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Author Topic: Billet Rods - Homemade  (Read 1161 times)
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tractorbuds
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« on: November 22, 2013, 09:45:55 AM »

I was doing a search for homemade connecting rods the other day and ended up on a go cart forum where a couple of fellas were talking about homemade rods their grandfathers had (successfully) made back in the 50's and 60's. Just curious if anyone has ever ventured down this road before with success (without a CNC shop in their backyard....I'm talking about using an old mill and/or a TIG welder)? Anyone ever cut a stock rod and then welded/reinforced to gain enough stroke to turn stock dished pistons into flat tops - that sorta thing? I have played with enough motors to know what can happen when you loose a rod, but lets say we're racing in a class where we're running $75 motors, it'd be interesting to attempt something just for kicks. Even if you just hacked a rod out of a piece of billet aluminum and kept the weight close. Go easy on me, just looking for stories...it's the coffee shop right?
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Huffy044
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2013, 10:36:54 AM »

Sure you can, get the right material, careful machining, and you have what ever special part you want. Personally? I can buy this stuff cheaper than I can make it, know that it's quality and it has a high probality of finishing the race. I hear the $75. deal you are talking about, if thats the level you want to stay in by all means experiment. Have fun.
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willenglish
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2013, 10:45:32 PM »

I agree that you CAN manufacture you a few connecting rods if you wanted...and with just a basic manual milling machine and common endmills and cutters. Other than the satisfaction of making your own though...I don't see why you would. Making rods is labor intensive...in a big way...and a chunk of material large enough to make a couple of rods is not cheap. Additonally...the alloy of the material is critical...as is the temper of it. Rods that are available commercially are of excellent quality and have a long service life. There are rods available for just about any combination. Rocket Ron even has rods available for special combinations.But it that sort of thing floats your boat...go for it!
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William L. English, jr.
heymow.com - Lawn Mower Racing Forum
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2013, 10:45:32 PM »

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tractorbuds
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 05:46:39 AM »

No offence guys, but like my original post said, I was looking looking for stories of homemade rods, perhaps from some of our 'vintage' drivers. Not looking to hear about pros, cons, etc, etc, that is a given - it isn't rocket science. If it was done in carting, there has to be a few members on this board that have a story or two to dust off.
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willenglish
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2013, 08:03:02 AM »

This is an unusual post.  Im not sure exactly what you are looking for. I guess I'm one of those vintage guys you were talking about though. When we started racing 4-cycle karts way back in the 70's...there was no source of parts such as there are today. We either made what we needed....modified what we had...or did without. As racing progressed...a few parts began to be available. George Benfield was among the first to manufacture connecting rods. They were called "unbreakable rods". But they were far from unbreakable. Robert Stanton manufactured full circle stroker crankshafts...and our very own Rocket Ron...even back then, was a leader in innovation and  manufacturing, in parts AND wins. As a racer, I was more than happy when beautiful, durable parts became available and I didn't have to cobble together parts and peices. I still remember just marveling at the first Gil Horstman connecting rod I owned! That thing was beautiful...much as modern ARC manufactured parts are today. In my opinion, this is the best time to be racing. You don't HAVE to make your own parts. Others have done the engineering and developed the science to manufacture parts and pieces that can..and will take you to the front. I hope you have an enjoyable time making your parts...but myself. .I'm glad I can call ol Rocket Ron, or ARC or EC Carbs and they can just send me what I need.
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William L. English, jr.
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 08:31:25 AM »

If you are looking for a story get a hold of Flipper on here(Joey Nahas) he made or had made a rod couple 3 or 4 years ago now. For a motor I believe George put together. He spent 5 or 6 times what it would cost to buy one if it was available from arc. So you have to judge how much your time is worth and what bang for your buck you get. Price out a piece of billet stock it will shock you how much a one off chunk will set you back. Though Joey and George created a nice motor that is a strong runner its not unbeatable and still can be beat by machines that only have parts that are available off the shelf. I love to make a better mouse trap too but unless you are in the business of making a few hundred of these  to sell it will be a labor of love and a part you will be proud of when your done. Like someone above said people used to make them cause nobody else did, now a days we have parts available and cheap really for what they have to offer us. I have to believe that most stories ended badly in the long run and the reason a lot of people will not write any comment. twocents
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Huffy044
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 08:48:33 AM »

Joey did indeed have a rod made, George put it together and I balanced the assembly. It was the hardest one I had ever balanced, really heavy, had to cut the piston right up to what I felt the edge was. The engine did turn out well (see Georges post about it) Grubbdiger's wife ran it a whole season.

I understand your post and to my knowledge this is the only rod made in this manner, certainly not in Joeys garage. Has I stayed in this sport my next level would be to explore various motorcycle componets that you could adapt in the engines we use. Get a lawn mower engine to turn the rpm a metric bike does along with the duribility, that's where I would spend my time.
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VLMRA Mini Champion 2007
VLMRA Sportsman Champion 2007
VLMRA Pro-X Champion 2008, 2009
ARMA Sportsman of the Year 2008
ARMA South East Region Mini 2009, 2010, 2011,2012
ARMA National Champion Mini 2009, 2010, 2011,2012, 2013
Maxton NC Model A Record Holder 118.54
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