Introduction: Classic Convertible Cardboard Electric Car.
Lately I've been making things out of cardboard & have made several vehicles, tanks, etc... but got thinking I had not made a convertible or had I ever seen one so I got to work. I wanted it to be rear wheel driven by an electric motor connected to a driveshaft by a pulley and rubberband. I wanted the rear axle to be driven by cardboard gears connected to the driveshaft. I had never attempted making gears out of cardboard so figured I'd give it a try. Also, I wanted it to have opening/closing suicide doors, working steering, and of course working headlights. All this is combination with the convertible top I knew was going to be quite a time consuming challenge but I guess that's always the case with something not seen before.
Step 1: Cutting Cardboard Gears. Making Chassis.
I began by printing out gears using a very useful online tool called gear generator. I cut a smaller gear to attach to the end of the driveshaft and a larger gear that the rear axle would pass through. I had heavy cardstock & had to cut 3 of each gear & used elmers glue to glue them together which made a surprisingly strong gear. I then began working on the chassis starting with the frame rails. I held them together using tiny clothspins as I drilled holes for wheel axles. I also did the same for the center frame rail pieces & drilled a hole in those which the driveshaft would pass through.
Step 2: Mounting Electric Motor, Battery Box & Rear Axle.
Next I mounted the pulley to the front of the driveshaft under the motor. I then built a structure to support the motor & lined the pulley on the motor & shaft up & hot glued it in place. Then I secured it in place using a nylon tie. I drilled a hole into the smaller cardboard gear and slid it over the rear driveshaft gluing it in place. I then drilled a hole into the larger gear & passed the rear axle through it. I meshed the gears up properly & then glued the larger gear in place on the rear axle. I glued little hole punched washers on the axle inside each side of the framerail to keep axle in place & gears meshing properly allowing a little wiggle room for it to work properly. I wired the battery box in & tested & had to trim a bit on the gears to get them working fairly smoothly.
Step 3: Making the Wheels.
Now I began working on the wheels. I used a compass to draw the right sized circles on the cardstock & cut out 2 for each wheel. I then cut a piece of corrugated cardboard to place between those. I used toothpicks for the spokes & cut them proper length then slid them through the corrugated cardboard & glued in place. Then I used the smaller center hubs I'd cut out of cardboard & hot glued one on each side of the central spokes which makes for a very sturdy wheel.
Step 4: Steering Box.
Now with the wheels finished and rear wheels mounted I began work on the front steering. First time I had made a steering mechanism so I just figured it out as I went. I used small nails and plastic bushings pushed over the nails and glued in place to make everything stay in place.
Step 5: Installing Front Wheels to Steering Box.
Now it was time to install the front wheels. I think the images can show this better than I could ever hope to with words.
Step 6: Installing Front Steering to Chassis.
Next it was time to fasten the front steering box & wheels to the chassis & make sure everything was working smooth & straight.
Step 7: Adding Steering Column Linkage.
Once again I was in uncharted territory with how exactly would be best to make the steering work from a steering wheel inside the car. The solution I came up with turned out to be really simple & again the pictures show it better than I could hope to ever describe it. It took lots of tweaking to get it working smoothly but eventually I was satisfied with how it was working.
Step 8: Painting Chassis, Adding 3rd Battery.
Before I could begin working on the body of the car, I had to paint the chassis. I painted it & also ended up adding a 3rd AA battery since the car needed a bit more power. I fixed a simple rotating craftstick setup to hold the batteries in place.
Step 9: Starting on the Body & Doors.
Finally work could begin on the body. I began by cutting the side panels & worked on making the doors open and close supporting them where needed with small craftsticks. Then I made little door handle levers to keep the doors latched close.
Step 10: Building Covertible Top Frame.
After getting doors working properly. I started making the folding top frame. I used small nails and plastic retainers cut from plastic as I did the steering mechanism to hold all in place. I fixed the top frame to where it could simply slide down over the sides of the windshield frame to stay firmly in place.
Step 11: Adding Cloth Top.
I had various ideas for the type of material I was going to use for the top & ended up simply using an old shirt I had. First I made a back glass using a piece of plastic and black paper. I cut the cloth to the right size & hot glued it on the top frame in small spots leaving it slack to open and close smooth. I cut a small hole out of the cloth over the rear glass & hot glued the cloth down around it.
Step 12: Bodywork & Adding Steering Wheel & Windshield.
Looking much more like a car now.
Step 13: Making & Wiring in the Headlights.
I made the headlight housings using cardstock & hot glued led's into place. I used this green plastic sheet I had for the lens which I had also used to make the windshield. The placement of the headlights proved real difficult since it was hard to make the front steering wheels miss hitting them.
Step 14: Seats & Convertible Top.
I made the seats using cardboard & cloth from the shirt I had used for the top. I secured the rear seat in so as it would help hold the top in place when both opened and closed.
Step 15: Almost Ready to Take for a Spin.
Step 16: Showroom & Taking It for a Test Drive.
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