Cool Shirt

Okay, so in the previous post I alluded to making my own cool shirt.  Well, I finally got around to it.

I chose to make a 4-zone shirt like a real FAST shirt.  I don’t know if it is actually better, but conceptually it seems like it could be better having each unit of water only in contact with 1/4 of the total area.

My parts list includes a bag of 10 Wye fittings.  I only needed 6 for this shirt.  But, first…the sewing.

I’m not a seemstress…never will be.  But, my Mom taught me to sew, and I can sew a reasonably straight line, and I can load a bobin, and thread a machine.  First, I put the shirt on and sat in the car with my harness on.  I used a water soluable marker to mark where the lap belt came to (so it wouldn’t pinch the tubing), and then I marked where the shoulder harness (and adjusters) came too.  These marks present the limits for the front tubing so that it doesn’t get pinched by the harness (or HANS) and the lap belt.

For the back, I marked the lowest location of my waist while seated.  For the upper mark, I marked where my shoulder begin to roll over (I have a bit of a slouch).  Then I cut fabric panels out of an old bed sheet about 1″ larger than my markings.  This left room to fold the fabric over and create seems.  Then I took two 2″ x 18″” pieces of fabric and seemed the long edges of that as well for the return tubing patch along the bottom of the shirt.

With all the panels made, I sewed them onto the shirt following my marks.  I spaced the vertical stitching 1″ apart.  I ended up with 19 vertical channels for the tubing to pass through.  The horizontal pieces are sewn along the bottom as you see below.  Note that the top stitching has a gap in the center to allow tubing to enter from the center of the shirt.

P1010195 P1010196P1010197



Next, I marked the channel that went down the center of the shirt.  By, center I mean the 10th channel from either end.  First I threaded the tubing starting from the bottom left, up and down the channels until I completed the center channel.  Then I left enough tubing to return across the bottom of the shirt plus about 6 inches, and put a piece of tape on this piece of tubing.  Then I repeated this from the bottom right of the shirt.  I ended up with two tubes passing down the center channel…one with tape, and one without.

Next, it was time to begin joining the tubes together.  Take the tubing from the bottom right and thread it through the horizontal channel until it reaches the center opening.  Using soap as lubrication, push one end of a Wye connector into this tubing.  Next, take the tube with the tape on it and cut it to fit the Wye connector.  Attach this to the other part of the Wye.  Finally, take the cutoff piece of tubing, and thread it onto the Stem of the Wye.  And, lastly thread the remaining center tube through the horizontal channel so that all three tubes exit on the left side of the shirt.

Note which tube is connected to the Wye connector, and put a piece of tape on it, again.  Then repeat this procedure on the other side of the shirt.

P1010198 P1010199


Join the two tubes with tape (one from the front, and one from the back) with another Wye connector, and then add 16″ of tubing to the remaining port on the Wye.  This will connect to one side of the cooler.

Finally, there are four remaining tubes to be connected together.  Connect each pair to a Wye connector.  Then connect the outlets of each Wye connector to another Wye connector.  A picture is worth a lot here.  See below.

P1010200 P1010201 P1010202

Finally, add about 16″ of tubing to the final outlets of the wye connectors.  Put on the shirt, crawl into the car and cut the tubing to desired length.  Then attach the dry break plugs.  Add water and ice to the cooler, and give it a test!!!

Way cool!

On my first test day (last weekend at MSRC) it was 106F in the shade.  It was bitch’n hot in the car on the track in my new fire-suit.  As soon as I turned this thing on….MAN what a relief.  I can’t imagine driving these cars in full race gear without one of these things.



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