I’ve been thinking about getting a replacement for the stock hood/manhole cover for my Milan SL. I’ve always thought that it was a bit clunky looking. Also, I wondered if it couldn’t have been made a little bit more aerodynamic. Also, there are some pretty large gaps between the sides of the hood and the main body. There is a beautiful new hood from Velomobile World that looks much nicer aesthetically and more efficient aerodynamically. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be available for sale at this time. I’ll just have to wait to get one when they’re available. In the meantime, I decided to make my own hood.
The goals for my hood were to improve the aerodynamics, improve the aesthetics and if possible, provide a little more head space so that I can fit with a helmet. In making my own hood, I didn’t want to modify or damage my stock hood and manhole cover. They’re very hard to come by. Also, I didn’t want to make any modifications to the Milan that would prevent me from using the stock parts in the future. The photo on the left below shows the stock hood and cover. The photoshopped image on the right below shows the changes I had in mind.
I made molds of the stock hood and manhole cover so that I could make copies that could be modified as a starting point for the pattern or plug. I made those copies, then joined them together to form a single part. To change the angle and shape of the visor area, I blended a piece from my DF hood mold (shown in orange below).
There is another small issue with the stock manhole that has always bothered me. The leading edge of the manhole cover of the Canadian Milan was extended forward to overlap with the body. This causes the cover to no longer remain flush with the body. I decided to remove this overlap and fit the cover to be flush with the body (as is the case with the European Milans).
Progress on the plug.
Once the plug was in decent shape, I made the main mold. I also made a small mold for the lip of the leading edge of the cover to fit in the gutter of the body. Neither mold is shown. Shown below is the front lip that fits into the gutter of the body. Also shown is the carbon fiber hook used with the stock bungee hold down.
I built a NACA duct, similar to the stock duct, by first sculpting it in clay, then making a female mold and from that a male mold. I constructed the duct (on the right) using the male mold (on the left) below.
Here’s the first hood from my mold. I used the same type of simple magnet-Lexan visor as I used on my DF hood. I painted it in RAL 9010 Pure White which is the same white as used by most European velomobile manufacturers. It surprisingly matched the white gelcoat of the Canadian Milan pretty well.
Some shots of the new hood side by side with the stock setup.
Some photos from the first ride with the new hood.
Some later photos of the hood…