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Old 10-14-2010, 11:10 PM   #151 (permalink)
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Final Stages of Build

Well, at this point in the build, it has been about three months over the summer. Too many hours to count.

Here is what the inside plate looks like for the tail lights.



After trimming the excess foam away, you can see that I glued the rear plate to the right slightly. I could not tell that this was the case with all the excess foam sticking out past the end plate!



The tail light assemblies and license plate area are both recessed and flush with the end plate surface.



Keeping this "edge" sharp, between the top and side panels took many hours. Here spackling is being added to build-up areas that are low or not sharp.



Here's a view of the other side, showing the sharp angle that being held, to keep the styling line going that Honda put on the Insight.



A view showing how the overall shape is progressing...



Now, I wanted to use LED taillights, but before ordering mass quantities, the bulb intensities needed to be measured first.

This first picture is a standard incandescent brake light bulb behind the reflector. I setup the camera about 20 feet away and zoomed in on the lens to get comparative shots of the incandescent and LED bulbs.

Incandescent in "run" mode



And now in "brake" mode



Now the same pattern with the LED tail light bulb...





You can see that the LED lights are actually brighter, but less diffuse.

Now for something that might be slightly scary, but I was ready to start cutting out pockets for the recessed lighting!! This is the first cut using a rotary tool to cut to a predetermined depth. In fact, the same depth as the acrylic thickness.



A little wood fixture was fabricated to hold the rotary tool at the correct cutting depth.



And, there we go. This recessed surface was then sanded smoother with a custom fit sanding block with glued sand paper attached.



Now deeper pockets are cut for the recessed LED lighting.



And the other side with the same thing...



Parallel tape lines were laid on the concrete floor and used as reference lines to get the side cuts in line with the car body. The wood piece is then used to ensure the pockets are in alignment as well.



Half inch wood dowels were machined to the correct length and center drilled in preparation of the wood screws used to hold the acrylic in place. The dowels are being glued here.



Little wood fixtures were made and then fiberglassed for strength, and shown with one of the light sockets.



While that glass work was setting up, custom cut acrylic was shaped to fit exactly into the cutout. Next several layers of light-weight glass cloth was wetted out and Glad-Wrap was then lined behind the acrylic and used as a mold release.



While all this was going on, the top deck was being built-up with multiple layers of spackling. Why? The flat shape shown earlier in this thread just did not look right to me, and so the decision was made to build up the center by 1/4 inch.

A special foam master template was carved to match this curvature, and used to get the entire surface this same shape. The deck plate took many hours of filling and sanding to get just right.



Jim.

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Old 10-14-2010, 11:41 PM   #152 (permalink)
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Final Stages of Build continue

After the epoxy setup, and the mold release removed, you can see the finished product.



Now it's finally time to cover the deck and sides with glass...



This may sound goofy, but now the flat underside looked, well, too flat, so it too is being built up in the middle with foam to allow a curved shape.

This curvature actually allows the air to flow further down the tail before reaching the dreaded 15 angle that starts causing flow separation, so I liked the idea creating the curved shape here.



Here is more foam being filled in along the bottom surface.



And now one night later, more panels being glued in place. Look at all those screws.



This is what happens to over 50% of the foam added to the tail extension in this project.... It ends up on the floor!!



And here is one of the light sockets before trimming.



Now adding lots of spackling to the bottom half. Using the light "shadows" is one of my favorite techniques to get things smooth.



The foam glue is setup, and now the screws can come out.



And this surface is now sanded smooth.



The light socket is being drilled and machined to the correct diameter for the light sockets.



After the socket holes are sized correctly, the sockets are glued in place with five minute epoxy.



At this point, the car has sat in the garage for 3-3/4 months or so, and notice nice the car looks with all that fine sanding dust on it.

The HV battery is being trickle charged back up to full strength, and much sanding is being done on the fiberglass finish, just to remove the rough edges.



And another view...



And a view of the underside...



One of the earlier posters, asked "what is the small hatch for"...

Well, now you can see that the large Honda hatch needs extra clearance to get past the extension when opening. And you'll notice that the dimensions are tight here.



Ah yes, were at the point in the build where we need to be concerned with electronics and wires and such.

Here is a picture of the license plate illumination light connector.



And the connector for the tail lights, which house:

1) run/stop bulb
2) amber blinker bulb
3) backup bulb



Jim.
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Last edited by 3-Wheeler; 10-14-2010 at 11:46 PM..
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:07 AM   #153 (permalink)
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Final Stages of Build continued

It's now Sunday, and a beautifully warm day here in Wisconsin.

However, the weather on Monday morning is predicted to be close to freezing and I'm still riding the motorcycle to work!!

Well, I have ridden in freezing temperatures over the years and prefer not ride in it now if possible. The car must be pressed into service, which means the stock components are required to be put back on for a brief stint.



Several nights later, when the temperature is in the 40's, more glass is being positioned near the back plate.



This funny looking curved piece of wood will be placed right above the spoiler mounted LED lights.



Little copper hooks are being glued in place, with the extension tipped on it's side. They will later be used to hold the wiring loom.



Here is the funny piece of wood getting 3 layers of glass per side, for strength.



After testing for strength, the funny wood is still not strong enough, so several layers of balsa are added.



Now the wood is being shaped to something that can fit into the space just above the spoiler lights.



And now that very same piece of funny wood is placed close to where it will be mounted on the hatch.



It's time to glue the light sockets into the extension.



And a close-up of the wiring...



Now, with the light sockets in place, tail light mounted for the license plate, and a full day ahead, it's time to start wiring the harness!



With all the tools in place, and an old towel to keep glass out of my skin, the wiring has just started.



Six hours later, both wiring looms are protected in convoluted tubing, and everything zip-tied in place. Notice how nice the embedded hooks work to hold the wiring firmly.



Almost forgot to mention:

At this point in the build, the car has been in the garage since June 01, and now (according to the pictures), it's the first week of October, so it's been 4 months and 1 week so far.

A little longer than I would guessed, but my motorcycle fairing, done some 15 years ago, took six months over the late fall, winter, and early spring, so it is somewhat comparable timewise.

Jim.
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Last edited by 3-Wheeler; 10-15-2010 at 12:20 AM..
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:06 AM   #154 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varn View Post
I used West systems epoxy for several years. Eventually I became sensitized to it and it makes me break out.

I have tried UScomposites epoxy I have used about a half gallon with the fast hardener. Fast is about the same as west medium. Price point, a gallon kit is $64 and shipping. So far no hives.
Hi Varn,

Thanks for the USCompomposites recommendation. I will try that next time a gallon is ordered, since it is about 10% less expensive.

Jim.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:10 AM   #155 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varn View Post
What is the deal with not showing this group a picture of your Hondacar? It is only a car.
Hi Varn,

Well, you're absolutely right, that it is only a car just like all the others here on EcoModder. And it's also only one example of how to create a more streamlined body for a Honda Insight.

I did, however wish to keep the photos sequenced in such a way as to convey the time-line of the build.

Edit at 9:44 am

On the other hand, our cars here at EcoModder, are not just cars. Varn, your car, aerocivic's, AeroHead's, Metro's, BicycleBob's, Patrick's, NeilBlanchard, and so on are more than just ordinary cars. (Forgive me if I left you out, I'm simply making a point).

We at EcoModder are all very passionate about the ecology of our environment, conserving natural resources, cutting back on foreign oil, and so on. Each of us bring our own reasons for making and sharing improvements to our vehicles, be they cars, trucks or motorcycles.

And each one of us feels passionate about our personal investment in time, energy, and creativity in our modifications.

No, to me, and I'm absolutely positive to others, our cars are not simply cars. They are creations of our own hands and expressions of who we are, and our commitment to our planet.

Jim.

Last edited by 3-Wheeler; 10-15-2010 at 10:54 AM.. Reason: Elaborate on our "cars"
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:58 AM   #156 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing Jim. A lot of little touches like the flip up door to open the hatch. I tend to use more duct tape.

Hope that it gets you better mileage. Do you have a link to your motorcycle fairing?
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Last edited by Varn; 10-15-2010 at 10:03 AM..
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Old 10-15-2010, 11:07 AM   #157 (permalink)
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Varn, were you wearing PPE when you broke out in hives? While working with epoxy, I like to wear nitrile gloves, which do generally end up sticky. When I'm working with polyester resin (e.g. Bondo), or with epoxy in poor ventilation, I also add a respirator.

Jim, thanks for the update. I look forward to the next one. Hopefully, you can grid charge your battery, since it was sitting for four months.

How much does it weigh? Are you happy with your mounting points and the rigidity of the assembly?
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Old 10-15-2010, 01:01 PM   #158 (permalink)
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This is ridiculously cool. I just pray that you never get rear ended!
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Old 10-15-2010, 01:46 PM   #159 (permalink)
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More likely to cause accidents when people are passing him and trying to get a better look at the car... Very professional bodywork! I can't wait to see it painted...
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:39 PM   #160 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevet47 View Post
This is ridiculously cool. I just pray that you never get rear ended!
Me too, but maybe you should make a mold just in case.

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