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Vacuum formed kick panel speaker pods.


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#1 Derek

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 01:54 PM

Well I've been wanting to set up a vacuum forming rig for a while now and figured making some kick panels would be a good way to get started.

First thing I did was model up a stock kick panel and a 5 1/4" speaker. I cut a test blank of the kick panel to check the fit and then basically took an educated guess at the speaker placement.

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Then I modeled in a pod. I have a full carpet set in my car and the green section at the bottom will come out and cover the inner rocker, Kind of like an extension of the black trim plate. I made it bigger then I wanted and I'll trim it to size. The panel is designed to contact at the front and back and the rectangular depression towards the top. This will allow a 1/8" air gap behind it to act as a wire chase.

I made everything bolt together so I could easily modify it plus the pod and rocker piece are symmetrical so I can use them on both sides.

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Here's some shots of the pattern -plug - buck whatever the hell you call it when you vacuum form.


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I'm making the parts out of 1/8" textured ABS plastic. I have no idea if this is going to work or not but it's an awful lot of fun!

I should have the vacuum form stuff finished tomorrow and hopefully the first pull will be Friday.

Cross your fingers.

Derek

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#2 sweetleaf

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 02:49 PM

Very cool, and good luck with the first pull. It's always fun playing with new processes. I think it'll come out great, like everything else you've built.
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#3 Chartoo

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 01:46 AM

Are you gonna make multiple copies? Id be interested in buying a pair if they were the right price. Nice work by the way.

#4 Derek

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 02:13 AM

Thanks guys
Yes if this works out I'll be producing a few extra for sale.

Derek

EDIS Mounting kits are BACK IN stock!!!
http://datsunworks.com/page3/page4/


#5 Daphur280

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 04:46 PM

count me in too for a buy
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#6 shika805

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 08:17 PM

man i wish i had equipment like this so i can fabricate stuff! nice work man
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#7 mutantZ

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:42 PM

Count me in for a pair as well

#8 RS Speed

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 09:56 AM

Ill take a pair!

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#9 Derek

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 11:03 AM

We Have Liftoff!!!

Here is the maiden run. You can see the plastic starting to droop.

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And after the suck job.

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I'm totally happy how the first pull came out. The plastic was too cold and I needed a clamp on the front of the frame to keep the vacuum sealed but that's minor stuff.



This is after I did a hack job on the band saw. I wasn't too concerened with pretty cuts as I was just interested in the basic fit. When I cut the production pieces I'll use my CNC router so I'll have more control.

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And now for the moment I've been waiting about a year for!

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Now for some observations.
Man my car looks shitty from this angle

The pod is too low. It clears the clutch pedal no problem but it's crowding the dead pedal too much. I tried to keep it as low as I could for fidelity reasons but I drive more than I listen so up it goes.

I need to totally rework the carpet cover. I have the right radius but it comes out at the wrong angle. I also need to reshape the area where the yellow china marker is so it will follow the rocker. I'm also going to extend it rearward so it meets the metal trim.

I have to redo the base plate. The step downs on the front and rear are too narrow. By the time I cut back the radius I had no flat left. That's why there is a gap in the front.

At least the pod is right!
All in all I accomplished everything I was hoping for and I think I established a good enough base line for the next one.


Derek

EDIS Mounting kits are BACK IN stock!!!
http://datsunworks.com/page3/page4/


#10 datsun723

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 11:08 AM

I'm definitely down for a pair. Would these ONLY come in 5 1/4 size or would variations be offered?

The reason I ask is I have some 6" speakers laying around with no where to go :lol:

But honestly...these look awesome and I praise you for doing this!

#11 Derek

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 11:47 AM

Round Two

Re-cut the pattern today and did another pull. Got the plastic hotter and got much better results. I also cut out the profile with my CNC router as opposed to the broad axe I used last time.

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It fits really good but of coarse I didn't extend the carpet cover far enough.

Here is a shot with my size 10 steel toe on the dead pedal
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Not a ton of room but I'll get used to it.

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I'm going to run this back and see how it works under the trim panel. I also need to do a better job on the transition so it follows the weather strip welt.

This is as far as it's going to get for a week as I just got a rush job on a pattern. I'll drive this around and see how it works in use.


I'm not planning on doing a pod for the 6" right now and probably never. It's tight with the 5 1/4" so 6" would be really tough.

A question for the people interested in these. Does the carpet cover appeal to you or would you prefer it matches the stock fiberboard kick panel.

Thanks
Derek

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http://datsunworks.com/page3/page4/


#12 nullbound

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 07:20 PM

Count me in for a pair. I like the carpet cover a lot and the fact that you're paying close attention to how it lines up with the weatherstripping.

Edited by nullbound, 28 August 2010 - 07:20 PM.


#13 blairjj

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 08:38 PM

Hey Derek,

Any chance we could get to take a few pictures of your vacuum forming setup and describe it? I've been thinking of making one for a while and yours looks pretty slick. Is yours from a set of plans or did you just fab something that worked?

How deep of a part do you think you could pull?

Thanks a bunch.

Jay
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#14 cockerstar

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 12:42 AM

Looks fantastic Derek!
Any idea on a ballpark for the price?
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#15 Derek

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 05:40 AM

Hey Derek,

Any chance we could get to take a few pictures of your vacuum forming setup and describe it? I've been thinking of making one for a while and yours looks pretty slick. Is yours from a set of plans or did you just fab something that worked?

How deep of a part do you think you could pull?

Thanks a bunch.

Jay


Hi Jay
I got my info from this site Vacuum forming I built it according to this link Table Read up and I'll be happy to answer some questions although I'm still learning.
I'm not sure how deep a draw I could do and it really varies wildly according to plastic type and thickness. I tried to pull a piece of .030" Lexan over a piece as a test and it was a total failure yet I'm pulling .125" ABS over the kick panel with no problem.

Not sure about the pricing yet. After I get everything worked out I'll do a full sheets worth (4 pair) and then come up with a price.

Also a design note.
I drove the car home last night with the panel installed and it still is too close to the dead pedal. I'm going to bring the speaker as far back and up as I can and call it a day. I'm sure I'm sacrificing fidelity but it's still too close. I may have to move the hood release cable up with a bracket as the cable is pretty close to begin with. I'd really like to end development on pull # 3 if I can.

Derek

Edited by Derek, 29 August 2010 - 05:41 AM.

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#16 Drax240z

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 07:09 AM

Great work Derek, and thanks a lot for posting the R&D steps. I'm almost more interested in seeing how people do things than I am the final product.

I've never been happy with the idea of kick panel speakers, because of the issues you are now faced with. Trying to make them non-intrusive. If you can accomplish this, and still get a 5-1/4 speaker in there, I think you've got a hell of a product on your hands.
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#17 Dan Juday

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 12:42 PM

Nice work Derek. That textured abs is fun to work with. It's pretty forgiving for us amateurs.

As far as the carpet cover, I can take it or leave it. It looks good but it seems like a lot of extra work for little benefit. I'd prefer a speaker position as far north as possible to avoid crowding the footwell. The hood release cable does not concern me as my next hood will not use it.

When you get these worked out make a set to replace the rear panels as well that deletes the fuel expansion tank bulge. Those will have room for 6" or larger speakers. When they're ready I'll take a full set.

#18 RTz

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 02:10 PM

Nice!
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#19 Tony D

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 08:18 PM

Well, now that he's get :lol:ting the hang of the kick panels, the door panels can be next...with some more speakers in there!
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#20 Tyler

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 09:59 AM

I would also be in for a pair as well! I currently have speakers in the door panels and I do not like them one bit. I always graze the cover with my foot on the way out and am constantly knocking it off.




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