Kits; For Do-It-Yourself Dreams

These days, you can buy just about anything in kit form, from kit cars and kit aeroplanes to kit boats and kit homes .

A kit is basically a series of parts pre-manufactured to yours or the designer’s specifications and delivered ready to assemble.

Kit cars, or component cars, are very popular and come in several forms. They can be the parts for a complete car, with everything provided, or just the non-mechanical parts, with engines, transmissions and the like being sourced from other cars or bought new.

An extremely popular form of kit car is the body-only kit, where the chassis of a normal automobile has a new body added, usually something exotic like a Maserati, Porsche, Lamborghini or Ferrari. Because of the price difference, it is the ideal way to own a style of car that would normally be out of most people’s reach.

Kit planes are aircraft built by amateurs from a kit of supplied parts. Home built aircraft were very popular in the USA in the early 1900’s, but because of the lack of safety standards, there were many accidents and new regulations came into force, which largely ended the practice until the 1950’s.

Kit planes are usually small one to four-seater aircraft powered by standard aeroplane engines, or in some cases, converted automobile, motorcycle or even chainsaw engines.

They can be constructed from wood and fabric, fibreglass or aluminium and must be built to certain safety standards in order to obtain a licence or airworthiness.

Kit boats can also be made from wood, fibreglass or aluminium and have been around for many years. Ironically it was the idea of boats being offered in kit form that inspired the founders of Aladdin, the first kit home suppliers, to follow the same winning formula.

Kit homes, of course, are a modern day success story, having undergone a huge resurgence in the last few years with the advent of new materials and manufacturing techniques.

The design options are virtually unlimited in today’s kit homes. Victoria and most other states have manufacturers who specialise in giving you exactly the kind of home you want.

Kit homes can be built for you, or you can do it yourself, with substantial savings to be made; as much as 40% less than a traditional build.

Probably the ultimate kit would have to be the International Space Station. The size of a football field and with more liveable room than a 5-bedroom house, the station is basically a series of modules pre-manufactured by various countries, shipped into orbit and assembled onsite. Surely this would have to be the largest kit in existence?

So why are kits so popular? Part of the attraction is cost. By having the option of doing it yourself, you are cutting out the middle man, which can mean substantial savings when compared with the cost of the completed item on the shop floor.

Whatever the reason, kits have been with us for many years and look to be around for many more to come.

What will be in kit form next? Perhaps wars will be fought with constructor-set armies? Perhaps we’ll assemble our robotic kit servants when we go on vacation? Maybe dad will be out in the shed working on his new flying saucer kit?

The only thing we can be certain of is that, if it can be made in kit form and assembled by the average person, then someone, somewhere will be providing it in the not too distant future.