods would pull the trike to one side or another. Another design consideration is trying to improve on the ratio between handlebar movement and wheel movement. My current trike is very twitchy since a small movement of the bars causes a realtively large movement of the wheels. By increasing the ratio I hope to reduce the twitchiness at higher speeds. I will be using two tiller type bars that pviot fore and aft connected to a pivot plate to actuate the steering arms, by varying the pivot radius of the connecting rod joint outward,  I should be able to increase the ratio of the steering.

The last remaining design issues will be the boom connecting the pedals to the frame and the seat mount. I would like to make the boom so it can be pivoted up and out of the way to allow for easier storage and transportation. I am also toying with the idea of a carbon fiber seat base that doubles as a battery cover.


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7-18 Update

Posted by Bob Dold on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 3:06 PM

Was on vacation last week so not a lot was accomplished, after going through and pricing out some of the frame components I decided it needed to be redesigned for easier and less costly fabrication. My new concept is to use 3/4″ aluminum plate at the tube junctions that will be joined to the tubes by 1″ u channel, rivets and epoxy. Round tubes will connect the crossmembers at the front and rear to tie the frame sections together.

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eDrawing of current design

Posted by Bob Dold on Sunday, July 9, 2006 11:29 PM

Clicking on the attached link should bring up an eDrawing of the current design – unzip the file and run the executable to view the file: zeept_7_9

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Rear Swing Arm and Front Suspension Design

Posted by Bob Dold on Sunday, July 9, 2006 11:24 PM

Went through and finalized the design of the front suspension rocker arms and their attachment to the frame. A 1/2″ machined aluminum plate will be used to tie the frame rails together and serve as a mounting point for the rocker arms and shock mount. A pivoting shock mount was designed to tie the the shock bottoms together through a central pivot point to act similar to a sway bar.


Designed rear swing arm and gear train to provide 19:1 gear reduction for motor. Swing arm is constructed on 1.25 x 2.5 x .125 6061-T6 aluminum riveted and bonded to welded steel shock mounts.



Above picture shows the motor mounted to a bent 3/16 aluminum plate bracket that also supports the shaft for the sprockets used in the gear reduction. Motor is mounted below swing arm to keep CG of trike as low as possible.

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6/27 Update

Posted by Bob Dold on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 7:12 AM

Spent past week working on design of front and rear suspension. Designed rocker arms to transmit front suspension travel to coil over shock. Designed rear swing arm with 2.5 inches of upward travel and ~ 1.5 downward travel.


Selected sprockets to give 19.2:1 final drive reduction from motor to rear wheel. Started preliminary frame design, leaning towards using 1.25″ X 2.5″ X 1/8″ wall 6061 tubing bonded and riveted together.


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Preliminary Front Suspension Completed

Posted by Bob Dold on Thursday, June 22, 2006 11:51 PM

Worked on laying out the independent front suspension, started by designing spindles to accept 5/16 rod end ball joints. Utilized unequal length double a-arm independent suspension for front end using push rods (not modeled yet) to actuate the coil over shocks.

Suspension is designed with close to constant roll center located just below ground level and 2.5 inches of possible upwards deflection and 1.5 inches downward. A-arms are designed to be fabricated using aluminum tubing with bonded joints.

Solid model is laid out using parameters to allow suspension geometry to be changed with parts updating automatically.

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Solid Modeling Started

Posted by Bob Dold on Friday, June 16, 2006 10:00 PM

Started modeling the various components in SolidWorks, disassembled my Sun trike to measure the seat and front wheels. Picture shows components roughly laid out as to where I think they will be, batteries are Optima and the motor is a PMG  080.

Isometric View:

Top View:

Side View:

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Power Assist FAQ

Posted by Bob Dold on Friday, June 9, 2006 7:53 AM

Power Assist FAQ

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CalfeeDesign – Carbon Fiber Frame Design

Posted by Bob Dold on Thursday, June 8, 2006 7:17 AM


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Thoughts and Ideas over building a trike

Posted by Bob Dold on Monday, June 5, 2006 12:22 PM

Thoughts and Ideas over building a trike

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