After building his amazing submarine crib, video game artist Rob Adams decided to move on to his next challenge: a mobile lemonade stand. Adams says that:
I wanted to come up with a cool vehicle-based way for my kid to interact with the community. I thought about other ideas like a tiny taco truck shaped like a taco, and an ice cream truck shaped like an ice cream cone. When I pictured a lemon-shaped go-kart in my mind, I just thought, “Oh we have to build that!”
Once he found the correct go kart to form the base of this mobile drink dispenser, Adams got to work sketching everything out. He came up with a general form that would work—tilting the lemon down in the front to make it look “fast”—then modeled it in 3DS Max. This allowed him to see how the kart would look from a kid’s perspective, even using a “sketch mode” in his model to make it look more “gestural” as he describes it.
Once the design was finalized, as seen on his imgur, and he had secured help from his friend Steve Burnaroos and son Elliot, it was time to get to work. First, the go-kart was stripped of it’s wheels, taped, and painted yellow to match the lemon color. With that out of the way, Adams purchased a 12-pack of foam insulation, and then cut each panel roughly to shape. These layers were glued together with Great Stuff spray foam before being shaped with a wood saw into the two halves of a lemon.
A cavity for the driver/lemonade vendor was carved on the inside, and then each half was glued together for a complete lemon structure. After more scraping and carving, everything was covered with painter’s tape to smooth out the surface, as well as provide a visual reference for the fiberglass. After all of this, the outer fiberglass coating was finally applied.
According to Adams, when compared to his previous crib build, this one was “easier in every way.” While much of this was due to the regulations in place for crib safety, when asked what the most important thing he learned from the crib build was, Adams said:
Definitely how to sculpt Styrofoam sheets and fiberglass over them. It’s very similar to building surfboards –another Steve Burnaroos skill. Next summer we’re making paddleboards for the kids.
Once fiberglass was applied, more finishing operations remained. This included smoothing out the surface with body filler, then more scraping and sanding to knock down the remaining ridges. Real lemons, however, aren’t entirely smooth, and to get a citrus-like texture, an “orange peel” wall texture was applied to give the fiberglass surface an appropriate bumpiness. Finally, after all of that, yellow an green spray paint was applied, giving a very realistic (if gigantic) looking lemon!
Other finishing touches included adding a stem and leaves in the back, along with painting the wheels green with yellow valve caps. Finally, a helmet textured and painted in the same manner as the actual vehicle, pulled the build together even more.
To make this into a functional lemonade vending operation, Adams added a 2-gallon cooler near the back/stem, which feeds lemonade into a dispenser on the right of the driver. Customers can then take a cup and straw out of the circular holders on top, and fill them up using a tap with a lemon-shaped handle.
As shown in the clip here, it looks like a lot of fun. While an epic build, Adams was able to draw upon his experience from the crib build, along with help from Burnaroos and Elliot, to get things done in an incredible three weeks!