T12 has been busy making himself a go-cart, which he intends to race against his friend. T had been chuntering on as he so often does about the minutiae detail of his go-cart for weeks. He has questioned scientists and engineers alike, collected many scientific equations, all of which he understood but which left me slightly bemused or should that be confused? The equations were apparently going to aid him in getting the best speed out of his go-cart. There was even talk of installing an engine.
T knows that in the main I am willing to listen enthusiastically to him chatting about whatever is of interest to him at any given time, but he also knows there are times I don’t have the slightest clue what he is talking about. During these times, we have an agreement. He is allowed to talk all he wants, so long as he doesn’t expect me to be listening, understanding or contributing even to a small degree to the conversation. He is fine with this arrangement. It allows him to talk through his ideas and get things straight in his mind; whilst I can get on with whatever it is I am doing at the time. He doesn’t require my full concentration, I am merely a sounding board (better that than him standing chatting to himself in the garden!)
However, the downside to not really paying him too much attention is that sometimes I am given a shock when I actually see the reality of his dreams coming to fruition. The go-cart was one of these times. Here I was imagining a few pieces of scrap wood haphazardly banged together, added to which there would be wheels from a variety of equipment lying about our garden (there for the sole purpose of being dismantled by my children). This time the realisation of his design was so much better than it had sounded and when I first saw it I really was quite impressed:
What impressed me the most was that it was all made from scraps from our garden. nothing had been bought in at all, although I believe the wheels were donated by his friend.
It is not finished yet, but I thought I would give you a little tour. T12 had made a place to work on it off the ground using logs from our tree:
He had cut down two boards into a more aerodynamic shape and used those as the main body of the go-cart; He had fixed the wheels on by making his own axle and axle support out of scrap wood and bolts:
He had found that the axle only worked when the wheels were very loosely attached, thus allowing them to give slightly under his weight:
He used some old strong string and a couple of cup hooks to create a detachable belt:
And he is currently experimenting with steering and brakes. His method of choice when it comes to steering is string attached to the wheel axle support:
This string is then threaded through a pre-drilled hole near to the driver’s seat, which allows the driver full control of the front two wheels:
The breaks are a simple affair using a type of gear stick through the middle which he controlled using his hands, pressing the wood at the bottom against the wheel:
Last week he carried out a quick test of the steering, with his sister’s help:
You can see him using the steering out of the middle hole. He had tried it already with the steering string threaded through the seat and he was now trying it unthreaded to see which was the best:
He had prepared himself well by placing Oscar’s old duvet at the bottom of the slope to prevent him going crash into his raspberry bushes. A good job, because that is exactly what he did:
The result of his test drive was that the breaking needed to change, but he was happy with the steering, although I think he wants to use a thicker rope rather than the string as it was a bit sore on his hands.
Since the test drive he has tried out various breaking mechanisms controlled by his elbow, but he hasn’t settled on one design yet. When it is completed, I’ll pop up a picture!