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Thread: The pursuit of perfect taillights

  1. #1
    t3h ub3r m3mber lord flashheart's Avatar
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    The pursuit of perfect taillights

    Let's call an ace an ace. There's no aftermarket tail lights for the 2nd gen legacy. If you want an something different your only option (to my knowledge) is the JDM with the corner clear lights.
    So this thread is sort of a ongoing diy
    I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing so this should be entertaining.
    This is kinda what I'm shooting for


    So I ordered some red tint for taillights. And I was planning on going over the orange portion of the tail light. When it gets here I'll slap it on and see how it looks. But I also want to try to do an LED light conversion. So I set about taking the tail light apart. By baking it at 200 degrees for a couple minutes on some cardboard so I wouldnt melt it. Now when u pry yours apart, if you choose to follow in my footsteps be careful to pry slowly because you will break them if you Dont and look like a jackass for breaking it after everyone warned you... Exactly like I did. I will be getting a new tail light, but I figured we could play around more with it.
    Here is what the light looks like after the lenses is off.


    And these reflectors pull out



    So I'm going to try 3 things (budget permitting)

    1) use the factory lenses with dark tint and LEDs mounted between the reflector things and the lenses to give the LED look.

    2) buy some type of plastic stock and try to form it to make my own lense or take it to a plastic company and have them make lenses (attention everyone posible group buy! Lol) and mount LED panels inside them. With dark taillight tint or red tint. I got the idea of casting my own using the old lenses from this guy
    http://www.lowbrowcustoms.com/page-v...il_light_lens/

    3) try something else. (I have some ideas but nothing concrete.)

    I measured the area the lights will be going ....






    ....and determined this might be the way to go because I can choose the 'pattern' of the LEDs, they are cheap, you can curve them to the contours of the inside of the taillight. My only concern is brightness with them.





    Another sources I've been looking at
    http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/wher...4/topics/31593

    Discuss thoughts.
    No, no ,no I'm not insulting you, I'm describing you!

  2. #2
    SLi Lurker foohfooh's Avatar
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    rad. there is a garage in Houston that has done something similar for the fd3. then they produced a limited run of em for sale. best of luck! theres a guy on this forum who frequents that shop. Marksubithrash or something.

    looking forward to your "one-off" tailights!

    https://vimeo.com/maydaygarage/carshopglowfd3s

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    t3h ub3r m3mber lord flashheart's Avatar
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    Hmmm I woke up to pieces of broken tail light in my kitchen, which confirms that I may or may not have had one too many drinks when I decided to do this. Well I'm kinda committed to doing this now, so I ran over to the craft store and bought 3 packages of this stuff for casting I used a coupon for 50% off and got all 3 for $11. After that I went to the home depot and asked around. They carry no such tail light resin. After a little searching around I found this company 'Smooth-On plastics' who makes the resin to cast your own tail lights.



    They are closed today. So I'll call on Monday and order some stuff (assuming its not outrageously expensive)

    I also found something else that I figured I would try. Acrylic glass sheets. They are supposedly strong enough to be a tail light lenses, but is heat formable. So I figured why not try that while we are at it.
    I bought a small sheet for $5.10 to test it out.
    No, no ,no I'm not insulting you, I'm describing you!

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    t3h ub3r m3mber lord flashheart's Avatar
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    So I experimented with the acrylic sheet. It was a waste of time for the most part. I Dont have enough hands to Keep it formed and the sheet doesn't go soft till around 300+ degrees. So I think I might make a mold of the light, then put the acrylic sheet in it and heat it to around 350. And let it cool slowly. Cooling slowly seems to be very important. When I tried to cool it quickly it warped. I've tried heat forming the sheet a few times.

    I tried using the tail light to form it but the heat started to melt the tail light


    So I then tried baking it then pulling it out and forming it. But I Dont have enough hands to keep it pressed to the light.








    OK stop laughing.

    This information has been helpful and I maybe able to use the acrylic sheet to help with the molding of the resin.
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    "Proby" KNaph's Avatar
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    Damn, seems like my idea wasn't as original as I thought! My ideas are more on the electrical side of it though. I recently bought an Arduino prototype board to help me learn programming for my college courses. I keep telling myself that but I really only bought it to make custom taillights haha. Basically planning on scrapping all of the reflectors and bulbs and replacing them with LEDs on solder-on breadboards. And then writing some code to control each column of LEDs individually so I can even do sequential signals like the Mustangs have. I'm thinking about buying some junkyard BG tails and experimenting after I write the code on small scale.

    Other potential ideas for making the lens is vacuum forming. Here's a DIY thread about making clear headlight lenses, could help you with the tails! http://www.hidplanet.com/forums/show...Forming-Thread
    1999 Outback On BC Racing coilovers and Desmond Regamasters

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  6. #6
    t3h ub3r m3mber lord flashheart's Avatar
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    My brother is a big arduino guy. I wanted to build a sequential gearbox using an automatic trans and an arduino to control the valves in the gear box when given input from a up/down leaver. Would have been cool. My brother really wanted to do it. But ain't nobody got time for that. I've been thinking of building my own LED panel for the tail lights but idk.

    Yea I actually thinking about doing it this way.. But figured it might not work so well cuz due to the shape of our lights. I guess it can't hurt to try.
    No, no ,no I'm not insulting you, I'm describing you!

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    SLi Supporter Hinyo's Avatar
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    Hey we should talk.... id love to get in on a diy sedan tail project with you... but please no LED hotspot nonsense acrylic cover/plastic sheet for even light distribution or use a pcb board/sheet to hold them more firmly and with more assortments. I've got an arduino and programming knowlege and some cad stuff and thoughts and things...
    1998 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT Sedan - Lucy

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    t3h ub3r m3mber lord flashheart's Avatar
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    I'm going to fu around with it after I finish paint on my car
    No, no ,no I'm not insulting you, I'm describing you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lord flashheart View Post
    I'm going to fu around with it after I finish paint on my car
    I used acrylic in HS plastics class, to form it we used either a strip heater to make straight bends or a large oven/kiln and a vacuum mould to create curved shapes. I think you'll have a hard time getting a perfectly formed tail light shape. You might be better off getting tail light covers and cutting/grafting them onto the tail light base or something.

  10. #10
    t3h ub3r m3mber lord flashheart's Avatar
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    Man you guys are full of good ideas. Anyone know where to find tail light covers lol!
    No, no ,no I'm not insulting you, I'm describing you!

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