Yesterday I was asked about the 3D printed speedo sensor case and I couldn’t believe that it’s been almost six months since last mentioning it and about nine months since fitting it. So how is it holding up? Well just fine and dandy thanks for asking!
So far, It’s been through a long 40C summer and some damn cold nights of recent. Heavy rain and a decent shake down over something like 12,000 miles including some off-road, add up to a pretty good trial all-in-all. The plastic is holding up nicely with no signs of cracks, warping or sun-fade, so it looks like the Color-Fabb nGen material is a good choice for use on the Capo and that is backed up by the frame bungs I made last year – all as good as the day they were fitted.
I’ve put a pdf drawing of the main body in the CAD/3D downloads area so you’ve some idea of the dimensions of the speedo sensor. Fitting a sensor from an alternative Aprilia is of course an option, the only real issue being the tight bend in the cable to make it fit, not particularly nice, but functional I guess. Also, is the cable long enough and does it have the right connector? I’ve no idea. Some may want to go with a different sensor altogether, fine in principle as long as it uses the same voltage/current range and the signal is compatible with the dashboard. then of course you have to make it fit, hopefully the drawing will help a little here as it gives depth, diameter and mounting hole location for comparison. Again there is the issue of cable length and connector …….
Just a word of caution though, the standard sensor is a snug fit in the caliper mount and cannot in any way move into the wheel. Can the same be said of an aftermarket sensor and its modified fitment? The consequences of something possibly working loose and jamming the back wheel don’t bear thinking about!
Of course I went for a third option, 3D printing. I’d originally thought of the case as reusable, but in the end, given the few pennies it costs to print I made it a semi-sealed item. The sensor is installed with sealant and after soldering the wires in place, the cap is also back filled with sealant and screwed into place. If and when it fails, I’ll just remove reusable bits (boot, screws etc) and print/assemble another one. Total cost (sensor, case, screws, wire, boot & connector) came in under £30 – Granted about the same as some RSV/SL sensors on ebay …. but that’s new not second-hand!
With all the other stuff going on recently, I almost forgot to mention that the run across the continent was a great make-or-break test for the 3D printed speedo sensor case! Works a treat and even if I say so myself, it looks way better than the original! 😀
Although it’s working brilliantly, I’ll modify the design of the cap to give a little extra room inside for wiring up …… and rotate the lion’s head so it’s horizontal, ya can’t beat a bit of OCD!
The day before the awful January weather hit, I managed to get a nice afternoon ride-out on the Capo. Stopping part way along for a coffee break, I paused for a moment to put helmet and gloves in the top-box – forgetting I had a bungee-cord still attached between the lid and side cases. With my mind wandering away on other things, I flicked the latches and began lifting with finger and thumb. In a heartbeat the cord snatched the lid out of my hand, slamming it hard against the hinge-stops bending the hinges and shearing two rivets. Oh well, after 10 years I guess it could do with a bit of TLC, now it definitely needs it!
A couple of weeks later, after the snow had finished having its wicked way, I managed to get around to doing a complete strip of the top-box in an uncomfortably cold and damp barn, first straightening the hinges then rebuilding it all with new 4mm stainless steel rivets instead of the feeble aluminium 3mm ones. While I had it stripped down I remembered that I’d had a little 3D printer idea regarding the top-box and now was the perfect time to do it.
Something that’s always bugged me with the Hepco-Becker top-box is the lateral play in the mount which allows the box to be fitted off-center – around a half-inch or more (>12.5mm) either way. To take this slop out two plastic blocks modelled on the shape of the existing mount have been added using the same size self-tapping screws as on the main support. These blocks don’t take any load, that’s still handled 100% by the original support, their only job is to ensure the box lines up perfectly every time it’s refitted ….. no bumping, shuffling or tweaking it into place, and this most certainly pleases my mild OCD!
While doing all this, the bottom galvanised steel support plate was measured and a larger improved design drawn up. The original 1.5mm thick plate has too much flex for my liking (built to a budget) so the idea is to fit a slightly thicker 2mm stainless steel one for improved support, looks and weather resistance. After all this, the top-box should be good for another 10 years + …….as long as I don’t screw up the hinges again that is! 😀
And finally, the January backlog of post and parcels are starting to trickle through and with the first batch came the 8mm OD stainless steel sleeves and a couple of Honeywell 1GP7001 speed sensors. So the sensor and case are now assembled and tested. Only the cable strain relief sleeve is missing before I can fit it permanently to the bike. Fingers crossed they’ll be in the next batch of post!
Yesterday, on a rather cold and wet afternoon, moto-abruzzo took a step into the future ……. courtesy of a good friend that I’m doing a project for. A 3D printer arrived! And being the top man that he is, he’s cool about me printing off those odd little Caponord bits-n-bobs.
It was rapidly unpacked and Jan and I stood in awe at this little box of awesomeness, we oooo’d and aaaah’d in all the right places …. then it was time to fire the beast up. But first a good nights rest. Early the next morning I loaded up a model and hit the ‘MAKE!’ button. My heart pounded as it hummed, rumbled and whired into action. For an hour it beavered away – then stopped dead! In fact everything stopped – ANOTHER BLOODY POWER CUT! So on with the coat and off to buy a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to keep computers and printers running when we get these annoying micro/mini power cuts that last no more than a second or two but mess everything up. Once installed I was away like a whippet on speed ……. by the end of the evening we stood and marvelled at its first creation – A Mk1 speedo sensor case.
Like any piece of kit it has a bit of a learning curve attached to it, but hey, that’s all part of the fun. Here’s a pic of the first printed Capo speedo sensor main case and cap. The holes print really well even at this resolution and tap to M3 no problem. The sensor is a nice snug fit and (thankfully!) it fits in the brake caliper carrier and even the bolt lines up which is nice! So overall – moving in the right direction. Now I just need to order a couple of sensors, some cable, rubber boots and Molex connectors and the jobs as good as done. Then I can change out the sensor on the bike, run it around for a while and see how the printed parts hold up to life on a motorcycle.
Why bother with all this?
Have a look at the cost of a replacement sensor from Aprilia (AP8124985) ….. currently £112 plus postage from Fowlers and Ultimateparts in the UK and €146 (approx. £127) from wendelmotorraeder in Germany. OK it’s much cheaper from AF1 at £65 but the postage is higher and you may well have customs duty to pay – all bumping up the cost.
So …….. IF (a big ‘IF’ mind you) it tests OK over a couple of months and possibly a small batch were to be made, would anyone be interested in an aftermarket Capo speedo sensor for half the price of an original?
Anyway, until then what’s next ……. hmmmm.
- Hybrid velocity stacks – Caponord height with Futura diameter (51mm)
- Hi-Flo airbox snorkel
- Frame/axle/crash bar bungs (insects use the orifices as nesting sites!)
- ……. and maybe even a 1:5 scale model!! 😀
Having chipped away through almost 1/3 of the parts I got last week, I started on the speedo sensor …… unfortunately t’was deader than a Dodo. That presented the perfect opportunity not only to measure it for posterity – but to strip it apart and see exactly how it was constructed. In this case as you can see from the photograph, the sensor (Honeywell 1GP7001) is completely buggered and split at the sensor head …. marks in the body suggest it may have been water damage.
All this leads to the idea of a re-usable speedo sensor, that could be re-orientated for use not only on the Capo, but also the RSV and Tuono. Here’s a MK1 idea using the same Honeywell sensor (about £15/€20) and a few nice stainless screws for that macho-Meccanno look! The idea is that if the sensor subsequently fails, you simply unscrew the case top and solder in a new sensor – bingo! Back in business in 10 minutes flat. 🙂
So is it worthwhile following this up do you think, or should I resign it to – nice idea but ……?
And lastly, the chap in l’Aquila got back to me this week and offered me this pair of little beauties for €50 plus postage. 😀
Apparently the tyre is original and will require removal with dynamite or a thermic lance and the rim has a little scuff damage along the edge (about 5 o’clock in the pic), but I’m sure that can be taken out by someone more competent than I. I’ll have a nosey around the UK over winter and take the wheel back over with me in spring.
When the wheel arrives I’ll model it up, then look at various colour schemes that might (or might not!) complement the fudge/biscuit paint of the Raid. – not that I’ll ever get them done, more just a ‘what if I had dosh’ excercise unfortunately.