Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby MrBounce » Wed Mar 23, 2022 9:41 pm

Well, it's been a while. After losing both parents last year, my brother and I have had the unenviable task of clearing out Mum & Dad's house. They had a LOT of stuff. I only have a small 2-bed bungalow, and there simply isn't the space inside for most stuff, so it's been living in the garage. This has meant that the project has sat there gathering dust for the past 6 months whilst my priorities have been elsewhere. Dad was a keen and talented photographer, so I have boxes upon boxes of slides and negatives I need to deal with. I am starting to win though, and have ordered myself a large wooden trunk to store some stuff in, which will live in the garage, hopefully out of the way.

I had a bit of a clean up in the garage, and remembered that I was doing things with the headlining which involved the mirror and the interior light. This was a Fiat 126 item, and I don't like the design at all. I will be using either a stick-on mirror on the windscreen or one to mount AC Cobra-style to the top of the dashboard. Which I have yet to re-make as the original was garbage and the first one I made I wasn't happy with. I have ideas on what to do to make a better version.

However, back to the headlining: I had filled in the area with resin where the old mirror/light had sat and had bought myself a natty little interior light from Car Builder Solutions - you can switch it on inside the car by simply tilting the light lens. I like it for its simplicity, It was also the perfect size for the area where the original sat. So I cracked out the Dremel and after tracing round the lamp where it needed to sit I crudely hacked a hole in the headlining. Some file work followed (it still looks a bit crude but it is covered by the light body), and it's easy to press the light into the hole - it's held in place by a couple of spring clips.

More updates will follow as I continue my quest to make the garage a usable place again.

Nice lamp

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Traced where it needs to sit

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A hole (looks worse than it actually is

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And finally there it is in place

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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby MrBounce » Thu Apr 14, 2022 10:54 pm

Following further work to make storage space for a lot of Dad's stuff (I bought 2 large trunks), I turned my attention once more to the top of the dashboard. I have been thinking about this for quite a while now, and have decided to make a better hash of making my own. My initial effort was a bit rubbish, so I needed to have a think and also acquire appropriate materials to actually start doing what I need to do.

The plan is to hand make a wood/MDF dash top, and then make a fibreglass copy for added lightness. I will also be incorporating a place for the mirror (AC Cobra style) and will also look to include the vents for clearing the windscreen. I also have plans for mounting it so it can be easily removed to get at the wiring and the wipers and washer plumbing underneath. However, first I needed to build the first draft. Getting the curvature right will be a challenge, but I like a challenge (said the man who believed he could complete this project in about 3 years...). The original dash top fits about as well as me trying to get into a teenage nightclub. I would get in, but I just would not sit right with the whole situation!

Did I have a piece of wood wide enough? Actually no, but what I did have was the back of an old kitchen cabinet - a large piece of hardboard. I spent ages cutting this to size and making sure it fitted in the right places. The next step was adding 2 pieces of MDF to the top of the hardboard. MDF is easy to work with and although heavy, is very easy to shape and to sand. So what I have done is to get the wood glue out and clamp said MDF to the hardboard. I've done this - now it's time to wait for 24 hours before I can start the shaping and sanding experience... Doubtless I will be fitting, removing,refitting, shaping and sanding for several days yet...

I need to fill this here hole...

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A bit of old kitchen cabinet is always a good start...

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And now a couple of bits of MDF are glued to it. Hours of fun and games with the electric sander to follow...

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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby dusz » Fri Apr 15, 2022 11:05 am

Looks like plenty to do over the Easter break.
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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby MrBounce » Sat Apr 16, 2022 3:38 pm

Another small update. I set about the MDF and hardboard with various power tools and sanding blocks in order to get it into the sort of shape I was after. Although in this thread it looks like it took a couple of minutes I can assure you it was anything but that!! I even had to break the filler out to fill in some imperfections I'd made when being a bit over enthusiastic with the Power File...

Once I had the shape I needed I gave it a wipe down and cover the underside in Gaffer Tape. "Why?" I hear you shout. The underside was the fibrous bottom of the hardboard that was once the back of a kitchen dresser. If you try to attach parcel tape to this, it just falls off. So, to avoid further irritation, swearing and embarrassment, I used Gaffer Tape which sticks like the proverbial to a blanket. To pretty much everything. I was then able to coat the top in parcel tape, which is a lot smoother and enables the fibreglass layer to be released once dry. This will become my mold for the new dash top, and I will repeat the process in reverse.

So, I used up the very last of my hardener to go with the fibreglass resin and have created a layer on top which is currently going off. Once it's dry, I will trim it, crack it off the wood/MDF bit and see what we have got.

This is roughly the shape I need. The original on the car looks nothing like this, and doesn't fit anywhere as nicely.

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And the first bit of fibreglass going off. Looking forward to seeing what delights await.

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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby MrBounce » Sun Apr 17, 2022 7:46 pm

I popped into the garage this morning because I was intrigued to see how the 2nd stage of the fibreglassing had gone. It had dried nicely and investigation got the better of me as I got the plastic trim tools out and cracked it off the buck. I trimmed off the excess at the bottom, and actually gave it a trial fit on the top of the dashboard. It fits really nicely and is nicely shaped without being an over-complicated design. The only downside is the due to the angle of the windscreen there's not enough room for me to do an AC Cobra style dash-mounted mirror, so a screen-mounted one will have to do. I will also figure out where to put the windscreen vents in due course.

I got the parcel tape out again, and having wiped down the inside of the mold (full of dust following my Dremel-enforced trimming), I taped it all up again, making sure that as many of the creases as possible were removed. Having found an extra bonus packet of hardener (hiding under the workbench) I figured out I had enough resin to do one full pass of fibreglassing. I have more coming - but unfortunately I thought that as it was Amazon Prime, it would automatically be next day delivery. Fat chance - due next Thursday... I mixed up all the remaining resin, squirted in the hardener, and carefully covered the whole of the mold in fresh chopped strand matt. Once the new stuff arrives I will make sure to give it a couple of further layers. Although the mold held its shape well, it was a bit too flimsy to be anything but that.

I lost the "as removed from buck" picture (I forgot to put the memory card back in the camera...) so here's a cheat shot, which is the underside of the next picture...

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And here's the underside of the mold with a fresh layer of fibreglass on (in?) it. More layers to follow, when I eventually get my new resin...

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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby MrBounce » Fri Apr 29, 2022 5:01 pm

As I was on the way to getting my dash top ready for fitting, I figured that it might be a good idea to start looking at a way to actually mount the thing. I reckoned that the easiest way to do this would be rivnuts and bolts from the top or something similar. However, the edge of the dashboard only had a small ledge at the sides which was about 1/2" wide. Not big enough! So I grabbed some more Jaffa Cake box and parcel tape, and cut it to size so I could make an additional rectangular "edge". I slathered this in resin then proceeded to add additional chopped strand mat cut to fit.

Whilst this was drying off, I grabbed the Dremel and the cut-off wheel as it was time to trim the dash top before I removed it from the mold. I almost forgot how much cutting fibreglass stinks... Once trimmed, I grabbed the plastic trim tools and set about releasing the final version from it's place of creation. It only needed minor persuasion before I got the satisfying "crack!" as it separated. Once out, I simply HAD to pop it in place to check approximate fit. I still have to cut holes for the Windscreen vents, but before I do that, there were certain areas that were a bit thin. It was still pretty strong, but I felt it could do with a bit extra so out came the resin again. There's now additional layers drying off, which should ensure a bit of additional solidity.

By the time it dried, I was able to pull the parcel tape-covered card bit off the dash to reveal the additional rectangular "mounting faces". They need a bit (a lot) of tidying up, but look to be very tough. It should make mounting the dash top a LOT easier than what was previously there...

Tape covered cardboard - works wonders for make flat surfaces as it just peels of when done...

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Cutting the excess off

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All trimmed and almost ready for removal

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Popping out of the mold - came out really easily with a very satisfying noise when it let go.

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Chucked in place for a brief look - happy with that!

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More fibreglass layers needed though on the bits I could virtually see through.

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And tape covered card removed from the dash ends. Some tidying to do...

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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby MrBounce » Tue May 10, 2022 7:01 pm

Back to the dash top: I decided that it was time to check fitment before making appropriate holes for fixings. And of course I walked straight in to a problem. When I created the buck, I had dropped the wiper mechanism down so the basic shape of the dash top would not be affected by the wheel boxes. And once they were back in place, the dash top would not fit properly. Never mind. Dremel cuts! For now I have cut a couple of bits out of the leading edge so it can be moved into place. I will tidy these up in due course but I still have to cut holes for the windscreen vents. Once these are done I can focus on the final design of the dash top.

Whilst test fitting the dash, I noticed that the leading edge in front of the driver will sit very close to the windscreen seal. I intend to relieve this using the Powerfile. However, I am aware that this area is pretty thin, so I cracked open the resin and fibreglass again and added several layers so as not to cause any issues. It only needs 2 or 3mm of relief, but I would rather have a bit of a safety net than mess it all up and put a hole in it.

Once the new layers were dry, I got the dash top exactly where it needs to be. There is precious little clearance anywhere here - I can see why Midas' idea of a random bit of plastic chucked on top was thought to be a good idea rather than mounting it properly. Much easier, but bleeping awful. I have decided to use rivnuts and short set screws that can easily be removed with the windscreen in place - taking it out with the windscreen out is easy, but by the time this is finished said screen will be in the way, with not a lot of clearance. I then drilled 4x holes, made them bigger and then glued in the rivnuts. I didn't fancy trying to use the rivnut tool on the fibreglass dash - I expect all I would have heard is a brutal cracking noise and the sound of failure! It's not exactly structural so epoxy will be fine - they are not going anywhere!

Having left all this to dry, I turned my attention to something else: I still have not fitted the handbrake. When I got the car, it had a broken handbrake lever that I couldn't identify so getting a replacement was a non-starter. Also, the cable arrangement was a very strange Heath-Robinson concoction of threaded bar, homemade cable guides and general bodgery that looked like it might work "occasionally". I swapped everything out for a standard Mini front and rear cable and lever. And rather than bolt it through the floor like the last one, I would make a bracket which will be bolted to the floor. The lever could then be attached to this. Out came the metal spares box, the angle grinder, some Jaffa Cake box cardboard for templates and what looks like the side of a filing cabinet I found at Dad's old house. The bracket is in its early stages but will be shaped to fit the floor before being welded together and painted. Still lots to do!

Cuts made to clear wiper wheel boxes. Lots more tidying to follow.

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Dash Top drilled and held in place with temporary screws

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Additional fibreglass added to the underside prior to the necessary reshaping of the top

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Sheet of metal found in Dad's house "modified" with the grinder to make...

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...the start of some handbrake bracketry

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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby MrBounce » Sun May 29, 2022 9:04 pm

In between various appointments, planning for a US road trip (they're all the rage apparently!) and taking cats to the vets, I have had precious little time recently for the little orange pain in the butt. Last time out I had started looking at making a bracket to secure the handbrake. Now, I'm insulin-dependant diabetic, and at the time of planning said bracket, I was starting to go hypo - aka very low blood sugar and in need of something sweet. What the doctors don't really tell you in any great detail is that when you have a hypo, your mind doesn't really work as well as it should, and what might SEEM sensible to you at the time would be a complete balls up when you looked at it with your normal head on. I took both brackets I'd made up last time, and threw them straight back into the metal brackets box. The way I'd made them would have been perfect to mount the handbrake, but the cable would have hit the supports and there wouldn't have been enough clearance for the fork bracket at the back of the lever.

Armed with a more sensible idea, I set about the sheet of metal I'd found in Dad's old cupboard with an angle grinder, then started bending, measuring, and stripping the paint off what I had made. I still had the U-shaped metal plate to fit the floor, but to this I had a higher (and offset) rear bracket (to give the rear fork a bit more clearance) and as a result the front L-bracket would be taller as well.

Now, my welding is... how can I say this politely... something not even Ray Charles would be proud of. However, the Mig set-up I have been using is a 20-year old SIP set-up, which has constant issues with wire feed, the gas delivery is awful and it's forever tripping the garage electrics. Time for an improvement then. Now, much as I would like an R-Tech, I simply can't justify the price for the amount I would use it at present, so I bought a Clarke 135TE from Machine Mart. Now, it will take me a while to get used to the new settings, but the first few goes on this new puppy left me in no doubt that it wasn't just me that was rubbish. I was able to tack some captive nuts on to both brackets before welding them onto the U-shaped bracket. Some of it's a bit ugly, but I got good penetration and I will only improve with time. All I need to do now is paint it, to drill holes in it and fix it through the floor, and then connect up the handbrake cable. Exciting times...

Handbrake attached to new brackets

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And from the other side. Not that pretty, but it feels pretty strong.

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And the view from underneath.

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Re: Mk 1 Project Zippy. Looking Like a Car.

Postby MrBounce » Tue Jun 21, 2022 10:06 pm

So today is a quick update involving bracketry. I remade the bracket for the expansion tank. This was a simple 90-degree bit of metal with some holes drilled in it and a half-moon cut out of it. So aside from the picture of it attached to the car with the tank resting in place, I won't go into much more detail about, other than it's painted satin black.

On to the rear of the car: I was not happy with the fuel filter I had fitted. I'd been advised that what I have is a bit rubbish - I also did not like the way it was secured: P clip and screw to the floor. No, I needed something better. I have a bigger plastic filter; what I didn't have was a means of mounting it. So I checked the steel and brackets tin and found a Mini coil bracket. This was missing its securing screw (no biggie because they're a bit rubbish) so I needed to create something to tighten it up. First of all, an M6 screw. Then I needed an M6 nut, preferably square/rectangular so it could slot nicely at the other end and not move. Now, in theory there probably IS one in the miscellaneous tin, but this would mean tipping it out and going through everything with no guarantee that I would find what I needed. And there's no fun in doing it the simple way. Instead I ventured once again into the steel offcuts tin, and found a bit of 5mm thick bar. I cut a small rectangle off the end then filed it to shape. I then drilled a hole in the centre and tapped it for M6. This was then painted in satin black with the bracket. Once dry, I cut a piece of fuel-resistant rubber to size and glued it to the inside of the coil bracket. This prevents excessive movement and stops the metal from inflicting any damage on the plastic filter.

I now needed a better way for it to be mounted. By the time I had finished in the Manroom this evening I had created a flat bit of steel with welded captive bolts on it which will then be fitted from the inside of the car and the bracket bolted to that. Much better. Just needs paint and some holes sorting.

Oh, and I have mocked up where the (now painted) handbrake bracket sits. Once I get the cable fitted I will be able to to finalise its position so will then drill the necessary holes.

Expansion tank in place (not permanently). Somewhere under there is a bespoke (and slightly untidy if I am being a perfectionist) bracket.

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Better fuel filter with homemade rectangular nut, fuel-resistant rubber and a screw to keep it gently in place.

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Captive bolt bracket ready to be fitted through the floor (needs paint).

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And the handbrake lever, mounted to its bracket, not yet mounted to the floor.

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