Tuesday 21 August 2012

Light Up Rear Panel Part Two

And some fella said 'let there be light'..

So previously we had a clear panel with a bad paint job and two whacking great holes cut in the back. Not the most promising of starts I hear you cry. Ah, but remember that sometimes you need to destroy to be able to create! pffft... say the philosophers. Get on with it cry the readers...

So as to remain legal in the UK the rear panel must 'light up' red. Anything else is of course possible but you will be breaking the law on UK roads. Personally I like the red as it fits in with the lights. It is possible to purchase paint from Foliatec known as 'Glow Bulb' I like this as it's quick and easy only requiring one coat. However you can use Tamiya clear red etc, you get the idea. For instance on my car the internals are painted Tamiya red.

I did not paint this... This is not the finish

Characters painted internally with clear red
 Next up get tin foil or some adhesive backed foil. Stick this to where the centre lug is. What we want to do is cover all the way along behind the lettering with this. When the sun shines on the car during the day it helps make the lettering stand out, additionally it also helps the brightness when the panel is lit with reflected light.
Exhaust tape (but tin foil will do)

Remember to cover center section behind lug
 I was keen to 'try' a different LED set this time and picked some bright red 30CM strips up from ebay for very small money. These run off 12 volts and can be easily wired into the lighting circuit. However I think that  probably a 60CM would be better. I'm going to try out a 60CM strip to see how well it works. Currently I attached strips top and bottom.
pre wired Red LED, this is a 30CM strip 60 would be best.
 Using some plastic card, two strips were made to cover the holes made previously. Foil was attached to these as mentioned previously.
'PlastiCard cut to fit over holes with foil attached to 'inside' part
 The strips were then glued back into place. Probably does not matter what glue as long as it sticks. I like my glue gun, the bodgers tool!
Glue (or two part epoxy into place)
 As I used two light strips, I neatened up the wiring and tinned the wires. Ready for installation.
lets not have any messy wiring!
 Here is the finished product (from the lighting perspective). It is actually quite hard to take a photo as the camera dwells on the light source making it appear that the bulbs are brighter than they actually are. However it is fair comment to say that the S and the E are slightly dull in the flesh. Hence my final hurrah at trying a 60CM strip in the unit.
Some product?
I hope you enjoyed this outing into something practical and yet at the same time quite useless. Naturally the panel can be wired to the lights or if you have a sad copy type spoiler without brake light it could be wired to that.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Light Up Rear Panel

I was asked recently if I would 'make' a light up rear SKYLINE panel. The origins of the original light up panels have been lost in time now and fetch quite a high figure within the community. Although they seem reasonably pointless here in the UK as it is illegal to display anything other than a red light on the back of cars here. The original panel was of the clear design and rather cleverly just lit up the letters of skyline in a greenish 'teal' back light.

That isn't what I plan to show you all though, this is UK specific although naturally with a change of some ingredients anything is possible.

Firstly you will need to get hold of a Spec 1 Skyline panel. The irony being that the letters were originally painted silver and the rest of the panel was clear. We now need to turn this on its head and have clear letters and a painted panel. The one that I am using is a badly painted unit that a friend abandoned to my care. More about painting later.

As this is step one, it's reasonably easy. You will need to cut away two sections either side of the central locating lug at the back of the unit.

Note it may be possible to heat the unit and separate it's parts, although personally I have never tried doing this. This step only takes 30 odd minutes anyway.

With trusty drill and hacksaw blade. Not a hammer in sight. 

note this picture is wrong and you will need to go beyond the rubber air vent pipe.
Get your self a small drill and machine gun around the following area. From the central lug all the way along to include just beyond the small air vent. Then with hacksaw blade 'join the dots', naturally you will have to ensure that you got all the bits out of the unit although these usually rinse out okay.

This concludes part one, part two will be painting the letters and lighting.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Schism – winning the internet

I have a passing interest in cars, not I hasten to add that I think it takes over my life to the detriment of everything else. Although as it certainly seems to, I can only but guess that it is fact. It’s certainly strange having this true borderline obsession, a complete and singular focus on one thing, to reach a goal and damnation to everything else. Obviously I appreciate it is ‘just a car’ and have said this many times, although it is a car born of my own imagination, created by me, my hard labour, my dreams. Sometimes it is at odds with my own humility and am not sure if this is derived from my humble beginnings or just a desire not to show off. Although when complimented or even abused over it, my thought process are, that the other party has not earned the right to comment.  

Although there is also the need for acceptance, which is perhaps why I belong to a car club, whatever my original motivations were are probably lost in time now. With the shrinking multitude, I am also just another number passing comment, not quite the forum warrior that some feel the need to be. Yesterday I had the distinct displeasure of watching two tribes going to battle publicly over, nothing much. An argument that had simmered for sometime just went on to prove that things which happen in your head only happen in your mind. I often feel that my intelligence is a distinct disadvantage when on the forum.

Of course it resulted in various ejections of a small group of users, who are now firmly bonded together under the flag of injustice, a powerful force. Perhaps they will be able to build upon this, the very fact that this has happened in the past is proof positive that those with vision can overcome. However personal experience in a different field shows just how much dedication this can require. One irony being, that the group where they now fly their flags of allegiance are also talking about introducing the same rules that they pushed so hard to take down in the first place.
A friend of mine who has an interest in various forms of communication enquired of me about random status updates happening on Face book and eagerly studied the forums.

Their comment was as follows:

“They tried to win the internet, they lost”  

Perhaps there is a moral to this post, although I find it highly unlikely anyone in the same scenario will care. I however will continue to focus my ‘obsession’ on the car rather than focus it on the thoughts of others.