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LEGACY VENDOR
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Discussion Starter #1
I know the popular mod is to cut a clear ceiling tile, and put it in the place of the OEM amber side reflector lens, but I thought I'd try my hand at creating a mould and casting these lenses myself. I have the first mould made, and I just filled it with crystal clear poly resin, so we'll see how it turns out. This stuff is messy to work with, and I'm amazed how expensive RTV moulding silicone & the other supplies are.

If it is successful, I'm curious how many people would buy a pair of these from me, instead of the ceiling tile trick.

Say: $140/set?

Chime in so I can guage interest in this!
 

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I was contemplating doing this with the tail lights however I am concerned about condensation problems. I am also not sure what type of adhesive sealant to use. I checked with a friend who installs windshields and he suggested using a liquid sealant which will seep into the joint and not just sit on the joint like most silicone. I am just looking for the right product before I attempt this ...
 

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LEGACY VENDOR
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Discussion Starter #3
The first one is out of the mould. It's....ok. It's got some flaws/air bubbles/etc. I'm working out the kinks. I'm trying another - let's see how it turns out.

Either way, even this first attempt looks better (IMO) than a cut ceiling tile. I'll post pics once this next one comes out of the mould...
 

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PJPR01 said:
$140 for the clear reflectors?

A pair of smoked side markers only costs $35...
But they are mass-produced ;) The ones IMMensaMind are making are not... they are limited edition, and very much so.
 

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skoTner said:
PJPR01 said:
$140 for the clear reflectors?

A pair of smoked side markers only costs $35...
But they are mass-produced ;) The ones IMMensaMind are making are not... they are limited edition, and very much so.
...and made in Wisconsin, which means even more special. `) For that price, they should come with a double brat and german mustard as well.

:)
 

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LEGACY VENDOR
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Discussion Starter #8
I've got to work out some kinks. I keep getting bubbles trapped in the cast, and it messes up the continuity of the lens. There's also the issue of the cast picking up a subtle golden hue, which isn't supposed to happen with this supposedly crystal clear resin - so it might be pulling it from the mould, which is a lemon yellow color.

In order to do this properly, it appears I might have to invest in a pressure container, and cast these in a mould under pressure.

I'll keep experimenting. :think:
 

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LEGACY VENDOR
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Discussion Starter #10
gooseyloosey said:
:idea:
The Shrinky Dink Co is in WI and you can buy sheets of plastic from them.

http://www.shrinkydinks.com/

If it works, I'm in for two Dora the Explorer side markers `)

:lol:

Okay: I have answers now. I used the wrong RTV Silicone; it can transfer its color to water clear resins (and did). I'm going to use another silicone, and I'm going to create the mould under pressure, so I can then use the mould to cast resin under pressure as well.

Hope this works. :?
 

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LEGACY VENDOR
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Discussion Starter #12

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Would these work on 2010/2011's?
 

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LEGACY VENDOR
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Discussion Starter #14
keiphers said:
Would these work on 2010/2011's?
Is the side amber lens the same?

I'm going ahead and ordering the equipment needed to do these castings professionally. I can mould anything once I have the equipment.

We could work out someone sending me their amber lenses so that I can use them for creating a mould, and create the piece that way, if the '10+ are different..

M
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Success!

It took a lot of fiddling, and some equipment (vacuum container and a pressure pot, along with the appropriate RTV Silicone and water clear resin), but I finally got a clear casting of a headlight lens to turn out! :dance:

I built a mould box out of Legos (common trick), and then used Silastic M2 from Dupont to create a two part mould. What you see in the first pic below is the box with clay forming the base of the box, before the top half of the mould was poured. The second half is a pic with the original lens in place on the bottom half of the new mould:



Then - after a couple of attempts at pouring techniques, which failed (air bubbles/voids in the casting/etc), I arrived at the right combination of pouring technique, mould venting and pressure curing. Here is the newly minted driver's side lens (the bright one obviously catches the camera flash pretty well, so these truly are great reflectors, which will be a major advantage over the ceiling tile lens mod that people are doing):



So - the hard part is done. I can now cast more of these at will. I'll put up a couple more pics of the pair from a see-through perspective tomorrow.

Who wants a set? $100 shipped domestically, probably a bit more if overseas..... :mrgreen:
 

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Those look amazing! I'll have to compare my '11 to our '08 to see if these things would fit the MY2010+ as well.
 

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LEGACY VENDOR
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Discussion Starter #17
keiphers said:
Those look amazing! I'll have to compare my '11 to our '08 to see if these things would fit the MY2010+ as well.
Thanks!

Here's a couple more pictures of one of them after an overnight post-cure in an oven (you have to post-cure thin parts so that they truly harden; they come out of the mould a bit soft):




Not only are these optically clear, and I'm really happy with the quality of them, but they're true reflectors: they will bounce back headlights from other cars, so they're far better from a safety perspective than the ceiling tile mod.
 
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