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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:29 am
Posts: 1064
Location: Alberta, Canada
I've just started reading. Very impressed so far. Definitely worth the small asking price IMO.

There was one comment that got me curious - he mentions making the frame is half the build time - seems odd to me. Frame looks not too bad except for getting positions of all the brackets. I'm still on the fence as far as build my own frame or buy.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:36 pm 
That comment isn't based on scientific measurement, but on where I see the various builds stalled. If you believe Champion, the frame is the majority of the work. I guess it depends on how "custom" you go with everything else. It took me 7 months or so to get my car rolling, Grassroots had a similar car operating under its own power at the end of a (long) weekend.

It really comes down to your skills. If you're a reasonable fabricator but not as good mechanically, the frame is the easy part. If you're learning how to weld but are a good wrench, the frame's going to be tough by comparison.

Keith


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:29 am
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Location: Alberta, Canada
Ok - thanks. I'm going to be learning the welding as I go but building a bog standard frame. I don't mind some extra time if I learn another skill along the way. I'll be buying the a-arms and such.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:52 pm 
The frame only took me about 2 months of non-steady work to complete (a good majority of it, it's still not 100%). I think that 50% is to get the car on all 4's with an engine and trans. the other 50%is detail stuff, body work, wires, all the little jobs.

I think the reason most of the cars stall right around the frame is that people hit a brick wall, the frame was easy to build to "book spec", but then comes the addition of the engine, suspension and all the detail stuff that takes forever to accomplish. Yeh it is 1 big set job to build a frame, the other stuff to get the car on the road is 100000 little jobs that have almost no relation to each other. People don't realize how hard and time consuming it really is to get the car wired up, so far it's taken me as long as it took to build the frame! And they are just wires! I think most people take a small break to try and figure out their next step, which turns into a big break, and all of a sudden their prject is up on ebay for sale...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:17 pm 
Not to mention all the people who suddenly find themselves in over their heads with mechanical work, parts which don't necessarily work together without modification, rising build costs, etc. It all adds up and is almost guaranteed to take longer and be more expensive than people would guess.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 5:33 pm 
Admitably I haven't started the actual construction yet, but I've poured over the drawings and went over it in my mind many times. I cannot imagine building the frame to be all that difficult. I'm pretty comfortable with cutting metal, sizing, fitting, and welding so I suppose that's part of it. I wouldn't be surprised to get the majority of the framing done in a single weekend. I guess I just don't get it?

dale


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 5:43 pm 
Considering the tube is mainly 1" square and it isn't a thick-wall tube, it should be fairly quick to cut the pieces. If you've got an open workbench and the proper tools, I think a solid weekend would be sufficient to get most of the body done as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 5:59 pm 
Really, you should be able to build a Locost in a couple of days. CMC told me they welded up the frame for the "mitty" build in a day (not such a wise admission when people are waiting for months for their kits in retrospect) and that car was built in 24 hours or so. It went home on a trailer after suffering from a diff mount failure, but I think you see my point.

Of course it works differently than that in the real world. There's a lot more to a frame than just a few lengths of steel. What about all the brackets for your brake lines, clutch hydraulics, seatbelt mounts, etc, etc? It's one of those situations where 10% of the work takes 90% of the time I think. I had to make a number of changes to my "finished" frame.

As I mentioned, it's an estimate. If you're comfortable fabricating, it's an easy enough job - although you do need to be fairly precise.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 6:39 pm 
I did alot of thinking about how stuff was going to fit, and many days instead of working, i installed and removed the engine 10x. sat in the car many times and imagined where stuff would go etc...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:47 pm 
Ordered my copy tonight... along with Simon McBeath's "Competition Car Downforce: A Practical Handbook". I'd really have rather paired it up with his forthcoming book, "Competition Car Aerodynamics" that details spoilers and splitters more, as downforce is outlawed in D/E Modified (SCCA Autocross). I'm looking forward to both of these books providing me a much needed car-geek-crackpipe-hit over the holiday season.

My wife has no idea what she's got in store when her "wait till after the holidays" ban on buying tools and car parts haitus is lifted.

-Erik


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:13 pm
Posts: 7048
Location: Charleston, WV
emohn wrote:
Ordered my copy tonight... along with Simon McBeath's "Competition Car Downforce: A Practical Handbook". I'd really have rather paired it up with his forthcoming book, "Competition Car Aerodynamics" that details spoilers and splitters more, as downforce is outlawed in D/E Modified (SCCA Autocross). I'm looking forward to both of these books providing me a much needed car-geek-crackpipe-hit over the holiday season.

My wife has no idea what she's got in store when her "wait till after the holidays" ban on buying tools and car parts haitus is lifted.

-Erik


Did you see the size of that sprint car-esque wing on that A Mod Westfield in GRM lost month? :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:30 am
Posts: 2402
Location: So CALIFORNIA
Still waiting on my copy of the Keith Tanner book...got a tracking number and watching it crawl across the coast.

My .02 cents worth...

The average guy struggle in bursts of work and head scratching, picking up a part here an a part there and modifying it accordingly. Almost everyone unless they buy a kit or "systems" (suspension, brakes, wiring, or body) will reach a point when their experience needs to be broadend.
Quote:
"Damn it I knew I was going to use THIS hand brake I could have weilded this bracket or asembly during the chasis build."

If you knew you were going to use a live axel or IRS you could have prepared for it in advance.
Now if you built several cars you can do it in a fraction of the time as a first time scratch builder. Why? because you know the road ahead, you know the bottlenecks, and you know how to plan for things in advance.
Keith Tanner has built Miatas and sevens but if you told him to build from scratch WITHOUT USEING MIATA PARTS he could still buildt it faster than most of us. Sure he would have some head scratching moments on spindles and other parts....but it would be a fimiliar road he has already traveled.
Experience is the greatest factor, what works and what doesn't, where can you make time without having to redo or backtrack on your work.

My guess is there is a 100 ways to skin a cat, if you could think of 35-50 you would be a freaking genius. The other 65-50 ways you would have to learned buy doing, talking to the old hats, and redoing it time and time again.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:05 am 
I'm sure that if I had to build my car to the point it is now I could do it in a few months of after work work. It definatly took me 1 1/2 years too long to get where I am now.

emohn:

good luck, thats the real big downfall of most sevens, the wife.

I'm sure you will hear this down the road and will eventually figure it out anyway, but other than the 7 being a moving brick on wheels, there are a few ways to add downforce on the car, first dont even bother with those front fenders over the wheels, second go ahead and add a difuser under the rear, whont do much unless you can get real close to the ground, but it might help, 3rd cover up the passenger compartment, air will flow right over the scuttle and swirl around in the passenger seat, same thining on the sides...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:14 pm 
Actually, you want to extend the fenders on the front wheels for improved aerodynamics, not remove them. To see what can be done without extensively modifying the Seven body, check out the Caterham CSR.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:01 pm 
Woo hoo! My book should be waiting when I get home from work today. Unless the snow comes down more heavily than expected and UPS decides to pretend they work for the USPS... (inside joke - my mail carrier is the laziest POS I've ever seen. There were houses being built in the subdivision I'm in, and my mailbox was blocked daily by a construction worker's truck. For three days the carrier skipped my box because he would have had to get out of his truck to put the mail in the box. During the summer. On nice days. Oh, the humanity.)


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