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The start of a new project

Ive always wanted to completely design and build my own car, so after meeting a local guy who built his own locost 7 style car, Ive started to lay it out in Modo. Im trying not to rip off the Ariel Atom too heavily, but they did a nice job so its kind of tough.

The plan right now is to find a early 90s Acura Integra as a donor car for the engine, transmission, wiring and a few other bits and then upgrade the engine and components as I can. Im at the point now where I need to review the designs with an ICBC vehicle inspector before I spend any money on metal etc.

The most fun part for me so far has been to pick parts that I like rather than what works on an older design like the Spitfire. Rizoma motorcycle mirrors, Drift Iridium guages and Momo Race steering wheel for starters.

Can I ask why youd choose to have steering rack ahead of the front axle, rather than behind?

Wouldnt this location interfere with the radiator?

I wouldnt exactly say everything is in its final place in the design as some things will change as I acquire parts, but the plan right now is to use Miata uprights and steering rack which sit in front of the axle. The rad will sit in front this, but the Im hoping the frame design is flexible enough to allow for this.

Looks pretty killer. Love the curves on the front end.

love the look. where would you be fitting the fuel tank. will you be selling the plans when youve finished.

Ive got a couple of options for the fuel tank either behind the seats in front of the engine or theres an area above the footwell at the front. It would help with front/rear balance, but would lift the centre of gravity a bit.

No plans to sell the frame plans as Im not an engineer, so I think liability issues would be a big issue. Theres a guy (Kurt Bilinski) who is building a mid-engine Lotus 7 style car and he is writing a book and selling plans for it. You can see his progress here:

You might find that you have the tyre going in the wrong direction.

Yeah, I noticed that after I saw a couple of people point it out on a forum post. Ill be turning them around before I do my next renders and definitely before I drive through any virtual puddles!

Its very cool car. I hope you can put it on the road soon, so we can see how it works.

I dont know about soon, but Im definitely looking forward to getting this on the road and tested. Im trying to do it as inexpensively as possible as the approval and insurance process is not simple. Hopefully after that I can spend some time and money on upgrades.

Really cool looking car, my engine looks really good in there:-)

Looking forward to see how you get on building the real thing.

I seem to remember getting the engine from the SketchUp library out of a Super 7 model. That was yours? It certainly proved useful in the renders to figure out some rough packaging. Thanks again.

Ive since replaced it with a really rough dimensional model of my K20A3 motor to get a better idea of what can go where.

Im also looking forward to actually moving forward with the build. Im still mostly researching parts and design, but should be buying some tubing soon.

we really love your design we are educating in university i and my 3 friends would l?ke to use it as base design to to built our car own car. are we allowed or not.

Theres really not too much to copy right now, I would say. Theres no plans, no final suspension design or anything. Basically, all Ive tried to do is to mimic an Ariel Atom style car while removing as much of the custom bodywork as possible. If you do decide to use it as a base design, please keep me posted on your progress, especially if you do any virtual testing on the chassis layout!

What program did you model it in? Interested in an electric version?

The car is modelled in Modo. Their site is here:

I would be very interested in an electric version if I could afford the batteries/controller/motor. Mostly the batteries I guess, as the good ones right now are still pretty expensive. I could see converting this down the road if the technology gets a little cheaper. I did build the electric motorbike using Sealed Lead Acid batteries which, while cheap, were heavy and slow to recharge. Are you building an electric car right now?

yeh, i\\\m building a single seater (of similar design) using two wheel chair motors inboard, direct drive to the rear wheels. i\\\ve used front hubs off a suzuki swift for the rear, seems to work quite well. (not that its on the road yet) project is going slowly due to working full time. just ordered some liPo batterys. the price isn\\\t too bad now. 6kW.hr for about 4kNZD. like your work by the way, i think the new frame looks alot better from a strength viewpoint. cheers.

I dont know about security codes I636357m an old fart! I have a 1963 vw bug, its got a 62 356 porsche engine in it, And no fenders on it, highway patrol says fenders. The fenders on your lotus mini look great, could you tell me how you came by them! Thanks, (old disabled veteran) Dale

The fenders are just a digital render of what I hope to eventually put on the completed car. You can get fibreglass or even carbon fibre ones from the UK. They also occasionally show up on ebay under cycle fenders.

The engine is a Honda K20A3 from an Acura RSX. I would estimate that the overall cost will be around $15-18,000 Canadian.

Very nice lines and detailing. Id love to see your ideas transposed to a standard locost configuration. Everyone doing the exo thing seems to want to make a middie, whilst I think that itd be a very good look to go exo front/rear config.

I think you could apply this kind of design to a front engine layout quite easily. I guess everyone who builds this kind of car was probably originally inspired by the Ariel Atom so it only makes sense that most would be mid-engine. Personally, I was attracted to the idea of a mid-engine car for balance/handling etc.

I love your design and would love to use it for the base of my turbo charged Hayabusa powerplant. I would love to be able to get a hold of a file that would be able to be used by the company building the Chassis (laser Cut/bent)

do you have any info? Can I use your design?

Can u send me this project in parasolid or .iges format?

Or any format, it would be very useful, cause im a mechanical engineer student and i liked this project a lot.

You should get in touch with the guys at factory five or flyin miata. Im sure theyd be curious to see if this concept works. This could be a very basic entry kit that would be bread and butter production for these companies. Negotiate 15% for total sale value of each unit produced, money in your pocket and all you had to do was draw up this thing in cad. Not a bad deal

I keep getting drawn back to your design. Ive done a Lotus 7 copy from scratch 20 years ago so Ive a bit of an idea. Here in Australia the rules are complex, but not so much for a reverse trike, so that would be my preference, and your Ariel Atomesque design would lend itself nicely to 3 wheels. I notice in the various comments that you have little objection to anyone using your design. I would of course try to keep you abreast of how it goes.

One thing I really prefer is your original iteration where the curved side tube terminates at the seat back. Im not so keen on the tube going back to the rear shock mount, but then thats me. I just think the former looks more balanced. Its academic anyway, the tubing terminations etc for a motorcycle mount are entirely different.

Please advise if you have any particular objections with regard to intellectual property rights, and Ill rethink the thing.

Congratulations. It s an updated interpretation of original seven kit car low cost!

I use to play with that idea and play with Picture, chopping, copy, pasta for see how could looks.

I hace a model on you tube called Lotus se ven motor central.

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How To Start A

As an entrepreneur, I find it hard to do nothing. I always want to be building something. I need to be building something. Thats why, during the process of documentingTheGreatBuildproject I became frustrated so many times.

One evening while I was waiting and I really couldnt move forward on the project. I was frustrated. I made a decision to build another ecommerce business

For those that are maybe just reading my blog for the first time and dont know, my new ecommerce business which I have been documenting through a blog series calledTheGreatBuildis calledFinch Goods Co.Many people have asked me where the name Finch came from and why I choose Finch Goods for the name of my new business. Truth be told, it was the name of the street I grew up on. It was the place I lived, the place I played, and it was the place of my first dozen entrepreneurial endeavors, mostly in the form of lemonade stands, vegetable stands, a makeshift hockey card pawnshop and garage sales. The nameFinch Goods Co.is a tribute to my early entrepreneur days.

Finch is also the name of the closest subway/bus station, and up until I had a car, it was my access point to the rest of the world. If I wanted to go anywhere I passed through Finch Station.

Because of my sentimental attachment to Finch I designed a t-shirt based on the typography, colors and tile pattern of that station in late February.

Fast forward a few weeks to a night in April. I was working onTheGreatBuildproject (Finch Goods Co.) and getting close to launching. However, I was stuck. Everything was ready to go except I was waiting on some inventory I intended to launch with from a supplier. I had nothing to do.

As an entrepreneur, nothing to do is a terrible feeling. It feels it exact opposite of progress, probably because it is. Growing anxious to launchFinch Goods Co.and not being able to, I stared blankly at my computer for a few minutes, my screened darkened and went to sleep. In the reflection of my black screen, I saw my shirt, Finch.

Remembering the few compliments I got on the shirt I wondered if people actually were interested in hyper-local t-shirts that represented their local community, right down to their local subway station.

The idea of hyper-local t-shirts was one I was sure people were interested in. Our city definitely has a lot of pride and after some cursory Google searches, I found nothing similar. The closest was a series of vinyl wall decals with the various stations typography. Searching for that companies name on Google I found several online news articles about them. They had been running their business for 5+ years so in theory they were doing well.

The thought of getting wrapped up in a new business while still trying to launchFinch Goods Co.was a little intimidating. My time was very limited at this point. Because of this, I came to the decision. If I were to build a new business there would be several rules:

Under these rules, building the entire business would essentially act in-itself as the validation.

With these rules in mind there were several things to figure out:

For me, number one was easy. Unless number two forced my hand another direction, I would useShopify. Its the platform I know and love, its the easiest to use in my opinion and it offered the most amount of app integrations, which I knew is likely where I would find adropshipping companyto print and ship custom shirts for me.

I immediately headed to theShopify App Storeand searched for t-shirts. The search returned approximately six t-shirt printers/dropshippers. After scanning through all of them, their integrations, their t-shirt options and pricing, I decided onPrintful. Printful it seemed had the most seamless integration, best selection of shirts and reasonable pricing. They also had the ability to print other products like canvas prints and bags should I ever decide to expand my product offering.

With my ecommerce platform and printer/dropshipper decided upon, it was time to work on the designs. Now, Toronto has over 60 stations and I completely underestimated how grueling and exhausting it would be to design all 60, luckily, many of the designs had a similar style. Over the next 6 hours I cranked out all 60 designs for almost all of the stations.

With all 60 designs complete, I thought I was done. However, I quickly realized that very few people would buy a design without knowing how it looked on a t-shirt. With that in mind, I headed over to my favorite graphic design marketplace,Creative Market. I searched for t-shirt template and quickly found a really slick template for $8.

Now that I had the t-shirt template and all my files, it was once again a manual process of applying all 60 of my designs to the t-shirt template and saving each file.

With all my t-shirt designs completed, it was time to build the website. I signed up forShopifys 14-day trialand got to work. I already had a theme I had purchased forFinch Goods Co.so I might as well use it for this project as well. When it came naming a business, I know it can sometimes take weeks. I didnt have that long. I decided to allocate 3 minutes to naming this business. As confusing as this was (mostly for my friends and family) I decided to call this business, Finchs. Again, this was named after the street I grew up on, the subway station closes to my childhood home and, it just so happens that Finch Station is the first station on the subway line.

I designed the website to be as simple as possible, even keeping the same colors scheme fromFinch Goods Co.The most time consuming part was creating each of the 60 products and uploading the right photos for each. Organization was key.

Finally, after 5 coffees and close to 14 hours straight, Finchs was born:

The last step before I launch and market my new online store was to integrate my store withPrintful. This was an easy enough process. I installed thePrintful Shopify App, and from there it automatically pulled in all my products. All I had to do at that point was upload the design file to each product and select the type/style of shirt I was going to use.

At this point, I was pretty tired and really had no idea what I was going to do for my marketing. However, I did remember that just the previous week, the subway celebrated its 60th anniversary. Could I use this to my advantage? I did some searches on Google to see who covered this event. One stuck out immediately. It was a pretty popular local online blog and they just wrote an article about the subway systems 60th anniversary. I figured the author of that post might want to hear about to my newly released shirts.

I found the author on Twitter and asked for his email address. Later that evening, I emailed him the following:

Within the hour he replied asking a few more questions. It was late and I was exhausted. I decided to leave the response until the morning. Besides, I still had a few things left to set up in myShopifyaccount before launch.

The next day, I woke up to the dinging sound of emails coming into my phone, *ding* *ding* *ding*. After ignoring the first few, I finally rolled over and checked my phone. To my surprise it was a bunch of emails from customers asking about my shirts, shipping and pricing customers? I havent even officially launched yet!

I quickly opened my laptop and discovered a big spike in traffic to my site. Although I had not officially launched, my site was live, however, I still had not turned on checkout, so no one could actually checkout.

First priority was to turn checkout on and complete a test order to make sure everything was no working. After I did that, I checked to see where the traffic was coming from. Turns out, the writer went ahead without my email responses and published a post about my store.

Here was his post, click through to read:

I also received a handful of other emails from people interested in collaborations and promotions with my line of tees.

Furthermore,that day  I also received some favorable social media mentions from BlogTO as well as a local Hip Hop radio station and a handful of other locals.

I have broken down my total costs below for this 24 hour business. My fixed costs amounted to a staggering $24. My variable costs were $13 per shirt to print each. My revenues for the first 24 hours of business were $347.71 for a total profit (in the first 24 hours) of $210.71

$16 Font for Typography (Fixed Cost)

$8 T-Shirt Mockup Template (Fixed Cost)

$104 8 x $13 for t-shirts and printing (Variable costs)

Total Revenue In The First 24 Hours:

Admittedly, after the spike in sales from the initial media coverage, sales dropped. In fact, since that first 24 hour sales period, Ive only made a few hundred more dollars, however, I have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and everything is 100% automated. I have not, and I have no need to login to anything for sales and orders to be taken care of.

Since my initial email that sparked my initial sales I havent done anything else for marketing. That one blog post continues to deliver a small trickle of sales each week. Most of my time now is spent on my new project,Finch Goods Co.so I have almost no time left for this project. However, when I do get some time, I am going to focus on SEO around some keywords I uncovered that I believe have potential to deliver a steady stream of high quality traffic for people looking for localized Toronto t-shirts. Again, I want to keep this project as automated as possible so SEO is going to be the biggest opportunity to achieving that.

T-Shirt entrepreneurs get a bad rep (Im looking at you reddit) however, I believe t-shirt businesses play an important part of the online entrepreneurship ecosystem. They are in many respects, a modern day lemonade stand (no pun intended), they are can be started quickly and with no money.

The biggest problem I find among online entrepreneurs is:

They dont know what to sell online They spend months and months looking for a product, before giving up.

If they do find a great product and start their first business, they have no idea how properly market their product and business to drive traffic and convert that traffic to sales thus a great product or idea is squandered.

Starting a t-shirt business helps with both of those factors. First, if youre struggling to find a product to sell, you will automatically have a product, t-shirts (these printer/dropshippers also usually offer other products as well, like canvas prints, mugs etc.). Second, an online t-shirt business gives you a way to start understanding online marketing, before you sink some real time and money into a more serious business.

Remember, and never forget, youll learn 100x more from actually starting a business, than you ever will from just consuming articles, blogs, books and podcasts. There is no substitution for real world experience of building traffic and learning to convert it.

Before starting your own online dropship t-shirt business, there are three important things to consider:

Choosing a niche is absolutely vital for success in the over-saturated t-shirt industry.

No one will buy your shirts if the designs dont look good. This doesnt mean you need to have complex images though and it doesnt mean it has to cost a lot.

This includes the quality of the t-shirts themselves as well as the printing.

There are plenty of options available for your actual selling platform. Platforms likeTeespringhave become popular lately, however, options like this arent good if youre trying to learn more about digital marketing and branding. Going with a platform like Teespring means your product ideas live on the Teespring platform and doesnt give you the option for your own branding, deep analytics or conversion optimization.

If youre serious about building a brand or learning more about digital marketing & optimization and strategy, you need to go with a more customizable option. I cant recommendShopifyenough. Not only isShopifyone of the easiest platforms to get started with but its app store is the most robust and has a host of integrated t-shirt printers and dropshippers.

There are a few considerations when choosing a printer/dropshipping partner for your new online t-shirt business. These considerations include the t-shirts they have available to print on, t-shirt/print pricing, shipping pricing and quality of t-shirt prints.

Check out the following Shopify printer/dropshipper apps:

If using a printer/dropshipping like I did, you t-shirt selection (type/style/quality) will partially depend on what you printing/shipping partner have chosen to stock. Most will provide a range of shirts to cover several levels of quality and price points.

USA made American Apparel is largely considered the best quality however if comes with a much steeper price point which will significantly cut into your margins. For my 24 hours business, I went with a medium quality/price t-shirt style/brand.

You can choose to order a few samples before deciding on your t-shirt but I would recommend youcheck out this review guideon the most popular t-shirts for printing to get started.

There are literally hundreds of t-shirt mock-up templates available online, both free and paid. Heres alist of 50 free templates, or if you want to use the same one I did, just go toCreative Marketand search for Realistic-T-Shirt-Templates. It should be the first one.

If you are too lazy to read everything above, I have rounded up all the resources below that you can use to build your own online t-shirt store, fast!

Take these courses. They are cheap and should help:

A Staple of Branding: How to Start Your Fashion Company by Jeff Staple, Founder,Staple Design.

Hey, Cool Shirt: Designing Effective T-shirt Graphics by Chris Delorenzo, Lead Designer forJohnny Cupcakes.

Choose a t-shirt printer/dropshipper:

To choose a t-shirt blank, check out this T-Shirt quality reviews guide:

Inspiration for t-shirt designs can be found here:

If you need to hire a designer, try these services:

Or, be lazy and buy some designs from here:

You may also want to check out general graphic design marketplaces but keep in mind if you plan to sell your t-shirts, youll need to purchase a commercial license.

Mock up templates for your shirt designs can be found here:

Another great options for tasks like this is to enlist help from someone onFiverrfor $5. Justsearch for t-shirt mockups.

There you have it. A new business born in 24 hours with only $24. All in all, I had fun building it. The challenge of building a fully automated business in 24 hours was pretty exciting and the fact I was able to generate over $300 in sales in the first day was well beyond my expectations.

Granted, this business will never make me rich and margins are generally slim however, as I pointed out before, I firmly believe a t-shirt business has its purpose, even if that purpose is just practicing for something bigger.

Now its your turn. If youve been thinking of starting an online business but have been stuck in the I dont know what to sell stage for more than a few months,  I am challenging you to build a a t-shirt business, for no reason other than to start. Start building something, start marketing something, start converting something. Start.

Richard Lazazzera is an ecommerce entrepreneur, formerShopifyGrowth Team Strategist, and founder ofA Better Lemonade Stand. Learn more aboutRichardor get more from him onTwitter.

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