"The Next One" - Handcrafted Mid-Engine Sports Car

I really appreciate everyone's enthusiasm on my Rhythm fabrication thread. That really shows the passion you guys have for not only your projects underway in your garages but as well as other members' rides. Thanks very much.

I had mentioned that I wanted to share a new project vehicle that was in progress. Like the first vehicle build, it's something that both my dad and I are involved with...I wouldn't have it any other way.

The Idea

Rhythm was in the final stages of assembly and as crazy as it sounds in the back of my mind I found myself already tossing around the idea of creating a second mid-engine vehicle. However, taking into account what had been learned over the course of the building Rhythm, I decided that if and when this new project began, fabrication would have to be approached from an entirely different perspective.

You may have previously seen that Rhythm’s body was essentially hammered and dollied out entirely by hand. While this sounds impressive and taught me how sheet metal behaves, it was immensely time consuming – not something I wanted to repeat. So an English wheel would have to be bought or built to help in creating the panels. I decided to build one. Also, with the next one, a fixture would have to be developed to not only provide a base for shaping the body panels, but to also ensure higher fabrication tolerances. These fixtures are usually referred to as bucks and can be created many ways including carving a full-scale shape out of foam or building a wooden buck. To meet our requirements we decided to create a wire frame buck. This buck would provide the flexibility to alter particular aspects of the design features relatively easily if it was ever necessary. To ensure that the buck was always square and remained true during the sheet metal shaping process an extremely rigid frame table was necessary. I dislike doing things over again, so the frame table was designed and built in such a way that it was fully adjustable in all 3 planes and to not only work for this project but for others as well.

Design Overview

Starting out as a fresh sheet of paper design, ‘the next one’ loosely resembles Rhythm. Simply called R2, the lines have been re-proportioned and tightened up resulting in a modern aggressive appearance. Since it’s being built as a driver, we want a final fit and finish that only a metal body can provide. An LS6/LS7 engine mated to a Porsche G50 transmission called for a redesign of the chassis for increased rigidity as well. Rolling on 275/35/R18s in the front & 315/30/R19s rear R2 is 28” shorter, 6” narrower, and a little over 900lbs lighter for a total weight of about 2800lbs. The final horsepower to weight ratio is expected to come in around 6lb/HP.

Here are the specifics:


Creating the Wire Frame Buck

Once R2’s final design was established and renderings completed 2-dimensional construction drawings were created. These were then taken to a print shop and scaled to full size side, top, front & rear views and posted on our shop’s ‘build board’. Then the exciting part began. To create the wire frame buck, the wheelbase, engine/transmission, seating position, and front windscreen locations were set using sliding jigs on the frame table based on design dimensions from a common datum point. Construction of the wire frame buck began by simultaneously working with four drawings and translating reference dimensions from the ‘build board’ into 3D and 'stump shaping' steel rods, square-stock, and flarbar to match the appropriate feature curves.

Initial 20 minute mockup... I grabbed some parts from storage to get an idea of the new proportions. Ahh.. no worries, those won't be the final wheels... :D


We're into the thick of it with the fabrication of the wire frame buck. The various lengths of box tubing were fabricated to slide along the frame table, then lock into place at set positions. Other lengths were tacked to them.


To make room for another job, R2 is rolled out of the bay and covered up. At this point, with most of the wire frame completed, the tarp actually created a temporary surface on the buck and outlined some of the body lines.


Just to clarify, the wire frame is a temporary structure. Once all the inner & outer panels have been created it will be removed and all the panels re-assembled on their own.

__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 
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gwrscoob

Tuner
Points
22
Location
england northampton
Car
type r scoob v6
loving this post hats of to your good self sir for some great work. i wish i could do half of what ive seen in this post. ps were are you based? ?? can you fabricate most things? ?? meaning 22b scoob wings and rear quaters? ??


as if so.please pm me works number as i would really like to have a chat thanks very much
 
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invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
loving this post hats of to your good self sir for some great work. i wish i could do half of what ive seen in this post. ps were are you based? ?? can you fabricate most things? ?? meaning 22b scoob wings and rear quaters? ??


as if so.please pm me works number as i would really like to have a chat thanks very much

Hi gwrscoob :lol:

Thanks very much! I used to say the same thing when I was getting into this arena of fabrication - "I wish I could do that". But with time and practice I've been developing my skills. In saying that though...there is still so much to learn. I'm sure that if you want to learn metal shaping you will. It's not an unreachable goal. Start slow, and if you ever have any questions feel free to ask me. I'll try my best to help you out or point you in the direction of someone who can.

In regards to your other question about location. My place is in Niagara Falls, Canada. A few km away from you :bigsmile::bigsmile: The members of this forum have been kind enough to allow me to share my personal projects on here. I've also done things such as a set or rear 1/4's for a custom BMW2002 to the sheet metal for the front end of a 36 Ford roadster. The principles in metal shaping are the same ... it's just the steps taken to get the end result that vary depending on the shapes required.

Thanks again for looking at this build.

Cheers!

__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Cutting out some more pieces...this time for the sides of the hood.



Welcome to the hood! Sorry, didn't have the camera out while these were being shaped. Both my Dad and I were busy getting these sides wheeled. Now the work begins...to fit, scribe, cut, weld, grind, planish, and hem this thing.



While creating this first hood(yes you read that correctly) may appear like 'metal shaping black magic'... that is, 'ahhh yeah...how'd he get from flat sheets to the final curved pieces" - I'll get some more comprehensive pictures up in the next while of the next hood that was made to replace this one.

__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Topping off the build with the roof panel.

I was getting a bit anxious as the time was approaching to create the roof panel as I've never shaped a panel this large. The shape is simple enough...it's just managing the size. Normally, some would approach fabricating this in 4 pieces - the sides and front curvature pieces, followed by the main area panel...which would be welded to the 3 perimeter pieces. As you guys have seen, I've got a few marble loose up there ... so figured why not try it as one piece. The other thing is that I didn't really want to do all that welding/finishing. There'll be enough of that in the coming weeks.

The same shaping principles used to create smaller pieces also apply large ones...except for handling the size of the sheet. The throat on our wheel is large enough to accommodate over 1/2 the panel so 'washing out'/smoothing the panel wouldn't be an issue...

The roof panel was started by creating a flexible template on a fresh 4'x8' sheet.



The piece was cut out and preliminary wheeling pattern marked out.


After about 1/2 an hour of shaping the roof panel marks the 68th and final major panel being shaped... It's easy to over shoot the shape, therefore I like to take my time and sneak up on the curvature. Overshooting isn't really that much of an issue since you can wheel the perimeter to get the centre back down...but that means more time spent wheeling.


Later, after final shape tweaking, the edges will be trimmed and feature lines will be created.


The panel looks like it fits the wire frame buck fairly well...but it'll need 'a little' more work to fit just right.


So back to the wheel with my dad...pushing the areas over the doors up to attain the prescribed curvature.


Dropped the roof skin on again and marking areas to be adjusted...




A shot from the underside if the roof and the wire frame buck. The skin needs to conform to the this buck precisely. It's close, but has a long way to go yet...


Bringing up the centre section of the roof some more by starting to wheel it again...1/2" at a time.


Rolling on....


__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
... and on...


...and on... It's getting close...and shiny. The upper wheel and lower anvil are transferring their mirror smooth surfaces onto the material being rolled.


Trial fitting the panel...again. A few more adjustments before the features are put in and edges tipped.


Perimeter edges need to have excess material trimmed.


Edges trimmed away and prepped for tipping.


Pheu!

Thanks for looking


__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Pieces for the rear hatch are laid out and being prepped for assembly.


Fitting the pieces to the buck and scribing the underside of the dovetail panel so that the vent holes can be cut out.


After cutting out the vent holes, the panel was run though the tipping wheel to brake a starting bend. These bends can now be formed over the buck for a true fit.


Used to torch to heat and massage the corners into place.




Brother in law getting a crash course in metal shaping. Nothing better than diving in with both feet.


Always try to squeeze a little extra in at the end of the day...usually with a mockup panel or creating some templates. Here the front compartment got mocked up with some left over scraps of corrugated cardboard...


Transposing the templates onto sheet metal.




Guess it was a few days later when these panels for the front compartment were shaped...didn't have the camera around to get some shots. Now they need to be welded and finished. Next thing to tackle are those big holes in the hood...
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Thank T9 man! :) Things are moving along well with metal shaping almost coming to an end...then it'll all be about fitting, trimming and welding for a while.
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
With the metal shaping for the front compartment coming to an end and the troughs along the side redone(wasn't happy with the first go of narrow troughs) it was time to start fitting all the body pieces together.

I started by fitting the tops of the rear 1/4's to the buck. A few areas were in need of a massage until it felt relaxed in place.


Our Body Caliper was set up to measure and compare both sides for symmetry.


I was quite pleased to see that the consistency of the panel curvature came out this well. That includes the outer curvature. The curvature was checked in relation to each other on both sides at 5" increments.


Thanks for following along.
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Here's a little progress that was made on R2's rear end.

The rear fascia pieces were already clamped in place and scribed and with most of the major shaping coming to an end it was time to start trimming and welding things together.






Lower fascia being fitted to the wire frame buck.


Lower and upper pieces are clamped and ready for welding.


__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Creating a hammer-form for the gas filler housing. An adjustable compass bracket was fabricated to create various sizes of circles with the router.


Centre area plunged through.


Creating another pieces with a slightly different size and profile.




Starting with flat circular blanks of sheet metal cut from scraps and centred over the form the edges are slowly rolled over the hammer form. The inset was then created later.


Hammer form works great and the top/bottom pieces came out very well.


Next step will be to create a sleeve and join the upper and lower pieces together.

Thanks for following along!


__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
wouldnt have thought MDF would have been strong enough to shape the stainless over.

not read the updates for a while so been good to catch up :)

While I normally use MDF, that hammer form is actually created from a piece of Maple I had kicking around. Since it's prone to cracking the perimeter of the large ring was reinforced. The metal for the filler housing is 22Ga cold rolled, so it's not too bad to form over the form. 18Ga gets a little more interesting :toung:

Thanks for following along! :):)

__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Testing the fit of the new windscreen. With the new windscreen on hand, final sheet metal fitting can be completed. After paint...we're after just under a 3/16" gap between the body and the glass.


Getting started on some more of the inner structural components. Finger brake being used to create one of the seemingly few straight line bends for the door hinge posts.


Comparing the bent door hinge profile to the template created earlier.


After a trial piece is created and tweaked(left) the real components can be fabricated. The posts are mirror opposites...so we needed to ensure the bends were made on the correct sides.


Door hinge post sitting on the A-pillar web


A-pillar webs taking shape.


__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Starting the next stage of this project, joining the panels to create assemblies.

Forgot to take a picture how the butt joint for the rear fascia initially looked ...but here we are after the first set of tacks were planished and actual welding began. The key to minimize distortion during welding process is to skip around the joint controlling the amount of heat generated within the panels. When you can comfortably place your hand on the welded area...you're good to continue on.


Looks pretty rough at this point...but welding is complete. Now time to clean it up.


After grinding the pride(bump) off the weld, the HAZ area needs to be hammered and dollied to stretch the material again and remove any distortion. During the welding process material shrinks distorting the panel to some degree.


We're almost done. It looks smooth, but after the panel is installed a few areas need to be touched up until the welded is completely invisible.


The body's door jam assemblies have also almost been completed and set off to the side.


Thanks for checking out the progress.

__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Work on the roof's structure had to be wrapped up before anything could be started within the interior. And I was really itching to step out of my comfort zone to get into the interior and start carving/shaping the foam panels that would facilitate as plugs for composite panels. Yeap, you read that correctly... foam, plugs, composite panels... I know you guys have seen me only shape metal up to now (and I'm still far from completing that aspect of this project) but this thread will cover all aspects of the build from start to finish.

So, after tweaking, installing and tweaking the roof's main structural components some more, the corners were trimmed back and finalized with additional pieces.


Vertical corner filler pieces created, clamped, and tacked into place.




This pretty much finished up the body shell ... for now.

Before any interior work could begin, I had to get the doors temporarily mounted to the shell..without hinges... so that interior panel plugs could be accurately created. Fixtures were fabricated attaching the doors to the shell after they were properly spaced.


More to come..
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
The interior starts as a blank canvas with the medium changing from forming sheet metal to shaping foam(at least for a little while). The process will involve creating a basis for molds from foam, bondo and clay.





Temporary structural bracing created to hold the dash plug.


Table-saw pulled out to cut up the material for the interior.


Wood grain finish on that dash. Actually it's the beginnings of the plug for the dash created by up-cycling some remnants of plywood left over from another project. Foam will be glued to it...then shaped to the final profile.


Interior plugs are all set to go.




Cheers!
__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
After the plywood backing was fixed in place foam sheets had to be cut to fit.

Translating the drivers door pattern onto the foam sheet.




Attaching the foam board to the plywood.





Looks like an interior created in Lego Land. With all the panels adhered to the plywood backing, braces are installed and weights placed to ensure positive contact. Now we wait...




Thanks for following along. :D

__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Judging by some of the photos you must lose a few tape measures during the build, hence a few hanging up over the bench!

Hah! Yeah, whenever you need one ... they can't seem to be found. However, after a shop cleanup they're all rounded up again again hung up ... ready for another game of hide and seek!
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
It's all looking very good Nick, how much longer do you envisage the project will take before it is completed?

Hi T9man,

I'm one who really enjoys the process of hand crafting vehicles. Once done...I'd have to start the next one. :D:D So, not really in a hurry to get it completed. I have about 1200hours invested and have estimated a total of about 4000 to 5000 for this project.... so a few more years. :bigsmile: Hope that doesn't disappoint you too much.
 

custommk4

Tuner
Points
182
Location
lancashire
Car
rs mk4 turbo
bloody hell that is a lot of fabrication and by the looks of it you defo are very talented.blew me away. will keep an eye on this to see how it progresses. awsome
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Thanks custommk4!

I hope everyone's New Year has started off well.

Work continues on the interior.

Most of the braces have been removed. A few voids were spray foamed and preliminary feature lines sketched in with a Sharpie.


This is one of my favorite times in the vehicle building process - taking the design from 2D to 3D. After key design dimensions have been translated to the foam and I can visualize the interior’s final shape in my head, I start carving and shaping it until it feels ‘right’. In the background you can see our ‘down draft’ dust collector running ... pushing the particulate down from the immediate working area.


Various flexible straightedges are used to assist in roughing in the main features. Shaping the main dash area begins.


Moving onto the rear wall. Adhesive wasn’t applied to certain pieces, as it was easier to shape them separately. Once close, they can be permanently fixed.


40Grit moves a lot of material … fast. So care needed to be taken to bring the entire driver’s side area down as a whole.


Driver’s side area just about done. A few things to fine tune…but only after the passenger side has been completed.


Final touches to the interior plugs. Sprayfoam is being applied to some of the voids. Once dried the excess will be trimmed away and sanded for a smooth finish.


Thanks for checking out the build guys.
__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
Hi guys!

Here are some more photos of the interior progressing along...

Getting very close to the fiberglass process ... but, not before cleaning up some additional voids that were found.


Initial plan was to create plaster molds of the interior which meant less work if we were to simply cover the panels with leather. However, taking the surface finish one step further using polyester fillers will allow for a really trick optional finish.




Pushing into another very early morning to get the primer mixed shot onto the finished plugs.


Nice even coats of epoxy primer ensures that the surface is sealed well. As a side note, always ensure that you wear the proper respirator when using primers with hardeners - they contain isocyanates ... a pretty nasty respiratory irritant.




On my next post I'll be getting into the resin and matting process... should be lots of fun!... :lol:

Thanks for looking and have a great day!

__________________
Nick M.

A journey in design and fabrication begins with a vision, a single pen stroke ... and in some cases the blow of a hammer.

Some projects: http://www.facebook.com/iNVisionPrototypes
 

invision

Torque Junkie
Points
202
Location
Ontario, Canada
Car
2009 RTM
When was the first project finished?
I would like to see the results if you have pics

Hi Curd, the first one was completed in 2008 - called Rhythm. There's a build thread in "Gallery for members only" - here's the link... it was down on page 2 - http://www.torquecars.com/forums/f47/rhythm-late-60s-inspired-sports-car-20439/ This build was basically my apprenticeship for doing what I do now.

R2 - the one you see here has totally been redesigned with a fresh new everything and should take less than 8 years(8000 hours) to finish...but who's in a hurry :toung:
 
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