The Next Best Thing To A Cybertruck

While production of the Tesla Cybertruck won’t start production until 2021 (at the earliest), you can always try to build your own. Unless you have a really big spare parts drawer, though, it probably won’t be full sized, but you can at least build a model if you have a shop as well-stocked as [Emiel]. He took some time to build a model cybertruck out of a single sheet of aluminum. (Video, embedded below. You might want to turn on subtitles.)

This project is a great example of the fact that some projects that seem simple on the surface require some specialized tools to get just right. To start, the aluminum sheet was cut with a laser to get into the appropriate shape and include details like windows, and the bending points were marked with an engraver to help the bending process along. The one tool that [Emiel] was missing was a brake, but he got great results with a set of metal bending pliers.

Finishing the model didn’t go particularly smoothly, either. He had planned to braze the metal together, but the heat required kept warping the body panels. The solution was to epoxy it together and sand down the excess, and the results are hopefully stronger than brazing would have been since he added a cloth to the epoxy for extra strength. The windows are made from polycarbonate (and didn’t break during the durability test), and we hope that when [Emiel] is ready to put in a motor he uses one of his custom-built electric motors.


14 thoughts on “The Next Best Thing To A Cybertruck

    1. Aluminium brazed with zinc is somewhat brittle. A properly brazed joint would have the pieces overlapping instead of touching corner to corner, so the epoxy cloth solution beats it simply by having a larger contact surface.

      1. In all honesty I did not watch the video and assumed there would be overlap on the joints- since that is the way I would have done it. As this is only a model car it does not matter in the end how that guy put it together, so the edge-to-edge connection would be fine. Looks are more important than actual strength on this application. I would note dare to do it like that on my aluminium motorcycle tanks though.

    2. “The connection between aluminium that was glued together with epoxy (added cloth or not) will never be as strong as aluminium that was brazed.”

      Let’s not give Elon any ideas…

  1. Excellent introduction to sheet metal working.

    For the next version, modify the template around the A pillars so there’s an extra lip or a pair of tabs that bend inwards at the seam. That way you can clamp the joint tight from the inside for brazing. The metal will warp from the heat, but once you got the corner done you bend it back.

    A lot of the difficulty in this design is that it’s attempting to fold everything together from one contiguous piece. Instead, the sides of the car and the roofline could be made of a separate piece that is joined to the side with tabs and then brazed together. Any time you add a corner, such as a lip that bends inwards, you also add rigidity to the structure so it won’t warp as much. The sheet he’s using might be a little bit on the thick side for this, so the bend radius at the seam can be a problem, but since he’s filling in material by brazing, he can grind it down nice and sharp afterwards.

      1. What I meant to say is, “monetary compensation for the increased labor of adding tabs or other reinforcements to the corners will result in “paying lip service” to the sheet metal workers”

        (I hate it when I come up with a better pun AFTER clicking “Post Comment”!)

  2. Ok, I hate to be “that guy” but so many Hack A Day articles are lacking in grammar. I am terrible at composing grammatically correct sentences too, so not hard feeling… but…

    “While production of the Tesla Cybertruck won’t start production until 2021”

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.