posts tagged with the keyword ‘cars’

2014.07.21

Car Repair

Disclaimer: I’m not really much of a car guy. I mean, I own a car, but I’ve never been into repair and maintenance of them. Probably because when I was in high school there were “gearheads” (people totally into cars) and I just didn’t get it. I’ve mostly considered cars as a means to get from point A to point B. I’m more concerned about being able to haul things than I am about doing it in some super-powerful manner or even looking going doing it.

While I’m still not really into “regular” cars, I’ve had a good time being involved with the Power Racing Series, where we modify children’s toys and race them. Milwaukee has had a team since the start, and I’ve been involved for three seasons now. It really is a combination of serious fun and serious engineering, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that repairing a car body by drilling holes in the plastic and connecting pieces with zip ties is the right way to do it.

Zip Ties

Yup, totally serious. That’s how I repaired my wife’s car this past weekend. Drilled holes, connecting pieces with zip ties. Done. (And yeah, this isn’t the first time I’ve repaired this car with zip ties!)

2013.02.15

CR-V

I sold my car on craigslist. I’ve used craigslist before, but never to buy a big ticket item, and I’ve never sold a big ticket item until now… it was very interesting.

I posted the ad on a Sunday (not just any Sunday, but Super Bowl Sunday) and within an hour I had 7 people email me, 3 of whom decided to email me twice. I began to think that maybe we should have had a higher price, but no matter, the deed was done.

Here’s a few excepts from some of the great responses I got:

Do you still have car available i am really interested please let me no thanks

You can sand namber because i wants see you car thanks you

Crv if do I got money

hey i like to buy u car please call me for apoitment

Hi” U still have d cr v?

OK, so guy #1 (as in, the first person to respond via email) gets the call, and he says he can come out that night to check out the car. His email said he lived in Pewaukee, but somehow when I called him he was no where near Pewaukee and said it would take an hour to come over. He called me an hour later lost in Pewaukee, which was no good because the car was in Delafield. Anyway, he made it, we took the car for a drive, and he offered me less money than I asked for. Not great. We talked for a bit, and he really wanted it, but didn’t have enough cash, but said he could get it by the next day… I told him to return in 24 hours with the cash for the asking price, and I’d sell it to him.

The next day guy #1 calls and says he can’t get the rest of the money, and offers me less. I tell him I’ll have the second guy (guy #2) looking at it that night (who has already said he’d pay the asking price if the car ran good) and oh yeah, emails from ten other people interested, and if none of them panned out, I’d call him back… On to guy #2.

I set things up with guy #2 to come over around 6:30, and before it’s even 5:00 he calls and says he can’t make it. So yeah, back to guy #1 who explains now that he isn’t going to buy the car, but his friend (guy #3) wants to. Yeah, it’s still only been about 26 hours since I listed the car, if you’re keeping track.

So 6:30 rolls around and I get a call from guy #1 saying he and guy #3 are running late. No worries… They eventually arrive, and we look things over, and we do the paperwork, and there’s some money involved, and it’s done. My 1999 Honda CR-V is no longer my 1999 Honda CR-V. It’s weird, mainly because (if you know me) I’ve been saying I would never replace it. Well, I replaced it, but that’s a story for another time.

tl;dr: I sold my car on craigslist!

2012.10.19

Great White

There’s a great post over on the Milwaukee Makerspace site about Milwaukee’s First Nerdy Derby, including some sweet video, but I’m mainly going to talk about my own cars here. :)

I spent a lot of time before BarCampMilwaukee7 getting ready for the event, but I also found a bit of time to fabricate a bunch of parts for people to build cars with, so I was down to the wire when it was time for me to make more cars. I already had Poundin’ Sand, my fully laser-cut car, but I wasn’t content to just have one car. (I had heard Jim R. from the Makerspace had five cars. He didn’t race that many, as I think one or two of them exploded during testing.)

My second car was titled “Great White” and was a 3D print of Mr. Jaws. I ended up kicking out some quick axle mounts in OpenSCAD and just hot gluing them to the bottom of Mr. Jaws. They probably weren’t on straight, but I didn’t take the time to care. In the category of 3D printed cars… I still came in second! Ed managed to build an amazing 3D printed car, and the worst (best?) part is, he pretty much had the same idea as I did, but he managed to succeed. (Print time and print failure were the two biggest concerns for both of us.) I ended up using stock wheels instead of the 3D printed wheels I made a few weeks earlier, which seems silly as I could have gone for a full-on 3D printed car… oh well.

RasterMobile!

My third car was the RasterMobile! which actually consisted of a block of wood from a real Pinewood Derby kit, turned sideways, with two holes drilled all the way through, and 5/16″ threaded rod with inline skate wheels attached. I had skate bearings that seemed to turn well, I had some weight and mass, and it was painted black with RasterWeb! stickers on it. What could go wrong!?

So how did my cars do? I didn’t expect much out of Great White, as it was really light, and the wheels were probably not completely straight. It rolled down the track, so that’s all I can report on that one. I still think it looked cool and was a neat idea. The RasterMobile! didn’t do as well as I expected. I thought it would fly down the track, and I suppose it did, but the mass of it probably slowed things down too much at the bottom. I did get a some satisfaction that Gary saw the skate wheels, ran to his car and ripped apart his inline skates just to try to beat me with my own idea. :) Oh, the RasterMobile! also had an accident where it jumped out of its lane, so that certainly didn’t help things.

So which car did the best? Surprisingly it was Poundin’ Sand that performed the best out of my three cars. I wasn’t sure the laser-cut wheels would be up to the task, and I questioned whether not gluing the 3 layers that comprised each wheel together was a good idea or not, but it did alright!

Poundin' Sand

There’s been talk of doing another race in the future, so I may not be done building tiny cars…

2012.09.04

Poundin' Sand

In my last post about my Nerdy Derby car, all you saw was a bunch of laser cut wood pieces… well, here’s the final car.

Poundin' Sand

It’s almost dimensionally the same as a standard Pinewood Derby car. The body is constructed out of panels that were laser cut rather than a block of wood. Because it’s hollow inside, I filled it with sand. Why not lead? Well, someone else is already doing a car out of lead. I also though about marbles or something else that would roll around inside. I also thought about making one with acrylic and filling it with water.

Poundin' Sand - Wheel

The bottom has two pieces of wood attached so I’d have something to pound the nail into to attach the wheels. I glued the two piece together and then drilled a hole between them. (The wood is just 3mm thick, so layering made sense.)

Poundin' Sand

I spaced the wheels the same for the front and back, so there really is no front or back… it’s the same either way. You’ll also notice I did a terrible job of placing the lettering. I just added it to the side panels without thinking about how the wheels would get in the way.

Poundin' Sand - Wheel

The wheels are also 3mm wood, and I’ve sandwiched three of them together to make each wheel 9mm wide. I was going to glue the layers together but I figured I’d just put them on and allow them to spin independently (if possible.)

If this car wins nothing besides the “laser cut wood filled with sand” category, I’m fine with that. I learned quite a bit in the process of building this, and if I build another car, I have some experience to build on. (I also managed to cut a big pile of wheels and have nails to fit them, so we can have supplies for people to make cars on the spot.)

Update: Files are now on Thingiverse.

2012.08.29

Poundin' Sand

If you saw my last post about the Nerdy Derby we are planning, you probably figured at some point you’d see a car. Well, here’s my progress so far.

I cut the pieces from 3mm Baltic Birch plywood using the 60 watt laser cutter at Milwaukee Makerspace. Even the wheels are laser cut. I have no idea how well it will work, but I’m all for experimentation.

I’ve heard at least one person claim they will be building a car body completely out of lead, but I figured I already have plenty of sand around my house, so I plan to fill my car with sand, hence the name “Poundin’ Sand” (some of the runners-up included “Carl Sandburg”, “Sandoval”, “Sandy Bottom”, and “Adam Sandler”, but since “pound sand” sometimes means to engage in a futile activity, I thought it was fitting.

Besides, I’ve already awarded all the style points to Frankie for his belly tanker even though he’s not done yet, come on, just look at it!

Besides the glue to hold it together, the nails to hold the wheels on, and the sand, the rest of my car is 100% laser cut wood. I’m also planning another car that is (nearly) 100% 3D printed plastic. I’ve got some work to do on that yet, though the wheels should be done this week.

(Update: See the completed car.)

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