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Making a Racing Seat From Scratch

Didn’t take me long to determine that if I was going to all the trouble of rebuilding the 914 I would need to build some custom racing seats. While I might have ultimately been able to convince myself to fork up the cash to buy a set, this project is more about the challenge of fabrication than anything else. And when I thought of all the chopping, panel welding and dent pounding I was doing, I figured making a couple of seats from scratch would be the easiest part of the whole project. I was of course soon disabused of this notion.

Step 1: Get a plan. I found these plans from Rorty Design, and plotted them into Google Sketchup where I could lay out a template with lighting holes.

IMG_0678Plotting out the template

Putting the seat plans in Sketchup allowed me to mark of stations which I then had to plot out on paper, old-school style. By hand.

IMG_0683Laying out the pattern on aluminum sheet

Once the pattern was layed out on the aluminum, I cut out the pattern with a jig saw. Cutting the metal was actually much easier and faster than I had expected. My Pop had the brilliant suggestion that all four halves of the two seats be clamped together when filing the edges clean. This both minimized the time required to finish the edges and guaranteed the seats would be symmetrical.

IMG_0686Deburring edges

IMG_0690Cutting the lightning holes

photoStarting to look like a real seat!

IMG_0693A finished Seat!

I was really proud of the seat, and it looked pretty good. But,… like so many things in this project, it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. Forming sheet metal turns out to be harder than I expected, and the seat ended up with some flaws that bother me. As a result of having made this seat I could see all the ways I could have done it better. So I decided to modified the plans and try once again. Expect picture of the second seat attempt soon.