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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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 Post subject: Rich's Vodou Miata Build
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:02 am
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Location: Southeast CT
Please bear with me as I have built several cars, but have never done a build log. If there's too much information, simply ignore it, but here's the beginning of my build. I have no garage at my house, nor favorable zoning regulations that would allow me to build one. Rather, I rent a garage a few miles away that has served me well with other builds, but is not ideal for two reasons: (1) it's unheated and I've become a wuss when it comes to winters in CT and (2) it's not convenient if I want to work a couple hours at night.

So, I decided a Basement Built Locost was just the ticket - build, disassemble, move outdoors and re-build. Piece of cake.

First things first.....

Prerequisite #1 - Happy Wife. Accomplished by building a work bench for her art studio so she can occupy herself while I cut, weld, grind, curse and swear in the basement.

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Prerequisite #2 - Figure out how to build a Locost in the basement, or more appropriately, how to get a Locost out of the basement after building. With the advice of this forum, I determined this can be accomplished by building the frame, less the bustle. Also involved hinging the wall leading from the basement.

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Prerequisite #3 - Build Table. Other than the MDF, the table was built from scrap material from other projects. The basement floor is very uneven, so I built the table to be level at one particular spot, then marked it on the floor in case it gets moved. The extra effort here has proven worthwhile - a perfectly level table certainly helps the setup.

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Last weekend, I purchased the steel and started the build.

Lower frame rails

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After tacking the top of the rails and flipping over to tack the bottom, I decided I didn't want to grind the tacks flush, so I cut spacers from 1/2" plywood before re-clamping the frame to the table.

Here was the progress after day two:

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And after the second weekend:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:54 am 
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Looks good! And convenient to be able to build in the basement. Just curious, though, how are you controlling welting smoke and stopping it from spreading to the rest of the house? Do you have forced air heating?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:02 am
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Location: Southeast CT
Thanks. No, I don't have forced air. I have an exhaust fan on one side of the basement and I open a window on the other side to ventilate while I weld.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:02 am
Posts: 22
Location: Southeast CT
This is certainly not very exciting as I'm sure you all have seen chassis fabrication photos, bit I'm pretty happy with progress this week. Started working on the rear of the chassis.

Never heard of a "bucket bush" before, but I made two of them from a 1" pipe nipple and 1/8 plate, then fastened them to the build table to keep the correct (600 mm) spacing:

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After fitting up the angled pieces between the bucket bushes and the 1x2 rails, I'm satisfied with the outcome.

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I like the Vodou design, but - as I've read elsewhere - there are some key dimensions that are "missing". Not really missing exactly - all the dimensions can be inferred. Every once in a while I open up AutoCAD and lay things out to confirm. So far, everything is dimensionally right on the design. I don't have the donor yet, so I am putting my faith in the Vodou guys - if it's off, just means a little more fabrication.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:13 am 
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Quote:
I don't have the donor yet, so I am putting my faith in the Vodou guys - if it's off, just means a little work with a big F'n hammer.
There, fixed that for ya... :mrgreen:
Good progress so far, Sir. Lookin' good!

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Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:37 am 
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Frame looks great but. ...
Is the area I circled strong enough for what you have it doing?
I bought a (one story) house once that the prior owner had widened the opening between the living room and dining room.
In that process he removed some supports for the roof and he didn't sister in more support. ..
It failed and I had to redo the dining room/living room wall and ceiling as well as the roof and its support structure.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:22 pm 
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Basement Build wrote:
I like the Vodou design, but - as I've read elsewhere - there are some key dimensions that are "missing". Not really missing exactly - all the dimensions can be inferred. Every once in a while I open up AutoCAD and lay things out to confirm. So far, everything is dimensionally right on the design. I don't have the donor yet, so I am putting my faith in the Vodou guys - if it's off, just means a little more fabrication.


This was why I went with the saturn plans. Vodou disappeared before ever finishing a car I believe. You could always try getting in touch with talon motorsports, since he was the one that fabbed the first chassis I believe. He also may still sell the control arms, if you decide you want to skip that step. Also I can't remember if they gave measurements for engine mounts, but if they do you will probably want to skip that and design your own, since they positioned the engine higher than any available scuttle or nose cone.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:02 am
Posts: 22
Location: Southeast CT
GonzoRacer wrote:
Quote:
I don't have the donor yet, so I am putting my faith in the Vodou guys - if it's off, just means a little work with a big F'n hammer.
There, fixed that for ya... :mrgreen:
Good progress so far, Sir. Lookin' good!


Yes, I consider fabrication to be a spectrum - on one end, there's a stone and chisel and on the other CNC machining. The BFH falls somewhere in between. At some point, all methods will be employed.

oldejack wrote:
Frame looks great but. ...
Is the area I circled strong enough for what you have it doing?
I bought a (one story) house once that the prior owner had widened the opening between the living room and dining room.
In that process he removed some supports for the roof and he didn't sister in more support. ..
It failed and I had to redo the dining room/living room wall and ceiling as well as the roof and its support structure.


No worries - that's not a bearing wall. The floor joists are cantilevered across an I-beam that's just out of the picture. Above that area is a half wall/handrail - no load to speak of. But, thanks for pointing it out.

DaveStruve wrote:
Basement Build wrote:
I like the Vodou design, but - as I've read elsewhere - there are some key dimensions that are "missing". Not really missing exactly - all the dimensions can be inferred. Every once in a while I open up AutoCAD and lay things out to confirm. So far, everything is dimensionally right on the design. I don't have the donor yet, so I am putting my faith in the Vodou guys - if it's off, just means a little more fabrication.


This was why I went with the saturn plans. Vodou disappeared before ever finishing a car I believe. You could always try getting in touch with talon motorsports, since he was the one that fabbed the first chassis I believe. He also may still sell the control arms, if you decide you want to skip that step. Also I can't remember if they gave measurements for engine mounts, but if they do you will probably want to skip that and design your own, since they positioned the engine higher than any available scuttle or nose cone.


Actually, it's coming together pretty well with the Vodou designs. That said, I like the Saturn control arms better and will use that design to fab mine - the bracket mounting points are close in both designs. I did see some engine mount photos and they are pretty tall. I'll check and recheck and plow ahead. My intent is to make my own scuttle, nosecone, hood (bonnet) and fenders - we'll see how ambitious I really am when the time comes for some fiberglass.

It's funny - I've been married 28 years, have lived 8 different places and have never had a garage. I've built or restored countless cars (Jaguars, Mustangs, a Factory Five Cobra, a C10 pickup, etc..) in rented or borrowed space. Finally having a project at home where I can do something every day is such a pleasure.

Thanks all for the encouragement - I'll try to keep the log up-to-date.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:29 am
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Location: Duxbury, MA USA
Basement built Locost....thats exactly what I did! Now working on basement built sports racer. Its a really pleasant way to build a car.
Paul

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:07 pm 
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Location: Southeast CT
I just about completed the structure of the frame and am ready to commence final welding. I also figured out a way to build the bustle as a bolt on to be removed so the frame can make its way out of the basement - next week's project.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:02 am
Posts: 22
Location: Southeast CT
A month further into it and making progress. Fully welded the frame - three days - didn't think it would take that long, but lot's of flipping the frame, moving end to end and side to side. All the dimensions are with 1/16" and the bottom is flat. All in all, I'm very happy with the frame. I fully anticipate making modifications once I get the donor and try fitting the engine and tranny, but I have done a bunch of research on the dimensions and checked them against the frame dimensions, so maybe I'll be OK.

Debated endlessly about whether I wanted to use bushings or rod ends for the suspension - there are cases to be made for each. In the end bushings won out. I may bring the car to an open track day or two, but I'm not likely to race it. If I hate the ride, the first winter project will be to replace the control arms.

Front Uppers
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Rear Uppers
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The whole set
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Next step is to create a front and rear jig for bracket installation. I figure careful time spent here will pay off in a smoother suspension.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:02 am
Posts: 22
Location: Southeast CT
Bracket time. Built a bracket bender with some scrap steel.

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And the first bracket - only 23 more to go...

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:19 pm 
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Basement Build wrote:
Debated endlessly about whether I wanted to use bushings or rod ends for the suspension - there are cases to be made for each. In the end bushings won out.

I am SO glad I went with bushings. The springs are defeintely firm, but the ride is comfortable for many miles on end.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:55 pm 
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Quote:
I am SO glad I went with bushings. The springs are defeintely firm, but the ride is comfortable for many miles on end.
Funny, I went with rod ends. Neither me nor my wife have any problems with driving 300+ miles a day. I myself have done over 600 miles a day. I think comfort has as much to do with the suspension geometries, springs, shocks, tires, seats, etc, than the bushing vs rod end choice.

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“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:02 am
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Location: Southeast CT
I know, brackets are not very exciting, but there's something satisfying about turning a plain strip of metal...

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....into a bunch of usable parts...

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