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Lotusaurus Wrecks

Whew! We had quite a weekend! Somehow we managed to cram both Lotusaurus Wrecks and Iron Rose into the back of a minivan and haul them to Maker Faire Detroit. Luckily a second car followed us with all the tools and batteries.

It was a wonderful weekend of racing tiny electric cars. What’s that? You don’t know about the Power Racing Series? We take those Power Wheels cars that you buy for your kids, get them for free or super-cheap from craigslist, and then rebuild them as electric race cars for adults… for less that $500. Yes, it’s a little ridiculous, but it’s also a lot of real engineering. Some of these cars will impress the crap out of you!

So how did we do? Well, the cars held up, even through a few crashes, so that’s good. Audrey drove Lotusaurus Wrecks to victory in one race, and Iron Rose proved a dedicated mid-fielder throughout the weekend. All in all, it was pretty awesome.

Iron Rose

Note: We know you want to see this crazy racing yourself… well, you’re in luck! We’ll be holding a race at Maker Faire Milwaukee happening September 27th & 28th, 2014. Join us for the madness!

KC Maker Faire, here we come!

Lotusaurus Wrecks

Audrey has been working her butt off on Lotusaurus Wrecks, with help along the way from Tom, Ed, Tiffany, and other members, to get ready for the Power Racing Series event happening at Maker Faire KC this weekend.

But wait, that’s not all! There’s still a good chance Tiffany’s car “Iron Rose” will be ready to roll at the races as well. I mean, it’s not done right now, but as of typing this we still have nearly 24 hours to finish the build. I guess we can test it during qualifying. ;)

So yeah, if you’re in Kansas City for Maker Faire this weekend, stop by the pits and say “Hi” to us, and wish us luck, and award us some Moxie points… We always need more Moxie points!

#TinkerOn, my friends… #TinkerOn

To celebrate the National Day of Making we’re proud to share these great videos we made with the folks at Liquid Wrench for their Tinkernation web site. Big thanks to Tom, Audrey, and Tiffany for being the voice of Milwaukee Makerspace, and to all the other members involved and our pals at Pumping Station: One in Chicago who run the Power Racing Series.

Warning: The videos range from fun to educational to a little ridiculous. Enjoy!

Red Lotus

All the other PPPRS cars got an upgrade post, it’d be a shame if Red Lotus didn’t get one too.

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Before continuing, I should mention my involvement in this little beastie. I kind of got sucked into the Power wheels group at the space straight away: I joined the space in the middle of July, was riding around Baby Burrito for a parade the very next day, and went out to Detroit for my first PPPRS race a week or two later. Naturally, being a tiny little thing myself, I fell in love with this fast little car. (My goodness, I was so green at that Detroit race, there were orange treadmarks all over that course.) Red Lotus tends to eat through tires, but when we tried a new double-tire strategy, we had to cut the body to pieces in order to make more clearance for the wheels (and to use JakeNStein’s/Mr. Fusion’s batteries, but that’s a whole different story.) When we returned from Motor City, there was quite a lot of bodywork to do…

I started off by reconnecting the hood and the doors to the rear with a few screws and strips of aluminum siding. Then paint happened, because why not. After removing the old stencil work with Goof-Off (I had originally tried to paint over the old numbers, but they bled right through my paint), I sprayed on a thin coat of red with a heavy focus on clearing scuffs.

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Once that was dry, I had a field day with some old Testor’s enamel. The door numbers didn’t turn out quite as well as I was hoping for, but painting out the license plate and Makerspace logo made my day instead. Note: silver enamel bleeds through everything you throw at it. It’s best to not fuss about it and just let it do what it wants.

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Then I made a nice thing on the hood with acrylic. I was originally going to try using enamel, but that’s a level I have yet to obtain. The work kept scratching off, so I put a good 3-4 extra coats of sealant on it.

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Along with a fantastic new disc hub which was hand-machined by Tom, Tom, Tony, and a few other great guys (oh, and a mountain of 99 cent tires that hold up much better than anyone could have expected), the whole upgrade ended up quite fierce, I believe. 

The space went out to compete in the Fort Wayne Makerfaire soon after and we had a marvelous time. Got a bit scraped up, but I ain’t even mad. I think it gives the car more character that way. IMG_20130915_153648

After Indiana, we shipped out Red and JakeNStein out to New York for FINALS. However, there were a few fixes we needed to perform beforehand. We took home Red’s bent up left steering knuckle to straighten out and reinforce. Thanks to Dan, Joe, Tony, and Matt for helping me get that done in such a small time frame!

Once we were all fixed up and ready to race, Red Lotus did much better than anticipated. Along with Jake’s 3 silvers in the 25 lap heats and Endurance race, Red Lotus got a silver, a 4th, and a 6th in the 25 lap races, and  another 4th in the enduro. Red even won the Exhibition/for funzies race! All in all, I think we had a marvelous season, and I’m really happy and grateful for all the friends I’ve made and all the wonderful help I’ve received and all the cool stuff I learned. And of course, for the spectacular Milwaukee Makerspace for being the coolest pack of people ever.

Even though I’m sad the season is over, there’s still plenty to do in the off season. One thing is getting a more hefty pair of steering rods in place and putting in some stronger reinforcement for the steering knuckles. The amount of times I’ve had to pit this season from not being able to turn in a particular direction is just too darn high. Another top priority is getting a second motor onto the left rear wheel so the power is a bit more evenly distributed. However, that may make me too light to drive it without continuously drifting, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing…

Mr. Cinderella Fusion

A Pretty Princess

If you’ve seen Mr. Fusion around the space, or at one of the Power Racing Series events this year, you’ve probably wondered what it looked like before we, uh, had our way with it.

It took a bit of digging, but I found an old photo of Mr. Fusion (aka Cinderella) it its original state. Baby blue, pink, and basically a pretty, pretty princess.

Matt W. started the build on this thing, and Chris H took over from there. I ended up doing the body work because I didn’t care for the plain look of it. (We had already removed the Cinderella decal.)

The car was named “Mr. Fusion” due to the vertical motor mount in the back, as a reference to the “Back to the Future” films.

Anyway, this was my attempt to make it look just a little bit more like a DeLorean than a Pontiac. I’ll have a follow-up post detailing more on the body work, and hopefully someone who knows about what’s going on under the hood (and trunk!) can post about that.