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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:15 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Actually, I do have gauges. At first I wasn't going to use the Miata gauges, I didn't like the shape of the front, so I took it off and will add a flat panel of plastic later. I had to make sure they would fit, and that I could actually see them. They look ok with the stock steering wheel, but when I go to a smaller wheel, that might change. For now, they're fine. Free too, almost.


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Last edited by photoman on Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:21 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
I need a nose. To make it look more like a car, it needs a nose, so I ordered one from Jack. Received it just when he said I would. Now that I have the nose, I need to do some more mock-up work on the body.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:27 pm 
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Nice progress. I like you're clean work area (mine started fairly clean way back when), and your welding progress.
One thing I noticed is you don't have any triangulation of the engine compartment. I think that in some plans they are not shown but you really need it.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:34 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Now that I have a nose, I decided that I need to do some better mock-ups for the body. I knew I had seen something at Lowes or Home Depot that would work, but I couldn't remember what it was. I even went to lowes and just walked around the aisles looking form something to use for the body panels. No luck. About the time I got back home, I remembered. Aluminum flashing. Yep, the stuff used on roofs for flashing around vents etc. It's very thin, can be cut with sizzors and comes in rolls, about 20 inches wide by 50ft lengths. I go to my local building supply and buy a roll. About $37. Now, I need a sheet metal brake, so I build this one. Works ok, bends well, but doesn't clamp very well.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:40 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Now it's time to make some better body panels. Just to learn a little about bending and get an idea of what they will look like. Now it's looking a little more like a car. Here it is with and without Stirling Moss, or is it Jim Clark.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:47 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Here I am on my victory lap, waving to the crowd.(disregard the canned veggies in the background)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:54 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Styling exercise, and to get a little experience bending aluminum.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:59 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Playing with a different rear treatment. Don't know yet.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:00 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Beginning to look like a car, although the body panels may not hold up at speed. They're only about .006 in. thick.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:15 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
MYTF wrote:
Nice progress. I like you're clean work area (mine started fairly clean way back when), and your welding progress.
One thing I noticed is you don't have any triangulation of the engine compartment. I think that in some plans they are not shown but you really need it.

You are correct. I haven't added the front vertical tubes(the ones which hold the upper arm brackets, and therefore the side triangle tubes the connect them to the bulkhead. I don't remember the exact number of those. Anyway, thanks for posting. Will keep you informed.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:01 am 
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Location: BC
photoman wrote:
Back in the 70s(does anyone remember the 70s)


I think you will find you are in good company here as there are a fair number of us geezers that can recall the 70's and beyond.
Looks like you are off to a great start and are well on your way. :cheers:


Al

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2004 Passat 1.8T 5Spd 4Motion
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:44 am 
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Location: Tennessee
raceral wrote:
photoman wrote:
Back in the 70s(does anyone remember the 70s)


I think you will find you are in good company here as there are a fair number of us geezers that can recall the 70's and beyond.
Looks like you are off to a great start and are well on your way. :cheers:


Al

I can barely remember them. One car I forgot to put on my list was a 68 AMX. Many people don't know what those were. A two seater, not a Javelin. Mine was a a 390 with a 4speed and posi-traction. Many people thought the engine was a Ford 390, but it was actually an enlarged 343. Mine was #4500 I think. They had a little plaque on the dash with the number on it. A friend owned a 69 Mach One Mustang, he never could understand why I could out-run him. I think I had less weight. Also, American Motors was pretty successful in racing at that time, with those red white and blue cars. I've always liked cars that other people didn't understand. Must be a character flaw of mine. Reverse snobbery?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:16 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Now that I have the frame pretty much done(I have yet to put in the FU-1, and FU-2 tubes as well as the LR diagonal tubes, and a few other minor things), it's time to start on the front suspension. This is one part i've been looking forward to(since it will allow the wheels to be attached), but also dreading(since this might well be the most important part of the whole build).To do the front suspension, I need to start somewhere,but where? It's one of those chicken or egg things. What do you start with? I finally decided to start with the track. Since I was using the Miata rear subframe, the rear track was already determined. Most cars have a front track pretty close to the rear,(Miata is 56.2 rear and 55.5 front). So I decided to go with the stock Miata track. How to actually transfer that information to the front suspension got me to thinking. Since I already had my frame with rear subframe mounted and rear wheels attached, I didn't want to put the frame back on the build table at this time. Here is what I did. I attached a small dolly to the front frame to give me the correct ride height. Then, I took a front wheel, with tire and hub attached, and positioned it against one of my basement posts, which I new to be vertical. I drew a line on the floor from the center of the tire to a point which will be under the rear tire. I moved the car to the position on this line, allowing for the slight difference of front and rear track. Now, I could measure accurately from the front ball joint over to the lower frame to determine the length of the lower control arm. I knew that most people used a lower control arm parallel to the ground, so that part was not very hard. I realize that one could use a cad program or other means to do this, but I didn't know exactly how far the ball joint was from the center of the tire. Also, this gave me a "real world" feel for what was going on. After reading about other people's builds, my lower arm looked a little long, like 2-21/2 inches longer than most. So I went back and double checked. Yep, my numbers were correct, but why was my arm longer than one using the same upright. My arm is longer than some who are using a book frame and I'm using a +4 frame, so my arm should be shorter with the same track. I did a little checking and found that the front bulkhead lower frame tube on a book frame is actually wider than my lower tube, but my upper frame rails are wider, which will give a more pronounced angle to my front bulkhead. What will this do to my upper arm lengths? Will find out later. My lower arm length worked out to about 20 inches long when the front to back mounting point is 12 inches apart.(19.925in). This gives me a perpendicular length of 19 inches. Pretty long, but the numbers don't lie. I played around with different arrangements with the lower arm. I tried making i asymetrical, with the front leg perpendicular and the rear leg longer. I liked this look pretty well, but it lengthens the wheelbase some and I wasn't sure what that would do to the strength, so I went back to the symetrical design. This will also allow both left and right arms to be identical(with my building skills, they probably won't be identical twins, more like fraternal twins).


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
After playing around with wooden sticks and pvc tubes and string and tape and so on and so on, it's now time to make a "real" lower control arm. You experencied builders out there can skip over this part, but there are many people who don't know a left handed screw driver from a right handed lock nut, so for those people, here goes.

I picked up some DOM(that's drawn over mandrel) tubing from my local supplier, pretty expensive stuff. I had my local machinist cut four pieces, sligltly longer than needed and tap one end in each of the four tubes. Due to the diameter, I had to go with a 5/8 tap. I wasn't even thinking about using a bung(yep, that's actually what they are called). Anyhoo, I ordered some 5/8 rod ends from Jack at Kinetic(our very own Jack). Also, ordered some brackets and some of his angle brackets. As usual, the order arrived right on time. If I had used a bung, I could have used a 1/2in rod end, but I wasn't thinking that far ahead. Now I had to make a jig. Here is what I came up with. Notice the burn marks, thats from welding. If I'd used a steel plate, I wouldn't have that problem, but would probably weld the tubes to the plate.

I just drew some lines on the plywood and drilled holes for a 1/2 bolt at the top to hold the rod end eye. Drew a perpendicular line down the center. Now how do I position the ball joint?
On Kinetic's site, there is a drawing showing the Miata ball joint. The distance from the center to the mounting hole is 2.62 inches, so come down the drawn line the correct distance and mark the center of the ball joint. Back up 2.62 inches and make another mark. This hole gets drilled for a 12mm bolt to hold the ball joint in place. the other hole gets cut out with a hole saw, or fly cutter to give clerence for the ball joint.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:20 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Here is what I came up with.
The top photo is my first version. It's similar to what many people do. Just a plate welded to the tubes with a channel on top to hold the ball-joint. It will work fine.

The bottom photo is a revised version. I simply moved the channel, with the ball to the bottom of the plate. This will make a box section for the ball and should be stronger. I think it's a cleaner design. However, this design could pose a problem. There could be inteference with the tie rod, since this design raises the tube in relation to the ball, therefore putting it closer to the tie rod. Won't know until I check later. I'm hoping it works. Of course the shock bracket will simply be welded to the top plate.


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