Welcome to my project. An own design scratch built, laser cut 1/3 semi scale full RC Eddie Stobart Lorry, based on a mobility scooter. Made from mostly 3 and 6mm mdf. Adhesive pva and mitre mate
Step 1: The Strip Down !
The first thing was to strip it down to the chassis. This would enable me to measure wheel base and wheel width. The rear wheels on the full size are of course a double axle so that would set the finished models new wheel track width. The front wheels will be mounted to the scooters existing front rims with the tyres removed, to match the rear new width. With this new track width measurements i will use them to find a scale size for the cab. I found some technical scale drawings of an Iveco in dxf format for use in Autocad. Perfect for laser cutting ! I scaled the front and side elevation drawings down together until the FRONT elevation width matched the measurement i had taken from the new track width of my chassis. This should make the model look correct scale... right width to its height n length etc. What i did find this made the rim size of the mobilty scooter slightly smaller than you see in the scaled down illustrations in Autocad. But more on that later !
Step 2: Steering Position
First thing obvious was the steering assembly was too far back ! For the planned model V8 engine to be in place the whole assembly needed cutting off n shifting forward 275mm. Cue the angle grinder n mig welder. I found spare replacement tie rods from different scooters on ebay to connect the new assembly, a new control arm was made n here's the new assembly all built n fitted. Mig welding is far easier than you would think ! have some confidence and get some instructions from the manufacturer of your kit, I have one of machine marts entry level migs, uses bottled gas, certainly more forgiving to use with bottled gas as opposed to 'gasless' migs!
Step 3: Wheels
Now i had to build and fit the wheels, I measured the width of the scooters wheel rim and laser cut enough discs to make a layered up rim, once fitted with tyres and to the scooters existing rims this would help to work out the height and width of the cab floor, the start of building the body ! At this stage i made the wheel rims from mdf. Same size as the scooters existing so i could re-use the tyres. Made up of individual discs, drawn 2d in autocad, when are layered up they are surprisingly strong! Tyres mounted and extra long bolts to pass through the old rims that are still fitted to the chassis stub axles.
Step 4: First Panels Laser Cut !
At last ! Laser cutting the first panels. With wheels fitted at the new width i was able to draw the panels in autocad using my scaled down plans as a guide for sizing everything. First fit of the panels matching perfectly the chassis and my cad drawings!
Step 5: First Detailing and Try on for Size !
Time to start adding some detail to the lower structure and sheeting up the cab floor. The driver trys it on for size !
Step 6: Cab Lower Half
Nearly there on the first stage of the cab floor. Layering up the inner wheel arches and cutting circles at every opportunity to save weight!
Step 7: Drawing and Building the Cabs 'skeleton'.
I used the cad drawings i scaled down to literally draw ontop my panels i wanted to cut out. I 'grouped' the scaled down drawings so i could easily drag off my newly drawn panels separately ready to export to my laser cutting software.
Step 8: Looking Great !
Really exciting stages now. Starting to look like a truck ! The process of drawing my panels ontop of the plans is working great. Im fitting the panels together digitally within cad to make sure they will fit the last ones cut out! Doors built n fitted. Hinges where scratch designed and their travel tested by grouping the final hinge drawing together, setting an anchor point at the hinges pin center and spinning it on a plan drawing of the A post of the cab i have built, all digitally in cad..Awesome software and amazing machines these lasers!
Step 9: Wheels Too Small?
A test mount of the progress so far on the chassis...It became obvious that what i noticed in autocad at scaling the drawings stage was the scooters wheels might look too small. They do here i think..Cue new scratch built wheels ! These will do for now though.
Step 10: Sheeting the Skeleton
Cab removed again n time to start panelling up ! Again my panrls where drawn over the top of this time my skeleton parts that i assembled in cad. i took all the individual peices of frame work i created in autocad and put them together to ensure the panels had a perfect fit every time.
Step 11: Wind Deflector Frame and Sheeting
Loads of clamps n loads of waiting for glue to go off ! All the roof panels that i needed to curve, i drew lines very close together on the backs of each panel within Autocad. I gave them a different colour to enable me to assign them in my cutting software a different power/speed value to the outline, which would be a straight forward cut. I Set the pass rate faster to these lines to prevent the laser penetrating the material fully n therefore scoring the 3mm mdf many times to aid bending.
Step 12: Chassis Work
Now the basic cab is built time to lengthen the chassis. Cut n shut style! Definitley wouldn't get an N-cap rating..but fit for purpose. and now the correct length for its height and width!
Step 13: Back to Those Wheels
Mock up of larger rim n tyre. Better! I came to this size as this is a tyre size of a widely avaible cheap garden trolley tyre. I will make new rims to fit the tyres and again, bolt them to the scooters existing rims.
Step 14: V8 Engine Block
Yes...it has to be V8 ! Floor will need to be hacked out and body mounts changed. Tipping cab hinge to be fabricated to...more later on that ! I absolutely loved drawing, cutting and building this! My approach to building anything with my laser is to think 2d, complex shapes I like to image the part or object in 3d and slice it into many sections, lay the sections on the table and then I draw them in AutoCAD. I know there are programs out there that create 3d models of anything and can slice them in this way to provide you with the 2d shapes. but I'm a bit more simple than that, and like to do it myself, from scratch, as you might have guessed by now!
Step 15: Look a Penny
The whole cab will need to tip to show off that AH (Alfie Hull) branded V8 engine ! So a tube is welded across the front of the engine mount/cab mount, where another will pass through inside with 'ears' each end, to which the cab bolts too. Easy lol !
Step 16: First Paint Session
Time to get some paint on, pulled the engine n gearbox back out n got it looking heavy ! Made some nice little ancillaries, alternator twin turbos, exhuast manifolds.all using the same process as the wheels. Layering up 2d parts to make 3d models. The gearbox was done in the same way too. First coat was Zinsser BIN, 10 quid a can from screwfix but awesome stuff. dries quick, fills, seals undercoats and leaves a really flat finish, sands easily too, pricey but brill.
Step 17: Rear Body Framework
Heres the skeleton of the rear bodywork started. Same method really as the cab. Building ribs/formers bit like a boat would be. As the frame is shaping up ive come to the rear arches. I decided, as mdf sands easily i will layered up from single profiles in a 2d shape of the side view shape i want, all with plenty of holes to reduce weight. This method seems to be really strong too !
Step 18: Rear Body Fitted
Both cab n rear body bolted to the chassis ! Looks the part now ! New larger wheels built n fitted. I wasn't happy with the ride height so I set about drawing a kind of bodykit over my existing drawings, I played with lots of designs and came up with this in the end..gave it a bit of a racing truck look?
Step 19: 2 Weeks of Sanding
Uhhh...never ending....but ooooo too!
Step 20: PAINT!!!
A real milestone now. My nemisis...painting.... This stage would be all Sealer/ undercoat. This stage was worth every penny it would prove...I used spray on white Zinsser BIN. 10 quid a can n stopped counting at 8 cans...shhhhh! This stuff is awesome on bare mdf. Even on the cut edges. It seals and undercoats dries quick n gives excellent adhesion. Expensive but great stuff. I think it was around 12-14 cans in the end.
Step 21: Top Coat.
Top coat was just simple exterior white gloss, soooo many coats, water based sprayed on with an electric paint sprayer from Argos. A Wagner mid range one about 80 quid if I remember right, still got it now and I use it for all sorts of stuff. Not bad results just lots of trial with water paint ratio to get a nice regular mist. i did let the paint harden under heat for a couple days, gave it a good cut back with wet n dry then went in with lots of coats of clear lacquer to finish. I am pleased with the overall fin. With hindsight i think i could of used white emulsion and then clear gloss ..? not my strong point painting !
Step 22: Branding It !
Lower half red as per Eddie Stobart branding, red carpets fitted all laser cut from build drawings...handy! Glued in using contact adhesive...
Step 23: Glazing
Windscreen n side windows laser cut from 3mm acrylic. Bit of engraving on side windows. AH V8 logo i drew in Autocad !
Step 24: Drivers Seat
Bucket seat measurements taken from my sons car seat ! Bought a pilates mat for the sponge/ padding then glued carpet to match cab int.
Step 25: Metal Work Top Coat
Gloss black it all ! Clean it all up n spray with matt black then laquer. Looks like new..
Step 26: Electrics
This is a huge part of this build, and still is to date. Converting the scooter/truck to RC is all done, My original plan was rather basic..the scooters speed n direction was a handle bar mounted thumb lever, push forward and pull back respectively for travel. I planned to remount this under the cab n connect it to an rc servo via a control rod, prob would of worked but the scooters controller was old n did cut out now n then. So in the bin it went.
The scooter is 24v and its motor rated at 650w. So, i need to know how many amps the motor will pull under full load and source a controller of a higher rating, so, 650w÷24v=27A. I need to find an rc speed controller rated at 24v input and have an output capable of delivering over 30A . Straight away input voltage of this in RC is classed as High Voltage(HV). It needed to have a reverse function and needed to be for a brushed motor. Rc is usually either brushed or brushless, two or three motor wires respectively. Unbeleivably i found exactly what i needed, in the form of a HV speed controller for an RC boat. I used a watt meter and found under full load the motor pulled 23A. The controller i purchased was an 'Mtroniks Viper Marine40 HV' (40A) . i fitted inline 30A fuses just before the motor to further protect 80 quids worth of speed controller !
Steering was the next big issue. A Servo to turn lock to lock while the trucks travelling would need some power, never mind when stationary, so I am looking for a servo with massive torque. A standard servo will give upto around 10kg of torque at a certain speed, dependent on its input voltage. Again servos can be bought in HV to gain higher torque. Larger servos in their physical size can also be found. So i needed a massive servo, HV as well? .... At first I ordered a giant scale high voltage servo rated at 120 kg of torque, the servo got bolted into a metal box which I welded to the chassis, and connected to the steering arm with another tie rod i bought from ebay as a spare part for another scooters steering assemble, i simply measured the length i needed and found one that was slightly longer, as i would either adjust its threads or cut to suit. Unfortunately what was needed to turn those wheels with all that weight above was yet more power, so a second was purchased. I did find it difficult to setup the servos to work in perfect tandem throughout their travel as they had to be mounted in different positions,. My RC transmitter is a computerised 10 channel TX with endless settings so I got it close mechanically and fine tuned it digitally !
Onto lights yay...easy fun bit. loads n loads of 12v led lights. X2 Voltage regulators have been installed to drop the 24v down to the voltage required by the servos at 12v n lights at 12v. I laser cut n engraved the headlight lenses and indicator lenses from 3mm clear acrylic, engraved some curved lines and straight ones to look like lenses, I think they look the part.
Step 27: Graphics Current Stage to Date
So im currently painting the stobart cab graphics.. I made a stencil in the end, again from scratch drawn in cad over my panels n laser cut from 3mm hardboard. I taped the stencil onto the side of the truck then pencil drawn around it. All the branding is hand painted with mat emulsion. I took a photo of a stobart lorry to homebase to the Dulux paint matching station. A quick scan of the colours n 6 quid of testers will do the lot ! Great colour match i think...whole thing will need 2 coats and then clear laquer. The VE day theme came about from a news story where I saw Stobarts own commemorative wagon, I instantly said I have to do that ! I created what you see in photoshop from various images i downloaded. Set my printer to tile and show edge markers, it divides a large image into A4 sections and Printed it onto A4 self adhesive photo paper, theyve gone on great ! Again clear laquer to seal.
This is an entry in the
Epilog X Contest
DanH250 made it!