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2K1 - Headlight Protectors

Vehicle modifications/repairs/rebuilds

2K1 - Headlight Protectors

Postby iandvl » 28 Mar 2016 20:16

Well, as mentioned: after picking up a stone or two, and the complete absence of any headlight protectors (that I've seen) for the 4.5, I thought I'd start building my own set.

I wanted to spend the entire weekend on this project, but sanity (and my folks) intervened, and I ended up having a few hours to spend on it today. So, work in progress photos.

1: I used a cardboard template to cut the perspex.

HEADLIGHT-1.jpg
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2: I cut the perspex with a dremel cutting blade. Not the best, but my point being that if people are interested, I can get perspex cut to size professionally. (PS: The reflection is the skylight on our patio - with the rain we have had, it is dirty).

HEADLIGHT-2.jpg
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3: I used a heat gun to start shaping the stuff. It is painful. But ultimately, this build will be used to create a positive and negative mould. As such, it can look a little bad as shortcomings will be sanded out. At this point, I have to have proper samples right and left.

HEADLIGHT-3.jpg
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HEADLIGHT-4.jpg
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As mentioned, it is work in progress, but I am relatively happy with the way the corner light fits (even though it still looks super amateurish at this point). Will post when I get to the next step,
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Re: 2K1 - Headlight Protectors

Postby Picasso » 28 Mar 2016 21:00

Hi Ian

one of my previous posts.

viewtopic.php?f=53&t=5663


I had a look for a while for headlight protectors and could not find any for the Patrol.
One day I went on one of theses flee markets (Zambesi Pretoria) and they had Headlight protectors for the Nissan Hardbody.
They were ... I think about 120 R ....
Cheap enough to give it a try and see if one can make them fit

photo 1.JPG
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photo 2.JPG
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photo 3.JPG
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I had to cut the inside of the protector so that the angle are in line with the Patrol Headlight.
The protector is fitted with an AL bracket on top and hooks in at the bottom of the headlight.
It ca easily lifted up for cleaning purposes and hooked back again.
The outside of the protector does not relay match the Patrols headlight shape.
(From 2m distance hardly noticeable)
It is by no means perfect but it is better than nothing,

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Re: 2K1 - Headlight Protectors

Postby Dustin » 07 Jul 2016 08:16

Nice work.

Just a word of caution though, Perspex (PMMA) is terrible with impact resistance.
It will shatter like glass if struck by any stones or debris.
It will most likely absorb enough energy to save the light, but it will be a 1 and done kind of a deal.

Rather get your hands on some clear Polycarbonate. Maybe a 3mm.
It's the same stuff aircraft windows are made from.
Sometimes it's referred to as Lexan, but that's just a brand name.
A place called Maizeys will sell you some off cuts. They have branches all over.

I'm a design engineer for a plastics company in PE, and we often make helicopter and small fixed wing aircraft windows from Polycarbonate.
The stuff is as tough as nails when it comes to impact resistance.
The only downside is once you scratch it, it's impossible to buff out the scratch.

Side note :
NEVER clean any acrylic plastics (Perspx, Polycarb, PETg, etc.) with any type of solvent based cleaner. Only use mild soap and water.
Because the plastics are petroleum based, solvents will cause the plastics to attempt to revert back to their base components. The result is what is termed 'crazing'.
The plastics will first become milky/dull and then show tiny hairline fractures across the entire surface.

The only challenge you'll have with Polycarbonate is temperature when it comes to making the bends/forming.
Polycarbonate is a bugger to bend by hand.
Sometimes if it is old material, it will draw moisture when it stands, and when you overheat the material the bends will be full of bubbles from the moisture 'boiling' inside the material.

The best solution is to put the raw panel of Polycarb in an oven on 120 degrees Celsius and you'll leave it in for 3 hours per millimeter. So on 3mm material it will be 9 hours on 120 degrees C.

When you heat it to bend, make sure the heating is done evenly at about 140 degrees C.
Only the material starts to become flexible (test by bending slightly by hand) it is ready to bend.

What we generally do for molding to parts like light lenses and windows, it we make a fiberglass copy of the part.
You could even make a paper mache copy over the face of the light. Once it dries, smear some body filler over the low points to fill them up and sand the face completely smooth (any high or low points will show in the plastic), then heat the whole piece of material and drape it over the mold and let it cool.
The plastic will have the exact shape of the light it covers.

Hope this all helps.
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Re: 2K1 - Headlight Protectors

Postby ricster » 07 Jul 2016 08:26

Fantastic info Dustin !!

ian... I'm watching this one intensely... well done bud !!
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Re: 2K1 - Headlight Protectors

Postby iandvl » 07 Jul 2016 09:29

Dustin,

Thanks for the information.

I'm aware of the limitations of the perspex, but my thoughts are that if I can get the "moulds" built properly, churning out replacement perspex covers will be relatively easy (and definitely a lot cheaper than replacing a headlight lens). So, as far as I'm concerned, the perspex can shatter as long as the lens stays intact.

I'll see at some point whether I can get hold of the polycarbonite. Not sure whether the tools and such I have are going to allow me to work it properly. But we'll see when we get there. :)

Cedric, this is on hold for a little, but should be able to get back to this right after the river trip. Got a lot to do work-wise and similar in order to clear decks for my trip to Lesotho and the river trip.

Also, the mild prang I had a week ago has also eaten into my available time (I spend last weekend replacing beading, spraying bumpers and similar).

The original experiment I posted pictures of earlier had one or two flaws.

For example: I bent the 90 degree bits which go under the headlights before finishing the curvature of the lens. Which means that it is now very difficult to continue bending the curvature to fit correctly. In other words: back to the drawing board.

I've actually been doing what Dustin suggested - in terms of creating a positive mould for the headlights so that I could just drape hot perspex over the mould, and shape it properly. This I've done (partially) for the right-hand light (I had a few bits and pieces left over of my father's corner light and similar following his fiasco at Groenkloof earlier the year). So, will post updates when I get a chance to continue with this.

The nice part about it, is that if I get the moulds built, things become easier - especially if I decide to experiment with the ploycarb described by Dustin. :)
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