Archive for Project Vehicles

How to make money as a welder and market your skill

Are you interested in becoming a full time welder?  Do you want to quit your day job and do something you love?  I have always been interested in welding as a career and I am writing this post to help anyone else interested in welding as a career find more helpful information. I am actually promoting three resources I purchased, used, and reviewed with my mechanic buddies who weld.  There is a mix of information here, but all of it is hugely important to know if you want to start a career as a welder.  I even went so far as to get into registering for classes at the local college, but these books covered the same information I was going to have spend at least $600 to learn.   I have written a little more about what brought me to these books, and included the links at the bottom of the page for your review as well.

I have a full-time, white collar job, but on the weekends, I love to work with my hands and work on cars and bikes.   Over time, my interest in welding has become a necessary skill that I need in order to do my projects and fabricate stuff I have in my head.  I did not really know where to start, so I went down to my mechanic buddy and he started introducing me to welding and using his equipment to practice.  I know that not everyone has this luxury, so I took advantage of it to learn how to get better and improve my technique.

After a while I started to research more about welding online.  I bought a few good books from the local book store, but they all had pretty much the same content, and it all seemed to be aimed at hobby welding.  I wanted to really learn how to do quality industrial type welds using good equipment and getting good enough to build motorcycle and car frames.  I also was interested how I could weld for profit and actually start making money doing it.  Becoming a welder profressionally requires that you get certified.  To get certified, you need to practice and learn about welding, then have a certified inspector check out your work.  This means going to school, or working at a local shop and learning on the job – then getting certified.

If you are like me and want to learn on your own time, practice while you learn, but also get serious about getting your welding certification, then check out these three resources below.  To be perfectly honest, they are great bits of information from guys who are certified welders.  Some of the information is over-kill, and can get boring, but all of it is relevant to the trade of welding!

Here are the links for your review:

1) This is called the 100k welder.  It shows you how to seriously start a career as a pipe welder.  All of the information in here is very legit – right to the point, and given from a perspective of a certified welding instructor and inspector.  Lots of useful info here and I highly recommend this:

<a href=”” target=”_top”>Click Here!</a>

2)  This is another useful packet of information that really dives into the technical and “school” type information about welding, metal, types of welding equipment, and other tips and tricks.  This is good to have as well in your inventory so that you know the materials you are working with when welding.  Believe me – this is very important to know as well!

<a href=”” target=”_top”>Click Here!</a>

3) This is a link I found for Welding Secrets.  Pretty cool quick and easy tips and tricks.

<a href=”” target=”_top”>Click Here!</a>

So if you are like me and serious about learning how to well really well, at home, in your spare time, while working on your own projects – then this is the way to go!

94 Chevy s10 SS Diesel

So I have started on a new project car!  I am working with O’Brien Service in Ferndale to take a 1994 Chevy s10 SS Pickup truck and convert it into a Bio-Diesel Street Rod.  Seems excessive, but if it weren’t – I would not want to do it!   I will update the post with the progress, and I promise to create a build diary for this truck and the Nissan Z electric car I am working on as well. 

So far – here is were we stand with the truck:
1) Lowering Kit ordered and shipped – will drop the rear 4″ and the front 3″ – just waiting on delivery!
2) Suicide Door Hinge Kit ordered and shipped – just waiting on delivery
3) Phantom Grill – sitting in a box at the shop waiting to get installed
4) Halo halogen light system – sitting in a box at the shop waiting to get installed
5) Hard Top Truck Bed – FOUND ON I-94 – FREE

We are currently looking for a Diesel Powerplant – either a Cummins 3.3 or a 4BT

Next Steps:  Need to chop the top, and fix some of the rusted out body panels, and custom fit the hard-top to the bed – then paint this bad boy!

What car can I convert to Electric?

When I was first starting out considering building an electric car, the most obvious choice to me was to use a Chevy s10 light pickup truck.  Everything I had read about electric conversions and available conversion kits all seemed to cater to a Chevy s10 without any issues or difficulty. 

But I did not want to use a Chevy s10.  So if you don’t want to convert a Chevy s10 into an electric car like I did not want to do, and if you are considering converting your current car or picking up another one to use for the conversion, here is a list of the most popular vehicles being used to convert below.  

Here is what to look for in a car to convert into an electric vehicle:
The most easy conversions seem to be vehicles from the early 80s to early 2000s with a good body, frame, interior and high mileage.  Vehicles with a manual transmissions and a 4-cyl. engine It is possible to use an automatic transmission, but it seems a lot more difficult to marry the motor with the transmission, and I have read that using an automatic transmission consumes more battery power than a manual transmission.  With a manual transmission, all you have to do is leave it in 3rd gear and drive! 

For all of these vehicles listed, a motor to transmission adapter kit is available and easy to find.  If you do not want to use a vehicle listed here below, you will have to make your own adapter.

List of Vehicles that can easily be converted into an electric vehicle:
Chevy S10 pickups, Geo Metro, Dodge Colt, Shadow, Rampage, Daytona Ford Escort and Ranger, Porsche 914, Honda Civic, Mazda B2000 pickup, Datsun pickup, Plymouth Sundance, Pontiac Fiero, Suzuki Samurai, Sidekick, Toyota pickups, Volkswagen Beetle, Jeta, Golf, Rabit, Scirocco

Electric Car Motors Overview

I am working on a three-wheeled electric car/diesel gas hybrid and I have been researching all kinds of stuff online to help me sort out how to power the vehicle. I wanted to learn about the different types of electric motors available and how effecient they are. Through everything I have been reading, quite a few motor types seem to keep on coming up, so I am going to list them here in order of Greatest to Least Greatest and some of the details.

The Very Best Electric Car Motor
3-Phase AC induction motors

Here are some example motors:

Let me put it this way – The Tesla uses this type of motor.  AC induction motors are the best because they use the battery the most effeciently (giving you more range), they do not wear out the original transmission of the vehicle they are mounted to and the transfer of power is easier to manage than a DC motor, and they can be used with bigger cars and heavier loads than a DC motor.  Because of this, this is the ONLY engine I would recommend that anyone considers when they are building an electric car.  They cost more than the other two, but they are highly worth it in the long-run for performance.

This motor is configured differently than the DC motors used to power an electric car.  Instead of a controller unit for the DC engine, this replaces the controller with a DC-AC inverter installed in the car.  So you have to purchase more electrical parts required to turn your gas car into an AC electric powered car than with a DC motor.

Tesla Roadster Motor Specs:
375 volts of AC power
weighs 115 pounds
Produces 14,000 RPM
Connected to a gearbox with only 1 gear – ratio of 8.2752:1


Second Best Electric Car Motor:
DC Series wound electric car motors

Example Motor Here:–dot/96-to-192-volt-street-vehicle-motors/mt2117.htm
This is the same type of motor that is in your electric drill out in the garage. These motors are popular because they have high torque and are helpful to electric car applications to apply that torque when accelerating from a complete stop.  The Advanced DC Series wound motor is by far the most popular of the electric car motors being used, but I think that is because of the price point.  This is the same motor that I have been recommended to use by plans I have seen for various types of electric car conversions.  If you have been thinking about converting your car from a gas engine to an electric powered vehicle – you will find all kinds of kits with this type of motor.

The problem with these motors or any Series motors is that they cannot be used at constant speeds where loads vary.  They also have to always be run under load.  They are not the best choice for use in a car unless you are driving in a very flat terrain all of the time – like Illinois for example – so if you live in a mountainous state – this will not work for your daily drive.

Worst choice for an electric car motor:
Permanent Magnet DC electric motor
This is the DC motor that most people are familiar with – the loud motor with brushes.  Permanent Magnet DC motors are mostly used in vehicles smaller than a car – such as motorcycles, bikes, go-karts, and scooters.

TREV 3 Wheel Trike

Since I am obsessed with buidling a three wheel hybrid vehicle, I have been looking around for cool but practical ideas. I came across this design, and thought I would share since it seems extremely practical and obtainable to anyone looking for something like this.

TREV 3 Wheel Trike:
This three-wheel concept was designed by students at the University of South Australia. The concept, named Trev, is an electric lithium-ion-powered green car.

Trev features a lightweight chassis, fiberglass body and one door. The concept can carry two passengers tandem-style (one behind the other). It can travel at a top speed of 75 mph with a range of 90 miles before a needed recharge.

Tri-Magnum Project Car

I created the project car section of the blog to showcase some of the project cars I am working on right now. You hear all kinds of talk about electric cars, hybrid cars, etc these days, but the reality is that this technology is not “new” and ideas to build fuel effecient cars have been around for a very long time (since the 60’s).

The Tri-Magnum I am working on now is a perfect example of that. I found the information for this in a mechanix Illustrated published in the 80’s. I also have plans for an electric car conversion using an Opel GT that was written in the 60’s. They are all feasible designs for one-two people, but not efficient for mass consumption. I think that whoever is mass producting the T-Rex and the VTR “S” found these plans when I did and made their own version. Personally, I love the design of the VTR “S”, and I am going to head in that direction for my build using the Tri-Magnum plans as a guide. You can buy a VTR “S” Kit for $30,000 – I can build mine for $3-$5K (not including powerplant)

DATE: 10/8/10: , I have purchased the plans for the vehicle, I have a donor motorcycle ready to go, and I also have the VW front end and chassis metal ready to weld.

DATE: 12/23/10: Have purchased the main steel tubing to begin frame construction

Tri-Magnum – R.Q. Riley

The Tri-Magnum is a home-made construction car that was designed and blue-printed by R.Q.Riley Enterprises, LLC.  The plans for this have been around since the 80’s, and R.Q. Riley has been publishing alternative energy and alternative vehicle hybrid plans in Mechanix Illustrated since the 60’s. 

So what is the Tri-Magnum? 
This is a three wheeled fuel effecient sports car that is basically a motorcycle married to a front axle of a volkswagon beetle.  The chassis consists of a stripped motorcycle, minus the fork and front wheel, which is then attached to a VW Beetle front suspension assembly using a simple framework. The motorcycle drive train is used as is, including its lightweight and efficient 5-speed transmission. The body is all handmade fiberglass using FRP/foam composite, and the power-plant, steering, and controls are all based around the donor motorcycle used to “push” the vehicle.  In this respect, the configuration is known as a pusher-vehicle.  Due to its motorcycle power-plant, the Tri-Magnum is estimated to achieve 50 mpg without sacrificing performance.  The key to the design of this motorcycle-based three-wheeler is the constant power-to-weight ratio.  Depending on the type of donor motorcycle you use, you can expect a minimum 80hp with a 1200 pound curb weight making the power-to-weight ratio 15 pounds per horsepower or more.  That is crazy powerful for a car design!

Due to its forward-biased center of gravity, Tri-Magnum understeers, just like most conventional automobiles. Pushed hard in a turn, she will float to the outside, rather than spin out. During a three-wheel-locked stop, Tri-Magnum’s rear floats slightly to one side, then rights itself and floats slightly to the other side, with no tendency to swap ends. Because of its low center of gravity, which is located forward near the side-by-side wheels, the margin of safety against rollover is equivalent to a standard four-wheel car. Tri-Magnum was featured in Mechanix Illustrated magazine, February 1983.

Here are some videos of the cars built by others:

DATE: 10/8/10: , I have purchased the plans for the vehicle, I have a donor motorcycle ready to go, and I also have the VW front end and chassis metal ready to weld.