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Metalman5151

Reproducing HeadLight Covers input needed from the community

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Hello all, I'm looking for some input from some of you who may own original JDM headlight covers. I have decided to reproduce them as I think there would be a fair amount of interest in a set of quality reproductions that are similar to the originals.

 

What I need from you, I don't have a set of originals but I have many pictures and along with some dimensions etc. that will be all I need to get started.

 

First I would like to know if there are at least 2 members who are willing to make a paper trace/template of their rings and covers and then mail them to me so that I will be able to locate the mounting holes in the correct locations. Ideally I'd like what I'm making to be interchangeable with the originals in case those of you who have them need lenses or simply want to save their originals from any wear and tear.  It would require making a trace or outline of your ring and your lens on a couple of pieces of paper. An easy way to do this is with charcoal or even a dirty finger :) although I would prefer it as neat as possible. A crayon would also work. Main thing I need is the location of the mounting holes.

 

I also need someone to give me a couple of measurements. 1. Width of the rings. 2 Depth of the lip on the rings. 3. Thickness of original lenses. With the template and these measurement I can make a fairly accurate reproduction.

 

I plan on using Polycarbonate (Lexan) for the lenses for their toughness and better resistance to weathering. The rings I will make in stainless steel and fully polish.

 

I realize that there has been more than a few attempts at this over the years but please be assured that I will complete these. I restore vehicles for a living and have fabricated several different types of covers and rings over the years. The molds for the lenses are done (and yes they are the rounded shape not the more angular shape of the non ring lenses) and I'm in the process of building a hammerform for forming the rings. Depending on material costs and exactly how much time it takes for me to make each ring I plan on trying to price them for around $350 to $400 with high quality stainless hardware and high quality gaskets. If there is enough interest I would also be willing to give a group discount, but I do not intend to take deposits. I only want to accept payment for sets that are ready to ship. Also when I do complete a few sets I would be willing to send a set to a trusted member for their evaluation. Not looking to make a fast buck but rather would like to build some trust within the community.

 

Thanks,

Chris Hamilton

 

Please either post here or PM me if you are willing to help with my requests. Thanks again.

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Wouldn't you be better off buying/borrowing a pair of headlight scoops so you can be sure what you make will fit? It's not like the scoops will be damaged so any bought could be resold later on.

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That would be great if you manage. I have a pair on my car.

I have done some research to make these aswell. My brother workes in a company that makes polycarbonate and other plastic material for the car industry. The problem that stopped me was the cost of the tools to make the lens. The way its curved was the problem.

Regarding the mt holes there are at least 3 different versions of the original headlight covers.

Good luck

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I have a set in storage but one of the lens is cracked. I will dig them out, take some photos, measurements and will report back later.

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Wouldn't you be better off buying/borrowing a pair of headlight scoops so you can be sure what you make will fit? It's not like the scoops will be damaged so any bought could be resold later on.

I don't have any contacts in Japan and I've yet to see a complete set on Ebay. I also don't know anyone with a set and even if I did, with the rarity/value of them would not feel comfortable borrowing them. If I can get the measurements and someone traces their rings and lenses (so I can get the location of the mounting holes) I can make something that is very similar.

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I have had a set since 1986 when I removed them from a '76.  Just a few weeks ago I decided to install them on my BRE tribute race car and paint them red and white, but I screwed up and didn't leave the bolts loose enough.  Within a few hours, they cracked in several places as the temperature changed.  It shouldn't affect them as long as I can find some sort of tape or glue that I can put on the inside to keep the hairline cracks from spreading.

 

When I installed my Lexan hatch and quarter glass, I did it right and they are holding up fine.  The heads of the bolts cannot put any clamp load on the plastic.  They have to be loose enough to let the plastic expand and contract.

 

If they are available at a reasonable price, I will buy a set and leave them clear for night and rainy races.

Edited by Jeff G 78

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hey Metalman, sorry for the delay, just enjoying the last bit of labour day summer heat. Anyways, i've found something interesting between the passenger and driver side lenses. I think my driver side lens was a replacement but the holes did not match the original rings. Now I understand why it cracked, i think the previous owner drilled it the wrong way. Could it be a Japan versus American version? (see picture showed in red, blue and green reference). I have no idea where to start the measurements, but you can see the width and thickness of the rim and lens. I've traced one ring and can do the other side if this is what you're looking for? Just let me know you need anything else.

 

Sorry I can't figure out how to attached my image. It's asking for URL? when I click on image attachment.

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That's great Jay, You'll only be about 6 months late.

 

He's light years ahead of you, I'd say...

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He's light years ahead of you, I'd say...

 

Sorry if I sounded snarky. I'm not that far away actually. My molds for the lenses are done.  I am done with the hammerforms with the execption of knowing what the original width and depth of the trim rings is. Once I get that info I'll take the forms and have them trimmed up  to the final width at my buddys shop on his CNC Laser Jet. Once that is done I'm ready to start making the rings. If I dont get the info I'll simply make them a width that looks good to my eye and put the mounting holes in an approximate place relative to the pics I've seen. I thought it would be nice to try and duplicate the originals and save someone from drilling new holes.

 

Could you help me out with the width and depth measurements? I've read a lot of your posts and if I remember correctly at one time you were looking into making them. Those 2 measurements would be very helpful.

 

@Jeff G Thanks for the info. I was talking to my buddy who owns a plastics machining shop and he was telling me the same thing. I may go with acrylic for the lenses as he says that the UV resistance on some of the newer coated acrylics is excellent  and it would also be cheaper and allow for countersinking which is would be critical to getting the correct look.

Edited by Metalman5151

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If you could point exactly where to measure i can gladly do that for you, kind a hard where to start measuring the rings. I figured out how to attach pictures so hope these photos can help you. I can mail you the templates just pm or email it. Any comments just let me know. Thanks.

 

post-28514-0-59421000-1441543400_thumb.j

post-28514-0-52437200-1441543429_thumb.j

post-28514-0-03512400-1441543447_thumb.j

post-28514-0-59028500-1441543481_thumb.j

post-28514-0-24459900-1441543558_thumb.j

post-28514-0-74316700-1441543569_thumb.j

post-28514-0-56285600-1441543599_thumb.j

post-28514-0-62590600-1441543611_thumb.j

post-28514-0-14540000-1441543646_thumb.j

post-28514-0-64935000-1441543673_thumb.j

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We will be reproducing them within next 8 months, it will be 1971- production type.

So stay tune!

Jay Ataka

 

Is your email system down?

Very hard to get a response from your site.

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I don't have any contacts in Japan and I've yet to see a complete set on Ebay. I also don't know anyone with a set and even if I did, with the rarity/value of them would not feel comfortable borrowing them. If I can get the measurements and someone traces their rings and lenses (so I can get the location of the mounting holes) I can make something that is very similar.

 OK but I was talking about getting the actual headlight (scoop) housings and making your headlight covers to fit them. 

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I thought you were talking about the covers and rings missed the word scoops in your question.  LOL  Yeah of course I have headlight scoops, how else could I make the molds? I made the molds using the scoops on my 71.

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Could you help me out with the width and depth measurements? I've read a lot of your posts and if I remember correctly at one time you were looking into making them. Those 2 measurements would be very helpful.

 

 

First of all, it's really hard to measure these things as there's not really any good datum point to work from. Secondly - in my experience, having had a lot of the OEM headlamp cover sets pass through my hands - there's some noticeable variation in size and shape from piece to piece. They can sometimes need some fettling to get them to fit better, and it's the fixings that pull them somewhat into shape. Rather than taking measurements from the trim rings themselves you might be better working from the shape of the headlamp housing that they need to fit...

 

So I just don't see how you can replicate them accurately without having a set of originals in your hands as reference. And that's reference to nebulous values like 'feel' as much as any size measurement. To be honest, the originals were somewhat variable in quality and even the best examples were fairly crude (although I forgive them that) so this may be an indication of how much time it takes to get them up to an acceptable standard.

 

You know that the original trim rings were made in two pieces and then welded together, right?  The shape of the 'U' channel in cross-section is also subtly asymmetric because it overlaps the clear plastic on the outside but not the inside, and I reckon that's tough to achieve without making dies to form the channel (meaning four dies and two welding jigs) which is how the originals were made. If you make them so that they sit fully on the plastic (instead of overlapping on the outside edge) then they won't look or work like the originals. 

 

I think it would be a bit pointless to invest time and money in such a project unless you could replicate the exact look and feel of the originals (warts and all). That's what people want I think.

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Thanks for your response. Perhaps I think too much. I'm aware of the various shortcomings of the originals from the various post s in forums over the years. I thought that by locating the mounting holes in the aproximate original locations it would appeal to the owners of the originals who perhaps needed a lens or would be interested in something which they didn't have to drill more holes. I've never intended to make exact reproductions. I have only wanted to capture the look and feel of the originals 

 

The variability has been a concern. I have thought about the fact that there may be some variability between housings I have a '71 with fiberglass housings and a '73 with steel housings. I have made my hammerforms using both and I have notice some subtle differences. 

 

I understand the concerns you have brought up but please understand that I'm not some kid who woke up Saturday morning and decided that I wanted to make some headlight covers. Yes I know they are 2 pieces then welded. I'm making hammerforms which will allow me to form the rings. A hammer form is basically 1/2 of a die set. A form that you hammer over to get the shape you want.  Google it if you are not familiar with it but for low volume work they are a simple elegant solution. I wanted the dimensions so I could finalize the forms by having them trimmed to width on a laser jet.

 

That's been my goal; to try and replicate the look of the originals. I know they won't be exact but they will be true to the "spirit" of the originals and will look like the originals. Will they be exact copies? Of course not but they will look like them and I think that's what a lot of people including myself want, is that "look".  Will I succeed? Only time will tell I guess.  Thanks again for your response. :)

Edited by Metalman5151

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Metalman,

I would like to weigh in and say I hope you succeed with this.  I think there are quite a few of us that drive our cars and accept that due to past work they will never be "exactly" original.  I would love to have an option other than the (in my opinion) cheep looking headlight covers with rubber trim.  Good luck!

Cheers,

Scot

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This point is extremely important to take into account for proper fitment:

" The shape of the 'U' channel in cross-section is also subtly asymmetric because it overlaps the clear plastic on the outside but not the inside".

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Good luck with your under taking, I would love a set when you get the finished product. I wish I had an original set to send to help you out. We need more innovative people like yourself.

Mark

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Thanks for the kind words everyone. Work continues on the covers and rings. Currently waiting on my buddy to trim up my forms on his laser jet. Also doing a little more work on the molds for the covers. Perfecting the surface and strengthening the molds themselves to handle the rigors of "production" Hopefully within a couple of weeks I'll have some prototypes done and I'd like to be able to begin producing the first 10 or so sets by the beginning of October.

One thing some of you may find interesting. I plan to sell every set with 2 sets of covers. That way you'll have a spare set always available. Stay tuned. :)

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