Allright, it has been a while. But you know how it goes, life and stuff, and more stuff...
But here I'm back after dealing with all sorts of problems and I can resume the work on my parts.
today, I would like to show you what I have been working on:
a custom aluminium door card for my car. the background of this development is as follows:
as some of you may remember, I'm working on a window pull mechanism for lightweight doors and of course, this means I'll ditch ultimately the winder.
now because of that, I need a door card without a crank hole, otherwise it will look terrible. there are some options out there you can buy (I think Automotive Design will do that for you if you mention you don't want the winder hole). But I had an idea to make it entirely of aluminium so I gave it a shot.
here is what it looks like:
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I designed the door card myself and had it cut by a loca workshop in perforated aluminium. It is then painted in mat black. you see here on my test door with still the inner door uncut (but painted also mat black for good measure).
ultimately, most of the door internal panel will go and an aluminium outer skin will be in place. the door is already repaired and needs prep to go to paint. so it's a dry fit.
all in all, the perforated aluminium is very light (lighter in fact than the traditionnal carboard/vinyl door card, all in). but it's not really a huge difference. it's 1.5mm thick.
the edge is covered with automotive grade edge seal:
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which gives it a nice edge finish and prevents the door card from rattling. the advantage of Aluminium is that is still quite flexible so it will bend along the curvature of the door, much better in fact than what I have seen in carbon fiber for instance.
I also made my own lock surrounding in aluminium:
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it is not standard in the sense that it is smaller than the huger things we typically find on our minis. here it's really meant to fit the door card with the minimum amount of material.
I painted it in gloss black here, just because I also have DSN Retrosport door latchs and they are gloss black, so it goes with it very well. Paint is not easy on aluminium so I'll also look for anodization work and see if I can find a way:
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I also found a couple of low profile bolts to go with it (M4, super tiny) that fits nicely the overall look.
Now it's one thing to make perforated Aluminium door cards, but I think it will look a bit too "raw" and "racing" so, I've been working on trims and in particular, I developed some "liner" that go on the door card, that are reminder of the traditionnal piping you find on the door cards (mine are red piping with black leatherette, cooper '91)
so I've been working (well, mostly playing on a few designs). Here is a light brown leather liner with matching handle. I used automotive grade leather I had:
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same here in black leather (automotive grade too):
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I've also made "body color" (well, my car is red, but my door here is kinda fatigue greenish sort of. )
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and there is the brushed aluminium that you have seen up in the post.
because the drilling is 5mm, it's very easy to find mounting points for the door card: the top is compatible with the lil lip that keeps the original door cards in place. at the bottom 2 screws are ok. ideally close to the openings in the door pannel so one does not have to remove the door skin.
here I got a few more holes than necessary for test. the crews are held captive on door and I use nice closed nuts (called binder-nuts) to keep it in place. It's super easy to remove and to service.
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and of course, it's compatible with my window pull mechanism: here it is fully closed:
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here it is in another position:
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so that's where I am now. Still playing with those designs to find the right one. hope you like it too!
next steps will be to continue playing with those designs to see what cooler options I can figure out and also to look into anodization. it's a bit better than paint, I think for aluminium, although this panel did not cause any problem as long as I applied an aluminium primer.
cheers guys !!!