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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: June 21, 2013, 9:36 am 
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Don't think Ive ever introduced my self on here. I'm Bryan :D . I love to tinker and build and fix all manner of things. My father was the same way and had me help him often while i was growing up. We have rebuilt several cars together i even helped with some of the welding an fab on his 50's Willy's Pickup. Any who Ive decided that id like to begin something along those lines with my son who just turned 5. Wouldn't ya know he likes to tinker and build things too. :D. So Ive been planing and thinking and toying with ideas for almost 6 months now. And think i may be ready to start laying things out and planning our build. Def will be doing a mid engine not exactly a locost style car tho. I plan to draw out my own frame and run some simple FEA on it. I was thinking something At-om-esc but not too close i don't want it to fall into the same grouping it will be very much its own design. planing on using a 2001 Sunfire w/ 2.2L (non-ecotech ) for my donor. as far as choosing the donor its a bit of a long story and needless to say i have it and its ready to begin life as something else. I enjoyed driving the car as my DD for quite some time and think that with about 1k less lbs it might be more fun :D. I plan to pull the whole front sub-frame out and build around that with a tube frame design. I'm thinking i will keep the current suspension from the front end. I know i will have to build new towers for the struts to bolt on to. i will lock the steering by removing the rack (saving it for the front end) and adding a tie rod mount to the sub frame to link the old tie rods to. This will let the suspension still work but not let the tires pivot. I will probably build my own A arms for the front and i would like to do a push rod style to keep the front low profile.

All in all that be my plan so far. I'm thinking once Ive committed to this i will being the dis-assembly of my donor. Once i have my sub-frame and motor/ trans-axle removed i will begin to take measurements and try to mock it up in solid works as best i can (if any one is interested i would be happy to provide the model). then i will begin to lay out a frame in solid works as well. Once I've done this i have a ton of 2-2.5" Heavy wall cardboard tubing and some 1" PVC that i will play will to make a mockup once I'm happy with what i see. I will be ordering steel through the company i work for. I have been quoted for a few sizes and each one is coming in at under a buck a pound for most EWR. Based on length of tube used and other builds I've read about this puts me at hopefully under 350-450 for my frame. :D. Being that i already have my donor I'm thinking i can keep this whole project under $3k. and I'm planing on a 2-4 year build time seeing as time is precious and i will likely mostly be working on it for only a few hours every weekend.

Any thoughts or inputs would be awesome. Cant wait to start and have some pics to share. :D
Thanks for reading.

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PostPosted: June 21, 2013, 10:33 am 
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Hi Bryan,

Sounds interesting, and it's never too early to encourage a lad to tinker--the ability to actually build/fix/understand actual physical devices will serve him well in later years.

What's your job? Are you a professional SolidWorker? I'm (at long last) getting into SolidWorks for a writing project and I'll enjoy following your project from its earliest stages of drafting, so give us screen shots as well as photos.

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PostPosted: June 21, 2013, 12:32 pm 
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I'm a Junior Machine Designer and have been well trained in SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and other systems as well. while this project is still in its planing phase i am completing (slowly) a CNC router. currently the router is capable of about 20" x 30" x 6" though i have some of the parts needed to take the frame size up to a 5' x 3' bed. this will greatly help when i go to make custom parts. it cant do much more than light aluminum engraving but i can use MDF to make Parts to try out Fit Form and Function. Then i can take the programs to work and hog them out of alu and such. i figure i can also use it to make foam cores for fiber glass panels.

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PostPosted: June 25, 2013, 9:02 am 
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So the planning continues though i have had little to no time to do any real work :x . I am still trying to work out the concept for the front end. Ideally I would like to use the suspension setup from a pre-built car as a starting point. The rack and steering i have but I am trying to find a front end with duel A-arm suspension on the front. I'm looking for suggestions for a good tried and true donor. also helpful would be a donor common around where i live in NE Ohio. I would prefer a GM Car so as to not have too much mismatch in the components use. so any input would be appreciated so i can start calling around to salvage yards and located me a front end. :D .

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PostPosted: June 25, 2013, 10:32 am 
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bbmech7 wrote:
So the planning continues though i have had little to no time to do any real work .


I can imagine that with a young son , a job and a home you don't have much time to devote to a Locost. At this point let me suggest something that I'm sure most would discourage. Why not start out with a smaller project? Since your son is young why not design and build for example something he can play with and also help in the construction.

When I was just a young lad, my Dad built a go kart for me out of some old piping we had around the house. I remember it well and loved to ride around the neighborhood. We followed that up with a small mini-bike. I got a chance to learn about small engines and the mechanical aspects of the kart and bike. I also started to learn how to weld and use some of the more common shop tools.

To this day some 60 years later, I can still vividly remember the time I spent with my Dad talking, planning and building these projects. Later he helped me restore my first older car.

As your son gets older get more into the Locost with his help. I certainly don't want to discourage you from your current enterprise but only offer this as a possible suggestion.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Cheers,
Roy

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PostPosted: June 25, 2013, 12:09 pm 
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RoyzMG wrote:
At this point let me suggest something that I'm sure most would discourage. Why not start out with a smaller project?


Along the lines of Roy's suggestion: http://www.usa7s.org/vb/showthread.php?t=7081

Plus you'll teach him another important life lesson - women love 7's. ;)

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PostPosted: June 25, 2013, 3:24 pm 
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The thought has indeed crossed my mind and between the actual beginning of this build and now i may do that. I had thought about a small cart and I have some EMT and other Bits to make one. I suppose once my dad digs the 3.5 hp horizontal shaft motor out of his pile 'o things i may mock something up. I was thinking simple akerman-esk steering with no rack just a tab sticking off the steering shaft. Solid shaft axle with bike chain and such to drive it. That will probably be the summer / winter project for this year as we prep and plan for the big one :D .

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PostPosted: August 30, 2013, 10:52 am 
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Well it’s been a while now and I've had lots of time to ponder and consider my options resources and time.... I've come to the full understanding that I have an insatiable urge to build things, especially complex mechanical things. Since the project began to form in my head I've had the understanding that this will take time... lots of time. But for me that's fine and preferable. I've since realized I still have much to learn. In the face of all these things I am undaunted and completely determined no matter the length of time nor the obstacles I encounter I will finish this project.

Me and The Wife have discussed this and she totally understands the drive to do this. She has many things I do not understand or see the drive to do but we allow one another to do what we need to do, so long as it does not affect our ability to raise the children in a godly manner and does not interfere with the payment of bills and the reduction of debt.

That being said I have selected my donor :D it was once my DD and is no longer due to a multitude of events conspiring against it. it is a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire with a 2200 OHV 2.2L Engine. I will be harvesting the entire drive train and electrical system. I plan to part out the rest of the car on eBay and Craig's list ect. I began to make up an excel sheet to give me an idea what I could expect to get from the part out. Its funny how many little parts on this car people are buying off eBay used. I just searched 01 Sunfire and checked the sold listing box, and I was shocked. All the little parts begin to add up. Just small things that I can easily ship come to over 700 easy. Then there are things like the gas tank, sunroof assembly, trunk lid, hood, windshield... etc that I have seen selling (with freight shipping) that I will list for pickup only. All in all I figure if I only expect 80% ish of what I have seen sold and what they went for (large items included), I think I can reasonably hope to get close to 1k then I will scrap the shell for perhaps 150-200. So this is looking pretty awesome so far. The cash from all this will easily buy the steel for my frame. I will keep the steering components, the Gage cluster, shifter, E-brake, seats and seat belts, wiper assembly, and possibly the lights as well. Everything else will be sold or scraped.

I’ve been getting Quotes for steel from work for a variety of grades sizes and styles. I think I’ve settled on 1.25" square .120 wall tube I can get them in 20' lengths (delivered to work where I can cut them) for <40$ ea and I can bring them in with other orders to save on shipping.

Once I have the Sub-Frame with the Engine and trans axle out I can begin to draw up my frame. The frame is my BIG grey area right now as I can’t do much with out the engine and I only have a vague idea of what I want it to look like. I like the At-om style but don't think I’ll follow that path. I like the simplicity of the Locost frame but I plan to go midi with this car so I will have a lot of work to do to convert it as such. Or I think I may just being drawing and see what shape takes place. Obviously I will be looking though many previous midi build for frame building concepts but I like the idea of paving a new path and doing something different. Only time will tell. But first I begin the tear down. Well actually before tear down beings I need to build a few... many shelves to store parts before they sell. I will add some pics once things fully get under way. Any suggestions on a good midi frame to start with would be appreciated.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2013, 11:36 am 
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bbmech7 wrote:
Me and The Wife have discussed this and she totally understands the drive to do this. She has many things I do not understand or see the drive to do but we allow one another to do what we need to do, so long as it does not affect our ability to raise the children in a godly manner and does not interfere with the payment of bills and the reduction of debt.



She's a Keeper! (with a capital K for sure :thmbsup:) and, in my usually fairly humble opinion, you two have the best possible attitude about feeding the body, mind and soul.

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PostPosted: September 5, 2013, 6:58 am 
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Ive decided to begin to draw up the frame. i started with a solid model of the +442 build and tried to modify it... no offense to who ever made that particular model but it was not something to be modified easily and was not fully constrained. that being said after a few tries i decided to just start to pull dimensions from the model and draw my own. i will do two versions one being the +442 the other being my own midi design. i started with the passenger compartment bc that seems to be tried and true so i will stick with that for mine and ill be removing about 14-16" from the front not sure exactly yet but once i get some good numbers from the rear end i will decide on my final cut length. this could be fun :D now i just need to figure out how to post pics... :roll:

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PostPosted: September 6, 2013, 10:38 am 
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after seeing a post a week or so ago that mentioned 'Paralysis of analysis' that got me thinking about my behavior towards my previous projects. Ive decided that i will not let that happen this time. even if i have to undo things bc i don't like them or they don't work i will not be stuck by merely thinking about my project.
so things will move forward. last night my son and i 'cleaned' the garage a bit and move things around and got the car into the garage. then the fun began :D we started to pull things off the car not a ton of progress but as i am going to try to get as much money as i can from the parts it will be a bit of a slower process than 'get out the recp. saw and tear through it'. but it affords the opportunity to teach my son about the parts of the car and show him a more controlled method of working.

also work continues on the frame:

Image

Image

i have drawn the main chassis and the dashed lines represent the wheel size and placement based on the donor car wheel base and suspension.
this is starting to take shape :D

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PostPosted: September 11, 2013, 10:49 am 
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Question for those of you who have gotten to the stage of engine in car. Did you keep the OEM air box and tubes, coolant res and/or AC system?

I don't expect any of these things would be needed the air box i will likely replace with a cone style filter right up by the intake. The coolant res i think could be easily fab'd up or a generic one purchased. they just seem very much custom fitted to the Donor and i don't think i want to try and fit them in. The AC system is just dead weight i mean really its going to be a mostly open car i don't think ill need AC.

Anyway just wonted some opinions and advise since there is always the chance i don't realize there is something needed and i may very well sell it off :D


oh on a side note what about steering columns? Stock, after market, custom? what did you do?

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PostPosted: September 11, 2013, 12:33 pm 
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AC? surely you jest.... :cheers: I have no heater either.

I replaced the airbox and AFM sensor. I rebuilt my entire intake system to fit insuide the bonnet. I had to go to a standalone system that reads manifold vacuum.

I re-used the Donor's overflow reservoir as it was pretty simple to do.

I used the steering mechanism but repackaged it for simplification. This allowed me to use a wheel mounted horn button and retain the tilt wheel mechanism.

You didn't ask, but I also removed the air pump. No emissions testing is required for this car in my location.

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PostPosted: September 11, 2013, 1:24 pm 
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bbmech7 wrote:
Question for those of you who have gotten to the stage of engine in car. Did you keep the OEM air box and tubes, coolant res and/or AC system?

oh on a side note what about steering columns? Stock, after market, custom? what did you do?

Check out www.midlana.com for ideas, though once you put everything where it needs to go, a surprising amount of the car designs itself.

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PostPosted: September 12, 2013, 8:02 am 
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unfortunately i still will need to pass e-check :ack: oh well... im not really going for a racing setup just a cruiser so the extra weight is not the issue. im more interested in the styling and appearance i hope to some day baffle and confuse ppl at car shows :lol: but what i don't want is some funky looking tank or air tube. i also plan to try and dress up my wiring harness a bit once its all running so it looks all nice and clean :D.

unfortunately though over the weekend i caught some sort of bug :ack: missed a day of work and wouldn't you know it taking my son to school the brakes blew out on the van. so sick and tiered i tried unsuccessfully to fix the brakes. by the time i realized i needed certain parts they were not available until the following day. so the next day i got the parts and me and my father went to work fixing the brakes.... i think Murphy was somewhere near by.... on the lasts fitting the treads crossed and stripped :oops: that was my fault.... they really did feel like they had a good start. any who got the flex line chased and found out we had the wrong flare in the whole system. so guess what? we had to re do the flares all around. trying to finish up quickly since my dad had somewhere to go we bled the brakes and when rechecking the front passenger side Murphy poked his head in again. the line began to only dribble much slower than it had earlier and the brakes still felt very spongy. so a quick check revealed the rear driver side had also blown right at the flex line. so i drudged on my dad left to do what he had to do. luckily there was a prop valve or something at the rear axle so that is all the further i had to go and was able to save the old fittings. :D. so began the task of bleeding the brakes and swmbo was drafted to help. lol i got the question more than once "why do we have to keep pressing and holding the brake peddle?" :roll: oh well all is well in car world again. next i have to play catch up on house chores since when i got sick the wife did also. perhaps friday can be a late garage night... perhaps or maybe and early garage day and a late night with the wife :shock:

oh well oh quick question. when parting out you donor what was the best avenue of sales?

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