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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:45 pm 
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Here's a little update with some photos. I haven't had as much time as I wished to work on the chassis, but it is progressing.

This has been a huge journey and I'm getting significantly closer to the end of the road and the big payoff now. When I started, I didn't have much at all, just a few basic hand tools. My garage had two pitiful 15 amp, 110V circuits, one shared with an adjoining bath room. You just know some day I'd be welding a critical part and someone would turn on a hair dryer on the same circuit, don't you? I had to do so much just to prepare for, and get to, this part - actually building the car.

During the journey, I've learned how to weld and run 2 very sophisticated 3D software programs and have actually created two cars. The first was the standard Haynes Roadster in the Gibbs book and the second, the one I'm building, is a custom version that shares many dimensions with the Haynes Roadster, but is also very different too.

I was very fortunate in my youth to see excellent race car building being done. It gave me something to shoot for in terms of my own work. Achieving a high degree of craftsmanship is a major goal and I feel I'm inching towards achieving that objective. Welding can cover up a lot of mistakes, but the mistakes are still in there and you just can't be sure they won't come back and bite you in the future and of course it will always be at the worst possible time as we know from Murphy's Law and O'toole's Corollary to it.

You'd think with modern manufacturing that a millimeter would be a millimeter and a degree a degree and it would be very consistent across tools from different makers, but that is not the case. Over the last few weeks I've learned which tools are accurate and reliable and which are not. One tape measure turned out to be off just about 1 mm in 500, which I think is pretty bad. However, I'm now past that and consistently making parts and joints that I'm happy with. Provided I get my welds to be consistent and sound, I know I'll have a very strong car that should handle the real world quite well.

Attachment:
File comment: Cuts without chamfer for welding
BR-Joint-1.jpg
BR-Joint-1.jpg [ 71.66 KiB | Viewed 851 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Chamfered and tacked.
BR-Joint-3.jpg
BR-Joint-3.jpg [ 70.19 KiB | Viewed 851 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Complex joint with all members non-square to each other.
BR-Joint-4.jpg
BR-Joint-4.jpg [ 67.52 KiB | Viewed 851 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Chassis as of this morning.
03-13-2010-Chassis.jpg
03-13-2010-Chassis.jpg [ 129.22 KiB | Viewed 851 times ]


I was never fully satisfied with the front frame and decided to revisit and improve it in terms of accuracy and fit. Now I need to modify my old jig or make a new one to reflect the changes I made. Once I have the front frame built I can proceed with the top rails although I might do the back half of the tunnel first (off the build table) and install it while I have room to work.

Cheers,

_________________
Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:39 pm 
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Looks really good Lonnie! I remember when my steel used to be shiny like that, how I wish it was still.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:45 pm 
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Always good to see peoples hard work paying off. I really like your attention to detail on the table and frame. :cheers:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:47 am 
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@Trochu, Justin;

Thank you, gentlemen. It's actually starting to get exciting. Hey, I'm really making this thing! :D

Cheers,

Lonnie

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:21 am 
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Yo, Lonnie!
Wow, I look the other way for a minute and when I come back, you is building stuff!?!?!? How'd that happen?

Looking good, Lonnie, can't wait to see how things progress. You're off to a great start!
:cheers:
JDK

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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:44 pm 
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GonzoRacer wrote:
Yo, Lonnie!
Wow, I look the other way for a minute and when I come back, you is building stuff!?!?!? How'd that happen?

Looking good, Lonnie, can't wait to see how things progress. You're off to a great start!
:cheers:
JDK


Thanks, JD, it's always good to hear from you. You're always encouraging.

Cheers,

Lonnie

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:02 am 
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Lonnie,
DO NOT use any gloves while using that saw. Especially chain mail ones as the saw will not cut the glove but grip it and tear your fingers of as opposed to just cutting them. This applies to a lessor extent to cotton gloves but probably not to leather gloves. Gloves also tend to hang off the ends of your fingers and you are more likely to catch them in the blade pulling your fingers in with them.
Bruce

Sorry wrote this as soon as I saw your post re the saw not realising that I was two pages behind. Thankfully someone has already given you the same advice but I will leave it here just to reinforce the message.

With regard to the distortion you are worried about, my advice is this, and my chassis barely moved. Clamp it securely to a flat surface and only tack until you have all the bracing tubes in place. It is OK to fully weld the odd joint where you bracing tubes will go and also tack in some temporary bracing, the more the merrier. When you fully weld alternate from side to side but do as much as you can while it is clamped down and you should wind up with a chassis that may have shrunk a mil or two but still square.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:46 pm 
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at last, there's steel on the table and it's being stuck together, now stop posting stuff on here and wasting your time, get in there boy because you're only scratching the surface at the moment.

no seriously though, im glad to see all that planning has born fruit and it's looking good!

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drag racers lament

oh to go down to the strip again where the blacktop meets the sky
all i ask is a small block and some fuel to make her fly
with slicks a smokin pushrods pokin next round i'll get a bye

she's up on song the shift was strong in the finals to boot
it's back to the pits and take it to bits and don't forget the shute
the final round was good and sound so come on give me the loot


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:00 pm 
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Trip Report

A research institution where I once worked had a very egalitarian policy with respect to any employee lucky enough to go to some highly desirable, off-campus activity or on a particularly exciting field trip. You had to write an extensive “Trip Report” for your coworkers so they too could share in the experience. Since the Locost is the closest thing I do to real work these days either intellectually or physically, I though I'd apply that same principle to myself here since there are so many Lotus enthusiasts on this forum. My trip wasn't totally “unearned” since it took place on my birthday, April 14th and that's a pretty good reason to do something special.

Besides being an uplifting birthday present, it was also an emotional trip to the city where I started life exactly 65 years ago and that now becomes the place where I passed through the gates into old age, which is far better than passing through the Pearly Gates, I must say. The good news is that it turned out to be a total blast and there is a thing or two you might enjoy hearing about and seeing. I went to the 38th annual Long Beach Grand Prix.

It was a complete hoot. They've really turned it into an event attractive to everyone including many activities for kids and families as well as car nuts and techo-weenies. It has become three days of solid motorsports including events from several racing genres and was a far cry from the first event in 1975, a Formula 5000 race, which I also attended. It also appears to be the time and place where Lotus Cars re-entered North American racing in a big way. Lotus had a huge presence at the event both physically and psychologically. They've been edging into this for some months now, but in practical terms, the 2012 LBGP seems to be the place where it actually came together for them.

They had several huge trucks (I think 5 in total), tents, PR events and have entries in two major race events (ALMS and Indy Car) plus are supplying engines to something like 8-10 teams in the Indy Car series. It was a big deal. As far as I'm aware, it is the first race for the Evora GT in North America. The good news is that the car finished its first race. The bad news is that it was lumpy and bumpy all the way through, but worked out in the end. The layout style of these forums prevents me writing a true trip report, but I know you'll like these photos. Write if you have questions.

Cheers,

Lonnie

Attachment:
File comment: Paddock-to-Pit roll out of the Evora GT for the American Le Mans Series at the 2012 Long Beach Grand Prix
Evora-GT-Rollout.jpg
Evora-GT-Rollout.jpg [ 170.66 KiB | Viewed 503 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Rumored to be only 3 weeks old with just 1 week of testing at Willow Springs, it does look sleek in its quasi-JPS color scheme similar to the GT S model.
Evora-GT-Front-3Qtr.jpg
Evora-GT-Front-3Qtr.jpg [ 189.57 KiB | Viewed 503 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Rear view. The car and team had many well-wishers even from competitors who stopped by. Notice the unusual, clean, simple mounting of rear wing. just the stuff Lotus engineering was noted for.
Evora-GT-Rear-3Qtr.jpg
Evora-GT-Rear-3Qtr.jpg [ 170.53 KiB | Viewed 503 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: The works Indy car. Nose is in up position for transport. Notice emblem on nose. Real role reversal here - Lotus supplied the engine, not the chassis. Homage to John Player Special livery is unmistakeable in person.
Works-Indy-Car.jpg
Works-Indy-Car.jpg [ 180.17 KiB | Viewed 503 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Left to last because I didn't know if I could fit it in this post. The one similarity to my Locost? It has an alternator.
Lotus-Evora-GT-Engine.jpg
Lotus-Evora-GT-Engine.jpg [ 139.57 KiB | Viewed 503 times ]

_________________
Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Excellent pics and sounds like a fun event. You won't hurt my feelings if you have more pics to post.

And BTW I don't think 65 is gettin' old, I think (hope) it's just gettin' started good!

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I drive therefore I am

I can explain it to you,
but I can't understand it for you.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:59 pm 
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Yo Lonnie-
Like Carguy done said... Won't hurt my feelings if you post some more pictures!

I watched the ALMS race and most of the Indy Car race this weekend. I'm really envious of you getting to see it all in person. It sounds like a great weekend! Thanks for posting the pictures.

Sixty-five ain't old! I mean I won't get there for *cough-cough* *mumble-mumble* more years, but it ain't old! And, like you said, it ain't the Pearly Gates, by a long shot!

Take Care-
JD Kemp

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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:36 am 
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Hi Lonnie me ole mate..65 is a mere drop in the bucket of life..and anyway i bet there arent many young'ns that can build with the precision and skill that you are putting into your build..its not about the age, its about the man behind the tools..Great pics by the way..still lovin your build diary its so..well almost clinical and always tidy ..wish my trash heap of a garage was all tidy and nice
:cheers: Kiwi Dave

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:36 am 
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Hey JD(s) and Kiwi Dave,

How are you guys? Thanks for the words of encouragement. It's nice to hear from you three. I see Team Slotus is still hard at work bending the Universe.

I'll be back at building more now that my right hand is starting to come around. I spent too much time with the angle grinder, drill-driven wire brush and hand files, which got me into a serious over use situation in my right hand. Despite gentle guidance from my wife, I didn't give it a rest because it only hurt badly when I stopped working - duh! Unfortunately, that weakened everything so much my right thumb kept popping out of joint. That got my attention in a big way. After having to put it back in place a few of times, I stopped working. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Those "Never Leave Your Child Unattended" signs apparently apply to men 65 years of age too.

I'm definitely re-inspired and motivated after being at the races. Race cars have always been built to a high standard. But, now days the workmanship and materials are right up there with the best fighter aircraft. It's really amazing and awe-inspiring.

Below are some more Evora GT photos. If there is something anyone wants, I can send hi-res versions by e-mail. Some are as large as 3K x 2K pixels or about 2.5 MB in size, so the ones here will be greatly reduced for forum posting.

Cheers,

Lonnie

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:21 pm 
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Here are some context and detail photos for the Evora GT. One wonders what such a setup costs. You've got a huge truck and trailer, tents, tools, mechanics, engineers, etc., etc. The mind boggles. You can see the car elevator in the upper right and the work shop cabinets below it.

Note the slick setup in front. Each of the 4 rectangles are where the wheels go. Into each one can go electronic scales or turntables for alignment, etc. These seem to be common to the larger race teams now. All the cars are cabled to the max and they must have many sensors in them. While I was here, one of the engineers came out and hooked his laptop up to plugs in the Evora GT and they ran the engine. I can't say what he was checking or doing, but you could hear the speed of the engine and pitch of the exhaust change, so I think he was changing parameters in the engine management system.

You can see the lights on in the Evora in its tent-garage. They were testing the lights and electricals at this time.

Attachment:
File comment: Support tractor/trailer plus garage tent and chassis tuning rig.
Evora-Trailer-Garage.jpg
Evora-Trailer-Garage.jpg [ 202.56 KiB | Viewed 396 times ]


This little tent-garage made it hard to get good photos. They had the back tent flaps down much of the morning and the glare off the clear plastic spoiled at chance of getting real details.
Attachment:
File comment: Evora GT tent-garage
Tent-Garage.jpg
Tent-Garage.jpg [ 156.84 KiB | Viewed 396 times ]


I just kept coming back over time and getting shots as they assembled or disassembled the vehicle. Here is one shot of the rear body work plus the top of the diffuser system. The body work is sitting on the roof of the diffuser. The red stripe is actually the rear lip. The pieces that have the color of MDF are aero pieces that aid in evacuating the rear wheel wells. You can see it in place in the rear 3Qtr photo posted earlier. It slides way under the rear end and probably covers up most of the mechanicals such as inboard rear suspension pieces, gearbox/engine and bottom of the rear chassis structure at the engine bay. Also visible here are better details of the rear wing mount, which I think is very clean and clever.

Air intakes are just above the gold colored "wings" painted on each side.

Attachment:
File comment: Rear body work resting on rear diffuser roof.
Rear-Body-Diffuser.jpg
Rear-Body-Diffuser.jpg [ 324.44 KiB | Viewed 396 times ]

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:38 pm 
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Quote:
I see Team Slotus is still hard at work bending the Universe.


Yeah, we might be bendin' it, but we ain't broke it... YET! :shock:

Quote:
Those "Never Leave Your Child Unattended" signs apparently apply to men 65 years of age too.


Just ask TWWTFM... They apply to men of any age!

Yes, that "popping it back into joint" things sounds like it would hurt. Every time I've had to have that process done, it did any way. And you don't want to know how many times its been done, or where... See Unattended Child comment above. Hope the thumb/hand is thoroughly healed, take it easy on those opposible thumbs, you could get demoted to "Primate"... That would be bad, I don't think they can get driver's licenses, even in Cali-Forney! :shock:
:rofl:

Regards-
JD Kemp

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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


Last edited by GonzoRacer on Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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