It seems that other people who’ve built cars from scratch attempt to get their cars rolling on the ground as soon as possible, so I figure I’ll do it that way too. With that in mind, it’s time to start fabricating the suspension. First up: lower suspension attachment clevises. I ordered 7075 aircraft aluminum from the United States as part of my big shipment. It’s amazing stuff– stronger than steel but light as aluminum. These assemblies have to be extremely strong, as I calculate that under braking the front one takes a load of over 4400 pounds.
After playing around with various kinds of hole cutters, mills, angle vises, and so on, I’ve settled on the best method for cutting fishmouths in tube ends so they fit together properly when building a tube frame with round tubing. Since the tubes will be welded they don’t have to be perfect as you would get by using a milling machine. Also, the typical joint has several tubes meeting which need to accomodate each other, and on a milling machine this would take a separate setup for each tube at each joint, taking an inordinate amount of time. Forcing Solidworks to show the correct shape of the ends of each tube requires some real work, an explanation of which I found over on the LoCost website. I’m going to provide a modified and updated tutorial here.
The first thing to understand is that each tube must be fully welded before adding the next tube. This makes the finished structure much stronger than if you tacked all the tubes in place and simply welded around the remaining visible joints. Here’s an example:
Although the following tutorial may look long and complicated, once you understand what’s going on each step will only take seconds. And believe me, it’s much faster than grinding a tube to fit using trial and error. More accurate, too.