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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: May 21, 2010, 11:31 pm 
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Hey Gang,

Welcome to my neighborhood!

Current Status: working on controls and air/fluid/exhaust management..
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Last edited by mattrogers on June 8, 2015, 12:56 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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PostPosted: May 21, 2010, 11:33 pm 
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Repost of first post for posterity when I edit the first post to give summaries of updates.
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I finally bought a garage (it came attached to the house!). Once I consulted with the Home Minister to discuss feasibility of a Locost project and got her approval, I had free reign to find a suitable donor car. I had my mind set on a Mazda Miata just because they've been documented extensively here, and it sounds like a good starting point. However, I met with the local Lotus owners club this week, and someone asked "What engine are you using? And by what engine, I mean what Ford engine are you using?". Oh well, I can't please 'em all. Perhaps I'll try a Ford powerplant for the next one. I found a Miata with a hard top that was close, and I'll be getting that delivered sometime this weekend (5/22/10).

Here're some craigslist pictures of the donor car: it's a locost special! The drivetrain seems fine, and the sale of the hard top will defray a lot of the cost of the car.

Please follow along as I turn this wonderful hunk-of-junk into another wonderful homemade hunk-of-junk.


Attachments:
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PostPosted: May 21, 2010, 11:58 pm 
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Please tell me your not going to always wear your sweater while you're working in your neighborhood and that you're not overly friendly with the neighbors children! :no:

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I drive therefore I am

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PostPosted: May 31, 2010, 3:42 pm 
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Update 5/31/10!

The car was delivered on a flatbed trailer on Saturday, 5/22, and I started tearing it apart that day. I put up ads on craigslist for Miata parts for sale and got some hits. I was feeling pretty bad about the whole thing for a while because not a whole lot of pieces were coming off the car, and, more importantly, not a whole lot of pieces were being sold. Friday changed that: a guy called about the hard top, and picked it up, and also helped me get the dashboard out. That made me feel a whole lot better. I now only have ~$350 invested in the car! I feel like I should be able to break even sometime soon, tear out my parts and get this car scrapped!

I found a Craftsman tool cart on craigslist for supercheap, and it came loaded with tools, so that's made my disassembly much more enjoyable. There was a 3/8" ratchet stuck in the left position, which was okay for disassembly, but I took it back to Sears and they gave me a new one! I love that warranty. I also made my garage a much more pleasant place to be with four banks of fluorescent lighting. I can actually see at night now. Previously there was a single 150W incandescent bulb with a terrible reflector.

I've got all the major body panels off now, and, as you can see below, there was a ton of dirt underneath the fenders. It's getting close to being done and gone.

I found my materials for the build table at my local Mr. Plywood, so I'm getting ready to start fabricating that once I've got room.

I met with the local Lotus club and hung out with them over the weekend some. They're cool people, and they're interested in seeing me get this project underway.

carguy123 wrote:
Please tell me your not going to always wear your sweater while you're working in your neighborhood and that you're not overly friendly with the neighbors children! :no:


Haha, I usually take my sweater off when I get too hot and sweaty. It's hard work making a Locost in the Land of Make-Believe--err, Portland.


Attachments:
File comment: The texture on the fenders is probably more than your living room wall.
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File comment: Twilight disassembly. Got some pieces sold that night.
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File comment: My Craftsman tool cart full of Craftsman tools.
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File comment: Four banks of fluorescent lighting installed.
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File comment: Dirt pile from under the fender. (soda can for scale)
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File comment: As it sits right now-front
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File comment: As it sits right now-interior
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PostPosted: May 31, 2010, 10:04 pm 
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA
I did some CAD work last December and used it to hone my FEA skills in CATIA. Here's the chassis all drawn up in 3D. I played around a little bit with the Kinematics module, so I'll be able to use that in conjunction with the Wishbone program to get my suspension geometry right.


Attachments:
Chassis.3-Complete_with_tunnel.png
Chassis.3-Complete_with_tunnel.png [ 164.62 KiB | Viewed 7739 times ]
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PostPosted: June 12, 2010, 4:14 pm 
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Whoops! I mistook +442 for +442E. I'm actually building a +442. I don't need that much width in the engine bay, but my fat self needs that room in the passenger area.

Donor Miata Status:
I've made my money back on the donor car, plus $38. I'm no longer in a hurry to sell parts now, I just need the car gone! Then I can sell small parts as I can.

Garage Status:
I bough a low profile floor jack, jack stands, a chain hoist and a load leveler from Harbor Freight. I'm digging the floor jack. It's certainly low enough and has enough stroke to lift the car so I can comfortably be under there to work on the underside.

Locost Status:
I got all my FEA screenshots that I took. Some of them are in other threads, but I thought I'd catalog them here. I can't wait to get a build table started so I can get to work on the frame.


Attachments:
File comment: I drew each piece individually and then assembled them. Here they are before placement
Chassis.1-In Progress.gif
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File comment: All the rear tubes imported.
Chassis.2-Rear Tubes.gif
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File comment: I believe this is at 3deg rotation. You can see the stresses aren't all that high, especially for that much rotation
fea-442_chassis_noreinf_nosecloseup_fixed.png
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File comment: With some reinforcement, 1deg rotation
fea-442_chassis_reinf_1deg-stress-nose.png
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File comment: 2 degrees
fea-442_chassis_reinf_2deg-stress-nose.png
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File comment: 3 degrees, some red stress--breaking steel!
fea-442_chassis_reinf_3deg-stress-nose.png
fea-442_chassis_reinf_3deg-stress-nose.png [ 178.25 KiB | Viewed 7737 times ]
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PostPosted: July 2, 2010, 2:16 am 
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Top tip: When using a Dremel, please remember to close the accessory tray on the storage box before lifting the lid.
Top tip corollary: should you find yourself forgetting the top tip, please remember to not lift the lid over the box containing the wiring harness.

All my Dremel bits and accessories are in here...
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PostPosted: August 29, 2010, 6:19 pm 
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Well. The whole Miata is torn apart now.

I have steel delivered to my welding school's shop. I'm going to build up the basic frame there and then haul it back to my house once that's done to actually do installation, fitment and minor welding. I ordered 120ft of 1" square, and 20ft each of 3/4" square, 3/4" round and 1" round. After seeing Botbasher's +442 build, and how much steel he used, I'll probably end up needing more as the project goes on. The weld shop tech that deals with steel ordering says I can get more within a week's notice (they restock every Thursday).

Just as a technical exercise, I've been adding sheetmetal onto my CATIA model. I'm getting close to having it all there, save for the nosecone (really the only actually really challenging piece of bodywork).

Question about donor car disposal: How many of y'all took a sawzall to the chassis to get rid of it? How many of y'all had someone pick up a whole chassis for scrap? How many of y'all actually sold your donor vehicle's remains to someone who could functionally use it? For the sawzall group, how much satisfaction did you get from the wonderful act of destruction?


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PostPosted: August 29, 2010, 6:42 pm 
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I called some guy off craigslist and he took the shell away for nothing..seemed like a good deal to me as i didnt have to pay for a trailer ..also i kept the title for the donor car,a 350z and i can show the mvd that the engine matches up with that ,i have been told to keep everything ,receipts and photos for rego time as it will make things easier.


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PostPosted: August 29, 2010, 9:04 pm 
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Sawzall...lots of fun.

If you use a cheap HF saw (the one they always have on sale for $20), retighten the two cap screws holding the guard on every now and then or else it may come flying off in the middle of cutting. Don't ask me how I know! :oops:

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PostPosted: September 1, 2010, 2:06 am 
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Holy wow! I actually did real, physical work on the Seven today! I went to welding and took my written final for WLD 222-Aluminum GTAW. I did my practical last night: my groove welds were great, but my fillets were just okay. There's nothing terribly wrong with the welds, they just don't look terribly awesome. I think with 40 more hours on it, I think I could get the consistency thing down and really make some nice TIG welds.

So, this evening, I had some free time to actually do some cuts. They have a couple really nice bandsaws in the weld shop, so I took advantage of that. The Scotchman SH1016 has a pneumatic up and pneumatic clamp, which is super convenient for reloading metal. I got all the floor pieces cut out, as well as the LC piece. I've gone through a stick and a half of steel so far, and was quite impressed with only the ~2" of waste on the first stick! :)

The engineering department is having a car show tomorrow. I'm contemplating laying out the steel pieces in a parking space with a printout of the frame drawing, and a picture of a finished Seven just for kicks. :lol:

Apparently someone is coming by on Thursday to pick up the Miata carcass and and all the Miata-specific parts. It'll easily fund my frame steel purchases.

Also, I re-read Dave Hempy's build table build. I have build-table envy. :cheers: I think I'll tackle something similar in the next week or so.


Attachments:
File comment: Nice tools make all the difference. Scotchman SH1016 at PCC's Weld Shop.
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File comment: Is it easy as 1-2-3?
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File comment: The whole floor cut out. My first accomplishment on the long road of this project.
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File comment: The current status of my Miata donor. I think someone's coming to pick it up on Thursday.
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DSC_1166.JPG [ 148.51 KiB | Viewed 7719 times ]
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PostPosted: September 1, 2010, 2:11 am 
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Also: about those build tables. We have some tables at welding, but I have no idea how flat they are, and they're definitely not big enough to fit the whole frame on at once. I don't think the floor is all that flat or safe from interference for more than two hours. I'm pretty convinced that I'll have to build a table first, before anything, and then transport the table to the weld shop for the frame buildup.


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PostPosted: September 1, 2010, 6:07 pm 
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mattrogers wrote:
Also: about those build tables. We have some tables at welding, but I have no idea how flat they are, and they're definitely not big enough to fit the whole frame on at once. I don't think the floor is all that flat or safe from interference for more than two hours. I'm pretty convinced that I'll have to build a table first, before anything, and then transport the table to the weld shop for the frame buildup.


If your floor is good and flat I guess you could build it there, but it might make clamping the tubes down a pain. Also might be hard on the back.

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PostPosted: September 1, 2010, 6:45 pm 
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chetcpo wrote:
If your floor is good and flat I guess you could build it there, but it might make clamping the tubes down a pain. Also might be hard on the back.


That could give me a good opportunity to use Ramset bullet-powered fasteners. The floor's main drawback is having someone come by and knock something out of place with their boot, tool, or another welding project. I remember having to weld something while kneeling on the floor for one of my projects (overhead MIG). I ended up getting a sweatshirt to kneel on. Not the most ergonomic, but hey, it's overhead, and you make sacrifices to get the joint filled.


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PostPosted: September 1, 2010, 9:06 pm 
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Yo Matt-

You said:
Quote:
The engineering department is having a car show tomorrow. I'm contemplating laying out the steel pieces in a parking space with a printout of the frame drawing, and a picture of a finished Seven just for kicks.


Don't bother with the picture of the finished car, just hop in and drive the printout of the frame around. Try it! Take my word for it-- It's great!!!
Attachment:
First Test Drive.jpg
First Test Drive.jpg [ 50.33 KiB | Viewed 8369 times ]


JD "No, I don't embarrass easily. Why?" Kemp


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