For this year's car I had the idea to make a full size replica of an arcade machine. But the key feature would be to have the machine playable. So I got a pile of wood, an old TV, and a plu-and-play Pac-Man game and locked myself in the garage for a few weeks.
This Instructable will walk you through the steps to create your own version of this car.
Step 1: Materials and Supplies
- 3/4 inch plywood
- 2X4 studs
- 1/4 plywood
- two 36" 5/16 threaded rods (with nuts and washers)
- two 36" square tubing
- go-cart steering kit including spindles and brackets (check on eBay)
- Metal Mesh or screen
- Various screws
- nuts and bolts
- water-based enamel paints
- 1 sheet of eigth inch clear acrylic plastic
- There are a million different things needed for this project. I'l mention them as I go along.
- Plug-and-play Video Game Unit
Step 2: Body
Next, draw a side piece onto a sheet of 3/4" plywood with pencil. Cut it out using a jigsaw. Use that piece as a pattern to trace onto a second sheet of plywood and cutout.
Using decking screws attached the two sides to the deck. This creates the basic sledge of the SBD car.
This is a good time to create the marque section. Two sections of plywood make the top and bottom of the marquee housing. You can secure the bottom section in place now but leave the top piece off for now since more needs to be done to it for the front grill of the car. 1/4X1/4 wooden sticks can be used to create the sill of the marquee by gluing in place.
Step 3: Steering
Once everything is welded, drill holes in the side of the car and insert the axle. In order for the steering rod to reach from the spindle to the steering column you'll need to drill large holes in the sides. So attach the spindles to the brackets and mark where those large holes need to be. Once they are drilled out, use a file/rasp to smooth out the edges of the holes.
Secure the axle in place against the deck with U bolts. If you can find square U bolts then I'm jealous because I could not find any of the appropriate size. So I just used round.
To connect the steering spindle to the steering column bracket it is a complicated series of threaded rods, turnbuckles, eyebolts, andbolts. It's kind of difficult to explain so I drew a picture if it and attached. You'll get the idea or can improvise based on your own design. Just wander around the hardware store until you find stuff that will work.
Step 4: TV Monitor and Game System
Just take note of the angle of the game surface and make mounts for the TV within the SBD car. If you use a flat screen TV, and have the TV mounting bracket, then you're golden. Use that to secure the TV from moving. The rest can just support the TV in the right position. I used a cross member beam and two supporting pieces.
Cut a piece of plywood to use as the gameing surface. The size of your TV will determine the size and shape of the opening. Trace the game unit and cut a hole to insert the game unit.
Step 5: Paint
Prime the entire car with a water-based stainblocking primer.
Paint the inside black and the outside yellow. Since the car will be stood up when it's played you should paint the bottom too so there is a finished look to the car. One detail that you shouldn't miss is that the edges of the cabinet are orange. Use a paint roller to apply orange paint ot the edges.
Step 6: Brakes
Step 7: Details and Graphics
To recreate this on your soapbox derby car it's best to make a stencil/pattern. Download the image files from the website I recommended in the Tools and Materials step. Using MS Paint, print them out, on multiple pages, in fill size. Color is optional (as you can see from the images below I ran out of color ink in the middle of printing. But this is no biggie.
Once you have the pages printed out start taping them together to get the full size image. Carefully cut out the major shapes to create a stencil. Trace them onto the side of the SBD car lightly with pencil.
Use acrylic paints to complete the side graphics.
Step 8: Marquee
The design can be painted using acrylics. But to get the best affect, it is best to paint the back-side of the glass. So you'll work backwards. Start with the black outline and layer the other colors after that. Also, make sure the image is backward. Print it out and trace the black outline using a Sharpie paint marker (I found these to work much better than paint and brush). Once the black dries, start flooding the rest with yellow, blue, and red. When everything is dry, spray the whole thing white. Then from the front it will be perfectly smooth design.
Mount the finished marquee using glazing points (little metal things that hold window panes into their frames)
Step 9: Grill
Step 10: Sponsorships
Once they send you the logo stickes, place them on the side of your car. To make sure they are applied neatly, make a guideline with some masking tape.
- Best Buy, Inc. 1-888-237-8289
- SiriusXM Radio 1-866-635-2349
- Five Guys Enterprises 703-339-9500
Step 11: Battery Pack
But this set-up looks terrible. And you run the risk of some s**t-head little kid grabbing the terminals on race day. Plus, the battery contains liquid acid and lead so it's really heavy. So you'll want to build a housing for the battery that has wheels. Cut four sides out of plywood that is a few inches taller than the battery (so that there is room for the hook-ups). Then add a bottom and a lid with hinges. Put some casters on the bottom so you can move it around easily. I added a handle (from a snow shovel) so I could easily move the unit around. Then, trick it out Ghostbusters style! Ghostbusters and Pac-Man have a common enemy. So why not create a cool hipster mashup by combining them.