“Can you come sit in the seat so we can see where it sits?”
I didn’t even have to burst their bubble. Not that I am a giant by any means, but I still got both them beat.
“Can you come sit in the seat so we can see where it sits?”
I didn’t even have to burst their bubble. Not that I am a giant by any means, but I still got both them beat.
We may…or may not have bought a boat. Ok so we did- and it is awesome. The last morning I posted about we were running errands in Vegas. Then mid-day we headed the opposite direction to Phoenix. People think it’s crazy what we do, but really, what is the big deal with a cross state road trip? Isn’t that why we have internet- so we can find stuff in other places and go buy it? Besides, when you get back from errands mid-day, do you really have the motivation to start working again? Not so much.
What we were really after was the motor. Unfortunately, when we sold our boat, we didn’t think about the motor being perfect for the ride truck. Of course it has to be a big block, aluminum heads, and most importantly FORD. None of that other crap. FORD in FORD only. Sorry if we just lost half our audience, but hey, you would probably understand if you saw Brad’s fleet of vehicles.
Hulkster was more than happy to accompany us on our motor seeking gallivanting journey, and snored loudly in the back seat of the Vanborghini. I tried to get work done, but the reception through most of the desert is worthless, so only bits and pieces can get accomplished. We made it in good time to Surprise (Phoenix suburb) and located, purchased, and hooked up to the boat, and away we went, stopping only for a quick bite. (which was not Taco Bell as we intended…only the drive through was open and Brad didn’t let in to my attempts at coaxing taking the boat through)
Thursday was of course play with the boat day- not in my sense of play, but in the make adjustments here, tweak there, test this, tighten that, etc. FINALLY at the end of the day we all went out and hit the river (no Hulk- he tries to bite the spray) It ran like a champ. Sure as heck was much nicer to ride in than our previous boat (it had a race hull that really like to only run happily on glass). I didn’t fear for my life, nor pray for the survival of my kidneys as Brad pushed it full speed and it actually was impressive at just wanting to stay in the choppy water. (Go figure, let’s go test a jet boat in 60 mph winds…whahoo) The motor is super torquey and makes awesome power. It’s a 460 weighing in around 525hp and 600ft lb torque, running on pump gas. Edelbrock aluminum heads and a few other goodies, with plenty of add-ons and adjustments to come, but definitely a great start!
Friday the guys stayed in the shop and busted their tails on the interior roll cage and finishing edges on the cut areas to keep them smooth and professional looking. You can see in the images the ribbing of the cage and where it comes together up top. Also I took some shots of the flooring. The cut-away down the middle is to drop the floor enough for people to be able to walk in more comfortably. It’s a tad hard to load up when people are crawling on their hands and knees , not to mention awkward and ridiculous. So by lowering the main area down about 16” it will make the interior height more functional.
Also on Friday, the wheels showed up for the truck! YAY. We also went ahead and ordered dual center rims, which not only look awesome (we had them on our race trucks) but are multifunctional so on side will match the bolt patter for a Rockwell axle and the other side will fit a Clarke. Not that we have any intention of switching axles, but in case we ever sell wheels or end up in a situation where a Clarke bolt pattern is needed (which has actually happened before), we will be prepared. The rims will get welded later on, which is a special technique process that I will elaborate upon at that juncture.
For some quick info- each rim is made from 1152 sq. in. 3/8” steel and measures 25”X32”. Each wheel weighs 187.5 lbs. 22’s? Old hat….25’s, that’s where its happenin- although on second though I don’t think you Escalade will appreciate an additional 780lbs on it. 😉
Saturday: hmmm I know we did something. I cleaned. I tried to coax Brad into going out for breakfast because I had no desire to cook another boring breakfast of the usual, but no, back to the stove. Smoked salmon benedict- tell me shop workers…what does your boss make you for breakfast? You might get luck for a breakfast burrito off the dollar menu. (which is delicious, I’m not knocking it at all) I still wish they liked pancakes or French toast, crepes, actually anything that doesn’t require me just reconfiguring which meat and where it goes, and how the eggs get cooked. Whatever.
Seats, that is what they did on Saturday. We do have some seats already (if you follow the blog, you would know that) and so they set them at different heights in order to determine the dimensions on constructing the mounts (which if you haven’t already guessed are probably going to be overkill…maybe that is what we should rename the truck….Overkill) Anyway, Metal climbed up into the truck and tested them out, rearranging and adding “shims” as needed to find the ideal sitting position. Not so high that tall people won’t fit, but not so low that you have to climb out of your seat. Ironically enough, Brad is 5’9 and Metal is 5’6 so I’m not sure how they figure they calculated tall people sitting in them…but I won’t burst their bubble.
Sunday was the day off, and someone forgot about the holiday weekend, so back to work-ish today. Naomi and Dave came to visit (yay!!) and all 5 of us ended up on a whirlwind adventure of danger, excitement, and traffic at every corner. First was lunch…oh yeah. Priorities. I meant to snap a few shots but if I wanted to get out of the table I had to put my bum in the people sitting next to us’s faces….which I prefer only to do when they aren’t eating…. After lunch we thought we were going to be doing a quick drive around the corner to look at a motor, but no, no, we had to go to the nether reaches of Las Vegas, literally the further point on the map from where we started. But a motor is a motor, and we needed a motor for cheap. With the nice motor already in possession, the idea is to get a “dummy” motor to enable the mockups for the truck. (measuring, fabricating, etc) The dummy motor is also a 460, and we can scratch it, dent it, ding it, etc if we want to and no harm no foul. Much better than taking the expensive motor and sticking it in and out of the truck. Genius? Possibly. Shh don’t tell Brad. It might go to his head.
New motor in tow, next stop- Lowes to pick up a new chop saw. I have never seen so many broken tools in my life. I think Brad and Metal are doing it intentionally so they can just have a shop of the latest and greatest. Oy vey! Silly boys. So one motor, one chop saw, and full tummies later we head back. It was a very pleasant Vegas trip, which doesn’t happen often, and traffic really was remarkably light in the directions we headed. Glad we aren’t out tonight! YUCK for any of you driving home! Watch out for drunk boaters, BBQ goers, and people from out of state (you know everyone from outside your state drives terrible- here it’s the Californians)
To everyone else, shoot us your questions, or if you want more info on something send it our way, and enjoy the last delightful hours of your waning holiday weekend, before you are forced back into your cubicle of slavery! CIAO!
I’m sure most of you think we eat, breathe, sleep monster trucks, which is kinda true, but at least it is more excitement than most people see in their work week. However, there are still times where we get burnt out, and need a change of scenery. Sunday, was one of those days. Sure, we run errands every so often, but the inside of stores all look the same and blur together. Monotony has never been my friend. Repetition, not so much. So Sunday morning, when we woke up way too early (my super foil on the windows plan failed) I needed to go somewhere-anywhere. Just no monster trucks for one day. Of course I knew that was impossible, because let’s face it, it’s our life right now. Whether it be sponsors, orders, emails, parts, equipment, or future plans, it all comes back to the truck. It’s such a good thing that I am not a girlie girl, otherwise I would loathe every moment of my existence.
The adventure kicked off in the Vanborghini , heading towards local ghost town Chloride. Never been, seemed like a great idea. Granted, most ghost towns are just remnants of oldish looking buildings that just sell a bunch of the same crap. Nothing like a shirt with some stupid cats on them that says “Chloride” or “insert your town here” because marmalade kitties truly represent the town…. But for the sake of it, we went, and it actually is pretty cool. There is a town of residents surrounding it, which most times, would be ridiculously ironic for an abandoned “ghost town” but in the case of Chloride it helps add to the eclectic appeal. You know the one guy that every neighborhood that has a bunch of rusty “art” in his yard? Those always look tacky and awful, because next to a nicely manicured lawn with shrubs and flowering trees, it pretty much looks like hillbilly heaven…aka scrap pile. In Chloride, it actually works. People have dilapidated cars rusting away in every corner of their property, colorful glass bottle necks wrap around the barb wire fence, and the welding and sautering of pots, pans, and recycled junk, turns into a community theme that actually is awesome. It doesn’t look like trash. Mingled with the desert background, it provides and amusing backdrop for this tiny place out in nowhere. I even looked at property for sale.
Being that we ate breakfast just before we came up, we didn’t stop and eat, nor did we take the time to meander the antique shops and gift stores. We did drive up to the murals up on the dirt road, but not really our thing. After a thorough cruise through “town” we headed back down the hill towards the next mission.
Lake Mohave- We could never figure out how to get to the lake. On the jet skis we just take off from Willow Beach and ride down, but during the summer it is always packed. Alas, the roads that go in suck. Miles and miles of bumpy off-road type terrain that will give any adult shaken baby syndrome. UGH. However, we would not let it detour us. Brad just hit the gas to go faster. When it doubt…..more speed is usually the best answer. We found the lake, enjoyed it not being freezing, and once we got hungry (because I said let’s pack a picnic, and he said, umm that’s dumb) we took off and made our way towards home. Side note: uphill climbs +miles+impatient Brad+van+offroad terrain=overheated motors. We were almost to the top of the “mountain” when the van could go no more. Water was no where to be found, and for a cherry on top and some sprinkles, no cell, no water, no food. It’s a hundred degrees, we are starving, and broke down on a road we may not see another person on for days. Fabulous.
The good news- after climbing up to the top of a peak, and still not having reception, we were able to coast back down all the way to the lake, where we would have plenty of water. Come to find out that the fitting was broke and therefore the water all dumped out. Apparently shaking it through the zillion vibrations of 55 on bumpy roads, just doesn’t cut it. Brad calls it “faulty manufacturing” I call it, “duh, you drove it on an offroad course in the desert”. While I had run the idea by Brad of running it in the Baja 1000, I didn’t actually think it could. Oh well. We spent several hours by the water, were able to call Metal, who saved our tails, got a little sunburnt, but Hulk got to swim to his heart’s content. What a great day!
Lesson learned- always pack a picnic
Monday: Umm so I don’t know if the truck will ever get done. It seems like there are always side projects that pop up. For example. Monday, the gun guys needed a mount fabricated to a military jeep so that people could shoot an M2 .50 cal machine gun out of it. Of course, the guys used DOM tubing (because we have a nice little stash of it) and set it up so the gun could sweep side to side just enough to get some motion, but not shoot to the sidelines, as well as up and down movement with a safety lock so it can be set for no movement. Basically the mount would provide a stable way (and unique) to shoot the gun, without the possibility of kickback shooting up and knocking their teeth out (yes it has been done- never underestimate people)
Tuesday: I don’t think they did anything. I swear. I go outside and they are either talking about it, or doing the exact same thing as where I left them. It’s a wonder anything gets done on it. If I had more time, I would try the slave driver role, but fortunately for them, I have zero time to go try and tell them what to do. (not that they would listen, anyway)
More fabrication of the driver’s cage. The initial hoop took a bit of configuring because the bends are calculated individually. Fitment needs to be precise, and while the hoops mirror on each side, each of the three bends per side have to match the inside of the truck, perfectly. We don’t have a magic laser that just figures it out. Fortunately, all this extra time will pay off because it is likely we will never have to do another thing to the frame and roll cage once it is completed. Also, side note….we don’t plan on rolling it, but you always gotta have the “just in case” mentality.
Today is errands day. I’m out of the basics, more alkaline water for the shop (I got Brad hooked on it last year, which is too funny) and welding supplies. Whahoo for grocery shopping and Brad rolling his eyes as I throw kale and mung bean sprouts in the cart.
Tomorrow we might just have a motor!!! Stayed tuned for the excitement!
Ignore any typos (that aren’t the kind I normally have) or plus signs that might appear. I’m working on the laptop out in the shop for a change of scenery and to hopefully better describe what it really is that the guys do during the day. So I’m in the back seat of a bronco, which Hulk helped himself in too and thinks the number side of my keyboard is a head rest. Bulldog heads are freakin heavy.
I woke up to Powerball players ready to get their tickets. The Las Vegas players lined up out here at 6am and have only continued to increase! REALLY wish the truck was done. We would have been able to retire after today’s traffic. Oh well. To anyone who plays lotto, make sure you got your tickets. I would wish you good luck, but if I do that then you might win, and realistically, I’m kinda banking on my success over yours. However, for the sake of karma – good luck (and if you win, you better send me some money for using my good luck on you)
The word of the day is perfectionism. Brad is a perfectionist. If it isn’t AWESOME it isn’t good enough. This applies in all aspects, of what he does. Sure, something might be good, but is there something better that can be done? Yes. Ok well then do it. Over the last couple days the front end of the truck is beginning to come together. The driver’s area roll cage is getting bent up, metal has been cut and pulled away from the body, and with each step it gets closer. Anyone who has seen a racing monster truck up close has seen how driver’s get it. They actually crawl up the frame, from the underside of the truck, in a small gap between the body and the frame. The Sin City Hustler is being constructed in as many ways possible as a race truck would. So instead of the driver climbing in a side door, they have cutaway portions of the floor along the sides between the frame and the chassis to get in. I really doubt when the truck is operating constantly either of our drivers will be in and out a lot. (Brad’s not one for extra movement, and Mike creaks and makes a lot of noise when he does….so it is more for looks)
The perfectionism part of this is, instead of just sawing off the metal and leaving it like most people would, Brad started with the plasma cutter and cut it all off. Then he used a saw to trim it closer and more precisely, and then he used a grinder to take off any sharp edges and smooth it completely. It is actually pretty awesome. It is clean, no risk of odd cuts from jagged edges, and while it isn’t that big of a deal, it does contribute overall to the professionalism that this truck is being built with. If it isn’t perfect it won’t be on this truck.
Overall, the idea is to create a machine that looks like it could have been manufactured in a factory (but better). Clean edges, impeccably fitted parts, and overkill on the parts for safety, durability, and aesthetics. Not only does this make an overall better presentation of the monster truck, but from a business standpoint (which is also what this is) it represents our company and what we stand for. It’s a great ideal to have, but there is also a reason we don’t have a “budget” per se, because “budget” is what is needed is what the budget is. If we need money for something additional then we figure it out. (It means I stay away from Whole Foods for a few months). Doing things right the first time, saves time, money, and aggravation later.
Other awesome news was that we got a video of the motor Dyno, which was awesome. I will be posting it after I make some edits (shop guys have potty mouths) and compress the file size. For now, I’ll keep it to that since I don’t have the video to display yet. But it’s just one more thing to check off the list!
Tomorrow: T-shirt winner, Sunday grand adventures, and whatever the guys do for Monday
and by paradise, I actually mean Lucipher’s eternal pits of despair. While it was about 8 degrees cooler today, it seemed a bit humid, which sucks when you are cleaning out the inside of Bronco that probably hasn’t been cleaned since it was made in 66. Not only that but the wind was blowing around my cleaning spray so I am coated in grossness, and probably shine like new. Yuck Yuck Yuck, but instead of immediately getting to enjoy a delightfully refreshing shower, I’m stuck blogging about how much I want a shower. ironic huh?
So here is the day. This morning, despite the mini hurricane outside, I still did my laps around the back. People think I do this early to avoid the heat, not so much. I do it early because I’m afraid if people see me they will assume I am crazy. You see, I rehearse the tentative cold calls I have lined up for the day, so to anyone who watches, I am out there having full conversations with myself, arms a waving, and I look nuts. Normally, I would do this in the comfort and privacy of inside my living area, however, seeing as I am trying to move a little during the day, now I don’t waste time doing it while accomplishing nothing in the morning! See how ingenious I am? Actually, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE one of those treadmills with the built in desk. I would call people all day long on that thing. “How are you doing today sir?, Me I’m great, burned 18000 calories since my first call this morning, and I’m only sweating profusely” Wouldn’t that be awesome? Brad thinks it’s stupid…so I guess for now, no treadmill. I pondered on hooking the Versaclimber up to some sort of desk contraption, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even make it through one call on it. “We…….are…….building…….the…….world’s…….largest……………………….monster……………………………………………………….truck” Insert heavy breathing in all of those spaces. Yeah, not so much.
That was way more than I wanted to divulge about my secret techniques. Oh well. I don’t get embarrassed too often. Brad and Metal jumped right in to the body to frame merger. Yep, merger. That sounds so much more business-like than marrying the frame and body, or welding it. Merger. Next we’ll “go public”, and pee outside. OK wow….I think the heat has officially melted my brain. Onward ho! The alignment of the chassis in relation to the mounting locations on the frame worked smoothly. They did hack out the front end of the truck, well nicely cut is more accurate. The removal will allow us to make it more like a race truck with the see through Lexan, which will also give the driver the ability to see motor action and any possible issues. And besides aesthetics, the next step is building the internal cage, starting with the driver’s area.
Another truckload of metal showed up. This time it was our 1 1/4″ DOM tubing, which is for the seat mounts, tunnel supports, plexiglass, etc. Brad refuses to use anything but tubing with his all other tube chassis. No mix and match or cheap shortcuts here. Did I say he is expensive? I got him back by buying 100 bucks worth of fruits and veggies at the market, so HA! Really the only way that screws him is when he is trying to get a drink of our fridge, and having to dodge the bok choy and kale to get to a soda.
I really feel like more got done, but when you put it on e-paper it just doesn’t come out to much. Nothing real technical or new today, but I did snap a shot with one of our broncos next to the truck (which is sitting on blocks right now, like its tires got jacked-I’d love to see that heist) and it looks pretty monstrous.
OOHHHHHHHH. I know what I forgot! If you aren’t already on our FB page, get there. We are doing a shirt giveaway. Post a caption for the picture and get your friends to “like” it. The caption with the most “likes” by Sunday evening will win a T-shirt. Sorry everyone, they aren’t the new truck shirts -yet. Those will be right around the corner!
SO https://www.facebook.com/bigtoyzracing is our link. Get there. Win a cool shirt. Be awesome. Happy almost Friday.
After my DOM tubing write up, I needed a blog break. While I am still trying to post frequently, some days are just better than others, and definitely more exciting. Much of the last couple weeks has been cutting, welding, bending, and notching tubing, and since the guys look exactly the same in the same position each time try to capture the action, it’s almost boring. Ok well, it is boring, at least to write about every day. Don’t get me wrong, what they are doing is super impressive, but after a while there are only so many ways you can say it.
Sunday, aside from becoming the master of all things DOM, we were treated by Naomi and Dave to a delightful (and slow) breakfast in “town”. It was an “un-mother’s day, since neither of us have kids. We debated between heading to the river and taking a nap, when a guy called on a bronco we were wanting to check out. Sweet…off to Vegas we go. And back to Arizona we came…with a 65 Bronco. Side project for the week.
Yesterday was fabrication of the side rails that will be used to mount the chassis to the frame. I actually was invited to partake in the bending of the tubes, more I think for sport than for help. Brad enjoys laughing at my expense, but I was determined not to let him win. FYI the first couple bends are a bit tough, but in the 100 degree weather after a few your muscles get a little weak – especially when you sit on your bum day in and day out working on a computer. I don’t even have time to work out. The time I use to post this blog is my workout time. Ok…back to bending. So I bent probably 4 bars, which is only 8 bends. I reeaaaaly wasn’t sure if I would make the last one. (I don’t have weight to my advantage) but there was no way I was going to let Brad win and give up. NO WAY. Not only would he laugh, but he would tease me about it for the next month. I already provide ample fodder for that, and whatever I can eliminate…I will. I won. I might have been panting quietly in the corner, but I finished, and thoroughly enjoyed being out in the shop. The guys just don’t realize how annoying computer work is and how I can feel myself turning into the couch. MISERY.
The past two days have been toasty. Like upper-90’s. I personally freeze my butt off because Brad cranks the AC to 60 so I’m in a coat and pants, which looks ridiculous each time I run outside. The welding work has been miserable (not that I have been doing it, but OH MY GOSH do I have to listen to it… and just that aspect is awful.)
Today they finished up the side rails for the chassis and aligned the mounting position underneath the body. It is looking pretty saaaaweeeeeet. Next on the agenda is to mount the frame to the body. So cross your fingers. We called it a day a little early and hit the river. Ahhh. Hulk was happy to swim.
I received a question from Jeremy in Texas about why we use DOM tubing and what DOM actually is. Really, it’s a great question, because you hear “DOM” and to most people have zero idea what DOM stands for. So here we go, and I promise minimal cut and paste from external sites.
D.O.M is an acronym for “drawn over mandrel”. DOM tubing is not a special material per se, but more of a description of the process on how the tubing is made.
Before I launch into more, I am going to give you a quick breakdown in the least technical sense possible to grasp a basic understanding of some metal working info. Please metal specialist, don’t judge, I don’t exactly have a degree in this, and I am trying to explain it so most people get it. The question got a lot more in depth than I intended so I had to do some research to be able to properly explain the differences.
Hot Rolled Steel: Steel that has been processed above the recrystallization point
Cold Rolled Steel: Processed below the recrystallization point, usually has higher tensile strength, uniformity, and tolerances
Recrystallization point: Where steel softens, approximately 1000 degrees Fahrenheit (varies based on the amount of carbon in the alloy)
Melting Point: Where steel becomes a liquid, approximately 2500 degrees Fahrenheit
Alloy: A mixture of 2 or more metals
Mandrel: a tool used to shape metal….
Weld: putting 2 pieces of metal together by heating the surface to melting, so they fuse together
Wall: the thickness of the tubing (not the diameter)
Tensile Strength: the resistance of material to break under tension
Electric resistance welding: A type of welding that uses more than one process to form a forged weld (which is created by heat and pressure) which is like a long, continuous spot weld.
Dies (metal working) a tool used to form metal that gives consistent results (a pattern in a way)
Ok so now that you have a metallurgist vocabulary (in the least technical sense possible) let’s move on to explaining what DOM tubing is and a few common misconceptions.
ERW (Electric Resistance Welded) steel tubing is created starting with either a hot or cold rolled flat strip of steel. It is then formed into a tube and welded. Not as strong as other steel tubing, but also less costly.
Seamless Steel Tubing: Alright, so this is where a lot of people are misinformed. Many people think that DOM and seamless are interchangeable, and in fact the same thing. WRONG. Seamless tubing is quite the process and is pretty darn expensive to make. The simplest way to explain it is almost like it is the “billet” version of metal. Or course there are variations of this (hot and cold formed), but the basic process is such. You start with a block of metal and it is pierced with a special tool and incredible pressure down the middle to form the initial tube shape. Then it proceeds to an elongator of rollers and an internal mandrel to further form to the dimensions needed. Next, is a reducing mill where it makes the diameter closer to the needed size. At this juncture it is actually oval shaped. Then, lastly, it is off to the rotary sizer, where it is made round again and finished to its final size.
Seamless tubing is generally the strongest, as well as the most costly of steel tubing, and is rarely used in automotive applications. Which brings me to the middle and what we use (as well as most off road applications)
DOM Tubing: Firstly, most DOM tubing is a steel/carbon alloy of 1020, which means it is .20% carbon and 99.80%steel. It might not seem significant, but it is.
As I mentioned before, DOM is the process by which the tubing is made, not the materials. DOM is actually ERW tubing with an extra step. Most people don’t realize that though, because you can’t see the weld nor can you feel it, which makes it appear seamless. That extra step is what makes this happen.
It starts as a coil of steel with a premeasured slit for the proper size. Then it is cold formed and passes through an electric resistance welder. From there it is cut for further processing. After it is cut is drawn through one or more dies and over a mandrel which creates a uniform look as well as getting the diameter and walls to the proper size.
ERW tubing is the least expensive with the least strength
DOM tubing is in the middle
Seamless is the most
Prices vary day to day because the price of steel fluxuates significantly, however the tensile strength is the same. SO (obviously some variations because hot and cold formed/rolled process creates different strengths, as well as sources having conflicting info, so we will go with a give or take)
In 1020 alloy with a .120 wall (PSI)
ERW has a tensile strength of 45,000 lbs.
DOM has a tensile strength of 80,000 lbs.
Seamless has a tensile strength 87,000
Another reason the DOM is nice, is that on some of the welded tubing when have enough weight/pressure, the weld will give and you split the metal, which, my friends is no bueno and not a fun repair!
Now that I am done with this post, I know way more than I wanted to, and regret starting this project. It was much more technical than I was aiming for on a weekend. Hopefully I answered your question and gave everyone a mini education 😀 Until tomorrow!