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Unread 05-07-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default "The Next One" - Handcrafted Mid-Engine Sports Car

I really appreciate everyone's enthusiasm on my Rhythm fabrication thread. That really shows the passion you guys have for not only your projects underway in your garages but as well as other members' rides. Thanks very much.

I had mentioned that I wanted to share a new project vehicle that was in progress. Like the first vehicle build, it's something that both my dad and I are involved with...I wouldn't have it any other way.

The Idea

Rhythm was in the final stages of assembly and as crazy as it sounds in the back of my mind I found myself already tossing around the idea of creating a second mid-engine vehicle. However, taking into account what had been learned over the course of the building Rhythm, I decided that if and when this new project began, fabrication would have to be approached from an entirely different perspective.

You may have previously seen that Rhythm’s body was essentially hammered and dollied out entirely by hand. While this sounds impressive and taught me how sheet metal behaves, it was immensely time consuming – not something I wanted to repeat. So an English wheel would have to be bought or built to help in creating the panels. I decided to build one. Also, with the next one, a fixture would have to be developed to not only provide a base for shaping the body panels, but to also ensure higher fabrication tolerances. These fixtures are usually referred to as bucks and can be created many ways including carving a full-scale shape out of foam or building a wooden buck. To meet our requirements we decided to create a wire frame buck. This buck would provide the flexibility to alter particular aspects of the design features relatively easily if it was ever necessary. To ensure that the buck was always square and remained true during the sheet metal shaping process an extremely rigid frame table was necessary. I dislike doing things over again, so the frame table was designed and built in such a way that it was fully adjustable in all 3 planes and to not only work for this project but for others as well.

Design Overview

Starting out as a fresh sheet of paper design, ‘the next one’ loosely resembles Rhythm. Simply called R2, the lines have been re-proportioned and tightened up resulting in a modern aggressive appearance. Since it’s being built as a driver, we want a final fit and finish that only a metal body can provide. An LS6/LS7 engine mated to a Porsche G50 transmission called for a redesign of the chassis for increased rigidity as well. Rolling on 275/35/R18s in the front & 315/30/R19s rear R2 is 28” shorter, 6” narrower, and a little over 900lbs lighter for a total weight of about 2800lbs. The final horsepower to weight ratio is expected to come in around 6lb/HP.

Here are the specifics:


Creating the Wire Frame Buck

Once R2’s final design was established and renderings completed 2-dimensional construction drawings were created. These were then taken to a print shop and scaled to full size side, top, front & rear views and posted on our shop’s ‘build board’. Then the exciting part began. To create the wire frame buck, the wheelbase, engine/transmission, seating position, and front windscreen locations were set using sliding jigs on the frame table based on design dimensions from a common datum point. Construction of the wire frame buck began by simultaneously working with four drawings and translating reference dimensions from the ‘build board’ into 3D and 'stump shaping' steel rods, square-stock, and flarbar to match the appropriate feature curves.

Initial 20 minute mockup... I grabbed some parts from storage to get an idea of the new proportions. Ahh.. no worries, those won't be the final wheels...


We're into the thick of it with the fabrication of the wire frame buck. The various lengths of box tubing were fabricated to slide along the frame table, then lock into place at set positions. Other lengths were tacked to them.


To make room for another job, R2 is rolled out of the bay and covered up. At this point, with most of the wire frame completed, the tarp actually created a temporary surface on the buck and outlined some of the body lines.


Just to clarify, the wire frame is a temporary structure. Once all the inner & outer panels have been created it will be removed and all the panels re-assembled on their own.

More to come
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Unread 05-08-2012, 07:19 AM   #2
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With the car's buck back in the shop we're starting to fabricate body panels. In regards to the hood, hatch, and door openings independent wire frame sections were created and bolted into the holes. Decided to start with the more straight forward structural sheet metal components that will support the exterior sheet metal skin.



Templates are created from drawings, dimensions and the wire frame. Since everything is identical from side to side - only revered... ie. rockers, inner wheel wells, A-Pillars, etc only one template is created and then transposed onto the sheet metal. Depending on the what structural components are being created we're running with 18GA & 22 GA



This is the rocker cover after being transposed from the template with the interior lip created after being run though the tipping wheel...with a soft lower wheel.



The blue line indicates the second exterior bend of the door seal step. The first exterior bend is 11/16" to the left of the blue line...one down and one up.. as per the shape needed.



Then using a shrinker/stretcher, the lips are stretched and shrunk to create the appropriate curvatures. Doing this a series of times and putting the different pieces together gives you this...



Here's a shot of the driver and passenger side door openings. With the wire door frame sections removed, the almost complete jam perimeter panels have been temporarily 'pinned' into place on the buck.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 03:18 PM   #3
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Very impressive work!! Something to keep you busy. I also work in body fabrications and redesigned the old Sports car kit called the Sterling. I ended up going the foam and fiberglass route, since I am a wood sculpurer. This ended up being a fiberglass frame design similar to a boat hull design or I think its called a monoque chassis. So finished product is a floating chassis! I just finished my build like a month ago so on to other projects.
You could check out my website at Home - Hilditch Fabrications on the bottom of the home page theres a video of when I drove it into the lake about a year and a half ago.

Rob

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Unread 05-14-2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hildi25 View Post
... I also work in body fabrications and redesigned the old Sports car kit called the Sterling. I ended up going the foam and fiberglass route, since I am a wood sculpurer. This ended up being a fiberglass frame design similar to a boat hull design or I think its called a monoque chassis. So finished product is a floating chassis! I just finished my build like a month ago so on to other projects. ...

Rob
Pretty cool Rob! It's a strange phenomenon...to be done one significant project...only to start another.

While I enjoy working with sheet metal...this build will also have it's fair share of composite panels, mainly the interior, to help reduce the final overall weight. Once the metal body shell has basically been completed I'll get into creating plugs, molds and actual pieces. It's exciting to see something start as an idea on a napkin and evolve into a full blown driving vehicle.
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Unread 05-14-2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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The beginnings of the rear cab wall. Pieces are laid out on the sheet metal in such a way as to reduce waste, yet created as large as possible to eliminate fitting and welding multiple pieces together.



Rear wall with final forming complete. The beads put in with the bead roller before the ends were rolled over.



Rear wall temporarily pinned into place with some self drilling self tapping metal screws to the jams and floor pans which were created earlier. This method allows the piece to be removed if necessary for tweaking. An old seat thrown in to add some perspective inside the cab.



Creating the drivers side scoop for ducting air into the rads. Once the desired shape is attained with cardboard, it's translated onto sheet metal.



Completed drivers side scoop shaped, welded and installed. The flange will be incorporated and fixed to the engine compartment's interior panels later.



Thanks for looking.
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Unread 05-16-2012, 07:06 AM   #6
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Starting fabrication on the rear hatch's inner structure.


Taillight housing pieces...from paper to metal.



Taillight housing formed and welded up. Temporarily tacked into place.
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Unread 05-22-2012, 06:24 PM   #7
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Once the front trough pieces were created they were tacked together.

Carefully controlling the metal in the heat affected zone(HAZ) while welding the front trough to eliminate warpage.







Tipping one of the flanges on the wiper mechanism cover.



Using the foot actuated shrinker/stretcher I built, the curve created after tipping up the flange is straightened on the cover.



With the pieces installed...it's slowly shaping up.



Rear hatch perimeter complete.

As a little side note, after completing the front moisture trough...I wasn't happy with the way it looked. So it was redone.

Thanks for looking.
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A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes

Last edited by invision; 08-31-2013 at 11:13 PM.

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Unread 05-22-2012, 07:53 PM   #8
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Do you already have the LS7?
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Unread 05-23-2012, 02:03 AM   #9
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I'd slap some Volvo front seats in there. A little heavy, but so freakin' comfortable. They would complement the car at real high speeds. Even leather 740 or 940 seats would be better than most.
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Unread 05-23-2012, 06:14 AM   #10
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Out of curiosity, do you have any custom motorcycle projects?
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