Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

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Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby VTECFOUR » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:01 pm

Been playing with the idea of a proxy using the Tamiya classic Mini Cooper kit body as the basis. Got a brilliant guideline suggestion from Chris W - the car must be front wheel driven, just like the real one! Well that just clicked for me. From a slot car perspective, this would be quite a build challenge different from the usual. The motor layout could be sidewinder with a spur gear, inline with a drive shaft to a front axle/crown gear set up and whatever people could imagine as long as it's front drive.

Before getting too far, JT Previa, my Sprite Proxy 2018 co-organizer, suggested building a prototype.

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Thought I'd try a sidewinder format, so grabbed parts from the bin - Slot It sidewinder motor pod, 21K orange motor with 11t pinion, 34t spur gear, BRM 14" Nascar rims, urethane Ninco F1 front tires, .055" piano wire, .064" brass sheet.

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Got the wire/brass frame soldered with "flat and square" in mind as emphasized by Chris. "Doesn't matter if the chassis's metal or plastic, you gotta build it that way to perform at its best."

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The Mini's got very little front overhang to accommodate a regular guide that's not visible from looking above (a standard proxy guideline), so the post has to be quite close to the front axle. Had to grind away quite a bit of the front cross member that's mainly the attachment point for the motor pod to get some adequate guide travel. Also ground the guide's front edges to help too.

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Got it assembled and it runs, pretty good too! I like!

Mocked the body on.

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Going for this stance. Will mount the body via added sidepans.

I'm really happy with the results so far.

Dan
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby Beast Lee » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:02 pm

Absolutely love this...!!! :music-rockout:
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby Lou E » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:02 pm

That is too cool.

Last weekend I was working on a chassis for the same body, expecting and hoping a certain proxy becomes a reality, and thought of doing the same but after holding a sidewinder pod under it I didn’t think there was enough room for the guide and just went inline rear wheel drive. Chassis is being printed and should be here next week, it definitely doesn’t look as nice or as cool as yours though.

I’m happy to be proved wrong in my thinking and really like the idea of making the proxy front wheel drive, should make for some interesting builds. I’ll start working on a new FWD chassis this weekend, hopefully come up with something decent. Do you think there’s an advantage to the pod or have you noticed any issues with the guide binding on the pod?

What are you using for wheels/tires? I mocked mine up with the Slot.it 312pb rears on all corners, they are close in size to the kit tires and I liked the look with the exception of the fronts looking a little wide but I didn’t have anything else that looked right.
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby VTECFOUR » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:50 pm

Hi Lou,

I used the Slot It motor pod out of expediency. Ideally, the guide post should be as close to the axle line so as to provide more room for the guide's length and rotation. A wire and brass chassis construction would allow that.

Using the Slot It pod necessitated attaching the kit body's flares for the resulting wide track.

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I glued them on, filled the gaps with JB Weld five minute epoxy and ground them out with a Dremel sanding cone bit.

The BRM Nascar rims are just about the same diameter as the Slot It Ferrari 312 rear ones that you're using. I trued down some urethane versions of the Ninco F1 fronts to about 19mm, just slightly more than the Slot It 18mm spur gear.

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The kit's Rose petal wheels, precursors to Mini lites, were cut down into inserts...

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...for the iconic Mini wheel look.

Dan
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby Z-carfan » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:54 pm

That is wicked cool!
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby FootScoot » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:09 am

That's cool! The front wheel drive will be different. I just might have to give this some thought.
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby waaytoomuchintothis » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:18 am

I wish you better luck than I had with front wheel drive. I wound up disassembling the whole thing and making it rear wheel drive, but it couldn't get to the proxy in time by the time I finished it.
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby FC47 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:32 pm

Nice work! Way outside the box dude!
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby SuperSlab » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:34 am

You are a brave man Dan! I am very curious to see how this works out as I have always considered front wheel drive and slot cars incompatible: it seemed like you can either get good braid contact or good tyre grip but not both. I did try building a 1/32 Airfix mini slot car in the sixties, which turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

But if anyone can do it, you can! Hopefully I can see this car in the next week or two?

Good luck!

Alwyn
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby VTECFOUR » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:46 am

Hi Alwyn,

Yes, I had my concerns too, Scalextric made awd front sidewinder rally cars (Ford Focus, Peugeot 206?) a few years ago and they're OK. So, to my delight this latest contraption has turned out much better. I look forward to your driving impressions when I get back into town soon.

In the meantime, I've added flexi side pans.

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Now to decide what method to attach the body. Pins on the side into tubes? Screws into blocks from underneath?

Dan
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby gascarnut » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:57 am

VTECFOUR wrote:Now to decide what method to attach the body. Pins on the side into tubes? Screws into blocks from underneath?


Pins would be my choice, and make the holes in the body a little bigger than the pin so it can float a little. Bend the pins so they don't move in the tubes and don't push them in all the way, leave a small gap between the head of the pin and the body.
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby TuscoTodd » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:15 am

Really like the idea of a FWD proxy! Would definitely be a "unique" challenge! :D
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby glasshorsevh » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:43 pm

Dan,

Yet another very cool build! Love the old Mini and they were great to watch race in 1/1 scale. A car that was truly ahead of it’s time. I made a semi-serious effort at a 1/32 scale front wheel drive Mini, but found no way to make it proxy competitive and proxy legal at the same time (not that I’m a stranger to the tail of the field, but really!... even Tiny Alice Racing has its limits). Anyway, great job as usual!

Val
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby chrisguyw » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:47 pm

Lots of front wheel drive slot cars have been built over the years, with varying degrees of success...............while they are ultimately not as quick (or handle as well) as rear wheel drive cars, they can be made to run very very decently. They are a bit of an engineering challenge, but, are fun to build, and fun is a big part of what keeps this hobby going !!. :dance:
I for one, hope this proxy (FWD) gets off the ground, and look forward to building an entry :D

While there certainly may have been earlier front wheel drive scratchbuilt cars, the first production based car was the C76 Scalextric Mini issued in 1965. Scaley took the motor/gear/axle assembly from one of their Formula Junior cars, spun it around, added a guide, and tucked it under a really nicely done Mini. A ton were sold, and they ran quite decently, if a bit on the slow side, as the Scaley Formula Junior (FJ) motor was not that stout.

Below is a pic. of an original.

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Lots of folks built chassis' to improve the C76's performance, and below is an early example.......this one is a Scaley Mini C122 (it came out a few years later, and had fender flares)

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The BSCRA (British Slot Car Racing Association), which was a club mainly for scratchbuilders , did have a FWD class in the 70's, and below is a somewhat recent refurb of a build from that club. An anglewinder mount was most often chosen as it allowed a small spur, which allowed the builders to use the small diameter (somewhat scale) tires, which were mandated.

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Several 1/24 builders also took a stab at the FWD cars, and below is a pic. of a car built in 1968 , again, choosing an anglewinder configuration which allowed small dia. tires.

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Cheers
Chris Walker
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Re: Tamiya Mini Cooper build - front wheel drive

Postby VTECFOUR » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:09 pm

Cut down the kit's Rose Petal wheels into inserts and detailed with paint to fit in the BRM Nascar rims.

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Came out well. Hope to get this body stance with final mounting.

Dan
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