Author Archive System Administrator

BySystem Administrator

Well Nuts…

Since our purchase of the Berrien Buggy assets, and subsequently the assets of Colonial Fiberglass, we here at Acme have worked very hard to keep our pricing at it’s lowest possible levels. Led by Bob Bennetts’ efforts in bulk purchasing, price shopping, searching for cheaper or free shipping, as well as other efficiencies; we have managed to accomplish that. The addition of new machinery and bringing as much production “in house” as we could has also managed to keep the prices of our products constant. We have now however; reached the point where we have to say, “WELL NUTS”.
 
We have absorbed at least 4 price increases in the cost of materials in the fiberglass shop over the last year, hoping that costs would level out. They have not. We have received notice of yet more price increases in standard materials. Additionally, as we place our latest steel order we received shocking news. The price of the various steel (tubing through steel plate) has risen from 35% (square tubing) to 96% (flat plate in various thicknesses). Even though we are still buying in large bulk quantities, this is the reality we face.
 
WELL NUTS, We have no choice but to raise prices on all the products we produce. We are not happy about the need to do the price increases but have no choice. The new pricing will be effective on all products purchased or ordered beginning December 1, 2018.
 
We here at the Acme Companies appreciate all the customers who have purchased our products, and look forward to many more years of supplying dune buggy , sandrail, and fiberglass products for your use and pleasure. We ask for your understanding as our new pricing structure is implemented.
 
Sincerely,
John Mickle
President”
BySystem Administrator

What’s New In Tha Hood?

I thought now would be a good time to fill everyone in on some action at Acme Composites.

Back in February our customer GVM, told us that they wanted to redesign the hood on the E series tractor, (known as the Prowler). This is to coincide with a redesign of the entire tractor, including the drive train and frame. If you go to www.acmecomposites.com, the large tractor in the pictures is the current model of the Prowler. The target date for the prototype hood was early August because the new tractor is being displayed at a show in late August. While that seems like plenty of time to produce a new hood, it isn’t, we should have started several months earlier, but, everyone pitched in and the project began.

GVM provided non-scale drawings to work from. The changes from old to new were; Cadillac headlight assemblies, exact location to be determined, top of hood rolled down, grill redesign to 3 sections and tapered in at the bottom, and “shark louvers” on the sides. All this on a hood that when sitting on its’ rack in the shop is about 6’ high and 5’ long.

Mike started by digging out the “buck” of the original hood to use as the prototype “buck”. He then began installing the headlights and recontouring the upper section of the hood. When that was done the team from GVM took a look, and decided on a few changes regarding the location of the headlights. While Mike was doing that, we had Tank from the Berrien Buggy shop jump in and make aluminum patterns for the shark louvers. Mike then mounted them into the “buck” and began to blend them in. Through this part of the process, there were a lot of stops and start as the GVM team revamped small portions here and there, and since the drawings were not to scale, sometimes what looked good on the drawing didn’t fit the hood.

By now we are into July and everyone realizes that “holy cow, no way is this going to get done for August”. On a piece of this size, it takes a minimum of 3 weeks just to make the mold. Molds are very thick and the fiberglass needs to be built up in layers. Since when it is curing the fiberglass can reach upwards of 300 degrees, we have to wait several days for each layer to cool. That translates into about 3 weeks just to lay up the fiberglass portion of the mold. At that time everyone agreed that we need a plan B.

Plan B was to take an existing old style hood and modify it by grafting the new sections in place. The new sections were produced by a process known as “splashing”. Splashing is when you make a small quick mold from the buck, then create 1 piece and blend it into the new hood. Some extra help was called in because as Mike was finishing the “buck” the second crew was “splashing” the pieces to mold into the old hood, and attaching them onto the old/new hood. One of the new crew was a fellow who had helped found Colonial Fiberglass and was now in his 80’s. Because you need to wait for the glass to cure, the guys were working off and on around the clock. Mike also put in a lot of Saturdays.

As I write this it is August 8th. Mike has called to tell us that the prototype is done. Tomorrow GVM picks up the hood and it gets painted and installed. Looks like we made it!

Throughout the process, Bob has been the point man from a management standpoint. He had some tense and frustrating days, and on more than one occasion the TV show of a few years back came to mind. I always laughed at Boyd Coddington on his show when he would be looking at a pile of street rod parts in his shop and he would start yelling at his guys with a bright red face and tell the crew “this needs to be done in 3 days because it is entered it in a show”. In the show they always got it done (creative editing?) along with a lot of drama. I will point out that Boyd suffered a massive heart attack, and moved on to the great beyond during the production of those shows.

Bob, Mike, and the rest of the Acme Composites crew got the job done, for that, I am thankful and proud. I hope they can now take a break, and look back at the last 6 ½ months with a fond sigh of relief. Job well-done fellas! By the way, I forgot to tell you guys that a customer called and wanted to know if we could do a rush project making a new mold, and……………………………..!

Till next time.

John

BySystem Administrator

The Gob-Stopper

At 4:00 PM. The guys had the GTX ready to go on its’ first trip. I hopped in, started the motor and pulled out of the shop. I made 3 short laps around our parking lot as a first test. In the video you will notice quite a few trucks and trailers sitting around. Because of that I kept things calm. The last run was full throttle for about 1 second. We are now going to go over everything, and there is a pair of braces we need to install. After that a full blown road test will be done.
First impressions are that it is quick, and stable. After the first pass I got fairly comfortable. No shimmy, no wobble and I didn’t need to fight it under acceleration. The brakes worked fine, although we will need to work on the bias settings, as I had too much rear brake. It felt great, I cant’ wait to do the next drive.

The last time we weighed the car it was at 1650 pounds. We have 180 horsepower at the flywheel. That works out to about 9.1 pounds per horsepower, a pretty good figure. We are going to weigh it again before the next run to see where we are now.

Stay tuned. This is getting’ good!

BySystem Administrator

Sandrails

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