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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: March 16, 2007, 5:49 pm 
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Yes - they are online at SCCA.com under Solo - Rules. I would give you a direct link, but the way they format the page it doesn't work. I was wondering if your name choice was intentional or coincidental.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: March 18, 2007, 8:43 pm 
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Location: Vista (north of San Diego CA)
Jack - Concerning ripping off a body design, the only way that can really happen is if you have an original and pull molds off it. Otherwise no matter what you design, if it is of the sleek 'n slippery variety, it's going to RESEMBLE something already built. I've been going through some vintage racing magazines and any styling cue I could imagine seems to already be there in one car or another.

Sometimes we get caught thinking that the only designs out there were the prominent race winners - Ferrari, Chaparel, Lola, Ford, etc. But there were hundreds (maybe thousands) of unique designs. Even in that group of already-been-done cars, you can pick any one and find another similar to it.

Even if you had an original body to start with, by the time you were done applying your practical considerations to it, it would be sufficiently different to avoid anyone's "copy cat" accusations. In my book there is a big difference between a copy and a car with similar styling.

Just my 2 cents,

John


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PostPosted: March 19, 2007, 1:40 am 
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Right you are, Locost_Johnh. I was going through the permission pursuit because I indeed <was> looking at a Lola Mk1 body from a mold taken off a Lola Mk1. And you're right about the scads of cool-but-not-famous sports racers from The Day (see <tamsoldracecarsite.com> for all the inspiration one could hope for; it's run by a high school classmate and fellow Laguna-Seca-sneaker-inner of mine) and 99% of them look better than Old Yeller, right? I hope to do a classic racer inspired car someday (as opposed to the current racers, which look halfway between the '60s racers and a pizza box), but not this time. I want to make something that can be made in a garage from a small number of store-bought parts (Kinetic being the store, of course) and some sheetmetal, or even done from drawings if one wishes.

And since I claimed I was going to use this string to show how to make a full body from scratch, it's time I get on it. But it won't be as pretty as a Lola, or as slick, either.

On the bright side, you'll be able to fit a modern engine in it and anybody hip will still recognize it as a Locost.

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PostPosted: March 19, 2007, 4:04 am 
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Here goes. We'll use lots of different techniques as we go along and hopefully you'll find something among them that will fit your needs.

How to Build a Crude Yet Effective and Maybe Even Stylish Full Body for Your Locost, For Less than £250 if You're One Heck of a Scrounger

Sunday afternoon, March 18
Our first parts are the front fenders. To keep them simple and cheap, we'll use one basic shape for both fenders so we only have to make one basic mold.

I'm making the pattern for this mold from 3/4" MDF, available at my local giganto home and hardware store at $12.50 for a half sheet. The 8' x 4' sheets come an inch oversize, and since I'd brought my Suzuki it wouldn't fit inside, but along with offering one free cut, this place cuts wood products free as needed to get the customer loaded and outta there, so I asked the guy running the panel cutter to turn it so the 49" side was down, and had it cut into a 48 x 30 strip and a 48 x 19 strip...but the big one still wouldn't fit so I had that cut in half (two 24 x 30 pieces), and for my one free cut I had the 19" piece cut into a 48 x 7 strip and a 48 x 12 strip. There were some sawcut losses, but hey, no biggie. I gave them $13 and took my change in sheet rock nails.

By the way, I told the lumberyard manager why I was being such a pest and a tightwad (traditionally it's the first cut that's free, not the last one), and he thought the Locost concept sounded pretty neat, so I told him I'd bring a picture next time I came in and he told me I could bring my van and skip the Chinese Puzzle routine and he'd contribute the cuts. So I'll keep a running total for y'all but I'll stop telling you every single cheapskate detail of this body project. I'll do the accounting like it's a Grassroots $200x Challenge--nothing for my tools and nothing for my time (or for anybody else who wants to volunteer labor or loan a tool), but fair market value for free stuff and purchase price for everything else.

Photos and captions will take it from here.


Attachments:
File comment: So, first thing you need is a set of drawings for the part. Mine were done in Rhinocerous 3.0 but if you have talent you don't need computer drawings. Trace a side view drawing onto a suitable piece of hardboard (like this one for a buck from a rem pile,
DwgLayout1.jpg
DwgLayout1.jpg [ 31.96 KiB | Viewed 8564 times ]
File comment: Cut the template outside the line, and sand it down precisely to the line. Precision is important, but smoothness is even more important--this will determine the finished profile of the fender. I used a belt sander, which allows me to make mistakes much f
CutTemplate2.jpg
CutTemplate2.jpg [ 27.02 KiB | Viewed 8565 times ]
File comment: Use the template to trace the shape onto two 3/4&quot; MDF blanks for the sides of the fender, and use a jig saw or band saw to cut the blanks, slightly (not more than 1/8&quot;) oversize of the line. This is a good time to pen a big R and L on the blanks
CutSides3.jpg
CutSides3.jpg [ 23.52 KiB | Viewed 8569 times ]

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PostPosted: March 19, 2007, 4:58 am 
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I'm getting it figured out...three pics max, listed in reverse order of how they're displayed...


Attachments:
File comment: Temporarily clamp the template to a blank side, then semipermanently screw the edges together. Use pilot holes for accuracy.
Clamp&Screw4.jpg
Clamp&Screw4.jpg [ 13.55 KiB | Viewed 8565 times ]
File comment: The 3/4&quot; radius rounded edge thing is becoming something of a Kinetic trademark; you'll see lots of it on this body. For bigger radii, use thicker material or glue a couple of panels together. Use a good router bit; use one with a ball bearing on the
RouterBit5.jpg
RouterBit5.jpg [ 13.06 KiB | Viewed 8565 times ]
File comment: The bearing on the tip of the bit tracks along the template, carving the fender side to the precise shape of the template and rounding the edge. Do the same to the other fender side blank, but do it to the other side.
RouterFit6.jpg
RouterFit6.jpg [ 14.86 KiB | Viewed 8561 times ]

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PostPosted: March 19, 2007, 5:06 am 
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And as the sun sinks slowly in the west...this concludes today's programming.


Attachments:
File comment: The sides of the fender, with rounded edges. Block sand any chattermarks away. Note the right side is marked with an L. Doesn't matter, I just wanted to remind myself to do opposites.
BevelledSides7.jpg
BevelledSides7.jpg [ 25.33 KiB | Viewed 8563 times ]
File comment: Here's a Bizzaro World front fender, only lacking a bit of skin between the sides. Yes, modern race cars are blocky, but this is ridiculous; the front needs shaping.
CrudestFender8.jpg
CrudestFender8.jpg [ 13.32 KiB | Viewed 8557 times ]
File comment: And there goes the dinner bell. Tomorrow we'll taper the front of the fender. As you might guess, 3/4&quot; MDF isn't real flexible, but we can do it.
CrudestFenderFt9.jpg
CrudestFenderFt9.jpg [ 11.5 KiB | Viewed 8559 times ]

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PostPosted: March 19, 2007, 9:01 pm 
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It rained all day, so I didn't get to make any more sawdust. It's very unusual to have rain in Oregon this time of year...BWAAA ha ha haaa! We Oregonians don't tan, we rust.

As you may have surmised, ther's going to be lots of woodworking and bodyputtying before plastic starts splashing. If you already have all the patternmaking skills you want, you won't need to check back in until April...oh wait, we'll be making pontoons next week, with simple curves in sheetmetal.

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PostPosted: March 23, 2007, 11:08 am 
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...and now the weather is nice, but I'm down at the metal shop, working on installing the Kubota engine and making some custom windshield frames...I was planning to do pontoons this weekend but the laser cutter says the panels will be a little late...

Chet, let's unsticky this string, it'll float up near the top again when I have something to contribute, or somebody has a comment.

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PostPosted: March 26, 2007, 1:31 am 
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I'm back to the 'glass fab shop, and after a rainy morning, it's sunny this afternoon. MDF is great stuff for pattern making, but the fine dust generated makes it outdoor work (unless you have a woodshop to work in), and I vacuum the parking lot after I'm done for the day.

The armature bulkheads were made the same way as the sides were, except with a straight router bit. This assures that all six edges (three bulkheads, two edges each) are vertical and identical, and will give us a symmetrical pattern.

So...how to bend MDF. This will be a multiday job.


Attachments:
File comment: Lots of skill saw slits, most of the way through the MDF, spaced from 1&quot; to 3/8&quot; apart, depending on the radius the sides will be bent to.
10SlitSide.jpg
10SlitSide.jpg [ 30.96 KiB | Viewed 8353 times ]
File comment: The cuts come through most of the curve on the curved edge, but that's what body putty is for.
11SlitRadius.jpg
11SlitRadius.jpg [ 17.92 KiB | Viewed 8350 times ]
File comment: The start of an armature, which the sides will conform to. I'll cut the top bulkhead down the middle before installing it.
12Armature1.jpg
12Armature1.jpg [ 18.75 KiB | Viewed 8350 times ]

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PostPosted: March 26, 2007, 3:31 am 
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Jack, you ever work for a TV series or Soap opera?

You got me on the edge of my seat with this one!

Love it so far....

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To err is human...
I am more human than most.


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PostPosted: March 27, 2007, 1:49 pm 
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Here's yesterday's festivities, with funny filenames because the left side of my keyboard conked out last night (no 1, Q, A or Z). I have four photos, but there's a three attachment limit per post, so I'll add the fourth one later.

The armature has been srewed together with sheetrock screws and is ready to bond to the sides of the nose. You Locosters will note the internal diagonal brace to keep the armature rigid and square. When it's time to bond, work fast--we're not painting a piano here, you'll never see the inside of this again, and if the glue/bodyputty starts to set before the parts are aligned, you'll be starting over with the cutting, routing, slitting and sanding.

Note we are <not> bonding the slitted section of the nose yet.

mr.peabody.d wrote:
You got me on the edge of my seat with this one!

Well I hope you bought the big bucket of popcorn, 'cause we're going to be here a while. To quote Dr. Frankenfurter, "I see you tremble with antici..."


Attachments:
File comment: The completed armature in place on a nose panel. Mark precisely where it fits on both panels, since you'll have limited time to adjust it later.
93@rm@tureComplete.jpg
93@rm@tureComplete.jpg [ 14.54 KiB | Viewed 8301 times ]
File comment: Bond the armature to one panel.My favorite glue for this job is body putty (Bondo is one brand) but you'd better get it right the first time 'cause there's no going back. Don't get any on the curved part of the nose.
94@rmH@lfGlued.jpg
94@rmH@lfGlued.jpg [ 18.07 KiB | Viewed 8301 times ]
File comment: Once the first panel is set, glorp body putty where the other panel fits; you may have time for one quick photo before it sets. Move fast.
95@rm&Glue.jpg
95@rm&Glue.jpg [ 18.48 KiB | Viewed 8299 times ]

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Last edited by JackMcCornack on March 29, 2007, 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: March 27, 2007, 9:48 pm 
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...pation."


Attachments:
File comment: Put on the other panel, smoosh it around a bit, position it accurately and weight it down with something worthless, such as last years' computer. Let it cure overnight.
96@rmFullGlued.jpg
96@rmFullGlued.jpg [ 23.88 KiB | Viewed 8274 times ]

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PostPosted: March 28, 2007, 3:10 am 
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Another day, and the body putty is cured, solid and totally unadjustable...incidentally, if you don't like how your part looks now, you're not likely to like it later, so check it for squareness and symmetry before you go any further. If it doesn't meet your needs, bite the bullet and make a new one; now that you have all this experience the job will go quickly...and even with the few ounces of Bondo we've only got about $15 in this thing.

With the flat portions of the fender sides bonded into place, the fender pattern is placed upright and wrapped with a couple of ratcheting tiedown straps...


Attachments:
File comment: ...and tighten them evenly until the front of the fender sides are flush to the lower and center bulkheads
17Strapped.jpg
17Strapped.jpg [ 18.85 KiB | Viewed 8255 times ]
File comment: Fit the top bulkhead parts into the available space on top of the armature...
18TopBulkheadRaw.jpg
18TopBulkheadRaw.jpg [ 28.52 KiB | Viewed 8255 times ]
File comment: ...and bond the halves of the bulkhead together. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it does make for an optimal fit, which you might not otherwise get (say if the top and bottom bulkheads were a sawcut too wide).
19TopBulkheadBonded.jpg
19TopBulkheadBonded.jpg [ 31.13 KiB | Viewed 8257 times ]

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PostPosted: March 29, 2007, 1:16 am 
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I think the modern tubed putties such as Half Time are worth the slight premium price over the traditional canned putties--they get a better bond and they set up quicker--but then again, I use it more as a formable glue than as a surface shaping material (though it shapes better too, in my opinion). I often mix it with an even thinner product from the same manufacturer (USC) called Icing, and blend for just the consistency I want.They're about $15 per 24 fluid ounce tube, and a tube of each will probably do for this body...maybe I'll need another tube of Half Time; we'll see.

This may be my last fender entry for a while; I'll be working with the sheetmetal soon; the laser shop says my parts are ready.

Today is the first day of bend bonding, but first lat's take a look at the back of the fender pattern...


Attachments:
File comment: There's a taper from bottom to top, built into the armature. It's 9&quot; wide at the bottom and 8&quot; wide at the top. I'll explain why in a few weeks.
20RearSeeDraft.jpg
20RearSeeDraft.jpg [ 15.44 KiB | Viewed 8208 times ]
File comment: There's probably enough contact area at the slits, but to be sure of adhesion, I've grooved a glue channel with a Dremel and an 1/8&quot; burr.
21BottomSeeGrove.jpg
21BottomSeeGrove.jpg [ 18.5 KiB | Viewed 8209 times ]
File comment: Tape the inside seam and fill the groove and bottom half inch of the slits with body putty. If I had three ratchet straps I could do all three bulkheads at once...live and learn.
22BottomCurveBond.jpg
22BottomCurveBond.jpg [ 25.36 KiB | Viewed 8203 times ]

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PostPosted: April 7, 2007, 12:38 pm 
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Jack, Any progress made as of late?
Curious as to how things are progressing.
Dale


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