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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:19 am
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Location: bloomington/normal, il
more pictures


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building a locost as an independent study at university high school in normal, il
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:22 pm 
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It's been 8 months since U-High has posted in the builder's log, but the project is still going strong. I've tried to encourage the students to post here, but they all seem more interested in building than posting for some reason :)
So I'm going to put up a few shots of our progress over the past semester.
Three of our most skilled builders graduated last spring. We started the year with only one really skilled person, so it was slow at first. We worked on frame tweaks and painting.

Here, we're hot bending the curved pieces that form the front edge of the rear fender
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We also decided to hack up the dash frame to raise the instruments. We're trying to use the stock Miata cluster, but it just didn't fit into a level dash, so this will stick up in a gauge pod. Hopefully.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:34 pm 
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Here's some of the interior work. The seats are stock Miata, with a flar plate in place of the the recline mechanism to cut width. The red plastic pieces are belt guides we made to go through the former speaker holes in the Miata seats.
We're working on a wood interior in cherry. The tranny cover is mostly finished. It will get a sheet aluminum liner on the road side and leather boots around the gearshift and e-brake holes. Found an old leather jacket for those, but I'm still trying to talk one of the students into doing the sewing.
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The dash isn't quite as far along, though almost ready for final sanding. Still need to add the holes for the rivnuts. The instrument cluster gets mounted to the back, with the stock plexi cover removed and a flat sheet put in its place. It seems to stick up high in the picture, but isn't really as large as it looks from this angle. My only worry is the strength of the wood in that area. I'm hoping the aluminum scuttle cover will help to protect it.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:52 pm 
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Adding the first body panel. I'm not great at sheet metal fabrication, so this is definitely one area that I don't have a lot to teach the students and we're all learning together. I'm hoping that our local locost expert, Graham Earley, can come in and give us a few pointers.

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We've learned to anneal before bending, and not to use steel hammers. That closest crease in the picture below wasn't helpful, and we had to pull it off and straighten it out as best we could. The lower flange is really causing us headaches, but the upper one seemed to go better. We still have some "oil canning" to try and get out somehow.

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Laying out and cutting the rear panel.
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Last edited by CCC on Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:28 pm
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Here but not installed: our rollbar kit from Roll Cage Components. Jim Whitley has been really great to work with. We wanted a special height and brace arrangement, so the Kinetic one wouldn't work. We also went with DOM tubing.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:43 pm
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Location: Livermore, Calif.
Great idea for the stock seat and the addition of shoulder harnesses.

The panels seem a bit thin, just curious but what thickness of aluminum sheet are you using? I used 0.040" on my hood but it was too easy to dent or crease.

Keep up the good work, the kids are doing a great job.

Roy


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:08 pm 
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We're using .050" half-hard for all of the body so far. I've been pretty happy with it. It bends nicely when annealed, but has enough strength to feel solid across the open spaces.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Location: Kansas City
a little time on a bead roller will cure the oil canning. just a thought.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Some more progress:
Andrew has spent most of the past few weeks fitting the roll bar. We decided to reinforce the lower frame area with some extra triangulation for the roll bar braces. The braces attach to a 1/8" plate that is welded to the top rail, and two triangulated tubes. That, and all the fishmouthing, and Andrew's definitely ready to move on to something else.
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The shoulder harnesses will attach to the L-shaped brackets mounted on the roll bar braces. (The braces are going to get a side plate welded on for reinforcement.) We had a professional welder do us a favor and TIG weld the roll bar connections.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:01 pm 
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With our nose cone cut to fit, we finally got to mount the radiator. This is an Ebay special meant for a Honda Civic, and we have about a half-inch clearance to the nose cone on top and bottom. The radiator brackets are 16 gauge sheet steel, with some rubber grommets mounted in holes that fit the pegs on the radiator. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The little white pegs on the radiator are a (hopefully temporary) fan mount.
To find hoses that fit, we took some welding wire and bent it to the hose profiles we needed, then took them to the auto parts store. They were nice enough to let me browse around in their back stock until I found two hoses that got pretty close to the wire profiles. They 're not on in this picture, but they fit great - it looks almost OEM.
The new air intake adds a little bling, but it's mostly so that we can get a good mount for an intake air sensor.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:07 pm 
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We're also working on installing a Megasquirt ECU. We bought the kit to save money, and Bailey spent a long time soldering it together . . . and then resoldering it several times while we figured out the mods needed to make it work with the Miata engine. Here it is, finally complete and vibration-mounted to the firewall. We made an adapter to the stock connector, so we can go back to the stock ECU if needed.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:54 am 
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We've had a late spring, so there hasn't been a rush to get the car out on the pavement yet. But now that days are warmer and the end of the school year is getting close, we're trying to tie up the loose ends and get it out there.

We had a professional welder do us a favor by coming in and TIG welding the roll bar.
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Fenders are going on.
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We still have a problem fitting the fenders to the curved back panel. There is a good 1/4 to 1/2-inch gap as the back panel curves away. Haven't worked that one out yet. Also, you can see that the scuttle is going to be tricky. We started it back in February. got stuck, and decided to put it off until later. Now it's later.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:07 am 
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The rollbar gets paint.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:18 pm 
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Location: Sarasota
Great job guys the car is really coming together.

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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:19 am
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Location: bloomington/normal, il
I stopped by this week to check on progress and the car is looking great. The exhaust has been adapted to use part of a motorcycle exhaust and it looks and sounds great.


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