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Thread: Fabricating a-pillar and windshield trim?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2011
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    Fabricating a-pillar and windshield trim?

    Anyone have tips on fabricating a-pillar and windshield trim. I have to do the outside too, but what I'm really not sure about is the inside. I'd prefer to make it out of plastic, but fiberglass is fine... What are people doing to make this, using some junk yard pieces and modifying them? if so which pieces are suited to a lambo-style windshield setup. Or are you just taking some rigid foam insulation and completely making it from scratch? Same with the top of the windshield, and the outside windshield trim as well.

    Unfortunately i have very little info on this car, and am missing parts that the manufacturer normally gives you, so there is a bit of a learning curve on my first build here. This is one part I'm not really sure where the best place to start is, I'm kinda of hoping to find a realyl long stock a-pillar trim piece to order from a junk yard that i can modify (same with the top of the windshield) rather than resort to making molds and such, as i dont expect that i'll be very good at making the two sides match each other if i do the entire thing by hand.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2009
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    Re: Fabricating a-pillar and windshield trim?

    My A pillar covers are one of the hardest things that I have encountered on my build. I got fiberglass covers with the car but they dont fit good, look bad, and are warped. In fact I was working on them today, and they are on my kitchen table right now. Since they are one of the main pieces that you see while sitting in the car I want them to look good. I have tried to contact Tom @ Total Performance a few times with no reply in hopes to just get a pic of one finished to see how they look. But I guess since my car is a DnR, he has no interest in helping.....

    I went to JoAnns fabric store this morning and bought some black leather type covering for them but I still not convinced even with my uphostery guy sewing up something to go on the outside they are going to look good. I was planning if they dont end up looking / fitting half way decent Im going to start from from scratch and make some new ones. If they dont come out the way I want - My plan is to get some 2" PVC plumbing pipe and split the pipe down the middle in my band saw- making 2 out shells. then getting out my heat gun and try to heat it up enough to bend them into the needed shape. Then either just cover them or add some fiberglass to the top and bottom to where it flows into the dash and roof line.

    I found this plastic window trim stuff at Lowes that comes in long sticks. Its kinda small but I think I can get it to work by pulling out the heat gun again and shaping it to the windshield edge. If not Im just going to get some 1/2" or smaller black body molding trim and run it around the edge of the windshield on the top. I have seen a couple other cars done like this and it dont look bad, but not perfect.

    I asked these same questions awhile back and then came to the conclusion that I had so many other things to do that I would just figure out something after paint.

    I hope others can offer some better advice!!

    -Tony

  3. #3
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Fabricating a-pillar and windshield trim?

    I would base everything off the screen itself to start.

    - Set the screen on place where you need to have it in relation to the rest of the car and then fabricate some metal pillars to be set in position around the screen.
    - The height above the outside edge of the screen is to your personal liking but remember you will still have an outside skin to go on around the screen to do not put it too far outside the screen.
    - I would suggest 1x1 as a minimum for all sides but if you can get 1.5x1.5 in place without making the overall pillars too large when done, that would be better.
    - You can also use round tube for the side and top pillars if you like. You just extend the screen tabs out from the pipe section the same as explained below for the square tube.
    - Round tube might even be a bit better as it is inherently stronger with the round shape.

    - The top or header piece would be shaped to the curve of the screen and angled flat sides to the curvature of the roof panel.
    - You will end up putting the screen curve in and also the roof curve in so your piece will have complex curves.
    - Hope that makes sense.

    - Tack weld that all in and start making braces at the bottom of the pillars to help provide some strength to hold up the screen.

    - Once the basic shapes are in place on all sides, you now weld in flat metal taps all along the inside edges of each piece so that they are in contact with the inside edges of the screen.
    - This is pretty much the perch where the screen will be bonded to in the end.
    - Weld that all around in by tack welding.

    Now comes the time for the outer and inner skins around the screen and pillars.

    - When making the outer skin, use some urethane foam to pour over the a pillar and header ensuring you are up against the screen but not foaming over on to it. (Makes for a bit of a mess to clean up afterward.
    - Leave enough foam to carve the shape you want when cured.

    The inner edge of the pillars should have about a 1/8" - 3/16" gap all around the screen so that windshield edging can be paced around the screen on to the a-pillar you have built to finish the surround off.
    - Carve the surround to your liking and then apply bondo to finalize the shape to be a smooth surface

    - Prepare the surround for mould making with wax and partall and take a quick 3 layer 1.5 oz mat mould off the surround.
    - Once the mould is off, cut out all the remaining foam and bondo that did not come off with the mould.
    - Clean the mould off and then pull a part from that mould.

    - Install the part and clean it up to your desired final shape.
    - Bonding the surround to the a-pillar can be accomplished by more of the windshield goop or other such bonding material

    - If you want to do the interior pieces the same as the outer surround, repeat the above process for the interior pieces.

    - If you want to do the plastic shaping, do the foam shaping as with the external surround but make the shape and size of the inner piece smaller to the same thickness of the plastic
    - Cut your inner plastic pieces to the rough shape of the piece to be moulded and then, using a heat gun shape the plastic piece over the foam shape you have in place.
    - The final product can be trimmed and secured the same as the outer surround or you can fabricate pins of some sort to allow the inner pieces to be removed similar to factory cars.

    Any other questions please feel free to ask.
    Cheers and good luck
    Don
    308 Ferrari replica
    Prova Countach 5000QV

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