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My 1988 Mera restoration and modifications.

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  • #91
    I am back working on my key. I made another prototype key with a Dremel and it actually came out great, however, I made it using the disposable Scion keys I was using to practice on. There are a couple minor differences between the Scion key and my keyless entry key, the main being the keyless system uses two small screws to locate the exchangeable key blades so it will work with different models where the Scion key blade is molded into the fob. I could drill some holes and reinforce the back of the pastic, but instead, I decide to make molds of the keyless system fob case and then I will make a buck which I will cut the Ferrari horse provision off of the F360 head and put it into the keyless head. Once that is done I will make another mold and pour some new parts. That way I will have exact provision for the Ferrari horse and also I will have the strength of a key case that is one solid piece of plastic instead of two pieces glued together.

    As seen in this picture, I am going to take the Ferrari horse provision off the red F360 key and move it over to the black keyless entry key eliminating the oval and rectangle intentions and allowing me to make more keys fobs faster with exact horse outlines.



    To start I bought some oil based modeling clay that will never dry. I needed a rolling pin but I did not have one so I used on of my wifes hair products. The masking tape on it is so I can roll the clay at a perfect uniform thickness.



    Once there are no air bubbles in the clay and it is a uniform thickness you use your cast case as a cookie cutter and stamp out the clay. In pictures, this case looks wider at the top but it actually is the same top to bottom.



    Next I removed the extra clay and placed my part. I then I used some sprue from a model car to give me holes that will allow me to inject the resin as this will be a two-part mold. You need two sprue pieces so you can inject the resin into one side and the air can escape the other side. After that, I added index holes that will allow me to locate the top and bottom part of the mold exactly. To make the index holes I used the end of a paint brush, you can use anything but try to avoid using anything that will make 90-degree angles as that will give the mold a place to fail, ideally, you want nice smooth rounded holes. Additionally, I put some clay in the screw holes so the mold does not pour through that area because it can tear your mold when you remove the part.



    To make the mold I used Alumilite High Strength 3. This will give me a nice reusable detailed rubber mold.



    High Strength 3 is a 10 to 1 mixture. I use a digital kitchen scale to make the right mixture. I use disposable solo cups to measure out the exact mixture with both parts separately, once you have the parts measured you pour them together and mix until they turn pink.



    When you pour the mold mixture you want to start on one corner and pour very slowly staying right in that corner. The mold will slowly fill up and doing it that way you will avoid getting bubbles in your mold.



    Once finished you need to let the mold cure for 18 hours. Once cured I will remove the clay, pull the mold out and flip it over in the case, add mold release and pour the top section of the mold.

    Last edited by DeLorean00; 06-10-2017, 10:44 PM.
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    • #92
      Take me to school, thanks for the step by step DeLorean00!

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      • #93
        Originally posted by mera308gts View Post
        Take me to school, thanks for the step by step DeLorean00!
        Haha, no problem! Let's hope it works.

        I have always thought the Fiero gauge cluster looked incomplete with the unused unexplained blank panel on the opposite side from the odometer. Looking for ideas I saw a Pennocks forum member 30+mpg put an air-fuel gauge there and I really loved the look but I was unable to find an air-fuel board I could adapt to fit. However looking on eBay for hours I found this voltage gauge that was exactly the size of the spare opening in the Fiero and it was super $13 and even cheaper if you are willing to wait for it to come from China, so I went ahead and bought it.

        Here is the link to buy one if anyone is interested.
        http://www.ebay.com/itm/282481562013...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

        This is what it looked like when it arrived. It is a little goofy looking and too thick in its original casing but that is no problem because I was not planning to use the casing anyway.


        This was the hardest part of the whole project. It has 4 screws in the back, I thought 'awesome this will be simple', I was wrong. After removing the screws I found it was glued together extremely well, it must be water proof. I broke 3 xacto kinfe blades cutting it open. Once inside there is a large blob of hot glue that I carfully cut through. Then I was able to carefull pry the board out only after I cut the case to let the power cable to come out. Once out I wanted to see if I could get the lense out, I figured if I break it I will use tinted plexiglass. I just used flat head screwdriver and push hard on both ends back and forth until it popped out.


        Now that it was out I did a trail fit and was happy with how it looked.


        People following this build know that every modification I am doing I want to be able to easily reverse because I think the Mera is a special car and I plan to take all my mods and Ferrari stuff off in the future. So I used Gorilla Tape to hold it in place. This picture was the trail fit, I actually did a better tape job when I did the final install.


        Next I made a harness for it so I can quickly and easily remove the gauge cluster. I covered it in heat shrink and it made a nice harness. In the car since my dash was out I routed the wiring through all the factory wiring brackets and attached it to the switched power lead on the stereo harness since I do not want to cut any of my factory harness.


        Here is the finished product. The angled line you see in the lense is a refection of my arm. Also the car is running but none of my other gauges are currently plugged in since I am still doing dash work and the factory pastic gauge wiring doesn't hold up well to repeated plug and unplugs.


        Here is a quick video of it in operation.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlcgS5fxSo0
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        • #94
          Back working on the keys while the molds dry.

          My keyless entry system is made to be able to exchange the key blades so it could work with a verity of makes and models. However I was not able to locate old GM blades that would work with this particular keyless system, so no big deal I will just make my own.

          To begin, I went to the locksmith and had him cut me 3 stamped steel keys for the ignition key and 3 stamped steel keys for the door key. I specified 'no plastic or rubberized heads' they gladly pulled the blades and cut them right there and then. I would out the door in 3-5 minutes. Got to love old brick and mortar stores.

          This picture you can see the blade that came with the kit beside of a general GM ignition key. I have marked the areas we need to remove with a sharpie.


          This is the key after the very first round of cuts. Next step will be cleaning and smoothing out the corners and sharp edges.


          At this point, we are done. You can see that they are the same size and shape. I the rest of the key fob wasn't in the mold I could to a final assembly


          And here is what it looks like when it is kinda assembled. I used the other key blade facing the opposite way to work as a spacer for the screws that hold the main blade.


          I am so excited! The key works perfectly inside both the fob and inside the car. It clears the tabs on the ignition switch and I was sure I would have to Dremel those. This is really coming together!
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          • #95
            This morning after letting the mold cure for 18 hours I picked it up and turned it over and removed the clay.



            I then pulled the part and inspected the mold for imperfections, luckily there weren't any and the mold was a nice sturdy thickness.



            Next, I trimmed the excess off the mold, coated the contact areas in Vicks Vapor Rub, you can use petroleum jelly but I didn't have any. This is an important step because nothing will stick to silicone, but silicone can stick to silicone ruining your mold when you go to separate the two parts. After the mold release and trimming I refit the part and put the mold back into my casing.



            Alumilite High Strength 3 is a 10 to 1 mixture. So for this mold, I measured out 50 grams of the base.



            Followed by 5 grams of hardener. Then put the hardener into the cup with the base and mix until the silicone is evenly pink.



            Then as with before, start with one corner and pour extremely slowly allowing the mold to fill up at very slow rate this will help keep bubbles from getting trapped in your mold.

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            • #96
              Awesome ! Will you be able to make fiero keys for forum members ??

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              • #97
                Originally posted by cutlass442 View Post
                Awesome ! Will you be able to make fiero keys for forum members ??
                Thank you! Yeah, I might be able to do that. I have to see how this mold works out. If so people wanting a one key system with Ferrari horses can buy the same system I have and I can make the key back and install the horses.

                The mold I have made here if it works right should hold up for maybe 10-15 units if I am careful. But once I had a part made remaking the mold is easy.

                The nice thing about this keyless system is it is extremely cheap. The system with two keys seen here is $17 shipped, the F360 heads I am taking the horses from are $8 each shipped, and getting standard GM keys made without the plastic head is like $2 each. So for all the parts you are looking like $37.

                Watch this thread and lets see how they turn out. If you or anyone is interested send me a PM once I have a finished product.
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                • #98
                  This morning after waiting 18 hours I pulled the second section of the mold out of the casting sleeve. It looks great, I am really happy with the results. Around the edges where the index marks are and the mold touches each other you can see it is rough, that is because the Vicks Vapor Rub I painted as mold release.


                  I cleaned up the inlet and outlet holes, rubber banded it together (not too tight or it will misshape your part) and I put a piece of tape around it to catch any resin that might escape. After that, I mixed and injected the resin.


                  To inject the resin I used 20ML syringes typically used to give children oral medicine.


                  This is my first part and you can see I made mistakes but I learned from them. The first mistake was that I don't have an air release shaft in the top of the mold so air gets trapped up there and it results in part of the top not being molded fully. To correct that I am going to use a hobby knife and score in a small shaft to the top of the mold. Next mistake, you can see the part is marbled, it should not look that way. What happened was I mixed the resin in a red solo cup, in the bottom of those cups there is a little channel that goes around the side. In that channel, the resin I was mixing did not mix completely resulting in a marbled and weakened part. The solution is to mix the resin in a cup with a flat bottom.



                  All in all, I am very happy with the result. Had I not made those two mistakes this would be a usable piece. I am sure the next one I cast will be usable. Then I will modify it to have the Ferrari horse provision and pour the top of the mold over again and I should be able to make my final parts.
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                  • #99
                    I was very interested in this procedure... albeit for a different reason but the outcome was essentially what I was looking for.

                    Awesome step by step and explanations here. Thank you for the level of detail and time you are putting into this. It is very much appreciated and makes for a very interesting thread to follow.

                    Your upgrades to the mera are astounding and I like how your keeping it so that you can swap back to the original parts should the need ever arise.
                    [COLOR=#333333]It's a never ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to be better yourself. - Dale Earnhardt Sr[/COLOR]

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                    • Originally posted by DeLorean00 View Post
                      Thank you! Yeah, I might be able to do that. I have to see how this mold works out. If so people wanting a one key system with Ferrari horses can buy the same system I have and I can make the key back and install the horses.

                      The mold I have made here if it works right should hold up for maybe 10-15 units if I am careful. But once I had a part made remaking the mold is easy.

                      The nice thing about this keyless system is it is extremely cheap. The system with two keys seen here is $17 shipped, the F360 heads I am taking the horses from are $8 each shipped, and getting standard GM keys made without the plastic head is like $2 each. So for all the parts you are looking like $37.

                      Watch this thread and lets see how they turn out. If you or anyone is interested send me a PM once I have a finished product.
                      Awesome , let us know when you are ready and I will be first in line for a key !

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                      • Originally posted by G35Mike View Post
                        I was very interested in this procedure... albeit for a different reason but the outcome was essentially what I was looking for.

                        Awesome step by step and explanations here. Thank you for the level of detail and time you are putting into this. It is very much appreciated and makes for a very interesting thread to follow.

                        Your upgrades to the mera are astounding and I like how your keeping it so that you can swap back to the original parts should the need ever arise.
                        Thank you! That really means a lot to me. I learned how to do this on from the internet so I want to share in hopes others might learn too. I have no idea how this will turn out but I have my fingers crossed that I get a nice result. If nothing else I have enjoyed the process.

                        Originally posted by cutlass442 View Post
                        Awesome , let us know when you are ready and I will be first in line for a key !
                        You bet! We will see how this all turns out, it is more of an art than a science.

                        So back at it. I went and cast another part, this time mixing properly and adding a vent in the mold to release air. I got a nice enough part to move forward.


                        Then I took a deep breath and out came the Dremel and a cut to pieces the brand new Ferrari F360 key head. While not an expensive part it still felt scary doing it.


                        I then marked out the place on my new key head where I want it to go and cut it out.


                        Next I smoothed out the gaps with clay and trimmed any flaws in the key head and refit it in the mold. Then added mold release, vent pieces, casing, and mixed and repoured the top mold.


                        I now have to wait 18 hours for the mold to cure and see the result.
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                        • Just a very quick update as I run off to work. I pulled my first part out of the mold and it came out nice. I have to do just a tiny bit of clean up and it is a usable part. However, I think I am going to clean it up and then cast one final completely new mold of the finished key so I don't have to clean up every key I make.

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                          • Interesting process to see end to end. I have a quick question. I see you turned the horse over so it has a 180* orientation change compared to the Ferrari key. Not that it makes any difference in the look, but was it intentional to make space for the innards of the key fob or was it just a personal choice?

                            Again, no difference in the final look, just curious.

                            Keep up the great work and looking forward to seeing the finished product. I have a keyless entry system I am going to install in my 308 replica as well, luckily, I have the power locks already so don't need to add that all in but the key fob is just a normal GM key fob so a Ferrari key with the fob inside would be brilliant.

                            Cheers
                            Don
                            308 Ferrari replica
                            Prova Countach 5000S

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                            • Originally posted by Don View Post
                              Interesting process to see end to end. I have a quick question. I see you turned the horse over so it has a 180* orientation change compared to the Ferrari key. Not that it makes any difference in the look, but was it intentional to make space for the innards of the key fob or was it just a personal choice?

                              Again, no difference in the final look, just curious.

                              Keep up the great work and looking forward to seeing the finished product. I have a keyless entry system I am going to install in my 308 replica as well, luckily, I have the power locks already so don't need to add that all in but the key fob is just a normal GM key fob so a Ferrari key with the fob inside would be brilliant.

                              Cheers
                              Don
                              Thanks Don. The horse is the same orientation as the Ferrari key. It is confusing because in the photo I have the Ferrari key flipped to show the comparison to the Scion key style system I have. So it is acutally the shape of the key flipped vs the horse. I debated back and forth but I didn't think it looked right the other way.

                              Here is a picture to illustrate what I am talking about.
                              Last edited by DeLorean00; 06-13-2017, 04:54 PM.
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                              • I came home from work and started back on the key. I have so many hours into this one project but I am having fun so I don't mind.

                                Here are the first two keys out of this mold. On the right, you can see what they look like before I clean them up.


                                I cleaned off the mold lines, reshaped the opening on the top and wet sanded the key with 1500 grit.


                                Next, it was back into the mold casing for another mold. I found it was easier to make a mold and clean it up vs trying to make the red and tan key perfect with the two different style plastics.


                                And it is back looking like this for another 18 hours.
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