The early days of karting were full of many homemade one-off designs, as talented machinists were attracted to the opportunity karting presented for spinning their best ideas into something new to try at the racetrack the next weekend. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, designs were hand drawn on paper and machined manually on mills and lathes. Those “vintage billet” parts had an aesthetic character very different from the computer CNC machined billet parts of today. The vintage character is more of a blocky look, with simple single axis straight cut geometry.

The intent of this brake caliper project was to produce a one-off vintage billet caliper. To achieve this intent, the first step taken was to turn off the computer and get out a pencil & paper. The parts were all hand drawn on paper, and then fabricated manually on a lathe and mill without the add of CNC technology. The result was this very blocky appearing caliper reminiscent of something one might see on a customized kart during the 1960’s. This vintage billet blocky caliper was produced for a Rupp Mean Machine kart restoration project, 2 of these caliper pairs will be used on the rear axle, each on a separate brake disc. The brake caliper design is based on using available high quality MCP blue brake pads and adjustors. The caliper piston was fabricated out of Titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4Vn), which is one of the best choices for low thermal conductivity materials (reduces heat transfer from pad to brake fluid). Machining the titanium proved to be a real pain in the @$$, but was doable on my 10″ Southbend lathe using carbide insert cutting tools. Next major step in this project will be to test these calipers at the track!


For informational & educational purposes only, below are partial pencil drawings of the caliper housing and piston. These are not intended to be complete or proven designs, engineering expertise and knowledge are required in order to fabricate safe brake system components … use the design information included here at your own risk…

[gview file=”http://bigcooter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Block-Brake-Caliper-Housing-drawing.pdf”]
[gview file=”http://bigcooter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Block-Brake-Caliper-Piston-drawing.pdf”]

Disclaimer: the calipers and design depicted here is my own design, and is provided for informational purposes only. The actual safety of this design remains unproven, anyone duplicating or using this design or portions of it, will be assuming all risks associated with that action. (companies that manufacture brake calipers have good liability insurance polices!)

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