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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!

Power Racing Series – Detroit 2013

Milwaukee Makerspace Racing Team

The Milwaukee Makerspace Racing Team (Pete, Chris, Tony, Sean, and Audrey) took three cars out to Maker Faire Detroit to race against other hackerspaces around the country. How did we do? We did pretty good! And by “pretty good” I mean that we had fun, no one got hurt (too badly) and we returned with plenty of good stories to tell.

Chris on Mr. Fusion

Since Matt W. couldn’t make it, Chris took over Mr. Fusion (our newest car) for the weekend. There were some transmission problems, which we got figured out, but Mr. Fusion failed before the end of the weekend, which we sort of expected. The highlight of the weekend was Chris flipping the car and getting pinned under it. (Well, he might not agree it was the highlight!)

Tony on Jake N Stein

Jake N Stein was driven by Tony and myself, and I think Chris may have take a few laps as well. Jake N Stein did pretty well during the weekend, and only died right before the end of Sunday’s Endurance Race. Jake N Stein is pretty solid right now, though we’ll probably be upgrading the water cooling system for the motor. We did get a warning for “being on fire” that was actually just steam. Luckily it wasn’t 95 degrees in Detroit this year.

Dan on Jake N Stein

Dan (our resident Blacksmith) gave us a call as he just happened to be in Detroit for the weekend, so we recruited him and he ended up driving Jake N Stein during some of the races!

Audrey Fits

This photo shows that Red Lotus was pretty much built for Audrey, and by that I mean, she’s the only one who can sit in it and not have her knees sticking way the hell out.

Audrey on Red Lotus

Even when we forget the right batteries and have to do an emergency battery replacement, it’s no big deal to Audrey. It helps to have a driver that you can fold in half to fit into the car. Oh, the batteries, yeah… we somehow left the small batteries Red Lotus uses in Milwaukee, so we rigged up the big batteries the other cars used, and removed the hood of the car, and attached it to the trunk. I figured we couldn’t leave it off because (1) it’s part of the original body, and you’re supposed to maintain that and (2) the transponder was attached to it. So we zip tied the hood onto the trunk, which worked fine, until…

Sean on Red Lotus

Sean was driving and the hood (and transponder!) fell off. We tried to get Sean into the pits but he just grabbed the hood and did a bunch of laps holding it. It totally worked and gained us a few laps until we had to pit.

The Pits

All in all, the Power Racing Series event in Detroit was awesome. We met a lot of cool people, and worked together as a team to get all the cars functional and keep them functioning for the races.

We’re currently planning to head to the Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire in September for one more race. We may even try to build a new car by then, because we are crazy.

Boing Boing’d Power Wheels

Remember a month ago when we were racing Red Lotus and Big Jakenstein at Maker Faire Detroit? Well, if you don’t, here’s a nice video for you, which just hit Boing Boing today, which reminded me we never posted this video… So enjoy!

And hey, who else is looking forward to the 2013 Power Racing Series Season? I’ve seen more than a few stock Power Wheels cars around the space lately… just waiting to be transformed into tiny little race cars.

Power Racing Series – Detroit

Power Racing Series

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…

PPPRS - Jason

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!)

PPPRS - Sean

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?

PPPRS - Pete

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!

Power Racing Series - Chicago

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!)

Maker Faire Detroit is (almost) here!

Maker Faire Detroit

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…

So yeah, there will be a bunch of Milwaukee Makers in attendance, and as for Power Wheels, yeah, we do that too!

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!