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The cost of molding tail light lenses. by retroman
Started on: 07-10-2014 11:25 PM
Replies: 101 (3864 views)
Last post by: dobey on 04-21-2015 09:20 AM
IMSA GT
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Report this Post04-17-2015 01:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IMSA GTClick Here to Email IMSA GTSend a Private Message to IMSA GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Not that I would do this again (it was stressful as hell) but I was able to remove the laminate to do the custom lettering on my lenses. It took a VERY long time to separate the laminate. I had to use a teflon wedge between the lens and laminate, push it in, wait for the stress cracking and tearing noises to stop, then push it farther until the laminate broke free. Then I used a Dremel with cut off disc to score and shape the square and pop the entire center panel free. Then I painted and refinished them.



I may speak to a few companies that I associate with. They specialize in low cost molds for injection molding and small production runs. They would require a 3D scan of the lenses to produce the mold and then run off several batches. The issue would still be the laminate. They would only make the lenses clear.....not with the black laminate.

[This message has been edited by IMSA GT (edited 04-17-2015).]

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retroman
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Report this Post04-17-2015 03:32 AM Click Here to See the Profile for retromanClick Here to Email retromanSend a Private Message to retromanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
^^ That looks sharp!!
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Report this Post04-17-2015 06:36 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IwannaIRMClick Here to Email IwannaIRMSend a Private Message to IwannaIRMEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I need these so bad...please do one more set.

Or, sell me yours...

 
quote
Originally posted by IMSA GT:

Not that I would do this again (it was stressful as hell) but I was able to remove the laminate to do the custom lettering on my lenses. It took a VERY long time to separate the laminate. I had to use a teflon wedge between the lens and laminate, push it in, wait for the stress cracking and tearing noises to stop, then push it farther until the laminate broke free. Then I used a Dremel with cut off disc to score and shape the square and pop the entire center panel free. Then I painted and refinished them.



I may speak to a few companies that I associate with. They specialize in low cost molds for injection molding and small production runs. They would require a 3D scan of the lenses to produce the mold and then run off several batches. The issue would still be the laminate. They would only make the lenses clear.....not with the black laminate.



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dobey
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Report this Post04-17-2015 08:59 AM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:
There is a lot of scrap, we have hundreds of scrap bubbles, but the point is that they are not made in a fancy $100,000 mold. They are made by people who know what the heck they are doing.


Exactly. They know what the heck they are doing. But how much do you think was spent paying people to make all those scrap bubbles? A high quality mold would reduce the cost I'm sure. A fancy mold doesn't have to cost $100K. It would be possible to make one for less than 10% of that cost, at least by today's standards. Maybe 20-30 years ago though, that wasn't possible.

Maybe the mold itself didn't cost that much for NASA to make, but paying people who know what the heck they are doing, certainly did. Doctorates don't come cheap.
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Report this Post04-17-2015 09:07 AM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Danyel:


Have you ever tried splitting the them ???? I've tried and what your saying is definately NOT true..... take a look you'll see .... IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SPLIT THE TWO WITHOUT CRACKING THE LENSES ... PERIOD......... let alone trying to get paint the splitted area.


Using capitalization doesn't make your statement more true. It's been done before (see IMSA GT's post). It just takes time and care using the right methods. You can't just grab and pull them apart, as they are baked together. A UV oven would probably help separate them more smoothly. Or you can just leave them sat in the sun for another 30 years and let it be done naturally.

It is very difficult, but it is certainly not impossible. And I never even said anything about pulling the two pieces apart. Air doesn't come in between the layers from where there is no air. If air is in, then it's probable that paint may be able to seep in too. It will however take some care with masking and how you spray the paint in.
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Report this Post04-17-2015 11:26 AM Click Here to See the Profile for TXGOODClick Here to visit TXGOOD's HomePageSend a Private Message to TXGOODEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:


Using capitalization doesn't make your statement more true. It's been done before (see IMSA GT's post). It just takes time and care using the right methods. You can't just grab and pull them apart, as they are baked together. A UV oven would probably help separate them more smoothly. Or you can just leave them sat in the sun for another 30 years and let it be done naturally.

It is very difficult, but it is certainly not impossible. And I never even said anything about pulling the two pieces apart. Air doesn't come in between the layers from where there is no air. If air is in, then it's probable that paint may be able to seep in too. It will however take some care with masking and how you spray the paint in.


Exactly, there is a lot of difference in someone saying "it`s impossible to do something" and "I have personally not been able to do something"
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Report this Post04-17-2015 04:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DanyelClick Here to visit Danyel's HomePageSend a Private Message to DanyelEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
IMSA GT cut out the lettering and NOT taken the two laminates apart COMPLETLY the areas that were removed are thick .... thats all I have to say.
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Report this Post04-18-2015 03:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for NEVERDONEClick Here to Email NEVERDONESend a Private Message to NEVERDONEEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
OK here's kind of a dumb question that I have not seen asked before. Can someone make a mold of the lens but without the lettering and black part? Then the buyer can go in and mask off whatever lettering and shade in the black part with whatever color they want? So the molds would just be clear with no color or markings? That would be a start and probably a good starting point for a lot of folks? Just spitballin here! Seems as though the trouble that a lot of people are stating is the black part and lettering.
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Report this Post04-18-2015 04:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for IMSA GTClick Here to Email IMSA GTSend a Private Message to IMSA GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by NEVERDONE:

OK here's kind of a dumb question that I have not seen asked before. Can someone make a mold of the lens but without the lettering and black part? Then the buyer can go in and mask off whatever lettering and shade in the black part with whatever color they want? So the molds would just be clear with no color or markings? That would be a start and probably a good starting point for a lot of folks? Just spitballin here! Seems as though the trouble that a lot of people are stating is the black part and lettering.


Thats what I am going to find out from a few injection molding facilities that I am familiar with. The clear lenses could be reproduced with no problem. Unfortunately, most people want an "original" style lens with laminate. It would be a hell of a lot easier if people would do as you mentioned......mask the letters and simply spray black paint on the inside.
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Report this Post04-18-2015 04:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for NEVERDONEClick Here to Email NEVERDONESend a Private Message to NEVERDONEEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
So when you figure out if you can get the clear ones looked at and if its a good plan then just make a run of clear ones for the folks that are willing to go that route. Also, again just throwing out ideas, if the clear lenses are made, can you 3d print the "lettered" portion and slide that piece in like the notchie lights do.
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Report this Post04-18-2015 05:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DanyelClick Here to visit Danyel's HomePageSend a Private Message to DanyelEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
There is a large Injection molding company here and I ask for an estimate for the lenses without the internal lettering .... the molds are 95K and would need a run of 500 sets .... total cost 150K-175K ...... not worth the investment

regards
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Report this Post04-18-2015 11:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:
You can't just grab and pull them apart, as they are baked together. A UV oven would probably help separate them more smoothly. Or you can just leave them sat in the sun for another 30 years and let it be done naturally.


Why is it that some people have to come across as if they know everything. I just don't understand. To make comments like they "Can't just be pulled apart" and are talking about separating them, almost sounds like you know what you are talking about. Until you read just a few posts back you thought they were dyed or ink was applied to make the black areas? You "expertly" describe how the "clear shell" is manufactured first so the ink attaches to the plastic correctly, and how the ink degrades over time...... seriously......hahaha

 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:
And the lenses basically are just dyed. The black bits are added after the clear shell is already produced. The way this ink attaches to the plastic, it will degrade over time, especially with exposure to sunlight, and you end up with the "delamination" which occurs in the lenses.


Not that your input is not welcome, that is what a forum is for, open discussion. It just does no one any good giving advice on something, or telling someone else that they are wrong when you honestly have absolutely no clue what you are talking about yourself, certainly on this subject at least.

I have a NOS pair right here in front of me, and I can assure you there is NO INK OR DYE used in the manufacturing process of the lenses! It is an entirely separate piece of black plastic that has been separately molded, and then inserted into the clear part of the lens. There is probably some sort of adhesive, sonic welding, or heat press used to put the two layers together. I profess to know nothing on the process they used to attach the two pieces together.

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Report this Post04-19-2015 03:13 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Shho13Click Here to Email Shho13Send a Private Message to Shho13Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by IMSA GT:


Thats what I am going to find out from a few injection molding facilities that I am familiar with. The clear lenses could be reproduced with no problem. Unfortunately, most people want an "original" style lens with laminate. It would be a hell of a lot easier if people would do as you mentioned......mask the letters and simply spray black paint on the inside.



This sounds like a great idea... Hopefully they are somewhat affordable!

No need for the factory tail lights with the two parts bonded together; I think they should have just painted them from the factory to begin with!

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Report this Post04-19-2015 03:36 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:


Exactly. They know what the heck they are doing. But how much do you think was spent paying people to make all those scrap bubbles? A high quality mold would reduce the cost I'm sure. A fancy mold doesn't have to cost $100K. It would be possible to make one for less than 10% of that cost, at least by today's standards. Maybe 20-30 years ago though, that wasn't possible.

Maybe the mold itself didn't cost that much for NASA to make, but paying people who know what the heck they are doing, certainly did. Doctorates don't come cheap.


These are not PhD plastics people just regular joes like you and me. A mold made back in the 60s certainly would have paid off by now. But that's not how the government works. Nobody wants to spend $100K of today's money to save future money. The future is someone else's problem. Buying that expensive mold is a today problem, hence the mold is never bought. Instead someone working in what looks like a garage makes the bubble by hand.
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Report this Post04-19-2015 12:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:
These are not PhD plastics people just regular joes like you and me. A mold made back in the 60s certainly would have paid off by now. But that's not how the government works. Nobody wants to spend $100K of today's money to save future money. The future is someone else's problem. Buying that expensive mold is a today problem, hence the mold is never bought. Instead someone working in what looks like a garage makes the bubble by hand.


Yeah, I know all about the concept of get it done now, rather than investing in doing it right. It is a very common practice in the technology industries. It's why much manufacturing has moved overseas, and why the market is flooded with cheap crappy products.
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Report this Post04-19-2015 01:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JohnWPB:
Why is it that some people have to come across as if they know everything. I just don't understand. To make comments like they "Can't just be pulled apart" and are talking about separating them, almost sounds like you know what you are talking about. Until you read just a few posts back you thought they were dyed or ink was applied to make the black areas? You "expertly" describe how the "clear shell" is manufactured first so the ink attaches to the plastic correctly, and how the ink degrades over time...... seriously......hahaha


Why do you have to come across as if you know everything? I certainly don't have such a need. But telling people something can't be done, precisely when someone else in the forum has done that exact thing, is totally unhelpful. Maybe you should stop reading too much into things?

 
quote

Not that your input is not welcome, that is what a forum is for, open discussion. It just does no one any good giving advice on something, or telling someone else that they are wrong when you honestly have absolutely no clue what you are talking about yourself, certainly on this subject at least.

I have a NOS pair right here in front of me, and I can assure you there is NO INK OR DYE used in the manufacturing process of the lenses! It is an entirely separate piece of black plastic that has been separately molded, and then inserted into the clear part of the lens. There is probably some sort of adhesive, sonic welding, or heat press used to put the two layers together. I profess to know nothing on the process they used to attach the two pieces together.


Well, you want to comment and deride my statement that the clear and black are manufactured separately, and then come back to say they are in fact, manufactured separately. So it's not ink, but a separately molded black plastic piece, which is then fused into the clear lens. The basic principle is still the same in that they are separate pieces. And the fact is they can be separated. Feel free to correct on the materials, but it is no reason for you to come in here and attempt to condescend. Regardless of what the materials are, the combination of those materials in the lenses, is a process of lamination. And delamination is what happens with the separation of those materials. The lamination degrades over time, particularly with exposure to UV and heat. Separation begins at the edges, and allows air to seep in between the materials, because air cannot possibly enter from where there is no air. As such, it may also be possible for paint to also leak into those air pockets, and help mask the delamination. Obviously it is not a complete fix. However, if you can entirely separate both pieces (yes, it is actually possible), and had a proper press mold to seal the pieces back together as was done originally, then it would be possible to repair the lenses completely, which would last for a much longer time than paint might. However, since nobody has those molds, it's obviously not going to be easy to do that, even if you do separate the pieces. And of course, it doesn't solve any cracked or broken lens issues.

Since IMSA GT actually has separated the two pieces, at least in part of the lens assembly, he can probably say if there is some adhesive or not, between the two panels. Most likely, they are combined with a heat press, and no adhesive.
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Report this Post04-19-2015 03:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:
Well, you want to comment and deride my statement that the clear and black are manufactured separately, and then come back to say they are in fact, manufactured separately.


Please do not twist what I have said. What I was bringing to question is when you said, that they were dyed, or that ink was applied. I then said no, they are two separate plastic parts. I am not looking for an argument, I was stating the facts, (at least what I KNOW to be fact, and not making things up) nothing more. It seems you are twisting the words to look like your initial statement is correct, when it is not. I doubt anyone others would conciser that dying or painting something, would in turn be two separate things that are "manufactured separately". With that kind of reasoning and logic, any material or part on the car that has been dyed or painted would be two separate manufactured parts that have been put together.

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Report this Post04-19-2015 04:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JohnWPB:
Please do not twist what I have said. What I was bringing to question is when you said, that they were dyed, or that ink was applied. I then said no, they are two separate plastic parts. I am not looking for an argument, I was stating the facts, (at least what I KNOW to be fact, and not making things up) nothing more. It seems you are twisting the words to look like your initial statement is correct, when it is not. I doubt anyone others would conciser that dying or painting something, would in turn be two separate things that are "manufactured separately". With that kind of reasoning and logic, any material or part on the car that has been dyed or painted would be two separate manufactured parts that have been put together.


I didn't twist what you said. Your condescension was direct and obvious.

I never said the dye application was correct. And again, you are reading way too much into what I said. But yes, technically, even if it was dye or paint, the dye or paint would indeed be manufactured separately. If you are not looking for an argument, and just stating the facts, then stick to the facts, and don't go around condescending, as you did.

The fact is, the cost to create proper molds and make new tail light lenses, is prohibitive to making them. Masking and painting would of course be cheaper and easier than heat pressing two plastic pieces together, especially for someone looking to make these in a home garage setting. The fact is, the two pieces can be separated, as they are two separate pieces.

And the fact is, you are harboring some sort of ill will towards me for a previous post which has already been corrected, instead of continuing the discussion in a helpful manner.
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Report this Post04-19-2015 05:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:
If you are not looking for an argument, and just stating the facts, then stick to the facts, and don't go around condescending, as you did.


This has to be one of the most hypocritical posts I have seen in a LONG time! Almost all of your posts, are sticking in your 2 cents worth in by running people down, or attacking their opinions or statements.

 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:
And the fact is, you are harboring some sort of ill will towards me for a previous post which has already been corrected, instead of continuing the discussion in a helpful manner.


A helpful manner? Seriously! No, it is not this post in particular. It's crap spew out of your mouth in SO many, many threads! No, I am not going to waste my time to research your posts to prove it to you. If it were right in front of you you would still deny it. I have never said anything until now, and now I can see what I feared all along, a meaningless flame war over nothing.

If you still think that I am wrong, have a look at that little red bar below your screen name. I think that clearly says what people think of the way you carry yourself in the forum. For the record, No, I did NOT add a negative to your reputation, as that is not the way I go about things.

I am done, and will just do my best to ignore future posts from you in this and tons of other threads that you have ruined.


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Report this Post04-20-2015 11:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ltlgt88Send a Private Message to ltlgt88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Why can't they be produced like sail windows? They are black and clear and hard?
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Report this Post04-21-2015 09:20 AM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by ltlgt88:

Why can't they be produced like sail windows? They are black and clear and hard?


Complexity of shape. Sail windows can be produced with injection molding as well, to get a 100% perfect shape. However, the sail panels are almost completely flat, so much simpler methods can be used to create reproductions which are not 100% accurate, but are sufficient for most owners.
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