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No-Weld Car


  • Welding is awesome, but many schools, groups, etc. do not have the capabilities due to lack of equipment and/or lack of instructors. We should develop ideas for a PPPRS vehicle that requires no welding. This page will collect ideas around how to build a no-weld car.


  • Some people have thrown around ideas of using wood, or Aluminum extrusion, or Unistrut, or Aluminum bolted together with plates. All of these are valid, and just need to be fleshed out and designed/built.
  • Whatever is designed/built, there should be a list of required tools. For instance, using metal may be fine, because a simple hand too (a hacksaw) can be used to cut metal, as long as it doesn't need to be super-precise. Thing about how you could build things without CNC machines, or even without power tools. Some parts, like spindles, can always be purchased rather than made. Think about the problems you're trying to solve and where to direct your efforts.
  • In designing/building a vehicle, think about what a team of kids working in a garage, or a school without much of a shop could do. Scale things appropriately, and most of all, document it all!
  • Triangles are your friend.
  • Small bolts are your enemy. The bolts on 80/20 aluminum channel tend to be too small, and they are constrained in only two dimensions. They tend to slip in the other direction. Drill through.
  • When bolting things together, angles and bars may be easier than square or round tube, because the bolts will not tend to crush the hollow sections, and the crushing of the hollow sections will not loosen the bolts over time.
  • Nyloc nuts are your friend. The vibration will loosen and undo standard nuts.

Example Builds

The following builds show examples of no-weld techniques.

    • Has a body made primarily of 1 inch Aluminum angle, and built using primarily a Harbor Freight bandsaw, a drill press, and hand tools.
  • Florida Car
    • Built by Nick Polanosky. There are welds, bolted connections, and in some places both. Uses bandsaw, angle grinder, manual mill, manual lathe, mig welder w/spool gun.
    • (Wait, there are welds?)
    • Being built by Milwaukee Makerspace members for the 2019(?) season, this car is almost exclusively wood and can (so far) be built with saws and a drill.


  • Eric K: Sandcrawler / Minecart from Omaha Maker Group. It's a wood frame with a wood/foam composite panel body. Virtually no welding (the steering column support might be, IIRC). - 2016-11-23
  • Patrick C: PS1 will be retiring the blues mobile. It's replacement will be of a wood frame/no weld type. - 2016-11-23
  • Jackie G: I'll be working with my students to see how user-friendly we can get aluminum tubes with gusset plates. My goal is to make it viable with nothing more than a jigsaw and a handheld drill. - 2016-11-23
  • Pole Guy: I have a fusion 360 3D design with 2D drawings for my car. Here are the raw photos. No weld angle Aluminum… works well. Simple tools for most of it. - 2016-11-23
  • David B: I'm working with a group of HS students to make a car using Aluminum extrusion. Joining things with mostly rivets. We're going back and forth on using steel furniture angles or aluminum gussets to join the square tube frame. We did compromise the all Aluminum plan by salvaging the rear axle and related supports from a Snapper rear engine mower. The steel frame is bolted to our aluminum frame using pre-existing holes in the Snapper plates. So far we have used a hacksaw, cordless drills, an angle grinder, and manual rivet gun. - 2016-11-23


edu/no-weld_car.txt · Last modified: 2018/10/15 11:57 by admin