Monday, 11 June 2007

The Hunt for Suppliers

I would welcome comments of the team on the following issue:

Everything about a hybrid motor can be made, but we cannot make anything unless we have materials. The main two materials needed are aluminum for the case and plastic for the reload. It is proving very hard to find the right sizes of materials. Why?

1. There are lots of people who will supply aluminum tubing, but very few in the right alloy, right temper, right outside diameter, and right wall thickness. And they will only make tubing to our size requirements if we buy hundreds of meters (literally).

2. There are lots of people who will supply various kinds of plastic rod or tubing, but not in the right diameter (to fit in the case exactly) and with the right wall thickness for the burn. And they will only make tubing to size if we buy hundreds of meters (literally).

I've found some suppliers that can supply small quantities, even having quite a range of sizes, but, as yet, no match - nothing fits exactly.

You see, while I think we make make values, end closures and much else, we cannot machine four feet of aluminum tube to a specific outside diameter, let alone an inside diameter. And I don't believe we can take plastic rod and reduce its thickness, nor can we drill the large hole in it for the gas to pass through. The plastic will likely buckle. Even if we did manage it, we don't want to have to do this for every reload we make. What we want, is a reliable source of the fuel, and then build the motor and values etc., to fit that.

So... as far as I can see the main Chimera challenge now is to get a reliable source of these two materials, in the right specifications, in the right sizes. It's a hunt for suppliers.

Any comments?

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