Somerset Times

My Personal Project – Austin Macrossan

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 9, Term Two, 2019

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I am Austin Macrossan and I am working on my last year of the Middle Years Programme Year 10 Personal Project. I have always had an interest in mechanics and anything with an engine, so for my Project I decided to build a go-kart from mainly recycled and repurposed materials.

My experience started with me creating a scaled design of the go-kart, mainly figuring where and how components would fit together, and calculating lengths of materials that were needed for the frame to be built. The most basic, yet most important, skill I had to learn was welding. This is not a difficult skill, however it requires lots of practice to be able to form precise and strong joins between metal.

Sourcing recycled and repurposed materials was difficult, however, with purchase of the frame of an old lawn mower and thirty hours in a shed putting the materials together, the go-kart was completed. With a shiny, silver paint job it was ready for its first test drive. The go-kart performed well, being much faster than expected and shaking me to pieces. This fun was short-lived, though, with the ancient lawn-mower tyre calling it quits, collapsing on itself with a loud bang. However, the neighbours did not have much quiet because before we knew it, we had a new tyre and the kart was roaring around the paddocks again.

All this would not be possible without neighbours and friends. The biggest help was a retired bushman, Rod Hourn (who lives a few houses up the street), whose workshop and tools I would use to construct the go-kart and who guided me through the frustrating process of learning to weld. Another neighbour whose mechanical experience and wisdom, coming from his hobby of building drag racers, provided me with more answers to my questions than could be found on the internet. I also met lots of other people who mysteriously appeared out of their homes as soon as they heard a go-kart roaring across the paddocks.

This whole experience has given me a better understanding of the world of mechanics and the time-consuming nature of components not working as planned. The feeling of satisfaction that is felt whilst driving something you’ve spent hours putting together is indescribable.

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