Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I had a dream.

I dreamed of building a pedal car by myself when I was young. My parent bought a pedal car even before I was born. It was my brother's, and it "inherited" to me when I was born. It became my childhood playmate. It made of plastic, and is powered by a pedal. Things were made to last, and it last for a solid 20 years before it was given away; I was too big to fit into the car anymore.

Since then, I wish I could build one myself.

My father owns a furniture factory. And basically I was brought up in that factory. The whole factory was my playground, and it's still is.

A little something about myself: I am 36 years old father with 3 kids, and live in a house in Perai, Penang, Malaysia. I am a Civil Engineering graduates, and after being a Civil Engineer for 10 years, I decided to come back to my hometown and become a carpenter of my father's factory instead.

Ok, back to the toy car thing.

When my son was about 3 years old, I wanted to buy him a pedal car for his birthday. I searched around the major toy store for a pedal car, but it seem like no store would carry one. Almost every toy store carries battery powered, made in China toy car which is quite expensive with low quality build and "very China made". Being a loving father I am, I decided to drop my initial wish to get him a pedal car, and got him those battery powered with remote control and music and all stuff car, and it cost me a fortune.

As I expected, the car didn't last long. It broke down 1 year after the purchase was done. Not to mention the low quality next to none useless plastic wheels that couldn't even move around. No more warranty claim. Since then, the car became a dust collector.

Not until recently, that I started to think of repairing the car and hope to get it move again as a present to my son's birthday. He turns 5 this coming October.

This is what I had done:

 and I admit, I had no idea to put it back to its original state. And then the idea of DIY a pedal car resurfaced.

I believe with all the hands on experience I gain from my working life, I could make my dream a reality.

What to do first ?

Mr Google is a good place to start. When I hit the return key, some very interesting article appears. One particular article catches my attention: the Swing Bin Racer !

It's quite surprise to see that this car is actually made up by a 50L kitchen swing bin, and other stuff that could be get easily off the shelves. Well, this is quite true for western country, but not in Malaysia. I will come to this point later.

Upon further dig into the internet, the swing bin racer is a DIY project that could be build by one without welding and wiring. This car is powered by a cordless drill. Quite interesting, and I thought I might able to build one. Unfortunately, there is no free lunch in this world, and if I wish to build this swing bin car, I need to purchase the plan from the online store, and it cost 15 UK pounds, and does not include shipping from UK to M'sia. Quite disappointing I should say.

Anyway, after more searching in the net, and in the Youtube, I roughly more or less able to capture some basic dimensions and ideas of building one such elegant good looking toy car. But first, I need a swing bin !

So, what is a swing bin ? This is a swing bin:

The lit opening will become racer's back, and the bin will become the racer's "engine bay" <-- that's the big idea of Swing Bin Car. In order to fit a 5 year old child, the bin must be big enough. Hence, it's recommended the bin capacity to be 50 L ones.

And swing bin is what I am looking for.

The chassis  of the car is made from MDF boards as recommended. But since I find plywood is stronger and easier to work with, so I would go for plywood rather MDF.

The wheel selection is a bit tricky. I decided to go for spike bicycle wheels instead plastic ones. To kick that the project, I got 4 numbers of 16" bicycle wheels from a bicycle store near by.

With the to-buy and to-do lists been written down, I am one step closer to make my dream a reality !

At the mean time, I make up this for my son, and he is happy about it.

Can't wait to see his reaction when the car is completed.

Wish me luck.

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