Monday, December 26, 2005

First drive

I fabbed up a crappy seat tonight with a skillsaw and some wire loop action, and tacked the seat struts in place.

Putting it together helped highlight the distance between the engine and seat and where the seat struts needed to go, and at what angle. I'll also be able to finish the steering column mount on the front axle and get the angle right in relation to the offset seat position.

This thing is HARD to get into. It may get better once I cut down the sides of the seat. I didn't have my Dad's scrollsaw on hand so I had to hack it out in blocks. Still turned out pretty well. It's a little tight for someone over 6', but that's not the "target audience" so it should be just right.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Metal shavings in my shorts

I spent the afternoon running DJ and Adam around and looking for parts for the kart. During the trip, DJ, my Dad and I watched the old Palace Arms hotel get knocked down with a wrecking ball. I think for the short time we watched it work Dad and I were 5 years old again.

I was able to find the axle material I needed (1" cold rolled solid steel) for $9 vs. buying a new "high speed specially designed just for go-kart axle with super-awesome speed demon keyway and unbelievable roundness" for $80 from a go kart shop.

I had to cut the axle bearing hangars off and re-weld them about 3/4" closer together. I guess the metric bearing flanges noted in the plans are bigger than these. This was typical the whole evening - weld it on, figure out I screwed it up, cut it off, re-weld it, hog out the bolt holes I drilled in the wrong places, etc etc. There's at least 1/2 lb of steel on the floor in the garage. The rest is strategically located inside my clothing.

The pedals are also in - you can see them in the pic, along with the 2 other pedal positions I put in the frame for the shortcake drivers this thing will have (for a while anyway). Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 19, 2005

Wives are always right

Jen suggested I go down to "Bearings and Drives" for the bearings and drives I needed for the go-kart. I thought "what an amazing idea!" and went down there. I of course found they had everything I needed, and was once again amazed at how smart girls are.

Seriously though, they had EVERY bearing I needed. Even the weird ones.

I thought Racer Performance would have some kart parts but they didn't. The guys there are nice, though. I guess I'll be looking to eBay for the heim joints and tie-rods I need.

Got the pedals made today out of $6.00 worth of solid 3/8" steel rod, and after I stopped at Porter Brothers for $15 in tube steel and my Dad's place for some 1/8" plate I should have the steering column finished complete with pitman arms by the end of the evening.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I am an addict

Hey check this out - for about $150 you too can have your very own minibike! This thing is TINY. They even suggest that it's possible to make it street-legal. Right. You'd have a better chance taping two flashlights to your head and heading over to the DMV for licensing.

The plans aren't fantastic, but they're enough.

The Tom Thumb Pocketbike

Sawzall vs. 10-speed bike

Update on the kart - Kernel knocked the frame over when it was leaning against his dog pen door in the garage and snapped the steering struts off, as complained about here.

Well that just pointed out that my strut material was too weak, so I looked around for a substitute.

10-speed frame vs. sawzall: guess who wins? Posted by Picasa

Go-Karts RULE

Never had one when I was a kid. Wanted one, but it just wasn't in the cards.

So here's the latest project. DJ's 5 now, and it's winter, finishing the basement is currently too expensive, and I have a welder, a torch and a sawzall. And I like to beat/smash/weld/torch/cut/etc. things, so a go-kart should be a perfect project for this winter.

Now, even though DJ's a tall kid, at 5 he's still a little height challenged when it comes to touching the pedals. Gosh, I guess that means I'll be the only person in the family who wants to ride this thing for a year or two! How convenient.

I bought the plans for $20 from this website. Don from DIY Den puts together some amazing plans. Easy enough for anyone to get'er done. I've spent about 10 hours on the frame so far, pictured in the above shot. I put the creeper in there for scale. This is the kart I'm building.

I figure I'll have about $500 into the kart all said and done, including a new Honda knock-off 5.5hp engine ($120!! No kidding! Brand new!). Not bad considering the junky ones from hardware stores last 1 year and have trimmer motors vs. big'ol industrial 4 strokes.

DJ's not too excited about it yet - I think he's convinced it'll go way too fast and be scary to ride and he'll be required to balance something while driving. I get a "Uh right Dad. Riding my bike still freaks me out - you think I'm going to get in and drive something YOU built??" look from him when we talk about it.

When it's finished and he sees that it's a real car for kids, he'll change his mind, guaranteed. Posted by Picasa