Tired of your body kit options?..Make your own!!
I'm personally sick of the body kit options that we have as mr2 owners. There are 3 basic kits (a lot more if you get into the rare stuff) out there and variations on each depending on which chinese warehouse they came out of. I had a bomex type II bumper, "invader" sideskirts, and "invader" rear. The invader stuff was OK back in 2000 when I put it on, but times do change and so do I. I actually had a chance to swap shells with a friend and transplant all my goodies into his stock-bodied car, but what fun it that? Anywho, I'll be updating this thread every night with my progress and tips I learn along the way, so enjoy.
Here's my car as it used to be. Getting prepped for surgery. Notice the buckling along the sideskirt under the door. This was poor quality FG to begin with and 7 years in the sun didn't help much either.
Sideskirts removed with a little help from my friend the die-grinder:
the skirts were molded to the body in both the door jamb area and the main body. The aftermath:
Now, that's better. Like the feeling you get when you take off a tight shirt:
Now on to the fun part, the sculpting! First off, I taped up everything that I would be working around with painter's tape. Then glued foam blocks to the body. The foam is the green stuff used for flower arrangements sourced from my local hobby lobby. This stuff is awesome. It sands really easily and can be sculpted with just about anything. It's only downside is that it's really easy to screw up because it's so soft.
I'm incorporating a fender flare onto the rear so I started to sculpt it out: (BTW all the foam is glued to the car using a hot-glue gun..more on that later)
Here's where I screwed up.... You see that expandable foam that I used to fill in the cracks? Well, that stuff is a completely different consistency than the green foam. When you try to sand it, you'll always have a high spot where the white foam is. If you try to sand just the white, you'll dig out the green around it. I ended up getting pissed and just ripping everything out and starting over from scratch. I chalked it up to a learning experience and started fresh the next day.
LESSONS LEARNED SO FAR:
1. Do not use expanding foam to fill the cracks. The different densities make sculpting a pain.
2. Do not glue the blocks together. Glue them only to the car. The glue is also a different consistency and you'll get high spots in all the joints where the blocks meet up. Which leads me to my next point.....
3. It's not called hot glue for nothing. That chit's hot, so be careful.
4. You should scour out the backs of the blocks to conform to the body under the block. You need as much surface area as you can get to glue it to the body. Also, you won't have any cracks to fill in like I had.
5. Pretend you're building a brick wall with no mortar. The closer you get them to butt up the better. You do not want any cracks in your foam. If this means spending 30 minutes carving the back out of one block for that perfect fit, DO IT. You'll thank yourself later.
After learning from my mistakes, I started over again. I'm very happy with the results:
Front of the flare is starting to come together:
Body line are starting to work themselves out:
This is where I stopped last night. I'm very happy with the way it's turning out. Now I need to draw up some sketches on what I want the scoop to look like and get some more foam. I should be fiberglassing next week if all goes well.
Here's the tools of the trade: Hot-glue gun, hacksaw blade, electric fish fillet-er thingy, 80 grit sandpaper, 40 grit sandpaper.
Also, this stuff's messy.
1. Good GOD! this foam is messy. It's everywhere. I think I got some in my pee-hole.
2. 40 grit sandpaper wrapped around a paint stick makes a nice file for rough sculpting the foam. The electric knife is also good for roughing out those contours.
3. USE 40 GRIT FOR ROUGH SHAPING ONLY. This foam is so easy to shape, that if you're not careful, you can cut too far in. Use the 40 to get within a half inch of your goal and then finish with 80 grit. It doesn't take that long with 80 anyway.
wow crazy start you got there.... but more importantly is that a red interior!????? if so i though that was only available in CA
wow ummm good luck with that it looks daunting
whhooooaahhhh!!!!!!!!!! dude, you rock.....im doing a bunch of the same type of stuff, and i used that expanding foam too.....it sculpts ok with a grinder, but like you said, is un-sandable.....well, looks like tomorrow im ripping all that crap off and buying that green stuff....thanks alot man!! and good luck.....if you want something done right, youve gotta do it yourself!!
today's progress 6/10/2008
Redid the fender flare and its looking a lot better. Turned out a little smaller than I wanted, but it's growing on me:
Started the front of the scoop...
Also starting to flesh out the bottom of the skirt. I had a little oppsy on the back part so I just pulled out the blocks and replaced them (the beauty of foam).
This brings back memories of when I was a kid, my mom used to do flower arrangements and always had blocks of this stuff. 'd occasionally steal one or two and sculpt them into forts for my action figures.
Very ingenious using it for body sculpting, I wouldn't have thought of that!
Fixed my flub up and started to work the bottom of the sideskirt. Nothing is finalized yet. I still have to figure out the back of the skirt and make a smooth transition from the flare to the sideskirt and down to the bottom. Well, I'm done for the night..
1. A block of foam is easy to replace.
2. A long piece of sandpaper held at either end and drawn back and fourth vertically makes a nice roll on the bottom of the skirt.
3. If you give your friend a piece of foam and sandpaper, he will make a penis out of it and stick it on your car.
that is looking good man and big ups for having the guts to not only try this but post the progress up for all of us to learn from.
Thanks for all the kudos guys. Hopefully I can see this to the end. My only concern at this point is how I'm going to make a mirror image for the other side. I've got one idea of how I'll do it, but it involves making my own machinery. That's a whole other thread...
Good stuff. Looks great.
Check out some fiberglass or custom bodywork forums they use this and house insulation all the time. I have used both along with expanding foams as well many many times. I didn't read through the whole thread but don't forget you can not lay glass straight over top of that foam or it will eat straight through it. Body filler on the other hand can be used on that foam without a problem. You could also clay it without a problem and that give you the ability to do final detailing touches. This makes me tempted to post pics of my current project for a friend but I don't wanna thread jack so I will just wait till mine is done.
O also if you want you can use a technique called "sanding", yea I know surprising huh, in which you use another piece of foam and run it along the piece you want to shape. It cuts differently than paper and I want to say it comes out smoother. It's been a while since I've used to floral blocks but I believe it should work. For getting good symmetry you could use feelers to determine depths and use one of those rods that can form to the shape of the one side to get the same shape going on the other side. I can't remember any specific name for them at the moment. I'm surprised it took someone this long to do it to a two on the board I have done it to every car I've owned basically lol. And for a good deal of friends as well. In case I missed it are you only making side skirts?
Actually, I just registered on fiberglassforums.com and been lurking on there all morning. I know the deal on fiberglassing over the foam. I'm probably going to lay aluminum foil over it before glassing.
As far as making the mirror image, I'm probably going to use a long contour gauge and set up a grid pattern on both sides in order to get them symmetrical.
Yeah, I'm just making sideskirts. I've traded off my bomex front for a factory bumper I will be using on the front. I've thought about making a front lip for it as well, but we'll how the sides come out first.
Getting started on the front part of the skirts today. Wish me luck.
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