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Author Topic: Riley Special chassis (Bridget the Riley)  (Read 6283 times)

synthpunk

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Riley Special chassis (Bridget the Riley)
« on: 31 October 2020, 02:02:09 pm »
So here goes then....
Ive decided to take the plunge and start building. Initially I wanted to do a GN but because of Springs based reasons ive decided to do a Riley- the composite springs i have arent really suitable for quarter elliptics so riley it is.

My chosen car is the White Riley of 1933. Nice lines, lots of history and lots of quite detailed photos on the net.

Parts aquired so far; 2 sheets of plywood for the chassis and tub. I dont have a welder and ive been a guitar maker for twenty plus years so wood is my specialist chosen subject/happy place. Ill be laminating the chassis up in strips, so i can get the swoopy lines.

4 carbon composite springs of various strengths, sourced from ‘pro jump’ jumping stilts

A dashboard clock from a Mig fighter jet

Lots and lots of offcuts of metal

A single headlamp that i found in the woods next door. (This was of more relevance when i was planning on making the GN Jap...)

And quite a well equipped, if slightly small workshop with a lathe, drill press, mini mill, bandsaw and a family of mice.

I've made a 1:6 scale model of the chassis and tub out of modelling ply in order to plan the cuts and work out the forming process. I think it might just work...

Im planning on sourcing the rest of the bits over the winter, ready for test running next year. I live on a farm, theres a mile of private road up a hill next to the house. Hooray!

Pics to follow!
Cheers
Rich
« Last Edit: 04 February 2021, 11:04:25 pm by synthpunk »

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StefanN

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #1 on: 31 October 2020, 04:10:53 pm »
Sounds great and give choice of car.   I like the idea of laminating the wood to get the curves so will be following your posts with interest.   As for the 1 mile private road up a hill....well we need a venue for a hill climb ;)



Marek.Z.N

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #2 on: 31 October 2020, 04:46:41 pm »
Sounds like a brilliant build. Will be an interesting test of materials as-well. I know that Rhys made the GN Kim which had a wooden chassis but this will be the first use of laminated sheets to create a chassis in the UK that we have seen and I am very interest to see how it holds up. composite springs will also be interesting to see in action! great car to base it on. Can we see a picture of your model of the chassis and tub?

synthpunk

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #3 on: 31 October 2020, 07:20:57 pm »
Right lets see if this works... couple of pics of the work in progress model. I think ive sort of captured the general upwards sweep of the chassis. Needs some finessing...



Its quite useful, you can sort of feel the bendiness being built out of it as you add bits, or decide youve gone down a blind alley and need to back up a bit without generating loads of excess sawdust.

Hopefully after a few days of trial and errorin on this ill have a cutting list and dimensions together and can make a start on the big sheets..

synthpunk

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #4 on: 31 October 2020, 08:10:04 pm »
Some ponderings on the construction-
Im using 6mm baltic birch furniture ply laminated together to make 1” rails. The rails have 2 bends on them, so ill make a jig and laminate both sides at once. The rails will be joined by two solid longitudinal trusses, one at the front, one at the back between engine and driver. Theyll be morticed into the rails, and secured via bolts secured via a method that will probably take another post to illustrate, once I've drawn a picture. Im trying to rely on the strength of the wood in any particular joint, using glue and bolts to just hold it in place. Ie no relying on the strength of a glue joint to guarantee a join, but having the strength intrinsic to the structure.

The back end may change, depending on how my experiments over the next few days go. The original car rides fairly low at the back and high at the front, so i initially tried replicating that by hanging the chassis off the axle, rather than passing the axle through the chassis rails. Im going for a 5 Inch ground clearance. Ideally id like the engine and axle and brakes etc to be built onto a steel subframe so they can be removed as a unit. So im going to play with the Chassis design with a focus on that for a bit.
Im also pondering changing the tub - the seat is the main source of rigidity within the tub, its basically two triangular section trusses joining the sides together. Very rigid, very strong. The front end is less so. Its just 3 bits of ply glued together. going to try and rework the design with some more strength enhancing structure at the front end.

Generally though im a big fan of models during the design phase. Im terrible at CAD etc so i tend to make physical models but i find that having something in hand helps with sketching out the next phase immensely.
Cheers!
Rich.
« Last Edit: 31 October 2020, 08:35:00 pm by synthpunk »

RhysN

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #5 on: 31 October 2020, 09:45:43 pm »
In my honest opinion (having built a few wooden cyclekarts) and having been involved with 4 others, this will be amply strong. Do have a look at www.gittrevillegp.com and check out the car builds of the Blower Bentley and Bloody Mary. Both are all wood builds. Also Mike Thorpe and Brian Smith did all wood expedition cars which did hundreds of off road miles without issue.

Marek.Z.N

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #6 on: 31 October 2020, 10:26:06 pm »
Looks like you have thought of any possible issues and accounted for them. Brilliant design. cant wait to see it

synthpunk

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #7 on: 02 November 2020, 04:22:30 pm »
Further sketching, whittling and supergluing myself to small bits of plywood has revealed some changes I should probably make to the tub, and helped solidify the design of the rails and suspension points a bit more. I picked up my timber today, I had it sliced into two 2x8 sheets (for the tub and bulkheads) and four 1x8s (Rails- should be able to get two laminations from each one).. so I guess next task is to clear all the rubbish off the workshop floor and start working it all out full sized. I may have to do some full sized modelling in cardboard to make sure I fit in it before finallly cutting wood though. I’m pretty skinny but also 6:3....

The plan is to make a master pattern from MDF and rout all the laminations to exact size using a pattern following bit in the router. Then glue them up, and then start on the seat, the framework of which will lock the two rails together, then build the tub round that.

Another exciting thought I had over the weekend was prompted by seeing a Wolsely Hornet at the local garage- namely that a Riley Elf grille and badge look like they’ll be exactly the right size for a Riley cyclekart. Ace...
Cheers all, stay safe...
Rich

synthpunk

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #8 on: 04 November 2020, 10:46:15 am »
Small update- I’ve been given an old but fully functional arc welder. Which is quite exciting.... I haven’t done any welding since college 25 years ago... time to go out scrap hunting and find some bits and bobs to practise on...

synthpunk

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #9 on: 06 November 2020, 09:40:14 pm »
I found a very informative (and quite long) discussion about wooden chassis here https://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=17162 which has given me some new ideas to explore, and also reinforced some ideas is already been having- namely, that the box section seat will be amply strong enough to act as a rear cross member, and also that i don’t want to bend the frame laminations to follow the shape of the inspiration car- instead ill add further box sections to the outside of the straight rails. Ive probably generated 5 or 6 drawings a night over the last week Varying seat position, wheelbase, height, width etc in order to more closely follow the inspiration car, and i definitely feel another model coming on that reflects the changes in thinking but i reckon its beginning to come together now design wise.

Im trying to leave enough space in the design for the engine to sit as far forward as it can. Im leaving 10 inches forward and aft of the rear axle to allow for experimentation when i get round to doing the axle mounts and drivetrain.

I think im going to mock the tub, seat and dash up full size in cardboard first to check if i can actually get in and out of it though....
In the meantime, heres a rough sketch and the MiG clock...

synthpunk

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #10 on: 09 November 2020, 06:29:28 pm »
Off to a flying start... first two rail laminations cut out, ready for cleaning up. 6 more to go... Im going to clean one of them up to the line by hand and use it as a router template for the other 7. Also- a Spring. Ive been experimenting with various methods of attaching an eye to the spring, i think i know what i need to do now. Finish tidying the shed up so i can play with the welder without burning the shed down....

Marek.Z.N

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #11 on: 09 November 2020, 07:12:23 pm »
looks brilliant. really interesting design and you seem to be putting it into practice well!

synthpunk

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #12 on: 09 November 2020, 08:29:51 pm »
Cheers! Im certainly having lots of fun trying to work out the best way to do things. I built a mirror dinghy as a teenager, it has prompted a whole load of memories to come flooding back, of wiring joints, glassing seams and etc etc... i reckon once ive cut the rail laminations out ill cut out the bottom skins and the seat parts, and then play with all the main parts for a while before notching and wiring and gluing them all up. Im thinking of building the basic chassis/tub structure and then varnishing the insides of the box structures with marine varnish, putting the last skins on and then painting the whole external chassis structure with truck bed paint. Any holes through the frame (engine/suspension mounts etc) will be drilled slightly oversized and then have stainless sheaves epoxied in for the bolts to pass through. Once ive got that all done then itll be time to start the bodywork, although some things are in motion- i bought a riley elf radiator surround off ebay for 25£, to modify into something suitable. Hopefully it wont require too much persuasion from the angle grinder or bodging hammer..

jim

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #13 on: 09 November 2020, 09:38:14 pm »
I like this idea of making a wooden chassis. I see you can form so really nice shapes.

synthpunk

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Re: Riley Special chassis
« Reply #14 on: 10 November 2020, 07:15:31 pm »
It’s marvellous stuff really- light and strong, easy to bend, and with careful design it should be extremely stiff as well. I got 4 more laminations cut out today on the big bench at work. So thats six so far, to be laminated up straight for the inner face and cores of the two rails. Im planning on cutting the last pair so they can be bent out to follow the Riley chassis shape, and screwed and glued to internal bulkheads and then skinned over so that each half of the straight chassis rails will incorporate an outer, shaped box section structure. Nice and strong! Then join the two together with the other box sections that form the seat/floor/rear bulkhead/front structure. You can pick all the chassis rails up with one hand quite easily, theyre not very heavy at all. They are one sheet of 8x4 with a small pile of useful offcuts. The seat and bulkheads will be made from the other sheet of 8x4, so i expect they will weigh about the same, so not very much. im betting that the finished wooden chassis structure itself will weigh a fair proportion less than a metal chassis weighs..  itll pile on some pounds with the suspension supports and engine mount, but im guessing shell come in quite trim when all done.

Im presuming this is a good idea.... i know a reasonable amount about boats and guitars but bugger all about cars. ;c)