This is a time lapse video of “Red Lotus” the Power Wheels race car that Milwaukee Makerspace built for the 2012 Power Racing Series. Tom Gr. did almost all the work (with some help!) His original plan was to do the whole build in one weekend… It took a little longer, but not much.
Our story starts with Tom’s build of Red Lotus because he wanted to have a new car for the race at Maker Faire Detroit. Being a master craftsman, he was able to build the car in just one weekend! (Well, mostly.)
My part of the story is that I’ve never been to a real Maker Faire before, and never drove a Power Wheels car (that part is important later) so when I got to the Henry Ford Museum I stopped by the Power Racing Series track so see how the crew from Milwaukee Makerspace was doing. Shortly after that someone asked me if I could drive on Sunday. I said “sure thing!” because I’m a team player and like to help out. If only I’d known what I was in for…
Saturday’s races included the drag race, moxie race, and some other things. I missed some of it, but ended up helping as a track marshal for a bit. jason g. drove Red Lotus in the drag race and took 3rd place! jason still isn’t sure how that happened, but I think he’s just being modest.
Our other car (Big Jakenstein) won in the first drag race but got pulled later because of an accident due to a stuck throttle. (After some repairs we did run Big Jakenstein after all the races were completed at it was timed doing the fastest lap all weekend. That thing is a beast!)
On Sunday it was time for the endurance race. This is a 75 minute race with mandatory driver changes every 15 minutes. Sean started and I alternated driving with him. I should note that the first time I ever drove any Power Wheels car was about an hour before the race… So how did we do?
We were plagued by the chain breaking within the first 5 minutes of the endurance race which required about 10 minutes worth of repairs, which really put us back in laps. The front wheels fell off (or nearly fell off—there is still some debate about the exact degree the wheels fell off) about 1/3 into the race, but we got new wheels from Pumping Station: One, which were larger than the rear wheels, but lasted the rest of the race. Near the end of the race the throttle got a little wiggly, but we were able to complete the entire race. Besides the chain and wheel issues, Red Lotus performed quite well (in my opinion) and we managed to place 7th. I feel like if we hadn’t needed to sit out so many laps in the beginning for repairs we could have done a bit better, but major kudos to Tom for his quick repair job!
I know you’re saying “Damn! I missed it!” But hey race fans, don’t worry… we still have the finale of the 2012 Power Racing season coming up… This Saturday night, August 4th, 2012 at Evanston Mini Maker Faire, we’ll see if Red Lotus can kick it into high gear and show ’em Milwaukee knows how to build (and drive) a souped-up kid’s toy car.
(Oh! Be sure to check out the PPPRS video too!)
We’re just a few days away from Maker Faire Detroit, which is happening July 28th-29th, 2012 at the Henry Ford Museum over in Michigan. Since we’re in Wisconsin, it’s practically next door…
I’m excited to the point of no return this week, as this will be my first official Maker Faire, and I’ll probably overdose on Maker-related things and activities. I’ll probably take too many photos, and talk to too many people, but that’s OK, as I can’t imagine doing anything else. I hope to see you there!
Jim Burke from Pumping Station: One has created a kickstarter project for the 2012 Power Racing Series. The goal is to raise $20,000 by October 20th. The donations will go towards funding a new timing/scoring system, more races, safety equipment for drivers, and a few other things. We have participated in this event the past two years, and we had a great time both years. We are looking forward to next years races.
Please donate to this awesome kickstarter project at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/308894311/ppprs-the-power-racing-series
Event description from PPPRS website
“The Power Racing Series (PPPRS) is an event where Hacker/Whateverspaces turn those toys cars that everyone wanted into highly competitive sort-of racing machines. Teams are allowed quite a few liberties (motors, batteries) but we also made a few restrictions so you masochistic engineers can pleasurably cry yourselves to sleep at night. You have $500 to do this with (aside from safety equipment, cause we don’t want to mop you up either). You also compete in three events, and you’ll have to do more than just drive fast (re: be entertaining) to win points. After all, it’s not like we want an actual race to break out. Oh and it is rather unsafe, so you’ll sign a waiver. You built it, so we knew you’d understand.”
Photo by Opacity.
See the Power Racing Series website for complete details about the 2012 season and kickstarter project.
See our Power Wheel Racing odyssey here: http://milwaukeemakerspace.org/?q=taxonomy/term/21
Photo Credit: Alex V. Hernandez
This is Tom’s Pink Trike in the drag race versus Big Jake. It seems Tom tack welded his front on and then forgot to go back and weld it the rest of the way up!
Milwaukee Makerspace took 2nd place and 3rd place in the overall competition and 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Builder-Points-Only sub-competition!!!! I was an amazing trip and a good time was had by all. Congratulations go to i3Detroit, who won 1st place in the overall competition.
Check this vid of Sean and I at Maker Faire Detroit 2010!!
Grave Digger is just about done, assuming it doesn’t dig its own grave!!! The wires got a good bit warmer than I cared for. The expected duty cycle on those wheel chair motors must be crazy low. I may run at 12V.
That steering wheel is also way too small. I’ll likely weld on handle bars tonight.