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How to Build a Plafit Chassis

How to Build a Plafit Chassis

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Published by John Howard Green
How to build and set up your Plafit 1300 chassis
How to build and set up your Plafit 1300 chassis

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Published by: John Howard Green on Sep 22, 2009
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01/16/2013

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HOW TO BUILD A 1/24 CHASSIS'(Basics - it's not Rocket Science)
The term, "Meccano" or "Nuts & Bolts" chassis' is loosely thrown about by the non-believers and pessimists about these True Scale Chassis' available from a number of manufacturers. While they are "more or less correct", these are indeed, pieces of artand engineering for our hobby, and there's no question that, if correctly set up, onechassis will last you years of trouble free racing.
The Plafit Chassis
Plafit produces a wide range of tune up parts to meet "almost" all the slotracerswishes in terms of set-up and specification. Their " Meccano" style assembly makesthem fully adjustable to fit all types of Model car bodies. In 2001 Plafit introduced the"Pro series" chassis. These were updated versions of the 124 and Excel design in amore durable and hardened steel material. For the Endurance races this has becomethe preferred choice of most International Teams.(Pictured above) Non Plafit parts are the thicker (green) Scaleauto Spur Gears.These range from a 40 to 50 tooth and include also odd numbers (41,43 etc.), givingthe teams a wider variety of gear ratios to chooses from, and depending on thespecific organizations rules.
 
While in South Africa this class is still in it's infancy stages, we still needed to have astarting point, or moment in time, from which we will be able to progress and hopefullygrow the hobby. Currently, we are marketing and promoting the bare basic Plafit1300U chassis as the "starting Point" for the class. The 1300 U chassis is the "bare-bones" kit needed for True Scale Racing, and is fully adjustable, and can be usedunder a number of various bodies. In order to introduce the class as cheaply aspossible, we have kept most of the parts stock standard, and then limited the entireclass to specific weights, width sizes, motors and Gear ratios in order to keep our poor currency out of the equation.The basic principle for these, and other chassis' for this class is to make certain theunderside profile of the chassis is as flat and straight as possible. The floating bodymount and sprung chassis torsion will provide all the necessary handling these carsdemand, (which is minimal with the lexan bodies), but as long as the chassis is thesame height above the track on all four corners, the rest of the car will work perfectly.The easiest, and best way to do this is to invest in a "tech-block", a piece of aluminium, or wood, with a slot it in for the guide, and naturally, as flat as possible. It'son this flat surface that you will adjust your chassis to the correct, minimum rideheight, and make certain the chassis is flat, parallel with the track. Although the Plafit1300 U comes pre-assembled, it's certainly not ready for setup at this point, as thereare other issues which need to be prepared prior to setting the ride height. Thoseitems include the Wheel Diameter, and the Guide and Braids. Let me add that I learntthe HARD WAY by trying to prepare an international car too low, to try and enhanceit's handling characteristics. Although the demotion from World Champion to 2nd placewas primarily due to a very bad collision in the finals of the IMCA worlds, this situationcan be avoided by NOT setting up the car at it's bare minimum ride height, because,as it happened to me, in a severe collision, or bad marshalling case, you WILL bepenalized for an illegal car, just like they do in F1, FIAGT, NASCAR, WRC, and anyother, official and no-official racing series, so, DON'T SKIMP to gain an advantage, it'llcome back and BITE you in the ass.
WHEELS
The South African Rulebook for the Historic series states the Rear Wheels must havea Minimum Outer Diameter of 25mm, and must be mounted on the standard Plafit17mm Rims. "Out the Box" they are slightly larger than this, and so require a littletruing to get them flat and at the correct Min height.
If you true the wheels to the Minimum required size, you will VERY SOON, berunning illegally,
as the sponge will slowly but surely wear down, and this, in turn, willa) Make the Diameter smaller than the required Diameter, and b), lower the rideheight of your chassis, again, making the car illegal. I suggest keeping at least 1.2mmof sponge over and above the required Minimum, (unless as usual, you have anunlimited budget and can afford a set of wheels for each race...). The same applies tothe front wheels, although they are certainly not a high-wear type sponge, and so canbe "set and left".
GUIDE & BRAID
The guide and braid are just as important as the wheels in getting the chassis straight.Take into account how you run your braids, if they are solid, or if you "comb" them outetc, when setting the height of the guide. On the 1300 and other Plafit Chassis, theGuide tongue sits slightly higher on the chassis, and as such, the Guide will need tobe "shimmed" lower to sit flat on the deck with the chassis. The Guide tongue mayNOT be bent in a small "s" to overcome the design of the chassis', so keep this inmind when setting it's height.
 
PANCAKE
Before attempting to set the Ride height, the chassis, with no wheels, should be puton the tech block, and the guide and braids should be 100% flat with the rest of thechassis base. The chassis should NOT be sitting up on the guide, with daylightshowing under the bare chassis, the entire bottom should be flat on the tech surface,like a pancake.Then the wheels should be mounted, and the Axle spacer kit which is supplied withmost of the kits, has a number of spacers of varying sizes. half, 1, 3, 5mm and so on.Get four of the 1.5mm spacers and place them on the tech block, and then place thechassis on top of these four spacers. The wheels will probably be up in the air at thispoint, and now is the time you will loosen the adjusting screws on the front axle holder,and then the rear axle holder. The wheels will drop down and touch the tech block,and then you GENTLY tighten the adjusting screws to fasten the axle height at thatlevel.The spacers can then be removed, and the car should be flat on the four wheels, withthe same size spacing under the chassis as the size of the spacers you used, (1.2 or 1.5mm). The guide can then also be shimmed and adjusted to rest flat against thetech block, while NOT lifting the front wheels off the block. At this point, the chassisshould be correctly spaced, 100% flat, and all four wheels should be touching the techblock, or track.That's the fundamentals of setting up the chassis to operate correctly. Absolutely nopart of the construction of the chassis needs to, or should be bent in any way to get itflat, straight, or level, and if something is altered, the car will either handle badly, or you will fail tech control for an illegal car, (and for the fairness of the class,Scrutineering will be tight).From this point, the other items required for tuning the chassis would be lead weight to

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