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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:16 am 
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Location: Charleston, SC
Well, I've taken the plunge, and sacrificed my precious 93 Miata to begin my new project!

I got the addiction when I saw my first Locost whilst on a road trip, and it became clear that it was something that I had to do! I've already met with one local owner of a few fine locosts, TooBusy. Unfortunately, there aren't many people in my area that are into this or own them. After many hours of research (Ron Champion, Keith Tanner, etc.), and tons of tool/steel purchasing, I'm ready to begin my project. Hopefully it'll come out as well as some of the excellent ones I have seen on this site.

I'm going to be building a book chassis with some 1.6L Miata power under the bonnet. I will be using the entire rear subframe for the back, and kinetic arms up front (for the sake of simplicity).

I'll try to update the thread as often as I can, with some nice pictures!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:24 am 
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One final shot before she gets disassembled. My 93 Miata in all her glory.
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Let the stripping begin! Many local Miata guys came by to nab parts, which gave me a bit more money for steel.
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The shell was donated to a local drift shop for re-purposing, in exchange for removal/cleaning of the subframes for me.
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Now I have the bits I need.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:32 am 
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So I needed a good welder, and a way to cut metal at various angles. So I went off to Harbor Freight for most of it, and ordered me a nice Eastwood MIG175 kit that came with a helmet, cart, and tons of other nifty stuff. I've been welding a while with flux core, so I figured it'd be a quick adjustment, and we'd be a-ok!

My first time doing work in the breakerbox gave me this lovely new outlet for my welder!
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New Eastwood welder all hooked up, with my freshly filled tank, and new build table. Lots of man hours running around getting these things!
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It even comes with a spool gun for welding aluminum. Neat.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:41 am 
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Alright, so start from the bottom, and work up. Sounds like a decent plan in theory, right?

Off we go, bottom rails laid out.
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Building this part took a lot of patience, hand-cuts, and careful measuring and remeasuring...
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A little beer helps with making things 3-D.
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And now the top rails...
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My neighbor decided to come over and assist with the engineering process, and help me build the back rails. This required more beer.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:49 am 
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Another hard night at work, but I think we've gotten pretty far in a week.

Everything's all tacked together for more measurement!
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I think this is an obligatory picture here, or so I've been told.
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Putting the front end bits together, with utmost precision!
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Some adjustments were required, and things had to be shifted, re-made, etc, but everything is now as close as I can get it to perfect.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:06 am 
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So now, the time has come to weld it together permanently. This was a nightmarish for me due to my fear of metal torquing, slight miscalculations, and poorly made cuts. However, after a final remeasure, and several ugly test welds on random bits of scrap steel, I went for it. I wasn't able to make really pretty welds, but they were definitely beefy enough for the job. There's a lot of hard angles to weld on this frame!

The good:
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The decent:
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The ugly-yet-functional:
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Meh, they all have good penetration, and no burn-through. So I'm okay with it, and have full faith that they'll hold.

Here she is, mostly welded together! A few more welds to go, but I've gotta flip it over first. Sounds like a project for tomorrow.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:31 am 
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Good start! You'll need that enthusiasm to get to the end. The frames an easy part and not a huge percentage of the total work, but when you can get from beginning to end on that, you can also do that for the rest of the car… Keep at it!

Doing a Miata book build is a good route to success.

:cheers:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:59 am 
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Good progress, but... unless you never plan to have more than just the frame on the table, I highly recommend triangulating/bracing the table legs.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:50 pm 
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Great start and you've got the right attitude. Your welds will improve and what you've got so far looks like it'll work fine.

I'm sure you already know this, but the most important thing is not how a weld looks, but whether or not you melted metal on both sides of the joint. It's surprisingly easy to make a good-looking joint that barely warmed up one side or the other.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:04 pm 
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Looks good Oliver.
I was up to my armpits under Tetanus' dash today tracing down a wiring issue with the brake lights

Definitely will swing by several times during the process

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:33 pm 
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KB58 wrote:
Good progress, but... unless you never plan to have more than just the frame on the table, I highly recommend triangulating/bracing the table legs.


This I know! Its quite wobbly. Planning on reinforcing prior to the next few steps. Got all the welds finished!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:37 pm 
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TooBusy wrote:
Looks good Oliver.
I was up to my armpits under Tetanus' dash today tracing down a wiring issue with the brake lights

Definitely will swing by several times during the process


Just gave you a ring. Still going right along!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:53 pm 
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Great progress, keep at it. It is a shame to take apart such a clean Miata but I guess you know it all works as it was yours.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Wow...a donor just like mine but one that looked much better. I'm curious about the intake system you are using. I like the more traditional look over the EFI but not sure how complicated the conversion would be. Door know of any good sources of info or any comments yourself. Thanks.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:01 pm 
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Sevenseeker wrote:
Wow...a donor just like mine but one that looked much better. I'm curious about the intake system you are using. I like the more traditional look over the EFI but not sure how complicated the conversion would be. Door know of any good sources of info or any comments yourself. Thanks.


Not carbs, but ITB's. Gixxer throttle bodies welded to a stock manifold, with an NB fuel rail, and a megasquirt DIYPNP for managing all that. Used autotune for basemap, so it still needs perfecting. Not really a power thing as much as it is a look/sound/throttle response type deal.

I actually have a set of CBR929 throttle bodies and a spare manifold up for grabs if you're interested in going this route.


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