Posted by: nwracing | June 13, 2016

Andromeda Tow Kart Part 8

I had originally planned to write this in June last year but the dragster required work and it was buried deep in the garage. As this is the last blog on this I wanted to share with you some of my experiences of building the tow kart and also provide some insight in to what I will do differently in the future.

However, the first question must be:-

  ‘Did this build help me get nearer to my goal of building a complete chassis or motorcycle frame from scratch in the future?’

I have to answer a resounding ‘YES!’

Taking a non-critical project, making mistakes, rectifying them, has provided experience, enjoyment and sometimes frustration in to the whole process of designing and building a chassis from the ground up. And all without having to sell the family silver or risking life and limb!

So what have I learned doing this?

  1. Initial design: I settled on a design that was neither one thing or the other and this created some inherent conflicts. That said I also had a space restriction which did contribute to this.
    1. My advice would be to trawl the internet, download pictures, take photos at the track or anywhere else you see a cool design and really nail down how you want your chassis to look.
    2. Take more time than I did to draw up what it is going to look like. I ended up making changes on the fly because I hadn’t taken enough time to plan it initially.
  2. Trying to be clever and run before you can walk is easy to do and to be honest I became quite adept at making something twice as complicated as it needed to be! The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) does have a lot to commend it. I don’t really need front suspension. This could have been left for another design. But once committed…!
  3. Due to cost restraints I used a lot of cheap and readily available go kart parts and this created further constraints. If you look at the gearing issue this would not have happened had I purchased the bigger, but more expensive wheels to begin with. As I am stubborn I continued with what I had but in hindsight should have bitten the bullet.
  4. This was a big one for me as I have been able to weld for a long time but lacked confidence and didn’t want to risk my life or anyone else’s for that matter if my welding was not up to scratch. However, the tow kart has been used and abused at the track and so far has not shown any sign of issues, especially in light of the fact that the cheap tubing I bought created all manner of problems with the welding process. (Cheap tubing is a no no in the future!) Also, I became a little carried away and fully welded parts of the chassis straight off. The rule here is to do a lot of tacks and then skip about the chassis welding about 10 to 15 mm and then moving to the other end and repeating. It is also a good idea to do a few welds then go and have a coffee and let the whole let cool down. Distortion is an unavoidable by-product of the welding process but you can do a lot to mitigate it.

I have to say that building the tow kart has been a brilliant experience which I can only recommend to you. It would be fantastic to build something with your children that you can all enjoy.

I am inspired to do it all again with a different design and this is possibly the only down side of the whole project. After you have finished you want to do it all over with the benefit of everything you have learned!

The end result of this project has been a practical addition to the race team that I built from the floor up.

And if ever you need confirmation that you’ve ‘done good’ then the number of people who photographed it and commented positively at the track provided this. Very pleasing!

I have posted a video on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/nwracingteam so you can actually see the thing running.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this blog. If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear them.

All the best Neil.

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