This was a fun project. Challenging, but fun!
Brief: Build a life size driving, working car for the Peppa Pig SA road show.
As with most projects this started with a computer 3D design using parameters as specified by the client.
Below you can see the various stages of design. (reference image above)
I managed to find a scrapped golf cart as donor vehicle and used the rear diff, steering mechanism, steering rack and steering wheel. The wheel and rims were sourced at a local scrapyard. I started off by making complete new chassis and so began the whole process of building Peppa’s little car.
After the chassis was finished and steering linkages and angles figured out I could shift my attention to the body. First I had to build a tube roller to form the ‘skeleton’ of the car’s body and then I could tack weld the sheetmetal panels on to the frame. There was not one single flat panel! Everything was curved. In the end everything worked out okay, but it was one major learning curve.
With the body finished it was time to figure out how this thing was going to stop and go. Due to the the massive feet on costumes the actors were wearing it was decided to go with all hand controls. I found a 36 volt dc motor that came off an electric scooter and mounted the smallest v-pulley I could find on the shaft and the biggest possible pulley on the input of the diff/gearbox. The diff/gearbox had 3 settings; forward neutral and reverse and was linked to a lever next to the dash. To engage the clutch was as simple as adding tension to the dive belt by pulling a lever. To brake you pushed the same lever in the opposite direction. The handbrake was engaged at the end of the brake travel and released with a bicycle brake lever. The dc motor was switched on via a little micro switch and relay.
The electrics turned out to be quite a headache for my mechanical orientated brain, but after many blown fuses I managed to figure out how to run the 36V motor with 3x12V batteries AND charge it with a single 12V charger. This was all done with simple switches and relays. Apart from the running/charging system there had to be driving lights and a horn (and NOT be able to start a fire!). I also added a volt and ampere meter to monitor the batteries.
I had the body filled and sprayed by a professional and could then start fitting the floor panels and boxing in the diff/gearbox. The last step was laying some nice carpet after which I could then finally head off to deliver Peppa’s car!
To date Peppa’s car have done 3 seasons and traveled ALL over the country and I’m happy to say after 2 years is still going strong!