The Build

From the dawn of time, women have asked men to move furniture.

This is one man's modern response to this age-old request.

I'm just some guy who happens to get a real kick out of Burning Man. For the sake of this story, you can call me Mark.

Some time ago, I decided that the best way to enjoy Burning Man was to cruise as much of the playa as possible, while at the same time contributing to the general absurdity of Black Rock City. Like anything, the amount you get out of an experience is commensurate with the amount you put into it. I had seen other motorized couches on the playa in years past, and I decided I was going to take a whack at building one.

When my friend Adam heard of my plans, he donated some heavy duty castor wheels that were perfect for my project. My friend Michael snagged the couch curbside in Pasadena. I settled on West Coast Fiero to do the welding for me. I told them, "I want to build a motorized couch." They said, "You came to the right place."

This is my garage. Here is the frame in its raw state, just after bringing it home and painting it. Thats' the drive wheel on the floor, and the motor in the background is fresh out of the box.

I designed the frame with the exact dimensions of the motor in mind. It's made from three inch angle iron. The next step is to design all of the ancilliary hardware. The motor is sitting on a brick, and I figured out the motor mounting plates based on this motor position. 10 horsepower Tecumseh, baby!!
The motor is bolted in here. My good friend Mike was on-hand to help it all come together. In the background are the axle mounting plates and the steering spindle (liberated from an old bicycle frame). The drive axle has been cut to length and is visible on the floor, also.
Here's a closer look at the motor mounts. I still can't believe how flawlessly the brackets slipped into place. The belt-drive torque converter is mounted on the outside of the left bracket. This is a better view of the swivels on the castor wheels. That's an axle bearing on the ground to the right. (I'm not sure if that's a good place for it).
A glorious thing! Axle mounting brackets, axle plates, drive shaft, sprocket, drive wheel, and disc brake all in place. All the drivetrain hardware was purchased at Pitt's Performance in Van Nuys, CA. Those dudes rolled their eyes whenever I walked in. How ya like me now??
That's me in the cap with my old Burning Man crew. None of them were going to the playa this year, but they came anyway to help put the couch on the truck. The couch wasn't driveable, but somebody gave them the idea they were all going to get couch rides. Look at them all smiling.
There it goes... down the driveway from my garage, into the truck to Pasadena for further tweaks. Steering spindle, tie rods, battery box, foot rests and brake cable were all added in an all-nighter before heading for Black Rock City. Mike was there again and brought the magic with him.

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