Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rear Concept

     This weekend I tore down the front and back bumpers on the miata and installed trailer-wiring harnesses so that all the lights on the Batmobile will be plug-and-play.

     A while ago I bought some Thunderbird tail-lights (1959 and 1961, respectively) to use for the Batmobile's rear lights and rocket exhaust.  Today I dummied up a design concept in Photoshop of what I want the rear to look like:

Before Batification:


How I'll get into the trunk or fill the gas, I don't know.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

1966 / 1989 Batmobile Combo

A man can never love only one Batmobile.

I've been particularly obsessed with all the different Batmobiles recently.

I got up this morning (Saturday) at 8:15 AM and said, "I want to draw a hybrid of the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles."  So I did:

 I like it!

Up To Date

And here we are at the first pic I posted.  Here it is with a little Photoshopping to show what the red stripes do for it:
 Next I have to build the wiring harness, plug it in, bolt this thing on and see if I can actually drive around without the whole thing breaking apart.  Exciting!

Here's the black Batmobile on the front of the miata for the first time:


Now I need to work to get the thing actually bolted on.  I bought a scrap miata hood and took the grinder to it:
I worked out spacers, mounting bolts and a cross-beam to support the headlights:

 Here it is in place:

After the spackle it was primer and then black enamel!  I'll probably paint it with flat black later to help hide the lumps, but first I wanted it sealed up with the glossy stuff.

I decided to switch from Bondo to spackle, mostly due to my sensitivity issue.  I tried different spackles, and settled on 'Ready Patch', which is oil based and hardens up really well.
I did a couple of light layers of spackle.  I might do more spackling once the front half is mounted onto the car.

BAT 01


Well here's a nice piece of progress.
I got a custom Blackplate license plate!
BAT 01 was previously taken, but I randomly did a search on the plate site one day and it was available, so I snatched it up then and there.
I registered it for ten years.
I used my old license plates to make black-out frames.

I tried to use bondo to reshape the nose / fix the lumpies.  Problem is that bondo has the same nasty chemicals as Polyster resin.  Also, I couldn't even out the bondo without creating new areas of burn-through.


I sanded down all the buldged high spots.  This created some burn-through and holes in the chipboard, which I sealed up with super-glue.  I then painted the entire thing with two layers of polyester resin. (I suffered a few days of itchy/crawly skin from this, despite trying to minimize exposure, using layered clothing, full face respirator, barrier cream, etc., etc.)


I got a bunch of cans of spray foam to fill in the skeleton behind the panels and keep them from warping any more - bad idea!  The pressure from the spray foam warped every panel that wasn't warped already, and oozed out the cracks.  Dang!

I hacked back the wild foam jungle, and replaced the worst bulged panels:

Chipboard panels coming along:

They were laying down nice and flat and straight, until one morning (after a big rainstorm) I went out into the shed to find that the night's rain had bloated and warped a lot of the panels:

It was worse than the picture makes it look.

So I got to work with the chipboard plates, one by one.
I had to make a tracing of each section, then a pattern, then trace the pattern onto chipboard and cut it out. I attached all the chipboard panels with hot glue.

It took about thirty minutes to complete each 'facet'.
I attached the first twelve fiberglass-backed panels on the front - they were fiddly, lumpy, and didn't come out as nice as I'd hoped.  What's worse, my allergic reaction to polyester resin seemed to be getting worse.

Because of those difficulties, I decided to 'skin' the front with plates of chipboard.
I had a blue miata with no A/C whatsoever.  I couldn't take the Texas summer any longer, so I sold the blue one and bought a black 1997 with cold cold sweet A/C.  Yippie!


I decided to reinforce the skeleton with a grid of fiberglass and carbon fiber tape, all glued up with polyester resin.  After a few long sessions of working with the nasty nasty toxic stinky polyester resin, my skin was all itchy/rashy feeling, despite wearing a full face respirator, a tyvek suit, nitrile gloves and barrier cream.  I'm allergic to something in the stuff.  I seem to be allergic or sensitized to most hardcore chemicals, which makes many stages of building a DIY batmobile miserable.


I came up with a process to 'skin' the skeleton where I made cardstock plates backed with fiberglass tape.  I brushed on polyester resin to the back and stapled the plate in place.  This worked pretty good for one of the door pieces:

I built 'mounting pods' to bolt the Batmobile to the miata hood:

While making some test pieces, I discovered that I'm allergic to epoxy resin, which I planned to use to finish this thing.
I decided to switch to polyester resin.
Since polyester resin will eat the foam, I painted the skeleton with two coats of Elmer's glue to protect it:

I built up the grill, the turn signals, and the back edge where the hood meets the door.  I made the eyebrows nice and the hump pieces for the doors:

After two more days on the foam skeleton:

As long as I'm introducing my wife, here's me!  I'm Jacob.
Here I am making the pattern pieces for the rear.  (I haven't started on the rear yet, but the pattern pieces are ready.)

After another full day of building extra bones and supports:

 Here's my wife Sarah looking at what I've done when she got home from work.  She's very pretty, and very understanding :)