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Thread: How to make tail light lenses?

  1. #1
    Harvey's Front Row

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    How to make tail light lenses?

    Im having this idea to make custom lenses to fit in my rear bumper, bt b4 i start cuttin i wanna know how to make'em.
    The metal part is no problem, its the plastic lens itself i have almost no idea, meanin i found an article on line but seems rather complicated.
    Wondering what you guys say.
    Thanx.
    Sent from my ouiji board with black magic powers

    - I Bomb Mes3 -

  2. #2
    Dude, I love puppies, dude!

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    Re: How to make tail light lenses?

    The latest Cruisin' magazine has a nice little how to article with pics and is in Japanese but it didn't look too difficult at all.

    you make a male mold in the shape you want (article used wood), then make a female mold, heat the lexan over a BBQ grill to soften it and then lay it over the male mold and then press the female mold over it to get the full shape.


  3. #3
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Re: How to make tail light lenses?

    Very intresting Eric, and doesnt seem too difficult either.
    Im not too good w/ wood then, but i'll try.
    Sent from my ouiji board with black magic powers

    - I Bomb Mes3 -

  4. #4
    Casual Cruiser

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    Re: How to make tail light lenses?

    Here's how to do it, with lots of pictures, and what you need to buy.
    http://www.alumilite.com/HowTos/TailLig ... ipment.cfm
    http://www.alumilite.com/HowTos/TailLig ... ipment.cfm

    They used an original lens to make a duplicate, but you could make your own lens pattern out of metal and bondo. I planned to make a rear bumper out of this grille bar, but I sold the truck I was going to put it on. The chrome pieces on either side are removeable; they would be the patterns, then rob some trailer lights for the guts behind the new lenses. Also a CAD drawing of how I was going to use it.

  5. #5
    ♠ LBCC East ♠

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    Re: How to make tail light lenses?

    I've made a few small lenses lately using red plastic and a cheap heat gun from Harbor Freight. The heat gun is the type used to burn paint.
    I just heat up the plastic enough that it gets pliable, then bend it into the shape I need. You can't make bullet lenses this way, but anything with a slight curve is no problem.
    I found a big vintage sheet of red textured plastic at the local architectural warehouse and that seems to be working out OK.

    I've been wanting to set up a vacuum forming table for a while, but never seem to get to it.

  6. #6
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Re: How to make tail light lenses?

    Thats great Richard, if you have a lense to start w/! but im thinkin i will have to make my own. Pretty good tech eitherway, gives a good idea of what and why.
    Nappy, i have a heat gun, good to know it will come handy.
    If anybody has pics to share of scratch built lenses that would be great.
    Sent from my ouiji board with black magic powers

    - I Bomb Mes3 -

  7. #7
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Re: How to make tail light lenses?

    I use that refractive junk they use for fluorescent lights and put a red lens in front. I had some flat ones like that in my 54 Chevy when my GF at the time backed into the car and smashed the Lee ones in there. I got some good back seat action out of it though, fair trade I'd say.

  8. #8
    Boulevard Bomber

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    at the shop i used to work, we did a car for a customer who was a nut with acrylic. he made his own by making the shape he needed, then pressing clay onto it, cutting it off carefully to create male and female molds, kind of the same theory as sand casting i guess.. then he would just pour liquid red acrylic into the molds. it sounded super simple but im sure it would take a couple practice trys to make a perfect set.

  9. #9
    Boulevard Bomber

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    here is a thread i did on the ****..
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...2921&showall=1

  10. #10
    Boulevard Bomber

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    Very cool. I rate this thread 5 stars!
    ___________________________________________
    I like old Schwinns , 80s BMX, and Gummi worms 

  11. #11
    ♠ LBCC High Desert ♠

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    Relayed from the ****. This guy's work and technique are top notch:

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=566437

  12. #12
    Boulevard Bomber

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    I made these lens for my 54. its the reflective plastic used in over head lighting.
    I cut it about 2 inches bigger then needed , placed the plastic between two parking light bezels and clamped it all together. then I put it all into the oven.
    I had to experiment with time and temperatures and what worked for me was 350 for about 10 minutes.
    (I messed up a lot of plastic).
    this made the plastic pliable enough to push on and form a "bubble" .
    I had to put it into the oven a few times to get it into the shape I wanted.

    cut, hammer, weld, drive !

    http://cuthammerwelddrive.blogspot.com/

    PANEL BEATERS C.C - WE GOT GREASE UNDER OUR NAILS, NOT IN OUR HAIR

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