I found a strange forum on the
Internet, with people building their own cars!
Some even making their own chassis, based on the idea
of the Caterham and many others, and helped by a book
published by Haynes. Build your own Sports car
for as little as £250. The book now seems to be
out of print, but a new one hit the shelves in
February 2007 called: - Build your own sports car
on a budget.
So for just under £18, I bought the book. I marvelled
at the concept and have set myself an unrealistic task
of completing my own car in two years.
There is help out there, hundreds of others with the
same idea, many are building, many have built, either
from scratch or with a bought in chassis and parts.
There is a forum dedicated to the book I bought:
The author, Chris Gibbs is the
moderator. He posts amendments to the book,
helps with ideas and drawings for variations from the
book covering gearboxes, engines etc. Other
builders supply ideas and answers to many questions,
pictures, drawings and support. All in all, a
community to the same end.
Another forum is http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/
is a generic builder forum and can provide lots of
information and chit chat.
23rd June 2007
Bought the board to build
the chassis on 19 mm ply x 2440 mm x 1220 mm, also a
load of scant to strengthen and keep it flat. A
small tub of white paint to help with the marking
out. Then a week working away from home before I
could get back in the garage.
5th to 7th
Back in the garage,
another quick coat of white paint on the board, worked
out things like a cutting chart, ordered the steel
from K Steels, expecting delivery on Friday. Started
to mark out the chassis on the board and fit blocks to
keep the bars in place.
Steel arrived Friday
morning as expected. Raining, so continue with the
board until finished.
I know that it is bad
practice to cut all the steel up but I could not store
it without, so, out came the band saw and over a
hundred cuts and several hours later; I had a pile of
smaller lumps of steel.
The bandsaw is one of
the best things I could have in the garage for this
build, it is certainly a lot easier then sawing by
hand. It can make cuts up to 45 degree angles,
with the milling machine being used for all angles
above this using a large end mill.
With the board now on
legs, starting to lay out the bottom of the chassis,
cutting angles as I go, again with the bandsaw.
Slot all the pieces in place, weld up the front frame
as it would not hold it self and this is what you get:
It needs tack welding together before I go any
14th & 15th
A bit more over the
past week when time allows, tacking the frame together
and then this weekend start to fit the uprights and
top frame, tack welding it as I progress.
25th & 26th
Did not get chance over
the weekend, so had a go during the evenings.
What a disaster! I added four diagonal braces,
two in the sides in the arm rest area and two in the
top seat back area. When I checked them I found
the seat back diagonals did not match and discovered
the back was leaning over by a degree or two.
Enough to make one corner to corner measure 125 cm and
the other 126 cm.
So the tack welds were
ground out, the back braced, pulled and hammered and
then re-tacked. I also managed to set some
paper's on fire, so need to take a bit more care with
combustibles in the area.
28th July 2007
Cut and angled the
pieces for the rear suspension area, jigged it up but
have not attached to the chassis as I need some plates
for suspension area.
I have ordered the
plates from a supplier on the forum and they are being
laser cut, bent and should be with me in about two
weeks. Also on order are Maxi ball joints and
Transit drag link ends, basically to make sure I can
get the ball joints, I have been told by a motor
factors they are now obsolete!
Spent enough money on
it this month, £141.12 on Steel tube, £163.18 on the
laser cut parts and £69.92 on the ball joints and drag
link ends. £374.22. I think some of my "not used
for a year or so things" need to go on that Internet
11th & 12th
Back from holidays this
weekend so another chance to work in the garage,
attached more diagonals, started on the transmission
tunnel, attached the rear sub-frame for the
differential. The pile of tube bits slowly
getting smaller as I put them into place.
As I am building the
chassis as the book, I have starting to look for a
Sierra as a donor, initial thoughts are: -
There is a better
chance with the later model years of less corrosion to
deal with, possibility of ABS which means disks all
round. I am not after a very powerful engine
just a simple installation at this stage. Time
will tell if I manage to meet the target price.
- Type 9 gear box
- Either 1600 Pinto or 1800 CVH
- Saloon not estate car (diff) (Only for the 1.6
Engines 1.8 & 5 speed seem to be all the
- Also later model year such as 1991 to 1993
- Sub £300
17th to 26th
Work on the Roadster
has been a bit slow this week, forgot to go and buy
more 19 mm RHS must get some when possible to
complete the back section.
The laser cut parts
arrived and happy with them, saved my a lot of time
and effort trying to make the pieces the hard way by
hand. Managed to bend the rear tubes RP1 &
RP2 on an old pipe bender I have in the garage, new it
was worth keeping!
I attached the rear
top suspension points and then realised I had then at
the wrong end so out came the grinder to take them
back off and then another go, think I got it correct
Hoping that, in a few
weeks, all the sections will be fitted and then the
chassis can be fully welded. I have to make up
the jigs to attach the front and rear wishbone points
and tack these in place, 4 tubes for the transmission
tunnel and finish off the rear of the car, perhaps
three to four weeks then!
1st to 3rd
Done a bit more, progress
is slow, as I am not getting a lot of time in the
garage. Have attached the round tube, finished off the
transmission tunnel and done the steering
supports. Wishbone brackets to tack on next,
15th September 2007
Just an update on
recent progress, the chassis has not changed much from
above. I have made the front wishbone mounting
jigs and have tried fit the wishbone brackets. I
seem to be 8 mm ( 4mm per side) out on the lower front
frame mountings and this seems to be a mixture of
mounting the uprights inward slightly from book and
the brackets having at most a mm out on height.
Nothing to major and will be sorted either with a
packing piece to fasten the brackets onto, or I
might just rebuild the front frame before the chassis
wishbones have been ordered from a supplier on the
forum, and the parts should arrive in 3 weeks
time. I also received a few missing pieces from
the laser cut parts, this was down to the book not
always listing the correct number wanted, so until you
build it you never know!
Lastly for whenever I
get the donor car I am having a straight cut reamer
reground to a 1 in 8 taper required to modify the
Sierra uprights to take the Maxi ball joints.
This should also allow
me to make my own mushroom inserts for the tops of the
Sierra to take the Transit drop link ends.
Nothing like a bit of forward thinking.
So although not much
is going to show over the next few weeks. Once
the wishbones arrive these will be fitted to the jigs
to make sure all is a good fit and the brackets will
then be welded in place, then I also hope to have the
chassis fully welded.
Simple cutting jig to help with
cutting compound angles
On some of the steel tube
sections you have to cut two angles at the same time,
such as the 14° and 26° angles on FF2 and FF3.
Well with a normal band saw or cut off saw, you can
set one angle and have to find a way to set the other.
So perhaps this little
idea will help. It requires a bit of maths and a
few bits square tube, I used 19 mm. The maths
bit is all about a right angled triangle.
Tan (ø) =
o/a or opposite over
adjacent sides. The opposite in this case is the
19 mm from the tube and Tan 14° = 0.2493, so the
adjacent length works out to be 76.2 mm or
close. a = o/Tan (ø)
So I made a jig with
these two lengths as in this picture: -
The opposite length is
the top piece of 19 mm tube and the adjacent length is
76.2 mm or closest I could make it.
So you rest a square
tube on the edges and it will sit at an angle of 14
degrees. Put this in the bottom of the vice,
rest the tube across the corners then clamp up.
Set the cut off or bandsaw over at 26 degrees and the
compound angle can be cut in one go. The jig
shown has two angles on it, 14 on the left and 17 on
the right. Hope it helps.
22nd September 2007
I have remade the
front frame and aligned the two verticals U1 and U2 to
meet against the brackets when using the front
wishbone jigs. Therefore I should have less of a
problem when they are attached. The old frame
has been re-cycled, as in cut up so I may reuse the
straight bits if needed. Time has also been
spent rearranging the contents of the garage to allow
me to walk around the chassis without having to climb
6th October 2007
Bit of a gap again
before work continued on the chassis. I have
reworked a Cosmo Welder, putting on a Euro torch and a
separate power supply for the wire feed. Results
with it are now quite good. It is a 130 amp
device with bottle carrier and top lid containing the
wire. Anyway have been doing some welding with
it on the chassis, actually started last weekend but
only a small amount. Managed to get a few hours
in today before my welding mask started to fail!
Tried replacement batteries but with no change so
think before I dazzle myself altogether I need a new
mask. One comment, there are lots of joints to
weld up and lots of grinding to do as well in my case!
Views here with the
chassis upside down and one on it's side. I am
trying to do all the "from top" welds, then turn it
over and do all the welds that are once again
"from top", then turn on side etc. Hopefully
this will make it easier for me to do. Must get
them walls painted sometime.
As I mentioned above,
I had cut all the steel tube in one go, well as the
chassis progress continued I found the odd error in my
cutting chart, things like missing the odd metre from
a piece of bar. Small discrepancies in the book
where the appendix is not listing quantities of tube,
so I found these errors when trying to put it all
together. Such as not cutting 4 off SB1 and 2
off SB2, 2 off is this and that. Cutting FF2 and
FF3 too short at 320 mm instead of 359.5 mm. So
all in all a few mistakes, so to help any others I am
including a link to my cutting charts at the bottom of
the page. As I find mistakes I will update this
link. Saved as a normal text file it could be
opened by any basic text package. Do not forget
this is for an as book build.
Cutting length chart is here for
25 x 25 mm tube
Cutting length chart is here for
19 x 19 mm tube