Built Not Bought
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Thanks for stopping in, and welcome to the blog! My plan is to use this space to share the thoughts that are on my mind, talk about our adventures, photo/video editing tips, and whatever else may be keeping me up at night!
Today I want to talk about my passion for Off-Road vehicles, specifically my Home Build Dune Buggies
I've been fascinated with mechanical things for as far back as I can remember; seems to be built into my DNA. As a Christmas present, my grandparents purchased a small 3hp go-cart when I was around 12 years old. Looking back, that seems to be the genesis for my modern day love of power sports. Many hours of my youth were spent with this go-cart. To the horror of my father, I would regularly disassemble the engine and drivetrain just to see how all the parts worked together. I figured out how to disable the engine governor and I managed to squeeze a thrilling 60 KM/h top speed out of my little 3hp brigs engine!
Fast forward to 2007. I'm married, we're in our first house, no kids, and most importantly, I have a garage to work in! A buddy of mine had an old ride-on lawn tractor, and after seeing how much fun my little go-cart was in the sand-pit behind his house, we decided to build a little go-cart using the tractors parts.
In the end it turned out to be a piece of junk, but it sparked a flame in me for building my own ATV's - I was hooked!
My little go-cart couldn't keep up to my friends new machine, so, not wanting to be outdone, I decided it was time to build my own - a long time childhood dream was about to become reality! I really had no idea what I was doing when I started, and I certainly learned what not to do from trial and error. I wanted suspension on all 4 wheels, a full roll cage, and a manual shift transmission. I sourced as many parts as I could off Kijiji, odds and ends came from Princess Auto, and my brother-in-law hooked me up with a 1982 Yamaha Exciter 250cc motorcycle engine for the power plant! It was a fun little machine, broke down a lot, but I could hold my head high and say "I made this!"
My wife saw how much fun I was having blasting down the country dirt roads, and she wanted in on the action - time to build another machine! I managed to source many parts from an old Honda TRX 200 quad and I found some nice plans from an Australian company. She insisted on hot pink for the color - happy wife, happy life!
Happy wife, happy life!
I had collected quite the arsenal of metalworking equipment at this point, and I was completely addicted to building dune buggies. I started a small side business called "Blue Spark Fabrication" with the hopes of selling my own dune buggy plans and kits to build the machine. I spent 3 months of nights and weekends on my computer building 3D CAD plans for a more advanced version of my blue machine and another 8 months in the garage building. My fabrication skills had gone from amateur to something that was much more professional.
The machine I built in the end surpassed even my wildest dreams! People continually asked where I purchased my machine!
A two wheel drive dune buggy will only get you so far on the rough northern Canadian trails in my neck of the woods. Keeping up with the big bore quads was proving very difficult for my little air cooled 250cc engine. On top of that, our two young girls were always left behind, and I wanted to get them involved in the sport of ATVing at a young age. Time to get out into the shop and fire up the metal working machines!
I wanted independent double a-arm suspension, high ground clearance, full lock 4 wheel drive, power steering, and big horsepower!
I managed to source an entire drivetrain from a Polaris RZR and a 115hp Suzuki GSXR 600 sport bike engine. Just like last time, I spent the first few months designing every part in 3D CAD before a single piece of metal was ever cut. The complete endeavor took a staggering 2 years! Again, I surpassed even my wildest dreams - the machine was a complete BEAST out on the trails!