Project Hellraiser 3

Page 24


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I am at that point in the project where it seems like nothing can be finished and everything has to be done at the same time to continue.  So essentially I have made lots of progress since the last update but don't have anything new completely done.  Here's the works in progress.

I have been dreading the skid plates.  They need to be tough enough to take a beating but it would be nice if they didn't rival the Titanic in weight.  Toss in the criteria of being easily removable for servicing and you can see why this can quickly become a very complex sub assembly of the overall buggy. For better or worse I chose to go with a two piece design.  I foresee the front engine skid rarely coming off and a two piece design will cut down on weight.  the front skid plate started with a DOM frame that hinges on a single spring bushing in the middle of the rig and is secured to the front frame via some tabs and rod ends on the motor mounts.

Once the frame was complete I skinned it with two layers of .100 thick material.  I still need to come up with a tie plate to bolt the front and rear plates together at the seam to prevent separation and I want to tie the center of the front skid into some sort of supports as well. The problem is lack of access, I finally decided the front skid was far enough along that I could finish the final parts after I pulled the drive train.

The rear skid is another two layer construction but this time without a frame.  I would also like to integrate some aluminum honeycomb into the open areas of the plate to stiffen it up.  Theoretically the aluminum honeycomb has a column strength equivalent to an equally thick piece of steel but at a fraction of the weight.

Like the front skid plate, the rear plate is hinged at the rear via two sleeves and some 1/2" bolts.  The hinges really help installation as once you get the bolts in you are not having to support the entire skid plates mass.  Once the plate is swung up and into position a pair of tabs on its leading edge engage the front cross member mounting bolt.

Again, I have more work to do but this is the start of the skid plates.

The driveshaft's were also installed a few weeks back.  The front required some modifications to neck it down until it cleared the bell housing.  I am trying a piece of 1.75 x .250 wall doom that is welded to a pair of splinted stubs.  The rear shaft needed a rebuild on the CV, some new u-joints and a 3" extension.

Next up on the to-do list was installing some structure in preparation for installing the boat sides.  I will be using some .100 thick steel to create the boat sides so a support lattice is needed to keep the panels from getting caved in. Again due to ease of access I am going to wait and skin the boatsides after the chassis is flipped over.


Another big task before I can disassemble and final weld is getting all the body mounting tabs installed. The only way I know to do this is to actually make the panels so you can figure out where tabs need to be to fully conform the panel to the shape of the chassis. As always I started with cardboard, the templates quickly revealed the rear of the side panel would need to be multiple pieces to get the bends I wanted.

My buddy Steve gave me a hand one Sunday and we managed to get the two side panels done.  The actual fabrication is pretty easy but with panels this size you ended up installing and removing them many times to trim/fit them better. I have two more rear panels to make and the dash panel.

There are a ton of little things I have been finalizing such as trimming panels and adding support tabs/welds as I remove stuff.  One thing I noticed when checking seat clearance was that my knees ended up being closer to the dash than I liked.  I could get in and out easy enough but you had to do it just right or you would knock your knee on entry/exit.  I bit the bullet and spent the better part of an afternoon coming up with this curvy dash that gave me more clearance where I needed it. If I have learned anything from building two buggies it is always error on the side of too much space rather than just enough.

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