So you want to tear up the dunes with your own dune buggy but you’re not sure whether to buy a complete turn key buggy or use some dune buggy plans to build your own? Well firstly there are a number of issues you need to address before you decide which route to take.
The main factor that people consider when deciding to buy/build a dune buggy is the cost of the project, how much is it going to cost me if i decide to buy one Vs. build one myself? Now i can’t give you an accurate figure for each as it will depend on where you live, how much shipping will cost and how much materials cost in your area if you decide to build one. It will also depend on how skilled you are with metal fabrication, welding etc. If you will have to pay for a shop to fabricate the parts you need you will obviously be paying more in the end compared to someone who can do it all themselves in their own garage/workshop.
But most of the time its cheaper (and more fun!) to build a buggy yourself. For most people this is easily achievable in their own garage or workshop as long as you have some basic tools and machinery or you have access to some, you know things like a welder, tube bender, grinder, drill press, you get the picture. I should mention that you can hire these things too if you want to or just take the specialized tasks to your local engineering shop. Usually when you tell the guys what its for they get pretty interested and will want to know more about your project and up giving you a good price!
I highly recommend NOT designing your own dune buggy from scratch unless you know what you are doing and have experience in design. Be warned that if you do it will usually end in disaster and a half finished bundle of steel sitting in your garage. That said the most important factor in dune buggy construction is which plans to use for construction. If you get this wrong or use the cheapest or plans you can find you will regret it in the end as they rarely turn out how you first imagined. Lets face it you are about to invest quite a bit of money and time into building a dune buggy so make sure you choose quality plans from the start.
Most good quality, proven plans will set you back around $100-$200 and will give you good solid information and a step by step procedure to building your buggy. You can get plans for cheaper but usually these are quite basic and you won’t get the detail you need to build the buggy properly.
Also make sure the company you are buying the plans from has some kind of support you can call on in case you get stuck and need some advice, this could be as simple as a user form that has members that have constructed their own buggies and are willing to give you advice for free. This is invaluable when building your buggy.
For me personally, building my own dune buggy is one of the most fun and most rewarding projects I have done. From cutting the first piece of steel to firing up the engine for the first time is a fantastic feeling and i definitely recommend to those of you who are considering it.