MAX Update No. 24: New Front Fenders

Reader Contribution by Staff
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MAX is getting its first 21st century body part fitted — a snug, low frontal area fender. Goodbye, classic charmer, hello, sports racer. When this project is done, we’ll hardly recognize the old girl.

Don’t worry, we’re not throwing away any of the pretty stuff. We’ll be able to swap back and forth between antique and zooty in a 10-hour day … that is, once the zooty part is finished. Besides, the slicked-up version of this body may have some charm of its own.

Photo by Jack McCornack

So here you see the first new part out of the first new mold. In keeping with the keep-it-simple-keep-it-cheap philosophy, we’re using one mold for both front fenders. We’ve put MAX up on blocks and removed the suspension spring from the right front wheel, so we can move the wheel up and down and see if/when/where it hits the fender. So far so good; once we have the fender positioned correctly we’ll add the fender fairing (see Update No. 23 to understand what I’m talking about — it’s the part that tapers back from the fender and blends into the rest of the body), then start building the “pontoon” that runs along the side of the car.

I think the front fender assembly will be the last MAX body part we build the old-fashioned way, where we measure drawings and saw templates and bend sheets and shape foam with big files and … heck, even this part wasn’t done totally the old-fashioned way — at least I had my Rhino CAD (computer aided design, if you’re new here) drawings I could print full size and trace on the wood I was carving. Still, it took a loooong time.

Maybe not long if you’re a redwood tree, but plenty long for a human being. I figure I can build a computer-operated foam carving machine quicker than I can sculpt a whole car by hand, and we’ll soon see if I’m right. But right now, it’s nice to see the streamlining starting to take shape in real, live, go-out-and-touch-it form.

Browse previous MAX Updates.
Read the introductory MAX article, Here Comes the 100-mpg Car.
Visit the Kinetic Vehicles website for more technical details on MAX.
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