If you want to get out on the track and race but you budget will not allow a car or motorcycle the next best bet it to retune and refit that old riding lawnmower sitting unused in your garage. Lawnmower racing is the most affordable type of motor sports and it is rapidly gaining popularity. The following will provide you with the basics on how to build a racing lawnmower.
To get started you will need the following tools.
- T Drives
- Brake parts
- Angle grinder
If your going to build a racing lawnmower you will an old second hand one if you do not already have one. Remove all the parts from the old mower, except the chassis. Use your sandblaster to clean all the dust and rust and other debris from the surface and under carriage of the chassis.
Now you must strengthen the chassis. Always use metal for any components located on the rear axle. It might be a good idea to get professional help with welding the parts as the rear axle needs to be the strongest part of the drive train. Once the parts are welded, assemble the rear axle. To guarantee that the assembly is exact you might want to hire the services of a precision engineer.
Once the back axle is installed, you will need to make the cutout for the engine plate. You can use either the jigsaw, hole saw or drill for cutting the plate to size. Next you will have to prepare the steering wheel, engine and wheels. Check with the local newspapers for cheap parts or even go to the junk yard. Go cart stores and online are other excellent places to find parts.
The next step in building your racing lawnmower is to connect the steering set to the chassis. For safety purposes always wear goggles when you are welding. Once the steering set is connected, you need to set the wheels, tires and back axle. If you have never done this, get some tutorials or the help of a professional or someone who has experience in fitting the parts. Now fit the brake caliper and customize your pedals to make sufficient room for the brake, clutch and accelerator. Last to be fitted are the engine, pulleys, belts and clutch. You will need a steering wheel and seat also.
Now take your new racing lawnmower out for a test drive. This will give you some idea of how well it operates and give you the opportunity to check the steering wheel and brakes.
How many times have you walked a nature trail near a stream or river and thought how much fun it would be to build a raft, but then thought that it would be too much work. In actuality all you need is some type of cutting tool. The following instructions will help you build a raft without rope or nails.
First of all you want to choose a location to build where the water is calm but still deep enough to be a suitable raft launching spot. You don’t want a spot that gradually drops off to deeper waters but not one that drops off too quickly either. What you are looking for is a miniature continental shelf. Ideally you are looking for a spot that drops into the water abruptly but then be only about 2´deep. When you are finished, it will be much easier to board your raft.
Now you need to gather up enough suitable logs. The logs should all be about 8 feet long, and depending on how heavy you and your supplies are you will need 5-6 of them. You will want to get two of the slightly curved to act as stabilizers.
Once you have the logs that you will need, find several strong sticks. You won’t need any rope to hold it all together because you will be laying down the sticks crosswise to the logs. If you lay them down perpendicularly to the logs it would be impossible to sit without falling off. You might want to gather another stick, longer and thicker than the rest, to use as a paddle.
Let´s put everything together now. Arrange the logs in a way so they will not roll out from under you. To accomplish this place the logs into the water and test each one, rolling it over, and check the direction of the roll. Find two logs that are the most unbalanced. These are the ones that you will use as crosspieces, to hold the raft together. Lay the sticks that you gathered perpendicular to the logs. You will need to find the perfect point of balance for this so try placing one stick and putting your weight on it. If it doesn’t push the logs down evenly correct the location of the stick until you find the best, most well balanced spot. Once you’ve located it, lay down the rest of the sticks on either side of the first.
Now you’re ready to jump aboard and shove off. Stand above your raft with a leg on either side and slowly sit until most of your weight is on the raft. Have your paddle ready. If the raft is balanced, pull your legs up on either side and get as comfortable as possible. Slowly push off from shore.
If you have ever been inside of a cave in the winter time you know first hand that the surrounding rock and earth form a natural barrier against the cold and the area maintains a constant temperature. Earth homes are a good, energy efficient way to build. Snug in the winter and cool in the summer. Fire and termite proof, houses like it have stood for centuries, some for millennia. Let’s look at the steps and see how easy and inexpensive it is to build one.
First make sure that you have the correct kind of soil. Sandy but not all sand (50%-70%). Not too much clay either, or the walls will shrink and crack. Take a sieve, spread out a tarp and filter out all the rocks and roots. Turn your earth into sandstone the same way nature does, with pressure. Spread out your tarp to protect your earth from participation. More than 10% moisture and the earth won’t hold its shape.
Your foundation will need to be reinforced concrete. Extend it from about 12” both above and below ground. If you live in a cold climate you might want to go as deep as 24” below. Lay the foundation in 8´sections, each dovetailed into the next with reinforcing rods. The forms will be about 12” wide and taper to 8” at the top, then out to 12” at the bottom. Use 2 x 6 planks, lined with building paper and strengthened on the outside with 2×4 uprights. Prepare your concrete mix from 1 part cement, 2 of sand, and 3 of gravel. Once your first sections are dry remove the plank forms and move to the next section. Frame the door and window openings as you go along and brace them well.
Set all the forms before you begin to ram the wall. The South Dakota State College bulletin 277, Rammed Earth Walls for Farm Buildings is a good tutorial. If you are working alone use 5/8” marine planking, it’s lighter and very strong. Line the wooden molds with shoot steel and reinforce with 4 x 4 uprights. The molds should be about one foot wide. Shovel a 4” layer of dirt into the form, pound the earth until it rings like rock, and then repeat. The rammed earth hardens as it dries so you can remove the forms as soon as they are filled. Stagger the joints in each course.
The library is loaded with books on how to build a roof, frame a window and wire your new house. Concrete frames are best because they do not warp; only slant the lips to the water drips away from the earth wall.
Rammed earth homes are energy efficient, long lasting and easy enough for one person to build. Since most of the walls are earth, i.e., dirt cheap, they are inexpensive also.
A ramp is very simply any inclined surface that is used to travel between a lower point and a higher one. It is one of the simplest machines, the inclined surface making it easier to travel to the higher point much easier than when it is done vertically. To build a ramp, you only need simple materials as follows:
- Nails and screws
- Pink foam
- Carpet samples
- Bricks and a gutter
- Rubber treads and masking tape
- Black colored PVC
The tools used to complete this project are as varied as the materials. A good posthole digger, tape measure, tin snips, claw and framing hammer, caulking gun screwdrivers hand saw and hacksaw, staple gun and chisel.
Check your local building codes before starting construction. Measure the ground to get the length of the materials needed. For every inch of elevation, 1`will ne needed. Square the landing 5`on either side with batter boards. After measuring one, place the ramp edges with the help of the batter boards. To make a perfect triangle you will have to use the 3 4 5 triangle principle to square and level the positions of for the ramp.
Now create a solid base for the ramp by digging in about 3¨into the ground. You can place the post locations using the masking tape or a plum bob, if you have one, and some powdered chalk to transfer the marks to the post. Once this is done, make your post holes 6” deep before retying the lines indicating the exterior post faces.
Now that the ramp is set up, fill the tubes with concrete. Use premixed concrete for the best results and make sure that all of the air bubbles are eliminated. Let the posts dry for about two days before beginning to work again.
Once everything that you need is set up, cut some crossbeams in the same length as the exterior faces. Make some holes for the bolts on the beam. Use your washers to make sure it is firmly secured. Reinforce the landing joists with the running joists, making sure that the landing joists are laid out and cut to fit exactly in the sides between the posts. Test your ramp by stepping on it and doing a few trial shakes.
Building a ramp doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult.
Rat rods go way back to the old style hot rods. Today’s hot rods are designed for speed and racing and show. A rat rod is basically a hot rod build without any real idea of how the vehicle should look. Each one is completely unique to the builder. They are not easy to build but the experience is fun and challenging.
Chose the type of engine you will use. This heavily depends on the type of frame you have and how much weight you will need your engine to push along. Really the biggest consideration is your budget. If you can afford to shop around for an engine, online a new, you will be looking for something based on performance specs. If you’re on a budget the best option is probably your local junk yard or pick-a-part.
Next you will have to either build or buy a frame. Rat rods allow a great deal of latitude here as long as your frame is strong enough no to fall apart under the pressures of speed. Whether you are building or buying light weight metals are the trend now but will cost you a lot more.
Now, its time to mount the engine to the frame and get your power components operational. These components’ include things like battery, transmission, wheels and axles. If you’re starting your rod with a junked car finding these parts will be easy and you may still have operational ones attached to the frame. If not any junk yard will have what you need. Things like an electrical system are after thoughts. A true rat rod usually isn’t street legal.
Now that you have all the components’ installed, test to make sure the engine will start, run and turn the wheels. Once you have that accomplished and everything is working to your satisfaction the rest of the rod is easy.
You’re almost finished. Install the steering control, gas and brake pedals. Exactly where you place them is up to you. Again, your rat will not necessarily be street legal. You do however have to make room for a seat that can reach all of the controls.
This is the last step. Finish up the body and interior. The inside can be as fancy as you wish, or not, but keep in mind that anything that you add also adds to the weight. If you add body panels, keep in mind that they should either increase or decrease you aerodynamics, or, like a spoiler, increase your tire grip. Any body panels will also increase weight. And painting frames does not increase your speed.
Rat rods are fun to build and race. Simple to build and maintain and a good time for the whole family.
- How to Build a Racing Lawnmower
- How to Build a Raft
- How to Build a Rammed Earth House
- How to Build a Ramp
- How to Build a Rat Rod
- How to Build a Dog Box for a Truck
- How to Build a Rocket
- How to Build a Roller Coaster
- How to Build a Roof
- How to Build a Robot
- How to Build a Gate
- How to Build a Solar Furnace
- How to Build a Mouse Trap Car
- How to Build a Cabinet
- How to Build a Trebuchet
- How to Build a Dog House
- How to Build a Deck Bench
- How to Build a Go Kart Frame
- How to Build a Water Wheel Pump
- How to Build an Igloo