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Thread: Probably more than I can chew, but...

  1. #1

    Probably more than I can chew, but...

    Hi, just found this forum! Quick intro, My trades: motorcycle mechanic, machinist/moldmaker, designer/engineer, currently self employed vacuum former of RC bodies. I have pretty good mechanic skills, welding skills, fabrication and very good skills in Proe/CAD.

    I've been fascinated with kit cars for probably 3 decades. I really want to build most of it from scratch, frame and body I guess is what I mean.

    Problem is, I have somewhat limited experience with mechanical work on cars. I don't want to have to reinvent the wheel for things I don't know about or understand. Couple examples: How the heck to windshield wipers work/mount? How are body panels generally mounted to a space frame? How do you "seal" the outside out?

    When I do my thermoformed bodies I also use pink foam as a negative mold to cast a urethane mold to form final parts. I saw another guy on here that cuts foam for body bucks so that seems promising. My CNC is only 40"x20"x10" for travel, so lots of pieces would need to be assembled to make a bigger plug section.

    Another thing I know nothing about is glass. What do you do if you want to build your own design? I'm wondering if an airplane canopy could be trimmed and used. I really like the wrap around prototype look.

    So the car I want to build would be something similar to a late 60s Brabham F1 B-24? I like how they look and it would likely make the body parts a bit less daunting. But I would like to enclose it which is why I was thinking about an airplane canopy.

    Anyway, thanks for listening, any and all advice is appreciated.
    Last edited by GordonFreeman; 07-19-2017 at 07:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ncrazyballa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    welcome to the forum!

  3. #3
    Senior Member AdrianBurton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Tucson, AZ
    Welcome to the forum Gordon, what you are talking about will require a TON of work, it can be done and I think your joining our group will go a long way toward answering any of your questions along with the locost car forums. Ask your questions until you have your answers

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I second what Adrian said about a ton of work and welcome to the Forum as well. I think most people start these projects confident with their mechanic skills, not realizing that there is far more fabricating than mechanics. You seem confident with your fabricating but doubt your mechanic skills. Since wrenching can be picked up fairly easily, but fabricating takes a lifetime, I think you are in pretty good shape.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Victoria, BC Canada
    Welcome to the forum and you certainly have a ton of skills required to get something like this done. One of the things I found out personally is that your worst estimates of how long it will take need to be doubled (sometimes tripled depending on what life throws at you regularly...). Also, don't underestimate the cost. That is also way more than you first think.

    A recommendation would be to get a frame CAD that is already done and start the changes to that frame in CAD to fit to your wheelbase and body and build the frame first so you can fit your body parts to them as they are made. Frame is also one of the larger tasks involved in a custom build. As for your screen, check on what your State/Country rules are for glass. Some countries require tempered side glass and all countries require laminated glass for screens to pass safety for registration. Check the U-Build requirements anyway before embarking so you don't put a ton of time and money in to something you can't get registered in the end.

    Lastly, and this is my opinion only. If you haven't tackled one of these before, you might be wise to take a look at existing replicas out there and maybe do your first one with existing panels and frames... You will learn a ton and then you can get after your full custom build after that if you still want to.

    There are some of us that have been at this for the past 10-20 years with varying levels of success and experience so ask your questions and we will help where we can.

    Good luck and post updates for us.

    308 Ferrari replica
    Prova Countach 5000QV

  6. #6
    Thanks guys, I definitely need more experience before I attempt my own design. I like the idea of a kit like the FFR 818, where you have a donor car for drivetrain and suspension, but the frame and body is all new. Is there a term for that kind of "kitcar"? What other kits are out there like that? The price seems reasonable too.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Dna makes a bunch of kits based on a donor car , like a Mercedes sl500 or a Mercury cougar .

    You remove some of the stock body panels and put on the custom body

  8. #8
    Senior Member wbnemo1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Sunny, most the time, Florida
    Welcome to the forum, Gordon, quick question... you mentioned that you vacuform rc car bodies, how large is the working area of your machine??

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    If you are good at fabrication but not experienced with automotive mechanical work, you might consider starting with something like the Goblin. This is a way to get into the mechanical side of things in a more controlled way Ė while being able to complete a drivable/licenseable vehicle in short order. This little exo-car can be the structure for your own body concept later on. The fact is that most kit cars never get completed and are a waste of money. Once a car is running and LEGAL, you have a decent chance of recovering your investment should you need to sell (at least the out-of-pocket part, never the time).
    I started the same way but with a SLR-Razor, which is now totally drivable and California legal. I havenít yet done phase II (BODY) but in the meantime, I am having a ball with it. Unfortunately this product isnít currently available Ė but the Goblin is, and at a very attractive price.
    (I have no connection with Goblin or SLR)

  10. #10
    Ooh that Goblin looks like a good learner.

    Will, I have formable area of about 22" x 14" (24x16 sheet). I want to increase that to 26" x 18" sometime so I can do 1/8 scale bodies.

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