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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: November 7, 2017, 10:45 am 
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Location: Waterloo, WI
That works great. I LOVE the snipping tool and use it all the time at work.

You got yourself quite a donor there! Earlier this year we were out doing some riding on the western slope and stopped by a winery...and drove right past Flyin' Miata. You're lucky to have them relatively near by to help if needed. Oh, love the snow tires on the donor too. :D

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PostPosted: November 7, 2017, 3:20 pm 
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Just load them direct and skip the middle man. It will speed up loading & that way they'll always be there when Google decides to drop their photo service too.

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PostPosted: November 12, 2017, 9:00 pm 
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Thanks for the help on the photos guys. I snipped the photos then just attached them as an uploaded attachment. You can then even insert them in the line you want to on your message. Much easier! :cheers:

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PostPosted: November 16, 2017, 3:34 pm 
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Just more work on tearing down the donor. Not very exciting, but at least it is progress!


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PostPosted: November 21, 2017, 8:40 pm 
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Lots more work on the donor! I pulled the axles, rear shocks, PPF, driveline and a bunch of other odds and ends. I also pulled lots of wiring, and finally got the engine and gearbox out!

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I forgot how long it takes to completely disassemble a Miata when you only have a couple hours at a time :cry: . I keep making progress though, and I've been selling parts too (making this a little more low cost). I've made back about half of what I spent on the donor so far, and I have a bunch of stuff left to get rid of. Can't wait to start work on the Haynes chassis!!

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PostPosted: December 8, 2017, 10:57 am 
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Finally finished the Miata donor tear-down! On my way to getting my donor bits for free with all of the Craigslist work as well.

That left me with the space I needed to get started on the build. I built the table from MDF, 4x4 and 2x4, and scored some great levelling legs from a local guy closing up his machine shop. $30 for 8 of them! I only needed 6, but they came new in a box that had sat around his shop for years, and at the price, I wasn't going to try to get just 6 of them. The table worked out great - easy to level and solid.

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With that finished, I started the chassis build. This is a Haynes chassis, and I have to say, after building a Book a few years back, I really miss the McSorely plans. There are some corrections, LHD conversion, and supplements on the front and rear frame pieces on the Haynes Locost forum that help, but the detail just isn't the same. I do like the frame though.

I found that the Vodou plans for the Miata are completely different - the whole frame is new, though loosely based on the Haynes. Because of that, I decided to go with the SSC (Saturn Sports Car) plans, which are the same as the Haynes with changes for the suspension bits.

Chassis progress:

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The front frame was not easy - I hand fit them to each other. The book frame was a lot easier. I ended up building a jig per the book, then hand filed the V-cut to make the bends the same on each side. I'm not sure what the advantage of this set-up is over the old design, but maybe that will become apparent as the build progresses. Frustrating and time consuming! I'm glad that part is over.

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Lots of levels and measuring - really happy with how it is turning out! More photos of that to follow...


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PostPosted: December 8, 2017, 11:03 am 
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More chassis progress:

Levels and angles and measuring, oh my!

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I love it when a plan comes together.

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Let me know if anyone needs any of the reference material - I have the SSC, Vodou and Haynes corrections/tips all saved (I printed them out and use a 3-ring binder along with the book for building).

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PostPosted: December 12, 2017, 4:09 pm 
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More progress - almost at the point where I need to buy parts (suspension brackets and such). I have finished tacking the rear subframe in place where the suspension arms will mount. Again, this is using the Saturn plan.

Encouragement and criticism from the peanut gallery is welcome!


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PostPosted: December 12, 2017, 5:09 pm 
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This is a fun part of the build. I still cringe a little when I see those tacks right in the center of the tubes. Not a big deal, but I bet you won't do it on your next frame. Looks really good so far.


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PostPosted: December 12, 2017, 5:50 pm 
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nick47 wrote:
This is a fun part of the build. I still cringe a little when I see those tacks right in the center of the tubes. Not a big deal, but I bet you won't do it on your next frame. Looks really good so far.


Thanks - this is the second frame I've built (and numerous other things besides Locosts) and I either tack opposite corners or the center, depending on what I'm doing. I always love learning (which is one of the reasons I post the build in the first place!), so I would like to hear reasoning behind not tacking in the middle. Thanks for the advice!!

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PostPosted: December 13, 2017, 5:32 pm 
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If you're gas or TIG welding, tacking in the middle isn't a big deal because you can just melt the tack into the puddle and hold off dipping the rod. With MIG you're always dipping the rod, so to speak, and so you end up with a really big bead around the tack. Or at least I do. If I tack at the corners, I can weld straight across and end at the tack, and my welds look a lot better. Not great, but better.


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PostPosted: December 13, 2017, 6:47 pm 
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Huh, if I use enough heat it doesn't seem to create too much bigger a weld. I love my Miller! On a lot of them, I will end up grinding and sanding to fit body work though, so they are moot. I do like the look of a good weld however! Thanks for the tip. :D

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PostPosted: December 14, 2017, 8:48 am 
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I would think that tack welding in the center would be the best option when using a MIG welder. If a weld is going to fail, 90% of the time it is the weld start/stop terminaton. The tack weld is typically a colder weld with less penetration. In manufacturing you almost always tack in the center of the part [bracket] and the robot welds over the tack for the finished weld. Dave W


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PostPosted: January 18, 2018, 3:04 pm 
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So work has been progressing! I'm currently fabricating the nose mount for the differential - photos to follow. I didn't like the SSC plans for that.

I built a table saw out of my porta-band to make cuts for the plate. Thanks all for those tips!

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And I got most of my plates cut. I really like the band-saw approach! I've started sweeping the estate sale ads for a real one.

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Then we come to the suspension bits. I was scouring for ideas on the UK sites as well as here. I looked at my plans from the last build too. I came to the conclusion that the parts I wanted and the design I wanted to use would cost me just about as much as having a professional do up a set of wishbones for me. I did a bunch of research on experts in the Haynes (specifically using the Miata) and had a couple conversations with different folks. The best I found was Phil at Talon. He has been very good to work with, taking my ideas and using his own (extensive) experience to build my wishbones. I am super excited about how they are turning out. They should be here soon.

Fronts:
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And rear:
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As I get the differential mount finished, I'll post more photos - I'm using the stock Miata "turret" nuts and mounting bolts. I'm liking the way it is turning out as well. Any input is always welcome!

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PostPosted: January 18, 2018, 3:07 pm 
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And the last photo of the mount as it is. I plan to have a plate on the firewall and run two bars with a plate (from the diff plate pictured) to mount with two bolts, one high and one low. Sorry the orientation seems amiss on some of the photos! Stupid phone.

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