Introduction: Tiny Wooden Car Build - Road to Guinness

About: I build things with kids ages 10~16 in an afterschool program. I hope that I can continue to create instructables to inspire others Buy things on Amazon? Amazon donates a small percentage of your order t…

Update 9/8/18: Uploaded new video with walk around of tiny car

Update 8/8/18: Added 2 pictures to the intro section with the car finally outside on a nice summer day. This two pictures are of the car completely done with all DOT required items installed.

Update 7/12/18: Added 24 pictures to Step 19 - Windshield & Hand-driven Wiper Section.

Update 7/10/18: 9 new pictures added to the first section showing the car's finish. 2 pictures added to the electronics section. Pictures with the glass mounted added and finished. Wipers still need to be installed to the windshield after the finish cures.

A small panel cover needs to be built and then installed in order to cover exposed misc. wiring for turn signals, tail lights, and horn. Gas tank cover needs to be painted. (Both of these are more for aesthetic purposes.) Filling out application step one for inspection from the DMV. Will take paperwork, receipts, car, etc. in after wipers have been mounted.

Update 7/6/18: There is a funky error with some pictures turning upside down for some reason, however when you zoom in the picture is in the correct orientation. Thought I had it fixed but is bad for some reason.

Update 7/5/18: Updated some pictures today. Its still been very rainy however the body has been sealed. I will upload some pictures over the next few days showing some finish work. Pictures added to Step 1, 3, 20, 22.

The purpose of this instructable is to document the process used for making a tiny vehicle and to also acknowledge the Jr. High Students in Omaha, Nebraska that put forth tremendous effort to getting this project realized. This instructable is basically a scaled woodworking project combined with aspects of automotive mechanics, engine / mechanical work, welding, and modification. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. The gentleman who currently holds the Guinness World Record for the Smallest roadworthy car is Austin Coulson; with a car of 25" inches wide x 25.75" inches tall x 49.75" inches long. As soon as this project is done, it will be submitted accordingly before the end of summer school.

FYI: I am not an artisan woodworker. I would probably place this project somewhere between beginner and intermediate with a lot of steps and it is much larger in size. It's a long process, but nothing that requires someone to be an expert. Just dedication, time, and acknowledgement the danger of tools and common sense on being safe. Do research and of course practice techniques in order to improve. With that being said, enjoy!

Step 1: Metal Work Part 1: Cutting Rear Axles and Starting to Weld Them Back.

I debated on whether to enter this instructable into the "make it move" or the "woodworking" contests. While this instructable is a large amount of woodworking, the concept of making a car does not have to be wood work. Especially since the body can be made out of whatever you want. The concepts are the same. I did want to thorough about what needs to be done so hopefully I included enough information for someone else to do something similar or to build a similar project.

Tools needed:

Grinder with cut off wheel

Chop saw with metal cutting wheel

Metal hose clamp used on car hoses (can get from Autozone or other car parts store). This needs to be able to fit the diameter of your axle

Measuring tape



Welders Mask

Part 1: Cutting down the rear axles This is how to take a donor ATV or go kart and modify it by cutting down the axles.

Step 2: Metal Work Part 1.5: Lap Welding Rear Axles

Welding on the rear axles.

Tools needed:


Steel nipples used for pipe (interior diameter needs to fit the exterior diameter of your axles) These will be collars

A magnet might be useful or angled stock to use as a guide

A marker

Welders mask


Take your time. We are improving the strength of your previous weld but putting a butt weld over the original weld. Considering this used to be one solid piece of steel when we cut it, it is always good to make something bullet proof if possible.

Step 3: Metal Work Part 2: Modding Upper & Lower Control Arms

How to cut down and modify your upper and lower control arms and how to prevent them from binding. There is basic geometry involved with their travel. If you are going to cut down the upper you have to cut down the lower. Since the donor atv has never been disassembled before, expect bolts to be a little tough since they have been attached factory tight. They may need some persuading.

Make sure you remove any bushings before welding or you will accidentally melt them if they are made out of plastic or rubber. More cutting and welding obviously.

Step 4: Metal Work Part 3: Making the Steering Wheel

This step is noted as Metal work Part 3, but on Youtube its noted as part 4 for the tiny car build. Part 3 was a woodworking video please don't be confused. It will show up later. It is important to keep in mind you may have to start doing the mock up of your body so you will know where your steering linkage can be and what angle you will need to achieve for your design to look proportionate and also to function. This took me several attempts.

Steering and Linkage

I built three different steering wheels. The first one looked like an air-pilot control steering wheel shown in the first picture. It worked great but I had issues with the arms coming down striking the inner body so I rebuilt a different style. The second one I made was the one in the video. Metal frame encased in plastic. Was a good idea at the time, but wore out as the plastic would spin freely on the metal frame. The steering wheel has been modified since this last video.

The third steering wheel I completely made out of steel and then wrapped it in para cord after filling it in. It is made out of 1" inch conduit pipe cut into small sections and then re-welded into a circle. 18 pieces in total. The arms that attach the steering wheel to the mount are two small box wrenches cut down with the closed ends welded to the mount. I included a picture of it. I will try to create a new video showing how I made this if anyone has any questions. The most time consuming part is cutting the pieces and forming a circle. It will take time. If you cut them about 90% off but leave them attached by slivers you can form your circle using pliers and then you will only need to tack weld it back together.

The linkage for the steering itself are tool u joints. I thought about using car or truck u joints that work in the same manner. For the speeds I will be working with, tool grade steel is sufficient. However I would never recommend using a tool u joint on a full-size car.

Step 5: Design/Make Your Plan

Find what kind of design you want to build. Make a realistic budget for yourself. Something you can afford casually. Determine what you will need, how much you are willing to spend, and what resources and tools you have available. Or if there are people you can borrow tools or services from if necessary. For the basic design I found a woodworking project that a guy sells online. I will not give his design, however I modified it enough to show what I did for mine. These wooden toys are just a bunch of combined shapes that make up the full shape of your car. You can design your own, if you don't want to buy online. But if you are going to have to buy the wood anyway. $7 dollars for the plan won't break the bank.

I originally found some plans from AOBi workshop. I am not affiliated with that company in any way, however I did want to credit him for his work. You can find it on google. His plans I won't share since I do not own the rights, however since I ended up doing my own build, I will put up the dimensions of what I used. Out of the plans that Aobi offered, the two cars I really liked the most were the Ford Roadster and the Model T. I have one of his pictures shown above. There are several YouTube videos that show others making several of these as well as some custom designs. If you are interested in that direct style I would recommend either buying or doing some research, or reverse engineer. Or you can use the custom template I made for my project.

My plans:

I included some general templates for making a rough shape. Depending upon if you want or don't want fenders, fairings, windshields, doors, you will need to modify or create your own, or search for other plans.

Step 6: Determine the Types of Wood You Will Use

There are many different types of wood. All of them have different strengths, characteristics, prices, etc. There are probably other people on the instructables website that can address this better than I can. I am not a true woodworker. If you show me a board, I can tell you whether its warped or not or if it is cedar by smell there is not much else I can really share.

The cheapest wood that will be available to you will most likely pine, plywood, common, oak, or cedar. The reason why I have chosen these is that it is fairly common to find these salvage if you have a very tight budget. You can buy scraps from your local hardware store (75%) off. They have a bin they keep it in. Home depot marks them in purple. Pallets make a good source of wood. You can find them for free if you ask stores. Most places throw them away. Pay attention to what or where they may have come from. Fertilizer and pesticide pallets could be hazardous if you breath it in when cutting the wood. Also inspect your wood for rot and quality.

If you buy it, plywood is relatively cheap. Pine, common board, or white wood will probably be the cheapest. Its ok. Its cheap. Common board and white wood does not do well if it gets wet. Usually swells or warps. You will need to seal it. If you look at my other instructable for the wooden big wheel (aka Wooden Wheels of Freedom), that was predominately made of plywood, white wood studs and then sanded down to make shape. If it hadn't been sealed or it would warped and fallen apart rather quickly when it got wet or been in humid weather.

I chose common board and white wood for my project and sealed it with clear boat resin.

Step 7: Tools You Will Possibly Need:

Some of the tools you will need for a wood working project are:

Saw/coping saw

hammer or mallet

drill with drill bits

various size clamps


dowels (to create joints)

measuring tape

sand paper

paint brush for polyurethane, stain, or clear coat finish

a level would be helpful

possibly a square

a file or two.

cardboard (yes I consider it a tool and a material)

exacto knife for cutting cardboard

a good pencil with eraser

a compass for measurements and making circles may be useful


This project can be done with the most basic tools. While having electric (power) tools would make things go quicker and possibly remove the margin of error. I enjoy using hand tools and reinforce that skill with my students so they can: 1) learn to appreciate the use of a power tool & 2) know what to do when they don't have access to power tools and need to get a job done. 3) earned a life skill.

Power tools that would make life easier:

Chop saw, miter saw,

band saw, jig saw, or scoll saw

belt sander or hand sander

Note: I haven't listed anything regarding the metal work of this project (welder, grinder, etc.) since I felt it wasn't necessary to include along with a woodworking project. I will however create a separate instructable on how to modify a frame in order to build this type of project.

Step 8: Sketch or Print It, and Then Collect Your Cardboard (Optional, But a Good Idea)

Whether, you bought or found some plans, now would be a good time to print them out. You can usually scale them up under your print settings on Word, and adobe pdf files, etc. Under the page, sizing, and handling tab, you will see the poster tab. Click the poster tab. You can tile scale your document, by however may times you need it to be. 100 is the normal size of the document. If you can find out how big your plans were for, you can multiply in order to get the dimensions you need. 100% = 8 inches long; then 800% would equal? 64 inches long. You are looking for general (rough) dimensions. You can always make something smaller or slightly bigger later.

Then, get all of that scrap cardboard you can find. You can usually find paper or fruit boxes from work or from the store, no problem. A lot of places throw it away or recycle it. If you ask, it shouldn't be too difficult to find. Or buy it from the store if you can't find any. Typically prices at home depot aren't bad.

You will tape your print outs or sketches to the card board and then cut them out in order to make templates for you to work with. These will give you a general idea of the size of every piece you will be working with. The Cardboard templates will be transferred to wood. Some people can skip this step. I like cardboard because it is rigid. You can stand it up and piece it together. Paper rips more easily and doesn't necessarily stand on its own unless you use tape or other means.

Try to cut your templates as accurate as possible. Its also a good idea to translate this onto wood as soon as possible or keep your templates in a safe place. Cardboard can also fold, crease, and warp giving you an inaccurate template or measurement.

After cutting out the templates, start doing your mock up using clamps or tape, or whatever else you have to hold them into place. Take lots of pictures for reference. This will give you a rough idea of what it will look during several positions. You wont have to remember what it looks like since you have several pictures to compare what worked and what didn't or what needs to be fixed. Find a friend or get a camera with a timer to take pictues with you in it.

Step 9: Mock Up Stage & Build a Reference Library

These are several pictures of beginning mock up stage. I took one picture static with the cardboard alone. Then I took two with me on it, with the body on the outside, and one with the body on the inside. Continue with your mock up phase. Make Modifications if you are not satisfied. Cut out more pieces and assemble your cardboard.

Get reference material. Look on the internet too. Go to a local car show. Take pictures. This is a better method since you get better or desired angles. You may or may not get the cars your looking for though.

Step 10: Building the Hood and Front Quarter Panels

I used two 1x6" common boards to build the hood. The hood is made from two of these sandwiched together between some 2" x 4"s to give it rigidity as I put small cut down slats of the same 1" x 6" common board. Make sure when you glue these strips down you have them going with the same direction. I made my go with the grain (across the long portion of the hood. Note: You can inspect your strips for the character in the grain initially. Depending upon how you arrange them can make a really awesome pattern. After nailing and gluing the first one in place, we added a strip at a time on both sides and then clamped them into place. We made a total of four of these. Why did we make four? To allow for common margin of error, variation in length, width, etc. If we only keep one and have 2 extra designs we don't plan on using we can experiment with paint, stain, burning, and not have to start over again.

The hood that we kept is 10" inches wide x 10.5" inches tall. There is a 3" inch drop on the curve on the top. So the peak center measures 10" inches from the bottom and cut the sides on a curve that meet 3" inches down on your original 1" x 6" board. You might be thinking if you used a 1" x 6" how did it equal 10" inches wide? I added wood to it.

Use tape to hold into place. Clamps aren't overly great in this case because of the curve. Your other option is to partially hammer in small nails just to the side of the board to create tension between the slats will hold them into place as they dry. When you get done doing the complete top, you will need your sander to make this top smooth. Eye protection and a well ventilated area will be in your favor. The sides are made of the same deal. I used one solid 1/4" sheet initially and then glued more of the strips on the sides to add a balanced width. And then added another 1" x 6" to the side of that. The gap you see in the front of the hood was were it needed to be cut due to the wheels wanting to rub in the front and rear when the tire turns. This is something you will want to inspect as you add more width.

After making the majority of the hood. You can remove some if not most of the 2x4's that hold the front and back pieces. You should still take care when handling the piece. If you drop it, you risk breaking something. It might be a good idea to keep the 2x4's in until you are ready to install them onto the body.

Step 11: Building the Front Fenders

The front fenders were made similar to that of the template that I used, however I made a slight variation to their angle. The tires that i used were 15" diameters so i needed something that had a much larger radius. You can use this basic shape by drawing onto cardboard and then cutting it out. Hold it up to your wheel and tire and check for your desired body line. When you are satisfied you will cut multiple pieces out of 1"x10" pr 1"x12" wood and then glue the sides together and sand done for a nice finish. Both sides had 8x - pre cut 1"x10" fender pieces which I glued together and then sanded to shape.

I included a video for the basic joining. It is titled Road to Guinness Part 3: Body work and joining pieces. It will show you the basic use for joining dowels with using a dowel kit and then gluing.

Step 12: Building Quarter, Quarter Panels

I am not sure what exactly to call these pieces. I made them since they created extra dimension. This piece isn't normally on a ford roadster it would be more closely related to the spare wheel on a mg classic, however I did not have enough space in-between the tires to actually put an extra tire. I originally thought about making a smaller one out of wood, but changed my mind since again I did not have enough space to do that either. I made this piece since it gave the car some extra dimension, adds a piece I could actually mount the side section of the car to, and would work as a dash for me to eventually mount the controls to.

I built this using cardboard and matching the curve I made on the top side of the fender. This piece consists of 6x pieces of 1"x6" glued together and sanded down on all sides. It has dowels on three sides. One side to mount to the hood body, one side to slot into the fender and several on the outside to match with the body.

Step 13: Mock Up for the Rear Part of the Body

Again using your trusty cardboard try to create the body line you want. I tried to create a line that was similar to the hood and gradually curved down across the back. The curvature on the back was a little too boxy so I gradually shaved it off until it created the desired curve I was looking for. You will also need to cut holes for you tires.

When trying to cut this template I would suggest starting with the sides (bottom of the sides). Use a large piece to outline the tires. Cut out the sections that have the shape of the tires and then start to determine the height and how far back and forward from the wheel. You can trace this piece onto another piece of cardboard and then the sides will be complete.

Cutting your top piece of the cardboard in order to marry the pieces into a 3D cardboard template. I took some cardboard the rough width I was looking for and made very thin slits in one side of the cardboard in order to get the cardboard to fold, but not tear. and gradually taped it down on the sides in order to create the piece. If you look closely at the pictures you can see the slits. They were only on the top side of the cardboard. Be very careful while doing this.

Step 14: Building the Supports to Hold Up the Main Body.

I created several cross supports and bridges to support the rear half of the body. Two 2"x 4" bridge the rebar seat support. Four dowels go down through the body from the first bridge, down into the inner runners of the main body. Several dowels also marry this cross supports to the outside parts of the rear body I cut from 1" x 12" common boards.

One rear cross supports 2" x 4" supports the back half and is notched through 2x - 1" x 6" boards into the back section of the car. This doesn't provide tremendous support, however will disperse some of the weight. It will assist in supporting the rear half (the downward curvature) over the back of the tires making the rear part of the car.

It isn't important for this inner body piece to be connected. I actually had to remove the section on the inside above the brake pedal if you view the piece of the passenger side. I couldn't fit my calf into the car or had issues removing my foot. Depending on the size of the person intending to drive this, functionality before form is more important. Unless you want a tiny trailer queen. (<- Car that you never drive, but is most beautiful to look at.

Step 15: Making the Rear Half of the Car's Body Panels

The first three pictures are of several different bodies I was debating on using. The one made out of cardboard with the cardboard windshield was the one I ultimately decided on. After, you decide which design you wish to use make the shape out of cardboard and transfer it onto the largest board you have available. There is no point in trying to make it fit onto something too small unless you plan to piece panels together similar to that of the hood.

You will line these two pieces up with the side and cross supports and dowel or screw them together. Again I would recommend dowels since wood is flexible; screws tear under heavy flexing. I used 10 dowels to connect each side to the supports (excluding the pieces that would make up the trunk section of the car).

I attached an image of the general shape you will be using. Its in the shape of a breadbox or mailbox. The circle is to account for where your tire will be positioned, however it can be shifted depending upon the frame that you are using.

Car Rear-end (Trunk area)

This was made with very thing strips cut from a 1" x 6" board. These strips were less than a 1/4" inch thick. Maybe closer to 1/16 but not exactly. They were glued to the sides of the car and conjoined in-between. The interior was fiber-glassed together in order to make it a little more rigid. I also used cardboard shims in some sections in order to level it in some areas. Very small copper nails held it initially into place. Holes were filled with wood bondo filler and sanded smooth.

Step 16: Test Fitting, Undo... Test Fitting, Undo... Final Assembly! FINAL ANSWER NO TAKE BACKS When Gluing.

You will want to test fit all of your pieces whenever you add a new piece or modify a piece that is already on the body. I lost count, but I began to get aggravated by the number of times I had to test fit everything together, undo, and then back together. When writing this instructable, the car has 196 pieces with the grill not mounted yet. Most of these pieces were conjoined together in order to form larger pieces before the final fitting. An example would be the hood, the fenders, etc. Be sure of what you want to make permanent before having to risk cutting something off if you run into clearance, fitting, or incorrect alignment issues.

This is also a great time to use a level or invest in one if you don't have one. Check your table or surface your working on. If the table is not level, your work will also reflect the improper levelness (Didn't think this was a word, but spell check ok-ed it).

Another method you could use is the measuring tape method. Measure from the ground up. Make sure the heights are the same. The lengths where they connect are the same or roughly about the same. Check cross measurements. Measure in an 'X' shape to make sure everything is square. If everything is level and you are happy with how it looks, then you can proceed to gluing major components.

This is also a good opportunity to take lots of pictures and make any last minute decisions, before you may have to undo anything major.

Step 17: Done Checking? Now GLUE (No Takebacks!)

I really liked Elmers Wood Glue Max. I thought it had a great consistency. Has wood in it. Used for interior and exterior. Blends well with basic woods that I used. Easy clean up. I used Titebond III. I thought it was great too. I bought some of these when i couldn't find the Elmer's at the store because I bought it all. :(

Things to consider:

Think about the project you're working on. If it is going to be an exterior use project, exterior use glue is important. The word 'Exterior' will be written on the bottle. Most likely the front. If it doesn't say it, most likely it is interior use only.

Before gluing anything. Check all of your surfaces for defects or to confirm clean surfaces for joining members. Fill in any unwanted holes, scratches, or dents as they will become extremely hard to get into when you form tight crevices when stuff is attached to other stuff.

Tools to make things easier.

If you don't have any clamps, I would recommend you buy some. They are great for supporting or holding stuff together even when you aren't gluing stuff. If you only intended on buying one, I would probably buy the largest one you could afford. Small clamps are cheap. Harbor freight clamps are OK at best. The plastic ones are garbage. I used these on projects prior to this project and they just ended up falling apart, breaking, and making me sad or frustrated. Several of my students have broken these as well. I recommend buying some decent clamps within your budget. The metal ones from harbor freight aren't bad. More often than not the flat swivel part of the clamp ends up falling off after considerable use. It will get you by if need be. They are only about $3, which isn't bad. $3 for a 6" inch or 12" inch clamp. This price may vary depending upon what area you live in, but worth looking into and trying for yourself.

If you plan on doing woodwork long term, they will pay for themselves. They are also great for cutting wood when you don't have a friend nearby to hold the wood steady for you. If you still want to buy the cheap ones. Buy at-least one good clamp. That way you will always have one that will last. Note: Clamps are also cheaper when you buy them in a 2 or 4 pack. Look before just buying one. For about $20~26 you will get 4 really good clamps. This will average about $5 ~$6ish per clamp. This are great. I haven't broken one yet if you use them as directed. I have melted a clamp a long time ago when I couldn't find any C-clamps for welding metal. It was my own fault, not the clamps fault. Didn't have anything available at the time and needed to get a job done. Luckily it was a harbor freight clamp and not a high dollar one.

Recommended Dry Time: On the back of the bottle look for the recommended set time or drying time. After gluing and joining pieces, I had the students wait about 18~24 hours before continuing on. Start with the hood and fenders, then quarter panels, rear supports and bracing and finally the rear side panels and trunk.

If you don't want to join things together with glue, you can alternatively use screws. You do have options.

Step 18: Car Seat

After your body is mostly assembled, you are ready to mount the seat on top. I wanted the seat to be slightly inset in order to reduce the height. The dimensions for the current record for smallest car is 25" tall x 25.75 wide x 49.75 long. We need to stay within these dimensions.

I cut a piece of cardboard roughly 18.75" wide x 11" deep with a very slight curve towards the back of the seat to follow the body line and to fit inside the body itself. I installed the second 2x4 stud on the back section of the cross brace and used a mallet to get it in. (a very tight fit. should probably use some glue when I am ready to fit this in permanently.)

I fit the cardboard in. It was a perfect shape. The only issue is the hand brake touches the passenger side of the seat. I will need to create a notch in the seat to have the full swing on the handbrake and also to engage the parking brake.

I cut down a 1"x6" piece to 18.75" long. In the picture, the measuring tape shows 5.5" inches. That is a 1x6" board. It comes like that from the store. I use two of those to make the front half and the back half of the seat. 2x 5.5" = 11" which is what I need. After placing them in position of the seat, I checked clearance. Clearance was fine, but the area was slightly unlevel. I sanded the boards where the seat would rest and then joined these two pieces of 1" x 6" board together. Use the size drill bit for the size dowels you will use. Use the steel pointed nipple (joining alignment tool? not sure what this is called) To line up your pilot holes. Drill your secondary holes and put in the dowels. Drill two more holes repeat using the joining alignment tool to create the secondary holes to align more dowels.

Once you have enough dowels to connect these two pieces ( I believe I used 6) glue inside of the holes on both sides and then install the dowels into place. Join the two pieces of wood together and then try to find suitable sized clamps to hold the two boards on the outside and in the middle. It would also be recommended to wipe away excess glue so you don't have to sand a lot later. I also wrote the word down on one side so I could remember which side was meant to face down. Not a huge issue since the seat will be upholstered, but still something to note.

I also created a seat back rest, that stands about 3" inches tall. Wait for the initial board you glued together to dry before drilling and attempting to attach the backrest.

Step 19: Windshield & Hand-driven Wiper

DOT Requirements

Per DOT, the windshield has to exist as well as a functioning wiper. In some states you can mitigate this requirement by wearing a motorcycle helmet that has a visor. It must be shatterproof / resistant to a degree in the situation of an accident, that it will not burst into huge sharp pieces and cut the driver. I am going to use poly-carbonate. The thickness will vary. I have several sources where I can purchase this from. This can be affordable if you buy scrap or expensive if you need to buy a full sheet depending upon the thickness.

General info about polycarbonate: Polycarbonate is a tough, transparent plastic material with outstanding strength, stiffness, and impact resistance. ... General purpose polycarbonate sheet has a polished surface, is UV stabilized, and is often used in glazing applications. It features outstanding impact strength and superior dimensional stability.

The plan is to make the windshield in the same manner as the rest of the car. To frame in out of wood and mount it to the front tops with a slight angle as not to increase the height of the car. When writing this instructable, I am debating between an one piece and three piece windshield which is why I put a basic design of both. While the 3-piece rendering in paint looks very crappy try to imagine a more smooth transition between the center piece and the side pieces. Similar to that of a boat windshield.

Windshield Build Continued

One Piece

The first 3 actual build pictures are of a mock up of what the 1-piece windshield would look like. I used 2" x 2" inch pieces just to get a general idea of positioning and what it would look like. After making this, 2" inches is too thick in my opinion. If I decide to continue with the 1-piece windshield, I would use the table saw to cut a notch for the polycarbonate panel to fit into a 1" x 6" inch piece and then piece the frame around and then glue it together in a similar manner. The single piece windshield would be far easier to build and a more simplified design.

So I made a better mock windshield using cut down 1x6" inch boards as you can see the progression in the pieces. After gluing it together I decided immediately this was what I was going to go with. Since I have a table saw I was able to cut the inset for the polycarbonate panel on the three sides before gluing it together. Its a very tight fit. When cutting this channel I tried to keep the saw blade rough center when cutting and then offset the blade by a 1/16th of an inch to make it wide enough. If you don't have a table saw you can do with a circular saw, but you need to adjust the height of your blade and cut the channel first with a guide, clamped 2x4 square or whatever else you may have lying around. Cut your channel first by raising the guide up on your circular saw to barely cut into the board. Adjust your guide or draw your cut line and then cut off the board.

Three Piece

I went ahead and built the one piece instead of the three piece. If i were going to build a 3-piece I would construct a prism (3D triangle), but it would need to be a right triangle. One side of the triangle needs to form a 90 degree angle. This would be on the side facing the steering wheel. The rest of the construction would be the same. Make all your supports, cut a notch using your table saw or circular saw prior to cutting it off for safety.

Hand-driven Wiper

So the hand driven wiper is just two blocks with the wiper mounted inside. I built it like a panto-graph with a small handle on top that can be shifted left and right to move the wipers. The hardware to mount the wipers are two bolts. I added 24 pictures for this section to follow along.

I bought a new set of wipers to put on my vehicle. Then took my old ones off to put onto the tiny car. It only used one of the wipers and I still had quite a bit left of the one that I cut. I measured the height of the windshield frame and then cut a block shorter than that so it could naturally swing when mounted. The block was about 2" wide by 5 inches tall. I cut the board in half so I would have a one inch width.

I dismantled one of the wipers by taking off the blue end cap. I remember there being metal inserts in these, but these were made of hard plastic. They must have changed the model or only use those on the slightly cheaper wipers. Inside of the duralast wiper is a sleeve, the plastic tray that the wiper actually mounts to and the rubber wiper. If you look at the picture you can see all the pieces.

I cut a notch with the table saw 1/4" wide by maybe 1/8~1/4" deep. I test fitted the mount tray for the wiper inside. It was very snug. I cut down the tray and then inserted it and used a flat tipped screw driver to make sure it was completely seated. I cut down the rubber for the wiper and used hot glue from a hot glue gun to hold it all together. The wipers are very firmly mounted into place. I am very happy with how this turned out. Most likely the wipers will outlast everything else on the car.

When mounting the cross bar for the wipers, you must make sure that your wipers are both turned as far to one side as possible for this to work. They will end up binding if you don't. After mounting the cross bar, I created a little handle to drive the set up and used a dowel pin to hold it into place. I also burned the piece too even though it doesn't show in the picture. I forgot to take a picture of it. If you have any questions regarding this section let me know.

Step 20: Grill

For the Grill I held a 1" x 12" board to the front of my hood and traced a line. I slowly began to cut away at the sides, top, and corners until I got the rough shape that I wanted. I drew a traditional cut out for the hood and decided to disect it with a vertical support to have a functional grill and allow some air to blow through to the engine. I drilled some holes in the corners with a spade bit, not shown and then I used a jig saw to cut on the line to have my openings.

(I will add on a little bit more to this section tonight when I finish the grill.)

Step 21: Electronics

Before you start to install your electronics, I highly advise you to find a wiring diagram for your donor vehicle. Assuming that your wiring harness and all the electronics came with your engine/donor vehicle the only thing left for you to buy are a set of headlights, turn signals, new tail lights(if desired), wire, male/female connectors, wire stripper/crimper tool, electrical tape, a 10 amp fuse with socket, and the ends to connect to the battery.

In the picture above, I did a mock up early on with some halogen headlights I previously had from another project. While I wanted the housings, I didn't want the lights. Halogen lights give off a lot of heat, they use a lot of electricity, and they create a more yellowish orange light. Not what I want. I would recommend LED lights of some sort. They use less electricity than halogen, LED's are one way only hence (light emitting diode), don't require any sockets just standard wiring.

In the mock up picture, I have one light fixture just sitting on the passenger fender to get a rough idea where I wanted to drill. I marked it in pencil so I could easily erase it later if I changed my mind. Don't drill anything yet until you are ready to permanently attach them to the body. It will save yourself from having to repair the sections you thought would be there and then have to change it later one.

I drilled two holes in the back trunk area large enough for the led wiring plug to fit through by using a 3/4" spade bit (looks like a shovel). This was after I measured and traced where I wanted were going to be positioned.

Wiring Turn Signals

Turn Signals are fairly straight forward. If you view the example wiring diagram for the turn signals, you have a positive lead coming from either the ignition switch or the battery. The ignition switch is recommended so you don't accidentally wear out your battery when your car isn't on. In the example, it only shows one set of lights off of the relay, however you can wire a second set off the right and left terminals in order to get both front and rear rights or front and rear left turn signals to function. If you wire off of your battery, I highly recommend that you use a fuse between the battery and the turn signal switch. The main thing to remember is the positive lead goes to your flasher relay first. This is the thing that powers on and off to make your turn signal flash without having to turn it on/of constantly. If you didn't have this, it would always be on when turning.

Brake Signals

Depending upon what you ended up using for your donor vehicle/atv/go kart, you mostly likely already have existing wiring for your brake lights. If you do not, you will need to buy a brake light switch to install near or one your brake pedal. This brake light switch is a constant off switch unless actively pressed. This is also recommended to be powered off of the ignition in-order to prevent use of electric power when not needed (like when your car isn't on). If you power this via the battery directly I recommend that you use a fuse. If you are wiring this into an existing wiring harness that has two wires connect the positive end to power and the ground/common wire to green (ground) and you should be good to go. If you are unsure, refer to your donor vehicle wiring harness. If you have 3 wires instead of two, same thing or you can test with a electronic tester. In my case, one had power for a control box, one was a hot wire off of the brake wire harness, and a green for ground.

Head Lights

Similar to the turn signals head lights are very straight forward. You will want to wire these in parallel not series. Series means they are daisy changed or following each other like a train. One is connected to the other. The problem with wiring lights in a series reflects back to old school Christmas tree lights. When one light goes out, all lights are out and then you must find which one is out before you can replace the bulb. Its not a huge deal when you only have to deal with two bulbs. This can be very time consuming though depending upon how much you have to uninstall to get to that bulb. Think of your car. What if your headlights weren't working and you had to uninstall your battery and quarter panel to get to it only to discover it was the passenger headlight or vise-versa. Annoying right?


Don't forget to wire the horn. Same as turn signals off ignition or off of the battery. Use a fuse if off the battery. power in to the button, the button to the horn, ground wire to ground wire or ground on the frame.

Step 22: Inspect, Final Sanding, & Finish Work

Inspect and Sand.

In order to reach the smoothness that you want you will probably need to go to 150, 180, or 220 grit. Its highly recommended in-between sanding that you blow off all dust with an air compressor or use a mildly damp cloth to wipe the wood clean. Wait for it to dry and then re-sand. Be careful not to over saturate your wood. Depending upon the type, it could easily warp.

Take a moment to inspect your material for defects. Sometimes sanding by hand may be more suitable than using a palm sander or power sander or vise-versa. Take your time. Fill any holes with wood filler, glue and saw dust, or bondo wood filler. Inspect and repeat if necessary.

Finish Work

You have several different options for finishing off your project: painting, staining, and antiquing (Shou Sugi Ban) aka wood burning. Each of these have several advantages and disadvantages. Always make sure you are working in a well ventilated area, but make sure its not windy so you don't have debris landing on your work. Wear gloves and eye protection if possible.


Painting is straight forward. I would recommend using a primer before hand. Primer will make sure you have a good bonding with the paint that you use. You will have to technically paint it twice (or at least twice) primer and then paint. Or several coats of primer or several coats of paint if you do not get the right coverage. Although I do not like to paint, I have never had any issues with Kilz primer. I think it's great. It's thick and usually a one and done. I have used this at work a lot for painting walls. It covers patch jobs for hiding imperfections. Make sure you don't have any wet lines when putting on primer or your lines will show. Make sure you aren't in a windy area. Make sure all your surfaces are smooth, clean them off with a damp rag. After doing your priming give it proper amounts of time to dry. Look at the back of your can for reference. Would recommend low odor paint if possible, be aware of fumes. Painting will cover the grain of the wood.


While staining goes faster than paining, I don't really care for this either. You can get an excellent finish. Make sure you are wearing gloves and have plenty of rags. One rag will be used for applying the other will be used for wiping off excess until you retire the first rag from being over saturated and then use the second as your primary rag and get a clean one. Staining will bring out the grain of the wood. I would say this takes less time to do than painting however takes more care.

***You need to make sure you don't leave the stain on too long or you will have uneven color coverage. Prevent dripping on the floor, dripage on your clothes. Stain running from your rag onto your arm, etc. If you go this route, do lots of preparation, get gloves, a tarp, maybe a small fan. Stain will give off more fumes generally than paint. Gloves are highly recommended, do not be careless to rub your eye if your eye itches and you didn't wear gloves even if you washed your hands. You will still have residue on your fingers. Pumas soap or hand cleaner is recommended. Have your significant other, friend, etc, rub your eye for you.


You can antique wood several different ways. By making your own bry water salt and metal, vinegar and iron nails or iron metal, etc. Look in instructables website or on google for some suggestions or details.

Shou sugi Ban

The method I used is Shou sugi ban which is a method for curing and waterproofing wood by burning it. I have used this for several projects for the kids program. It's much easier than you think, provides a nice finish, and gives a longer life to the wood. I attached several pictures of projects I've built. A chevy tailgate bench with wire spool side table. I still have these. They were originally seating in my garage I used when working on other projects. I brought them inside of the house when I started to collect more tools and shop trophies. The bench I donated to local charity for students to use at the playground since there wasn't enough seating.

In order to do shou sugi ban you will need a propane torch of some kind. The smaller ones with the twist off bottle will be fine. You don't need the large attachments to a full-sized bottle like the ones used for killing weeds. So with your small bottle and the trigger ignition attachment it should range from $15 to $29 depending upon quality, store location, etc. I will try to post a video when I do this to give a good example.

The main key points to remember are:

1) keep your torch moving (don't stay in one exact location). The wood will darken too fast unless you want it black, black.

2) take your time (seems contradictory to the first key point, but important),

3) keep the tip a rough uniform distance from the wood so you can get a good idea of how long it takes to brown, or darken your wood. Find some scrap to practice on first if you are unsure using a different type of wood.

4) Be safe. Mindful where you have the torch pointed. Don't do it near flammable items or flammable clothing. Treat torch tip as hot even when off.

After staining or antiquing your wood, I would recommend a coat clear coat or polyurethane. They have this in flat, semi, and full gloss depending upon how shiny you want it. Semi gloss will usually get the job done. Follow the directions on the back of the can. Typically you apply with a paint brush, be careful not to drip, allow ample time to dry, sand, and repeat.

The only thing I have left is to put the polyurethane semi gloss on, but today it looks like rain. I will wait for the next sunny day to do this with the kids.

Step 23: Registering With the DMV

Every state is different. Go to your state's DMV website. They will have the appropriate paperwork for you to fill out. You will need to apply for a VIN number for your newly built car, unless your donor vehicle had a vin/title prior. If so you can skip to the title application phase by applying for assembled vehicle or modified vehicle. Save all of your receipts. You will need these as proof of ownership of your vehicle.

Per Nebraska state law I will need to: (reference link to law and two pdf applications I posted.

Here is the short version of VIN process:

1) Fill out VIN application

2) Get vehicle inspected by Sheriff Dept.

3) Bring your receipts for proof of ownership whenever going to the DMV. Would be smart to make copies.

4) pay $20 application fee

5) wait 2~3 weeks

6) receive VIN plate in the mail

After receiving the VIN plate in the mail, attach it onto the frame and then you will apply for a Certificate of Title for an assembled vehicle/ Low Speed Vehicle.

Assemble Vehicle process:

1) Fill out Title Application.

2) Get insurance for the vehicle now that you have a VIN number

3) Bring receipts. The supporting documentation (receipts, vin application) must be surrendered to the County Treasurer along with an Application for Certificate of Title.

4) Pay the titling fee for issuance of a Certificate of Title is $10.00.

5) Please contact your Motor Vehicle Office for information regarding acceptable methods of payment.

6) The title we are applying for is a low speed vehicle title.

7) Receive your title from the person at the counter. If you have insurance you can also get the vehicle registered. Pay your taxes and you will be good to go.

Since the car is officially done minus the polyurethane I will be able to start step 1 which is apply for a vin number. I will keep updating the instructable to let you know how things go.

Step 24: Reflection and Enjoy Your Work!

Some things YOU should consider:

While you may be mentally exhausted by the time you finish a project, whether a success or failure; you should always take time to reflect upon the project. Think about what you learned. What was hard? What was easy? How could you have done it differently if you had more time, more money or resources, had a little more skill, had help, etc. How could you have done things differently? (To improved on your project by using a different method maybe you didn't know about.) What did you get better at doing over time? What still needs work? This is how you will learn, improve, and do it better next time. Some say make your weaknesses your strengths, I say get better at your weaknesses. There is always a fine line. Be realistic, you can't be an expert at everything. However, you can improve and refine your skill over time. Don't forget to reward yourself with coffee and donuts while reflecting its important.

Food for Thought if Nothing Else:

I am not an artisan craftsman. I love to build. I have a fixation with building. I fail a lot. Some things go as planned, other things go poorly, sometimes I muddle through and it turns out ok. "Don't be afraid to fail, and don't be afraid to try new things. This is something I reiterate with my students."If you don't take anything else away from this instructable, this is most important. Think about what you did and how you can improve on your technique. So even if I fail, I keep trying. I play the numbers. I might fail 3 times and succeed 7 times. 7/10 isn't bad all things considered. I learn as I go and try not to make the same mistake twice. If I do, I know I need more practice or need to refine my skill. Don't take it personally when you fail or if others learn quicker than you do. Everyone is different.

My Reflection:

I believe over the course of this project, I improved my ability to do precision cuts, although they're not perfect. I made life easier for myself by buying more clamps and especially larger ones. I think that was a lesson I learned early on to save myself time. When working on a project its natural to get frustrated in the middle or at the end. I admit I love how wood looks and feels, I think its a beautiful material. But at the same time, I hate it so much. Its fragile, easily dents, gets bruised, damaged whatever. I cannot imagine building with it for a living. Even though I use it quite a bit with the kids program I offer. While there are some other projects out of wood I'd love to try to build one day, after this project I think I may take a break. I like metal better.

Thank you for reading. Keep building!

Knowledge ---> Wisdom ---> Insight

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