Thursday, July 9, 2020

Slow week

 Well, this last weekend was one of those that felt like I did not get much traction, or get much done. It seems like I am at one of those choke points where I am working on little ancillary things, but not making any progress toward actual assembly of the car.
 Above and at right are some brackets related to the front suspension that I have been working on prepping and painting. The ones at right were actually backordered from the kit manufacturer, so I was glad to get them a couple of weeks ago and start cleaning them up.
And here is one of the rear brake-mounting plates I have been working on. My uncle did a ton of development on these, and made me a couple of marked and drilled plates to work on, so I have been cutting these out and getting ready to assemble them. It's slow going, cutting through 3/16" steel with a jigsaw, but it can be done with patience.

So overall, it feels stalled because I am not actually bolting things to the frame, but if I look past my frustration, I can actually see that progress is being made.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Brake Development, Pt. 2

Well, I don't have a pic for you today. But I was able to pick up some parts from my uncle today. He put a ton of development effort into the brackets for the rear brakes, so I now have some marked-up pieces of steel, ready for cutting out to make the rear brackets. Also, some shims and mounting hardware.

I did get two coats of paint on some from suspension bits today, and the could be used as they sit right now. I may add a top coat just to be sure - the jury is still out.

The big progress today is that I added an A/C unit to the garage today, which will allow me to work through the summer rather than putting the whole project on hold until October or so. I'm very, very happy to have it! And I am going to try to make the most of it, for sure!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Brake development

So one of the criticisms of the 818 kit is that the braking solution is... not inadequate, exactly, but wanting of some improvement. I have to give a lot of credit to my uncle, Ed Holyoke, who researched and developed the braking solution we're both going to be using on our kits. That's also his photo there to the left, which I am using with his permission.

This is the setup for the rear brakes we're looking at, on his custom bracketry. There's a massive Brembo/Cadillac caliper at the right to act as the service brake, and a little cable-actuated Wilwood unit at left for the parking/emergency brake. Both of those will squeeze a truly massive caliper, sourced from the front axle of a Subaru WRX STI.

The fronts will also get the same Caddy caliper and the same STI rotor, but there's an existing bracket solution for that upgrade. Roughly speaking, we're doubling the braking effectiveness in the front, and quadrupling it in the back.

There are a few reasons this is important:

First, the kit uses unboosted brakes. There's no vacuum assist here - all the braking is powered by the driver's leg. Second, while the donor's engine is in the front, the kit will have it in the rear; this affects the weight balance of the car significantly. While nearly all cars have much more braking at the front to deal with the additional mass at the front of the car, the kit needs help around back. Third, these kits may very well see some track use, so more braking will be better for that, including extra mass for dealing with heat.

Long story short, the idea of the kit car is to make something that will accelerate and handle at very high levels - so stopping is also going to be important. As far as bang for the buck, this solution, while not exactly cheap, is a great bargain.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Marking tools - in use!

 Lot of pics here to show how I used the three marking tools I made to locate two holes.

That's the hole I needed to mark from the center of, so the conical end of this tool allows me to locate on that.
 The other end has a hole sized to take a Sharpie.
 So when it's all assembled, the tip of the marker is two inches from the center of the cone.
 Using that, I drew an arc on the control arm.
 This is effectively an edge marking tool - I needed to draw a line 1.5" from the front edge of the control arm. The step on this tool rides along that edge.
 And of course the other end accepts a Sharpie to draw the line.
 Next, from the intersection of those two lines, I needed to draw a line at right angles to the axis of the mounting bolts. I didn't print the square; I already had that lying around.
 Once the first hole was punched and drilled at the intersection of all three lines, the third tool came into play. It locates on the drilled hole with one of the bolts I will use in mounting a bracket here.
And again, using a Sharpie, I drew an arc, crossing the line I made with the square. Then I punched and drilled a hole there.
The bracket isn't painted yet (maybe tomorrow), but here's where it will go. The bolts lined up quite nicely with their holes, so it will all go together quite well.

Marking tools

I love it when my hobbies interact to facilitate each other. I have some parts ready for paint - may get the paint going this afternoon - but once they are painted, I have to drill some holes on donor parts to mount them.

The directions for doing so are kind of rubbish. For example, they say to measure 2" from the center of an existing hole - and the picture shows a builder holding a measuring tape approximately in the center of the hole. Preferring some degree of precision and repeatability, I designed and am now 3D printing a marking gauge (the one in purple) that will let me mark that 2" more easily. The other two gauges will allow other, related markings. I'll post pictures of them in use once I get them printed and, you know, in use.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Forward firewall is complete!

 Not a complete ton of progress today, but I did get the final panel of the forward firewall installed. At left, it's all drilled and Clecoed. Below right is an overview of the finished expanse of the nose area of the car. Later on, this space will get filled up with suspension bits, the battery, the radiator, and so on.
The next steps in the book all relate to the front suspension. The kit reuses the front lower control arms from the donor, with an additional bracket added. And of course the bracket is one of the parts that is backordered for by kit. Full thanks to my uncle, who also had these parts backordered, and who reached out to Factory Five to get the parts sent to both of us.

I have a few parts in the front suspension, including those backordered brackets, which are unfinished steel. I've been working on wire-wheeling the ones I have in prep for paint. As they come from F5, they still have what appears to be welding flux on them, plus scorch marks from laser cutting, and so on. Here are some suspension uprights, which will connect the donor steering knuckle to the kit's upper A-arm. The top one is as delivered; the bottom one has been wire-brushed.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The rivets are coming from inside the car!

 The first thing I did today was to get the frame down off the jack stands and onto some wheeled dollies. This will let me move the chassis around, so I can make room to get to one side or the other as needed, and push it out of the way when I am not working on it. It's a lot closer to the eventual finished height on these dollies.
 Not quite there, but I believe the goal for the finished ride height is four to four and a half inches. As my wife pointed out today, this means I am going to have to be very careful around speed bumps, to avoid getting high-centered.
Here's the panel I worked on today. It's in progress here, but I did finish it. I am actually sitting in the car to take this picture, on the passenger side. Not in a seat, unfortunately, but on an upturned milk crate.

The panel rivets in on the inside of the frame here. Got it all marked, drilled, Clecoed, deburred, cleaned, and riveted up. I got a late start because of stuff, but it feels good to get work done on it and to keep the build moving forward and not stalled. I have one more panel for the forward firewall.

After that, the build manual says to work of the front suspension - but there are still some critical parts backordered for that portion of the build. I'll have to decide what to do next.