Vehicle Incarnations

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Dung Ho
• • • • 1999 • • • •
Hands-on Yearning
Once the winter holidays were over, bank accounts restored, it was time to begin thinking about the kinetic events for 1999. The best way to do this is by attending a kinetic sculpture workshop. Here, experts share their know-how regarding flotation, gearing, braking, steering, propulsion, artistic flair, bribe-making, and much more. In the photo, Dean Codo's 3,000 lb., stripped-down Maltese Fulcrum. Workshop participants got a chance to experience, first hand, what its like to be human pistons!
The Year for Art
The 1999 kinetic sculpture workshop gave Bob inspiration to try new materials, adhesives, and much more.

This inspiration, a full five months before the race, meant 1999 would be the year for art. Afterall, the mechanics of the vehicle are sound. The cold, wet weekends of the Pacific Northwest offer plenty of opportunity to putter in the garage.

Thus armed with cardboard forms, Tyvek®, and cans of 3M® 77 adhesive spray, Bob began building the body of an enormous beetle. Yes, a dung beetle!
Taking Turns
Local (to Corvallis) racer, Allen Brown, gets a chance to pilot the Tomato.
Building a Better Prototype <Return to Top>
Needless to say, the cardboard, Tyvek, and spray adhesive proved to be unsuitable for Bob's beetle body. You probably knew that already, huh?

Bob had access to recycled styrofoam and lots of spray adhesive left over.

The new body (thorax and abdomen for those who passed Biology classes) proved to be more sturdy. Hot wire, sand paper, and lots of advice from onlookers helped shape the laminated sheets of styrofoam into a respectable beetle body.
Dung Balls
Art work continued at a leisurely pace until a giant dung beetle was created. Giant: because the Tomato was now to become a ball of dung pushed by the beetle. See the French video, Microcosmos for more dung ball info. When your vehicle is called Dung Ho! and features a giant dung beetle in the rear, what do you use to bribe judges?

Dung Balls! Mmmm---tasty!

…And the Beetle Rolls on… <Return to Top>
Fans of Killer Tomato will notice something unusual about the vehicle. The dung beetle is functional art!

Notice the 3rd wheel under the bug's head. This 3rd wheel allows Bob to traverse sand, mud, curbs, and other obstacles with greater ease.

The new art, however, created some problems. First, it meant that Bob could not please sadistic crowds by rolling himself over (360 degrees) whilst strapped to his seat. In addition, the corrogated plastic covering the "dung" limited Bob's ability to lean out over the front handle bars.
Best Seat in the House
The covering did, however, provide the pilot with shade from the hot July sun.

Here, long-time friend, Rick Landt enjoys sitting in the larval seat of the biggest ball of dung.

Push That Dung Up the Sand Dune! <Return to Top>
The advantage of the third wheel is more obvious when the incline gets steeper and traction is challenged.

The "beetle" gave Bob enough mechanical advantage that he never had to lean out on the handlebars.

Mud + Water = Beetle Defeat
Unfortunately, the mud this year was so thick that only a third of the racers were able to ace the race. The viscosity proved too much for the beetle. Bob's eight pit crew had to push him out. Careful observers will note that the photo below is not from da Vinci Days, but Port Townsend —where the mud was actually "runnable." Exiting the water (at da Vinci Days) also proved to be too much and assistance was needed to get the vehicle up the steep, gravel slope at the take out. I would be remiss if you weren't also aware that the vehicle came about as close to sinking as Bob ever wants to see and experience. The starboard wheel sank down to the axle! Fortunately, it reached stability at that point. Volunteer kayakers kept closeby and were careful to turn their heads away to laugh at the sight of a sinking dung beetle and its ball of sinking dung.
White Walls and Big Trouble. <Return to Top>
By October, the brown, dung wheels had been given a whitewash---so-to-speak. [See far right photo] No, it didn't mean that Bob was getting a 9-month jump on art for the 2000 races.

Instead, he was preparing the Tomato for the tush of a celebrity—Dave Barry's tush has never been treated to such pleasure.

A Miami columnist and humorous author was coming to town to pontificate on his bizarre take on life and promote his new book, Big Trouble.

Come on Dave, dont' you think Differential Steering would make a good name for a rock band?

Deck the Wheels with Boughs of Doug Fir.
You guessed it. It's that day after Thanksgiving you've read about in earlier stories at this site.

And all through the streets, the people were jolly---even the pilots!

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Updated: 11/3/06

© 2001 by S. Clark