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I for one have definitely been mostly impressed, but also entertained, by your skills and ideas. I like seeing the blend of engineering and creativity. I also like seeing people do things that are unique, and be productive rather than just sitting and worrying about things they can't control. No matter how it turns out, there's going to be a lot of people out there who turn their heads and say wow, that's so cool. As long as you're enjoying yourself, and not doing anything that hurts someone else, is illegal, or sinful, I say it's time well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
The tail light came in today, and I picked it up, and feel that I can work with it.. Here is a picture of it, and a picture of roughly where I envision it being placed on the car.


At this point I intend to ‘mock up’ a cardboard cutout of a fin that would fit this light’s profile at the rear end and tape it to the car to see if I can get it to flow into the curvature of the car’s body just behind the gas filler tube on the passenger side (note that the light that I have is for the passenger side). If it will fit on the passenger side there should be no problem fitting a symmetrical one on the driver’s side.


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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
I cut out a cardboard ‘flatpattern’, …and folded it to match the profile of the light, …and tapped it to the car, …and took some pictures to study, to see if I can live with it.


Here are pictures of the cardboard ‘flatpattern’ taped to the car body.


More to follow…..

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Maybe run the fin to the bottom of the metal rear fender. Usually you don't see a sharp inside 90 degree connection of body panel shapes. Maybe a four to six inch radius into the panel right above the plastic fender panel. The whole car has radius panels.
Looking at it more, consider running the top of the fin into the trunk edge up top. Probaly ten times more difficult to fab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
Maybe run the fin to the bottom of the metal rear fender. Usually you don't see a sharp inside 90 degree connection of body panel shapes. Maybe a four to six inch radius into the panel right above the plastic fender panel. The whole car has radius panels.
Looking at it more, consider running the top of the fin into the trunk edge up top. Probaly ten times more difficult to fab.

Regarding running the base of the fin to the line where the metal meets plastic, I like your idea from the standpoint of making things simpler, but I'm kinda concerned that if I make it too "fat" (from top to bottom) that I will loose the flow with the body lines on the Taurus (in the area of the doors).

Regarding placing a four to six inch radius in order to transition the base of the fin into the car body, I like this idea. I assume that you mean a 4-6" concave radius in order to make the bottom of the fin flow into the top of the plastic bumper clip. This idea sounds great (thanks for the suggestion), even though it will require two more metal panels (one per side). I may try to mock this up and test it.

Regarding running the top of the fin to the trunk lid edge, I actually considered this, but there is a problems with it. If I do not change the angle of the fin (which is dictated by the lights at the rear of the fin) it places the fin too high on the car which moves it out of the flow line with the body lines of the Taurus (in the area of the doors). The car's side profile lines I believe are more important than having the fin meet the trunk lid on top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
I am going to go with it. Aside from now having somewhere to place the lights, I believe that the “fins” will further set apart the car’s appearance from that of a standard 2004 Taurus, and make it look even more like a car out of the early sixties.


To make the ‘flatpattern’ more detailed for fitting up to the car’s body, I cut out a second piece of cardboard which approximated the first one, and wrapped it around the first one (already taped to the car). I then tapped many small short (3” long) cutouts of cereal box cardbord to this second outer piece of cardboard, and ‘fitted’ them in positions where they just engaged the car’s body at each position I placed them (both top and bottom of the fin - pictures). When removed from the car and flattened out, this will give me a far more accurate profile for cutting out the 18 gauge sheet metal which I will lay out from this cardboard template (picture).



Once I made this more detailed cardboard template for the“fin”, I transferred it to the 18 guage steel sheet (picture) and cutout two parts (one for each side of the car - picture). One will be folded one way and the other will be folded the opposite way for the other side of the car.



I layed out two break lines on each sheet corresponding with the position that I placed them on the cardboard template which I mocked up to fit the car body. They basically taper from 8.5” between them at the front end where they join the car’s body to about 2” at the back end (a distance of 42”) where they form the point of the “fin” in the rear.. The two breaks per panel are approximately 50° breaks. I plan to form them using some 7/8” round which I have laying around (the 7/16” radius should produce a more ‘muted’ form on the car’s body - not sharp - the car has no sharp lines so I decided to use a little bigger radius). I will use this 7/8” round for the forming die (hoping that I can get it to center nicely in the clamping rails of a press brake). I have some 2” x 1” x .19” channel which I believe could be used for the support die.



More to follow…..



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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
Once these two breaks are placed in the flat patterns I will finish forming the sections between the two beaks using a forming jig which I fabricated myself (picture). It is a kind of conical section tappering from a 16” radius at the front end where it meets the car’s body to a 3/4” radius at the back end forming the ‘point of the fin’. I used a 1.5” dia bar (accomodating the finish radius at the back end and being plenty rigid to maintain its shape when being pressed on at a 'balancing' point) and welded different rounded sections to it which gradually transitioned to the 16” radius at the front end (where it flows into the car’s body). I lined them up simply by using a sight line (looking down the axis of this assembly - picture) and positioning each different radius of cutout steel plate which I ground to different radii so that they lined up in a conical orientation.


I have cut out a 44” section of both the 7/8” round and the 2” x 1” channel. So now that I have the forming tools to shape the “fins”, I need to have them formed.


I know someone with a press brake, and I will try to have these two flat patterns formed using the tooling which I will provide.


More to follow…..


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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
I have formed the flat patterns of sheet metal into the finished fin shaped (both right and left - pictures). This turned out to be more difficult than I thought. Using the press brake it was easy to form the two ‘brakes’, but the conical section between them was another story. When forming it, I did not place enough ribs on the forming die to keep the sheet metal from taking indentations which I had to use a hammer and bucking bar to flaten out. Note: for anyone who might want to form a ‘fin’ for their car, and plan to use a ‘conical section’; do yourself a favor and place forming ribs every 4” (not 8-10” like I did).


Before welding these rough ‘fins’ to the car’s body I will have to develop their back ends, which will include adding some kind of small radius and welding in right and left ‘transoms’ at their rear open ends to frame the light panels and add rigidity to the back of the fins.


More to follow…..



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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
I framed the back ends of the two fins by simply bending a length of 1/2 steel rod to fit the profile around the perimeter of the lights (pictures). Then I welded each one onto its respective right and left ‘fins’ (picture).


Once the right and left ‘fins’ were complete with transoms to frame the light panels, I fitted the fins to each side of the car and layed out where they meet the car’s body. After this I removed them and determined where to place cutouts in the car’s body (on each side - picture) in order to access the lights which will now be placed at the back of the “fins”.


After cutting out these light access openings in the car’s body it is now time to weld the “fins” onto the car.


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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
After studying the fins (fitted to the car), I am not satisfied with their appearance. For one thing, I feel that I have pitched the transoms at the rear of the fins too far inward. While I do like the rake that this gives to the fins (from above and the sides), it, at the same time, turns the rear lights inward (so they’re more difficult to see from the outsides of the car). In addition, the fins (in general) look too bulky in profile to me (I dont think that they flow into the car’s body lines on the sides very well).


Given that I ‘buggered them up’ when forming them the first time (with that ‘conical tool’ that I made that didn’t turn out to work that well), along with not being happy about the pitch of the rear transoms and the bulky profile appearance of the fins, I have decided to try to form another pair taking into consideration the things I learned while fabricating this first pair. The sheet metal for the two fins costs only $20, so its not that expensive to try again.


This time I will alter the shape of the ‘flatpatterns’ to yield less pitch inward at the rear ends of the fins. I will form these new ‘flatpatterns’ using a 1.5” dia bar (3/4” radius, insead of the 7/16” radius I used the first time) to form the two converging ‘break lines’ which I will form from the same place at the rear of flatpatterns. This will give me a nice 3/4” radius at the rear tips of the fins. My plan is to increase the break lines from 45° to 65° (which should increas the defintion of the fins in profile), and to have them 5” appart (instead of 8”) at the fronts of the fins (which should make them look less bulky in profile).


Once the two breaks are placed in the fins (using a press brake), I will give some thought as to how to further close the conical section of the fins (without damaging it) into another pair of fins.



More to follow…..

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Now that I have laid out a flatpattern (picture), and put breaks in it (pictures), my plan is to finish forming the conical section between the two break lines without using a forming tool. I plan to do this by simply producing the last 25°-30° of closure by forcing the entire "fin" through a “V” tapered frame to its final shape. Pictured is the “V” tapered frame made of two lengths of 1.25” solid round.


The next picture shows how I wedged it through the “V” tapered frame.


Next, I will weld in the transoms which I already fitted to the light panels profiles for the old fins.


More to follow…..



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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
Thank you, ice445!


Here are pictures of the new fins with the old transoms tranfered over.


The new fins look better to me, but before welding them to the car’s body I have to figure out how I am going to set up the lights. I will need running ‘taillights’, ‘brake lights’, and ‘turn indicators’. Unfortunately, the lights which I have, while they have the shape I want, are only two wire “running lights”. In addition, they only light up to top have of their panels.


My thoughts are to use LED lights. I am thinking that I can mount LED lights to some kind of removeable panel that could be accessed and would mount from the sides of the trunk area. On it I would mount either “clear” or “red” lights for “running lights” and “brake lights” and perhaps some “yellow” LED lights toward the outsides that could be used for “turn indicators”.


At this point I intend to simply cut the light lenses out of the lights which I have. When I finish the car I will glue them into the rear openings in the fins (much like the rear window will be glued back into the car). By removing their backing housings (leaving only the light lenses), I will have full lighting surfaces.



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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
I have decided to get LED lights and moiunt their sockets to a round steel bar which will, in turn, mount to a bracket on each side of the rear trunk at the insides of the fins.


This arrangment should allow easy access (dismounting, removal and reinstallation) to the light mounts which will extend into the ‘fins’ about 7” in from their rear ends. Pictures will tell the story better when I take them.


At this point I welded in a small bracket with a 1/2” hole toward the outside of each ‘fin’ approximately 7” in from the back end. These two brackets (one per ‘fin’) will provide support for the outside edge of each 1/2” shaft that the light sockets will be mounted to. Pictured is one of these outside light bar bracket mounts.


Pictures to come will give a better idea of the light mount arrangement I have planned. The only reason I welded these brackets in before attaching them to the car body is because of ease of access at this point.



It is now time to layout where the fins will be placed on the car body, do a little ‘fitting’ (so metal meets metal for the majority of the fin/car body interface), prep the surface, and weld on the ‘fins’.



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