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Thread: Concept to Crawler ~ Live Build!

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Old 02-04-2010, 10:16 AM   #1
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Default Concept to Crawler ~ Live Build!

I've got a few more days of nothing on the schedule and the weather is crappy outside, so I thought I'd build a new chassis just for fun. Then I thought some of you that have never done it might like to see the process and what is involved (for me at least).

I'll be taking pictures and updating this thread as the day goes on, listing materials, parts, and tools used. Some of you anal engineering types might want to look away...lol.

So here we go...



First up is the concept. I just finished the Manta, but since it was too short to be comp legal, I needed something taller. 2.2 specs are 3" wide, 3.75" tall, and 8" long. Late last night I stepped out to my workbench and drew this one out.



I went a full 4" high because the sides will be bent a bit and when done should fall between 3.75" and 4". Same thing goes with the lenth...I went over 8" just a bit. I don't want to make this an art lesson, so I'll keep the details on the drawing brief. I traced out the mounting holes using a stock Axial sideplate, found center, and drew a box in the dimensions needed. The holes for the upper links are approximate for now. I used my old Certain Death chassis to lay out the holes for the shocks (its got a buttload of mounting holes and make a good pattern).

On to the tools!

Contrary to belief, you don't need thousands of dollars worth of tools to make a clean looking chassis. A drill, some bits, a coping saw, a few files, and some careful planning will get you very far. What will suffer using such basic tools though will be repeatability and precision, but I'm not worried about that at this time. Here's a shot of some of the things I'll be using.



First in line is a Bastard file. Costs about $8. Its used for fine filing and will cut in both directions on the broad sides, and in one direction on the skinny sides.

Next up is a curved tooth babbit file. A bit pricier at around $30, it will remove material in a hurry, and is great for leveling off flat areas.

Here's a closeup of the files so that you can see the teeth. Yes, I know they need cleaning.



Then we have the coping saw, which can be found usually between $5 to $15. I think this one was about $10-12 at Lowes, and add another $3-4 for extra blades. I'll be using the fine tooth blades for aluminum.

And then the Dremel ($40) with a high speed rotary cutting bit ($4). Its not absolutely neccecary, but its nice to have and saves some time and effort. I use it to remove excess material and to shape corners and curves. The same could be done with a round file, but it takes more time and effort.

There's the start. I'm off to the garage to sort out the other tools I'll be using, along with some detail on the material and get some more pics.

Stay tuned!
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:18 AM   #2
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I just bought a bastard cut myself. I'll be watching, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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Yet another build from the Duuuuuuuude Shop.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:49 AM   #4
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Here's a few more items I'll be using.



1. Digital calipers. Priced anywhere from $10 to a few hundred, depending on your need for precision. These were about $25 or so. Make sure you get the metal kind, not plastic or composite...you'll see why later.

2. A big fat Sharpie. I use this to transfer shapes and patterns from one peice of material to another. Since this is going to be hand built, I complete one side, then transfer the shape to the material used for the other.

3. Spring loaded center punch. $5-10. Used for marking holes before they are drilled to help keep the bit centered.

4. Scratch Awl. $5. After I use the Sharpie, I scratch the pattern with this.

5. Safety glasses. A must have! You can be a badass and not use them if you want, but you won't look like a badass in the emergency room getting metal extracted from your eye. Also cheaper than the medical bill.

6. Inch/centimeter ruler. $1 @ Walmart. Inches are good for large general measurements, but the metric system rules for smaller ones. Fractions are for nerds and know-it-all smartypants. :-P

A few more items you'll need...

1. Drill. I prefer a cordless, as they can be had at a lighter weight, and much easier to control. If it has a brake its even better. They are generally more expensive than thier corded couterparts.

2. Drill bits. No need to go nuts on these if you aren't going to do this all the time. A carefully selected assortment will get you just about anywhere you need to go.

3. Bench vice. Not really a must, but its one of those things that makes life easier.


The material...



This particular 3mm sheet of aluminum was salvaged from a Yamaha Rhino and happens to be 5052. Why not 6061? 6061 or T6 will snap when you try to bend it more than a couple degrees if you're lucky to get that far. There is a trick to bending it further, but I don't have that capability so we aren't going to worry about it. 5052 is bendable, so its softer, but still plenty stong. Buying it new will run you roughly $20 a square foot for 3mm/.120" thickness.

Last edited by Duuuuuuuude; 02-06-2010 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:49 AM   #5
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I will be watching intently !
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helhedded View Post
I just bought a bastard cut myself. I'll be watching, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

Lmao.......HOW?
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by helhedded View Post
I just bought a bastard cut myself. I'll be watching, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.
Make sure you get a handle for it if you have soft nancy hands.

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Yet another build from the Duuuuuuuude Shop.
I know. You'd think I'd have better things to do.

A keen eye may spy some other things I've been working on...
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:52 AM   #8
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Lmao.......HOW?
the end all be all website of websites. http://www.mcmaster.com/#4219a12/=5o86i2
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:53 AM   #9
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Make sure you get a handle for it if you have soft nancy hands.

No way Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude! My hands are calloused up from 14 years of drumming. I have to use extra lotion for the motion.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:54 AM   #10
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hey duuuuuude DEVO would crack that whip!
so get to work
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:11 AM   #11
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5. Safety glasses. A must have! You can be a badass and not use them if you want, but you won't look like a badass in the emergency room getting metal extracted from your eye. Also cheaper than the medical bill.
yeah, buuut, you get a cool ass pirate patch afterwards.

anyway, looks good so far. i'll be watching this....
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:14 AM   #12
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A keen eye may spy some other things I've been working on...
Is that the derivative for a feces throwing zombie killing machine?
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:13 PM   #13
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Is that the derivative for a feces throwing zombie killing machine?

Shhhhh...they're listening.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:38 PM   #14
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Ok, so I've got my design, my tools, and my material.

How to put the design on the metal? The easiest is to cut it out and glue it on with some spray glue. But now you've got a choice...cut out the original drawing and lose it forever once you cut into it, or trace it out. I trace them out on another sheet and pin the original on the wall for further reference. Or when I just need a laugh.



Glue it on...



Cut it out...I used my bandsaw for this, but a coping saw works just as well.



And as always I like to do a quick digit check after operating a potentially damaging peice of equipment...



All there...hey...wait a minute...
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:53 PM   #15
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Now we go back to the bench and clamp this mother in the vice. I use rubber cushions so that the material doesn't get marred while you're working on it. A good cheap alternative would be a couple peices of wood.

If you don't have a vice, clamp it to the table.



I start with the babbit file to get down to the line on the paper. It does a good job of removing the saw marks as well. You want to use long strokes to keep from getting flat spots on the curves. Once that is done I follow it up with the bastard, again using long strokes, holding the file diagonally to the material.



Now, the babbit will not work on inside curves. For this I use the high speed bit in the dremel to shape and clean it, then the bastard to smooth it out even more.

Once the outside edge is satisfactory, you start on the inside by drilling holes into the peices you want cut out. This will allow you to feed the coping saw blade through. I've found that when you use the coping saw its easier to have the teeth pointing away from you, so that it cuts when you push. Its easier to control, and it keeps the debris over on the back side, which is especially nice when you cut plastic. Do NOT cut on the lines. Cut just inside. If the saw starts to go a direction you don't want it to, you won't have any room to correct it if you follow the line exactly.



Something you should keep in mind before you start hacking away...don't make any corners that you can't clean up. Tight little inside corners may sound cool, but if you can't get a tool into them they'll look like ass. Basically find the smallest file you have at hand and use that as a guide. I also like to cut my inside corners wide and use the file or cutter to get it down to where it needs to be.

Here they are rough cut...



And now after the dremel and bastard file...




Last edited by Duuuuuuuude; 02-06-2010 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:01 PM   #16
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lookin good
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:08 PM   #17
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Looks really good !!
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:26 PM   #18
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Looks really sick duuuuuuuude!


Nice job
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:05 PM   #19
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Great informative thread you have here. Keep it up.
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:06 PM   #20
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Time to drill some holes. You may have noticed that the only hole locations I transfered over were for the skid, along with some basic reference points for the upper links and shocks. I've now marked and centerpunched all but a few. Now I've got to line out the points for the upper links. I've started by making a line that follows the curve of the chassis and centerpunched my starting point. I still need to get the spacing for the holes.



I grab the calipers and set them to the shock hole spacing which happen to be just a hair over 4mm.



Now I go back to my centerpunched mark for the links and sit one blade of the calipers in the mark. The other goes on the verticle line I drew.



Now, swing the calipers like they were a compass, using the blade to lightly scratch through the paper and into the aluminum. Take the centerpunch and mark where the two lines intersect, then move the calipers up to the new mark and repeat the process untill you get the amount of holes you want.



Here comes the tedious part - drilling the holes. Since I don't have a drill press yet I have to do it by hand. I've gotten pretty good at drilling straight and true, but you can only expect so much.

I start with a 3/32 bit and predrill all the holes. I do it with a scrap peice of paper of wood underneath so I don't mess up the benchtop. There were a few holes added for cross supports.



Then go back with a countersink and clean the backside up.



Its always a good idea to use a little lubricant on your drill bits, it'll help keep them cutting clean and straight. This is my personal favorite...a little tub like this will last forever.

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