Want a Motor-Scooter Now?

Here's How to Build One Yourself
Built out of odds and ends and junk pieces at a cost of $46, this scooter covers four miles daily and uses only six cents worth of "gas" per week.


ARTIME restrictions on manufacturing and selling have made it almost impossible to buy a new motordriven scooter. Despite the great need of many "production soldiers" for some means of rapid transportation to and from work, an unused scooter is seldom to be had nowadays. And as for a used motor scooter, well, I have heard of one that originally sold for $111 and which was recently resold for $195 despite its used condition. So, do not scold me for taking some pride in the fact that I designed and built my own motor-scooter out

of odds and ends and even junk pieces, at a total cost of only $46. Not bad, is it? I cover about four miles per day on my scooter which uses about five or six cents worth of "gas" per week. Weather permitting, it has been in constant use for a year, and it has "done its job" even in bad weather. It starts and operates easily. The entire frame was made first. It is made of salvaged aircraft tubing, which is stronger and lighter than other tubing, and it takes a lot of abuse. I used it, also, because I had a lot of it on hand. Tubing of this kind, often discarded, can be had at almost any airport. Thin wall conduit, for electrical wiring, could be used, but the aircraft tubing is better. The steering shaft (see 1 in Figs. 1 and 2) was turned out of 1" round steel so as to fit the Ford V-8 genBoth f a t h e r and son Johnny use the motorscootei. L o w e r picture shows the placing of the cushioned seat w h i c h makes riding easy and comfortable.

erator bearings (marked 2 in Fig. 2). Then I made the three plates (3 in Fig. 2) which support the shaft. These were made of 1/8" flat steel which can be obtained in almost any junk yard. Figure 3 shows the detail of the fork support plate. I used a Ford Model A brake drum for shaping the fork (4 in Fig. 1) made of 7/8" tubing. I welded on the two bushings for the front axle (5 in Fig. 1) and used a spacer and a bolt for the lower spacing of the fork and one of the plates for the upper spacing (6 in Fig. 1). I brazed the lower plate in place on each tube of the fork. Then I placed the second plate (to support the shaft) over the tubes and brazed it to the lower plate just 1/8" above the lower plate. The third plate was also set 1/8" above the middle plate. That completed the lower part of the front fork. The rest of the frame (Fig. 5) was laid out on
FIGURE 1. Side elevation, from the left. In t h i s and other plans, the numbers refer to the details described in full in the text.

a flat surface. I used the top of my work-bench to mark it out. I used the same brake drum to shape the four pieces of tubing (7 in Fig. 1), the front ends of which were laid out with a block cut to 65 degrees, to hold the pieces in position. The fork bearing support (8 in Figs. 1 and 2) was made out of 1-1/2" by 1/16" wall tubing, or

Showing the brake drum and mud guard and the way in which the seat is hinged to the frame and the air intake on the engine.

FIGURE 5. Here is shown t h e plan of the horizontal f r a m e r u n n i n g from wheel to wheel. Again welding was u s e d t o p r o v i d e adequate assembly and strength to the parts.


conduit, which will just take the generator bearings without much machine work. I telescoped a piece of tubing in the bottom and on the top pressed the bearing race into position in the tubing and tack welded it. The entire upper part of the fork (9 in Fig. 2) was made of 3/4" o.d. wall tubing which telescoped the 7/8" wall tubing of which the lower part of the fork was made. To the top ends of the two side pieces of 3/4" wall tubing. I welded a cross piece of tubing (10 in Fig. 4) and then sawed that in half length-

wise with a hack saw. The upper half goes over the bicycle handle b a r s . B a n d s around t h e tubing piece take the bolts and nuts which are tightened to hold the bars in position. I picked up a used pair of handle bars. They had to be cut and welded, to take out the double curve and then come s t r a i g h t back. So there was no point to buying a new pair. The top part of the fork t e l e s c o p e s the steering shaft (38 in Fig. 2) and is also used as the bearing adjustment. A small round g u s s e t 1/8" thick is welded above and below. The seat frame (11 in Fig. 1) was made of 1/2" thin wall conduit formed on the same b r a k e d r u m used for the other tubing work. It was welded in place. I welded gussets across the corners (12 in Fig. 1) to hold the cowling f a s t e n e r s which I bought at an airport for about a dime apiece. I obtained the scat (13 in Fig. 1) from a motorcycle shop. It had been used on the rear carrier of a motorcycle. The seat is hinged at the front to gain access to the engine. For power I used a 1/2 hp. Briggs and Stratton engine originally made for a washing machine. It runs the scooter at about 18 m.p.h. More speed would be much better. The scooter could take up to 1-1/2 hp. motor which would then give a traveling speed of 35-40 m.p.h. The motor must be placed to turn in the right direction. The pulley (14 in Fig. 1) I made up of two 2-1/2" V-pulleys which I cut in half and adjusted by moving the sides closer together or farther apart, which makes (he pulley smaller or larger. In dirt or snow the scooter has more power with the smaller pulley. The pulley was fastened on

FIGURE 4. Top of fork and handle bars. Old pair of handle bars was cut, and parts rewelded, to get shape shown in the pictures of father and son.

(18 in Fig. 6). The whole assembly is hinged on the rear axle tube. To adjust the tension I used a Ford valve spring to tighten it and for the release the pedal turns over center and compresses the spring and releases the tension on the belt. The clutch release pedal (17 in Fig. 1) is laid out so that with the pedal it passes over center and holds the spring compressed. The sprocket was turned to fit a small shoulder to fit in the hub (19 in Fig. 6) and serves as a bearing retainer on the left-hand side of the wheel.

FIGURE 2. Lower part of the front fork. Welding played an important role in the making of this motor-scooter.

FIGURE 3. Fork Location of this cated directly to ure

support plate. plate is indithe left in Fig2.

with the screws which accompany it. The V-pulleys I obtained at a hardware store. The 6" V-countershaft pulley (15 in Figs. 1 and 6) lies in Ford generator bearings the same as the steering shaft. This countershaft was turned to take the bearings. I turned the outside to 1/2" on the sprocket side and also on the pulley side. And I turned the middle to fit the bearings. This shaft had to be turned so that the pulley on one side of the bearings and the 10-tooth sprocket on the other side would fit snugly. There should be no play. The countershaft pulley is mounted on the 1-1/2"xl/16" wall tubing the same size as the fork. A narrow spacer is tack welded in the center to hold the races in place (39 in Fig. 6). There is a piece of 3/4" o.d. tubing welded to the countershaft bearing housing. That telescopes into a piece of 7/8" o.d. tubing (16 in Fig. 1) and is held rigid by tightening the clamp bolt. This is also the chain adjustment

FIGURE 6. Elevation, looking toward the rear of the motor-scooter. Nearly every part used was made from discarded material.

Clutch and countershaft, exhaust system, and the gas tank below the engine are compactly assembled.

On the right-hand side, I used a motorcycle brake drum (20 in Fig. 6) brazed to a Ford Model A shock absorber housing (21 in Fig. 6) spaced with a 1/8" pipe or tubing. Pipe will do the job just as well as tubing and can be obtained easily. Six bolts were used. The wheels have a 7/8" axle. For it I used a piece of 7/8" o.d. tubing (22 in Fig. 6). For side play adjustment, I pressed a washer on a piece of tubing that telescopes the 7/8" tubing (23 in Fig. 6), brazed a nut on the side (24 in Fig. 6) with a set screw for the adjustment, and to secure the whole assembly I ran a 5/8" bolt all the way through. By removing the bolt, the whole rear assembly may be removed. The brake band was placed over the drum (25 in Fig. 7) and the anchors (26 in Fig. 7) tack welded in place. By putting the drum on, you get the right position without trying to measure and lay it out. The lower band (27 in Fig. 7) was made so the pin could be removed (28 in Fig. 7) and the band dropped to drop the whole assembly out. A rod from the brake arm (29 in

Fig. 7) goes straight to the brake pedal, the rod being made of 1/4" welding rod. The hood or engine cover (Fig. 8) was made from two Ford rear fenders, one right and one left, 1939 model. They were damaged, but I didn't need very much of the fender; so, I just used the back fenders which I cut to size and welded with a V piece in the middle (30 in Fig. 8). Ford horn grilles, 1936, were used for air intake openers (31 in Fig. 8) lined up with the air intake on the engine, a Plymouth 1937 hood grille being used as a top ventilator. I bent a 1/4" flange on the upper ventilator to stiffen the hood and installed the Ford horn grille with the original fittings. I punched a hole first to get

Engine cover was made from two Ford rear fenders.

FIGURE 8. Engine cover. Back Ford fenders were cut to size and welded with a V-piece in the middle.

the snips in and cut the openings to accommodate the size of the grille. Boeing cowling fasteners were used to secure the hood to the flange. The mud guard is a flat piece of sheet metal. A guard (32 in Fig. 1) had to be placed between the engine and the wheel to keep the mud out of the carburetor. A bicycle front wheel brake control was used as a throttle control. It clamps right to the handle bars. I picked up a control housing in a junk yard and used it for a control housing going back to the throttle. The choke (33 in Fig. 1) is fastened under the seat and also used as a stop for the engine. This I also obtained in a junk yard.

FIGURE 7. Brake drum. This motorcycle brake drum was brazed to a Ford Model A shock absorber.

The gas tank (34 in Fig. 1) is mounted directly under the engine and holds approximately 3/10 of a gallon of gas. The tank I made out of 16gage sheet metal. The plate in the front of the seating housing also covers the gas tank filler tap. The plate is secured with Boeing fasteners. The headlight was an automobile cowl light picked up in a junk yard and operated with four flashlight dry cells. These are mounted in an aluminum tube fastened to the front fork. The tail light is standard bicycle equipment, a tail light with one flashlight cell. The front fender, I made up over a form of wood. I made the wooden form the exact size and hammered out each side separately and formed it over the wood. The aluminum was obtained in an automobile junk yard from an old

body. The wheels are 12x3.50 Goodyear tires and wheels roller bearings with 3-1/2" hubs. I sprayed the hood with gun-metal finish. The rest of the scooter, including engine hood and front fender, I painted red with duco brush-on. The running board is a piece of 16-gage sheet metal cover with regular running board rubber and molding. It is fastened on through the gussets in the frame with a bolt in each corner. Lubrication: Wheels come with grease fittings as regular equipment. Other bearings I packed with grease and a fitting in the countershaft adjusting tube (36). I drilled the top of the tube and the lower part so that the grease passes into the bushing on the axle and the bearings on the countershaft. Muffler: A steel box 2" square with hack saw slots cut in the side to quiet the exhaust. This was connected to the engine by a short piece of flexible tubing, as shown in the pictures. The whole job cost as follows: Engine, $20.00; wheels, tires, $8.00; and miscellaneous, $18.00. Total, $46.00. And you may be very sure that I have had more than $46 worth of pleasure and use out of this motor-scooter which I use daily to go to and from my work.

FIGURE 4. Top of fork and handle bars. Old pair of handle bars w a s cut, and parts rewelded, to get shape shown in the pictures of father and son.

FIGURE 2. Lower part of the front fork. Welding played an important role in the making of this motor-scooter.

FIGURE 3. Fork Location of this cated directly to ure

support plate. plate is indithe left in Fig2.