Posté le 09/12/2006 at 14:46

The master piece

Like every kid, I ever wanted to build my own go-kart with a lawn-mower engine... And years are passing away, and we never build the go kart...

Then one day, I found the realisations of VW-Bratz, a UK base company, which now has disappeared. Wow! Not only it's a DIY go-kart, but it even looks like a VW! I definitely need one! (yeah, yeah, I know, I'm 6 years old in my head... So what??icone smiley wink)

Those mini splits are pure perfection marvels, but... Well, this perfection has a price (300£ the shell, around 450€)! (see on FreeBugRiders the "pour les gosses (For Kids)" thread to see pictures of those VW Bratz splitties). Plus, 1.60 meters long is pretty big, therefore bulky to bring on a meeting.

I then found Mini Buggies in Netherlands, superbs as well, little less bulky, but less original, and still a little bit expensive (260€ the shell alone) for a toy I'll use twice a year...

So, I started to think about making my own model of mini-VW... I first started thinking about a mini bay window combi, then a beetle... But finally, the Thing is way easier to make! Plus, I own a real one to take measures on, and this will definitely be more original! icone smiley wink

So I started taking all the measures on Küby, my Thing, then I transfered it into a 3D model using Sketchup. I decided to make it scaled 1/3 : this is the same scale as the VW-Bratz Splitties, if I meet some one day, well make a perfectly scaled 1/3 mini-meeting... And a 117cm long shell by 50cm wide is a good compromise between bulkiness (therefore transport) and "comfort", the final goal being to give it an engine and drive it...
Here is the 3D model... Now I have to build a wooden master out of it, using the numeric model's measures. So, after buying a router and a few woodcuts of MDF, I start making a master as close as possible to the original one...

Click to see pictures full size...

Here we are! July 2006, the master piece is finally ready to go, now I have to make a fiberglass mould out of it to make the mini-Thing shells... icone smiley wink
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Posté le 14/12/2006 at 22:48

The mold / The shell

As I don't have the required skills to create the mould (and I was rather scared of screwin'up my master!), I call for help my friend Seb, of DinkyGarage, who's job is fiberglass stuff...

So, this is a 5 pieces mold that Seb built out of my master (which won't survive the operation : R.I.P!).

The numerous grooves (doors, hoods...) obliged us to multiply the number of mold parts... Unless the removal from the mould would have been impossible...
Once the mold created, we still have to take a first shell out of it... December 2006, the very first shell comes out of the mold!
Here are some teaser pictures of the thing, the bare shell just put down on 4 karting rain-tires equipped wheels, which I will use to motorize it :
Highly cool, isn't it?

I'm more than happy of the result... There's still a lot of work to come, but Seb obviously made a great job... Many thanks dude! icone smiley wink

OK, the shell is out, let's make a chassis to put under it!
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Posté le 26/02/2007 at 12:22

XXS Thing shells for sale!

For those of ou who follow the project, I've got two XXS Thing shells for sale... 181 euros each, shipping charges to be defined.

Hurry up guys, there won't be enough for everyone : the current mold is broken, no new shells expected before long... If any...

The shells I sell are the two rightmost ones on the above picture (detailed in the two below pictures)... Want more information? contact-me... Later will be too late! icone smiley wink

EDIT 03/14/2007 : One of the shells for sale is already sold... If you want the very last one, hurry up!
EDIT 13/04/2007 : The second shell, reserved for a while, has been shipped this morning...
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Posté le 04/06/2007 at 18:10

Men at work...

For those who think I'm twiddling my thumbs... More to come real soon!
Stay tuned...
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