PDA

View Full Version : Grill Surrounds for '53's



Mike Sal
04-18-2010, 01:34 PM
Does anyone have a pair of crummy surrounds for sale cheap & are going to be at South Bend in a few weeks? I am finally getting back to a project I started a couple years ago & am going to have some tooling quoted for making them (unless you tell me somebody already has....I've been away from the hobby a couple years now). Good Friend Dale Mcphersand had gotten the drawings & I'm having one of our cad guys turn it into a solid model for quoting purposes. I would be most helpful to have an actual sample to send with the prints.

My company has a plant in china & thru our connections, I can still get things tooled at reasonable prices. I'm not really looking at becoming a vendor, but wanted to take a stab at getting some parts made. I'm also having some bullet nose headlite rims quoted. I already have some NOS samples of those.
thanks,
Mike Sal

Lark Parker
04-18-2010, 01:57 PM
I'll bring a crummy one for the right side, free loaner (or keep it if needed).
If anyone else has a helper sample I would encourage you to bring it also.
This could turn into something worthwhile.

LP

Nelsen Motorsports
04-18-2010, 02:49 PM
It would be awesome for grill surrounds to be reproduced and I would probably be one of the first to buy. I still don't understand why they haven't been reproduced yet. GOOD LUCK!

http://i558.photobucket.com/albums/ss29/NelsenRacing/040210_Disc_brakes_and_axles4_4-1.jpg
Alex Nelsen, 15 year old Studebaker nut.
1954 Champion Coupe
Lizella, GA

JDP
04-18-2010, 03:39 PM
quote:Originally posted by Mike Sal

Does anyone have a pair of crummy surrounds for sale cheap & are going to be at South Bend in a few weeks? I am finally getting back to a project I started a couple years ago & am going to have some tooling quoted for making them (unless you tell me somebody already has....I've been away from the hobby a couple years now). Good Friend Dale Mcphersand had gotten the drawings & I'm having one of our cad guys turn it into a solid model for quoting purposes. I would be most helpful to have an actual sample to send with the prints.

My company has a plant in china & thru our connections, I can still get things tooled at reasonable prices. I'm not really looking at becoming a vendor, but wanted to take a stab at getting some parts made. I'm also having some bullet nose headlite rims quoted. I already have some NOS samples of those.
thanks,
Mike Sal


Check with Dave Tbow, he has the reproductions in brass, ready to plate.

JDP Maryland

Kdancy
04-18-2010, 04:33 PM
Mike,
I have looked at and test fit both the brass ones mentioned and another set of repro cast ones. The problem I had, was both repro sets were thick and would not "give" like the stock ones and thus would not fit the grill sheet metal nearly as well as the stockers. The originals were thin pot metal that would give some in those areas for a better fit(not that the sheet metal fitment was great anyway). I actually think if these could be made in fiberglass and then plated, they would fit better than the thick cast ones.

Mr Speed 53
04-18-2010, 06:30 PM
I would like to see these grilles available,so good luck on the project. Also looking forward to the So Bend meet in May. Ed

junior
04-18-2010, 06:49 PM
Go for it Mike, I'm positive there is a market. Kdancy...I'm confused, my grill surrounds are not that thin, they don't give, and they are not sheet metal, but are cast zinc or some sort of pot metal. What year are yours? Thanks, Junior. BTW, talked to my father the other day and he informed me he bought a 53 Champion coupe in 1969 as a parts car for $10 (that's correct, ten dollars) but he was in too much of a rush to strip it for trim parts that he needed that he left the perfect grill bars and surrounds on the car. He was in the middle of moving from Calgary to Edmonton, about 200mi. and couldn't be bothered to take these parts...can you believe it?? I was only 9 years old at the time, at least I had enough 'studebaker' in me to pry the cool mapleleaf emblem off the glove box door (Hamilton car) but lost it sometime when I was in high school.

http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss16/studejunior/retrobaker/stude0909020.jpg

54 Champ C5 Hamilton car.

Gary1953
04-18-2010, 08:29 PM
Mike,
I wish you well on you project. I would be interested in buying a set if you can make this happen.
Good luck.


http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l269/gsandes50/116-1-1-1.jpg
Gary Sanders
Nixa, MO
President Toy Studebaker Collectors Club. Have an interest in Toy Studebakers? Contact me for details.

Nelsen Motorsports
04-18-2010, 09:21 PM
I gotta believe that fiberglass is too flimsy for chrome and the plating would chip and crack unless it was carbon fiber.

http://i558.photobucket.com/albums/ss29/NelsenRacing/040210_Disc_brakes_and_axles4_4-1.jpg
Alex Nelsen, 15 year old Studebaker nut.
1954 Champion Coupe
Lizella, GA

62SY4
04-18-2010, 11:02 PM
quote:Originally posted by Mike Sal

Does anyone have a pair of crummy surrounds for sale cheap & are going to be at South Bend in a few weeks? I am finally getting back to a project I started a couple years ago & am going to have some tooling quoted for making them (unless you tell me somebody already has....I've been away from the hobby a couple years now). Good Friend Dale Mcphersand had gotten the drawings & I'm having one of our cad guys turn it into a solid model for quoting purposes. I would be most helpful to have an actual sample to send with the prints.

My company has a plant in china & thru our connections, I can still get things tooled at reasonable prices. I'm not really looking at becoming a vendor, but wanted to take a stab at getting some parts made. I'm also having some bullet nose headlite rims quoted. I already have some NOS samples of those.
thanks,
Mike Sal



quote:Originally posted by JDP

Check with Dave Tbow, he has the reproductions in brass, ready to plate.

Mike since you say tooling, would your intent be on die casting or injection molding?
As JDP pointed out T-Bow has had brass ones available for quite a few years now, IIRC they are sand cast and finished for the most part. I hesitate to call them platable as finished, not rough, but better than pitted cores.

quote:Originally posted by Kdancy


I have looked at and test fit both the brass ones mentioned and another set of repro cast ones.

Who did you source your other repros from? I can't imagine the market is big enough for two or more manufacturers of expensive slow moving repops.

Mike, I admire your desire bring the grill surrounds to market and I wish you luck, this is a tough crowd. If you are going with a polymer based product I'd be intrested to see how the market reacts. IMHO injection molded surrounds may be the only economical method; barring tooling and set up.
As a side note I think if it was profitable S.I. would have been doing them for years now;)

Jon Krimm
1962 Lark Sedan
http://i542.photobucket.com/albums/gg440/62SY4/carstude.jpg
1961 Champ

woodysrods
04-19-2010, 12:27 AM
Someone has ti give it a try, as it seems they are the hardest part to find in goood condition[:p] Look what Sals went for on ebay last week;)
Good Roads
Brian

Brian Woods
woodysrods@shaw.ca
1946 M Series (Shop Truck)
http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae283/woodysrods/Concunully004.jpg

Kdancy
04-19-2010, 07:05 AM
quote:Originally posted by junior

Go for it Mike, I'm positive there is a market. Kdancy...I'm confused, my grill surrounds are not that thin, they don't give, and they are not sheet metal, but are cast zinc or some sort of pot metal.


Mike, I changed it to pot metal. Yes, mine are 53 surrounds and "move" or give from end to end.


quote:I gotta believe that fiberglass is too flimsy for chrome and the plating would chip and crack unless it was carbon fiber.

http://www.mmmetalizing.com/services.html
http://www.onemagictouch.com/
http://www.sprayonchrome.com/Gallery.html (has anyone seen this to compare to metal plated process?)
http://www.chrometech.com.au/
http://www.chrometech.com.au/guide.html
http://www.alsacorp.com/products/mirrachrome/images/REALCHROME-VS-MIRRACHROME-lg.jpg (compare spray to electroplated)
link to photobucket test fitting
http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm97/studebaker2/53-4%20grill%20surround/

Jeff_H
04-19-2010, 09:03 AM
All those flashy chrome grills on the later model pickups are certainly a chromed plastic. Its not "vacuum formed" either where its a sticky backed foil glued over the plastic; but a plating process of some kind. I've got some peeling chrome on my old '80s beater car emblems (20+ salty winters will do that) and its clearly got a copper base over the plastic and chrome plated over that. There are ways to plate copper on most anything, conductive like potmetal or not like plastic.

We have a lot of prototype parts made for different projects here. Since I am not a ME I am not sure of all the particulars but from what I gather, one method is to have what is called a stereolithography model made off the computer CAD model/file. A plastic part is either carved via CNC or made from liquids/laser cure. That plastic "master" part is then used to make a "rubber" mold and from there the actual prototype parts are cast. The rubber mold is only good for a few dozen parts though.

If a true "production" grade mold were to be made, I would expect that they are mostly done with a CNC machine and the work of getting the old prints for the grill redrawn as a CAD file will still apply. So, having those drawings on CAD is a important first step no matter what method is used.

I can understand why a sample part would be needed as well as the drawing. I've not seen the print for the '53 grill shell but I bet its pretty large. Probably has several section views and detail views. The original die casting molds may or may not match the print very well either. Also, there might be "missing" dimensions on the print that the moldmaker in the day sort of took their own initiative with based on the hand drawn print. Then, the castings are going to be somewhat shrunken as they cool so the mold maker would estimate that when making the molds. The molds would not dimensionally match the drawing for the part or the part, but are larger than the finished part due to the shrinkage. So, to get the finished part to match the drawing, they needed to estimate the shrinkage and size the mold accordingly. Depending on the material being cast, its different. Plastic would be different from pot metal and aluminum, etc different again.

As a student in the late 80s working as a intern I was assigned the task of taking a print for a diecast aluminum chainsaw engine part (E size paper if I recall, done in the 70s) and redrawing it into a CAD system. I had a couple samples of the part on hand too fortunately. I found lots of missing stuff on the print and had to resort to measuring the sample parts to get what I needed. I am not sure the "boss" really needed that part redrawn, but he used it as a good training exercise on using the CAD software and how to measure parts. Probably AutoCAD version 8 or 9 on DOS running on a '286 based PC with a '287 coprocessor and a 20MB harddrive. Feeling old now....

Jeff in ND
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t5/ee-engineer/devilstowerthumbnail.jpg
'53 Champion Hardtop

JDP
04-19-2010, 09:47 AM
quote:Originally posted by woodysrods

Someone has ti give it a try, as it seems they are the hardest part to find in goood condition[:p] Look what Sals went for on ebay last week;)
Good Roads
Brian

Brian Woods
woodysrods@shaw.ca
1946 M Series (Shop Truck)
http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae283/woodysrods/Concunully004.jpg



T-Bow tried, and lost his butt on the project since very few will pay the cost of the castings he had made.

JDP Maryland

TX Rebel
04-19-2010, 09:48 AM
Midwest Studebaker is in the process of having them CNC machined out of aluminum. I have another pair in the shop which will be ready by the Intl. meet.

Barry'd in Studes

jnormanh
04-19-2010, 11:36 AM
The originals were zinc die cast. They could just as well be injection molded ABS plastic, chrome plated, however the tooling costs would be similar. Don't know about China, but here in the USA, I'll wager a pair of molds would be near $50K. suppose you could somehow sell 250 pair, and that's a lot = $200/pair just to break even on the tooling. Add another $50/pair for molding, $100/pair for plating, and a reasonable profit, they'd have to sell for at least $500/pair...if you can sell 250 pair.

It's a tough nut to crack.

JDP
04-19-2010, 11:42 AM
quote:Originally posted by jnormanh

The originals were zinc die cast. They could just as well be injection molded ABS plastic, chrome plated, however the tooling costs would be similar. Don't know about China, but here in the USA, I'll wager a pair of molds would be near $50K. suppose you could somehow sell 250 pair, and that's a lot = $200/pair just to break even on the tooling. Add another $50/pair for molding, $100/pair for plating, and a reasonable profit, they'd have to sell for at least $500/pair...if you can sell 250 pair.

It's a tough nut to crack.


When I reproduced the 63-64 GT Hawk trunk emblem and the Avanti plastic emblems 30 years ago, it took me two years to recover the tooling and make a modest profit and that was a project with a much bigger market and cheaper tooling.

JDP Maryland

Mike Sal
04-19-2010, 01:20 PM
Time will tell on what the tooling quotes are when done. I've 35 years of product design experience with castings so am familiar with the pitfalls. I think die cast metal is the only way to go, but there is something to be said for the ABS plastics they use these days. The chrome plating process for plastic parts is called vacuum metalizing. The copper/nickle/chrome metals are atomized in a plasma arc & applied.

Sourcing tooling in china can be a pain if you don't have connections. There are literally thousands of tool shops who would build a tool, at every conceivable price range. The ticket is to find the right shop at the right price in order to get a part you can actually use. As I had mentioned, I didn't want to re-invent the wheel if someone has already got this project in the works.

As large as the SDC is, I'm surprised they haven't done something like the Kaiser Frazer club has done, in creating a manufacturing fund. They all chipped in some dough to have some parts re-popped & then fund other projects with the proceeds. They take a "team" approach to getting hard to find parts.
Mike

jnormanh
04-19-2010, 02:19 PM
quote:[i]Originally posted by Mike Sal The chrome plating process for plastic parts is called vacuum metalizing. The copper/nickle/chrome metals are atomized in a plasma arc & applied.



Nope. Vacuum metalizing on plastic consists of evaporating aluminum which condenses on the part. It forms a thin, fragile coating which must be clearcoated to have reasonable durability, and is not suitable for exterior use.

ABS can be electroplated much the same as diecast zinc or steel. The surface is activated, given a thin plating of electroless copper, then electroplated with copper, nickel and chrome just like metal substrates. ABS doesn't have quite the structural strength as zinc die cast, but for exterior decorative use it's at least as durable as diecast zinc since the substrate doesn't corrode. There are millions of light and heavy trucks and passenger cars on the road with plated ABS grilles and other bright trim.

Here's a plastic Volvo grille

http://www.yu-lin.com.tw/upload_files/1/plastic-plating-up-truck-grille-b.jpg

And a Ford tail light bezel

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41V70R2NwSL.jpg

wcarroll@outrageous.net
04-19-2010, 02:58 PM
From first hand experience I can tell you the brass ones are better suited for use as boat anchors -terrible fit & finish, ridiculously heavy, and very expensive when all is said and done:(

I wouldn't use their availability and lack of popularity as an indication of wether or not there is a viable market for reproductions.

The Glass Shop ( http://www.the-glas-shop.com/ck.htm ) already makes a 1-piece fiberglass front grille panel that's a quality reproduction. I wonder if they would be willing to make just the surrounds as separates? Then one could paint them using one of these new chrome paints.

http://community.webshots.com/user/s2dbaker?vhost=community

Kdancy
04-19-2010, 03:46 PM
quote:Originally posted by TX Rebel

Midwest Studebaker is in the process of having them CNC machined out of aluminum. I have another pair in the shop which will be ready by the Intl. meet.

Barry'd in Studes


I have often wondered if the cnc process would work on the grill surrounds and be cost effective. With some of the new scan and print processes now on the market, such as what Jay Leno uses, it looks doable.
http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/extras/articles/jay-lenos-3d-printer-replaces-rusty-old-parts-1/

62SY4
04-19-2010, 07:18 PM
Wow, I must say I am impressed by the ammount of real world experience and bouncing of ideas in this thread!

Barry, those CNC aluminum ones....I hope they are starting with a casting of some sort? Machining is the least economical way to go, period.

As jnormanh and JDP point out its the cost of the tooling that is the deal killer, so hopefully since Mike is sourcing his tooling from China, the nut wont be so big.

Kdancy, that rapid proto typing machine is great for modeling or making a good pattern for say sand casting. Most importantly its great if you have complete drawings that can be done in CAD and transfered to the printer, or a perfect copy of an original to scan.

Mike I think the reason for no cash pool for repopping parts is; there are too many different models and too many different ideas of what is important. There is already either a large supply of NOS or repopped items that are common to many models. Remember these proposed grill surrounds only fit 53&54 C/K's and there is one mold for the left and one mold for the right right, altough there are many in the club, demand *I think* is pretty low. There have been several threads about what should be 'popped next, and they all seem to end up with infighting.
Since you already expressed little intrest in becoming a vendor, would you sell semi-finished pieces to individuals, a major vendor of plated goods, a stude vendor or are you thinking about marketing completed pieces?

Mike Sal
04-19-2010, 09:26 PM
We were vacuum metalizing polypropylene parts for exterior boat applications 30 years ago with good results (not using aluminum). I do agree the processes have changed & improved over the years since I worked on exterior parts.

My interested started with a project for Kaisers & I got to thinking about 2 items which people are always looking for....bullet nose headlite rims & hawk grill surrounds. Since I'm not a c/k person, tell me the difference between the early model surrounds & the post 55 models.

It's a shame a club this size can't get their act together on group deals. Think of the buying power we'd have.
thanks,
Mike Sal

Lark Parker
04-19-2010, 09:51 PM
quote:Originally posted by 62SY4

clip

Remember these proposed grill surrounds only fit 53&54 C/K's and there is one mold for the left and one mold for the right right, altough there are many in the club, demand *I think* is pretty low.

clip


There is also a market for every C/K body that someone wants to make into a "53" appearing model. My own "53" coupe is actually a 55, Ron Hall's 53 was actually a Hawk, potentially, I'm sure there are more. I know of one in my chapter that didn't get pursued because of the grill shell cost.
The present route is with the fiberglas front and that is the second choice of another 55 coupe owner in this small town. The car was already belly buttoned with a Camaro front end when the previous owner died before he completed the car.

LP

woodysrods
04-20-2010, 08:45 AM
I have changed out the front grills hood and trunk on my 56 Hawk too.
I agree the 53-4 grills are the only way to go.[:p]
Good Roads
Brian

Brian Woods
woodysrods@shaw.ca
1946 M Series (Shop Truck)
http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae283/woodysrods/Concunully004.jpg

junior
04-20-2010, 09:30 AM
Mike, sad truth is a lot of us caso's say go for it, and when somebody decides to make a move and we actually have to cough-up the green to buy the product the $ just don't seem to come in. If you could produce the product with reasonable quality for a reasonable price, you could probably entice a bunch of us caso people to give you a deposit to show you real intent on purchasing the surrounds once they are actually made. If you don't get enough deposits to make it worth your time and effort to go into production, then refund the deposits and call it a day knowing that at you made a real effort to get the project done. Just a thought. Junior

http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss16/studejunior/retrobaker/stude0909020.jpg

54 Champ C5 Hamilton car.

gordr
04-20-2010, 10:39 AM
I'd say that if you can recoup your tooling costs and show a profit, selling 500 pairs at $300/ pair, go for it. As long as the finished product is show-quality. IMHO, it would be next to impossible to get even a decent pair of used shells replated for that kind of coin.

If your product is both cheaper AND better than the alternative, it should be a winner. I know the purists will say that an N.O.S. pair, or never-pitted ones carefully replated, will be "best", but such are practically unobtainable. So I would define "better" above to mean: "readily available, shiny, and sufficiently like the genuine article that only a close inspection by an informed person would reveal the difference."

Get the price to close to that of a set of used shells that have been repaired and replated, and you are going to run into the syndrome of, "well, I've already got $20,000 into this car, why cheap out on plastic grille shells when another C-note will get my pitted originals filled and replated."

All the above is just my opinion. Seriously, at $300 a pair, I'd buy one set for sure. Maybe two.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

studegary
04-20-2010, 01:48 PM
I think that you would be doing good to rapidly sell 100 pairs for $300-$500. I think that you should plan your project budget at a number less than 100. If you can do it at that, then any more would be gravy.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

Mike Sal
04-20-2010, 05:13 PM
Ok, clue me in....what does "caso" stand for???
Mike Sal

JDP
04-20-2010, 05:44 PM
quote:Originally posted by Mike Sal

Ok, clue me in....what does "caso" stand for???
Mike Sal



Cheap A## Studebaker Owner. Every vendor knows that one. When I did my reproduction GT Hawk trunk plastics, all I heard was $35.00 !!! until I finally sold out and they were gone for a few years and my repro's were selling for over $100 on early ebay. Even thought the show plating bill might exceed $500 each on 53-54 used grills, few would pay that for brand new, reproduction ones.
JDP Maryland

Mike Sal
04-20-2010, 08:40 PM
All I can say is time will tell. It will take a little time to make the solid model from the original drawing (yes, it is a long print) & then a little time to get a quote & logistics.

2 of our china plant people were here last week & I talked to them about it so they are looking into potential sources for me now. As I said, there are literally thousands of shops that will want the work, but matching the quality with the price is the key.

I know change is difficult, but the days of caso's are numbered. I know, I've been one myself. Why do you think it's so hard to get young people involved these days....there are no cheap cars to pick up for nothing like we used to do when we (some of us) were young. It's a different world for the young people.
Mike Sal

Mike Sal
04-21-2010, 04:56 PM
I forgot to ask if anyone has one or 2 fenders which are too far gone to save, but have useable front areas (where the surrounds mount) that they'd sell reasonable, let me know. Over the years I've learned that having the mating part makes it easier for the tool guys to know how something is supposed to fit. I realize that there were slight differences in fenders, but I have to have a starting place.
thanks,
Mike Sal

Jeff_H
04-21-2010, 05:26 PM
quote: forgot to ask if anyone has one or 2 fenders which are too far gone to save, but have useable front areas (where the surrounds mount) that they'd sell reasonable, let me know. Over the years I've learned that having the mating part makes it easier for the tool guys to know how something is supposed to fit. I realize that there were slight differences in fenders, but I have to have a starting place.
thanks,
Mike Sal

There have been a couple of threads here about how the surrounds don't fit the fenders very well and often the holes for the mounting screws are visible along the edges! I know with my car I have this problem. The whole sheet metal assy of the fenders, filler panel under grill above the bumper, the batwing behind the nose of the hood, and the hood have fit issues. Makes getting the gaps and other alignment very difficult to get acceptable looking. Seldom looks ideal.

Jeff in ND
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t5/ee-engineer/devilstowerthumbnail.jpg
'53 Champion Hardtop