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1998 Suzuki Vitara / Geo Tracker - clear lens forming

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  • 1998 Suzuki Vitara / Geo Tracker - clear lens forming

    Car: 1998 Suzuki Vitara jlx, 2.0 automatic soft top, sold as Geo Tracker in US market
    Projectors are 2.5" Synolin:
    I used 4mm 50x50cm polystyrene (PS) sheets to form the lens.

    The project took me a few weekends to get familiar with plastic forming and to acquire or fabricate the missing tools.
    1. I bought 2 oem TYC headlights as I wanted to save my halogens for inspections.
    2. Opened them up by baking them for a ~10 minutes around 120C
      - here I messed up with the hot butyl got on the lense, the plastic housing and my shirt as well. It took my a good hour the scrape the now rock solid butyl off the surface and wash away the rest with either benzin or nitro thinner.
    3. Installing the projector inplace of the H4 bulb was the easiest part of the project. I wanted to keep a semi-oem look so didnt install halos or paint the chrome in black but it is the perfect time to do so.
    4. Time to start forming the clear lens! First make a mold out of the glass lens. Use concrete as it DOES NOT expand when curing. I did use a regular 40kg bagged, C25 quality ready mixed concrete from the local hardware store. Read the instructions about water/powder on the bag, and dont mix too much water in it as I did first time.
    5. Before you pour the concrete mix, prepare the glass lens. I did use a lot, any i mean A LOT of grease topped with sunflower oil to even and lubricate the surface of the lens. Added a layer of foil on top to make sure the concrete wont stuck to the glass and then poured the concrete in it.
    6. After pouring try to shake the mold a bit to get rid of unwanted air bubbles, I used my grinder to vibrate it.
    7. Dont wait too much, after 12-24 hours get the concrete out before it hardens too much and let it cure outside the mold for 1-2days.

      This was my first try without foil only oil, I had to dig out the concrete... luckily the lens survived.

      Here I still got air bubbles.
    8. I used gypsum to fill in the gaps and sanded it down to 120. I did put on like 4 layers and down to get results I wanted . Gypsum has to dry so it took 5-6 hours each round.
    9. Prepare the plastic sheet! I advise you to use 4mm instead of 2mm thick sheet and also plan to buy 6-7 to get used to the process
      Make a frame that you will use to handle the sheet.

    10. Build an oven, that you will use to evenly heat up your sheet.
      I did make an 50x50cm plywood box + aluminium foil to insulate. Inside I borrowed the heating element (~600w) from my electric grill, covered it with metal oven plates to evenly distribute the heat and placed the frame holding the sheet on top. Similiar to this video:
      This way you can heat up the plastic sheet to the point of softening without getting too much air bubbles. Too much heat creates bubbles inside the plastic.

    11. Forget the vacuum forming. Your home made vacuum forming table wont suck down the 4mm thick plastic. I did spent a weekend by building one and using three-phase industrial vacuum cleaner without any progress.

      Instead, cut out a female mold! Make sure it has gap when placed on top of your mold wide enough for the plastic.
    12. So heat up the plastic sheet where it starts to soften everywhere and the middle start dropping in. Dont forget to heat up your concrete mold as well to below the softening point of your plastic. Place your on top of something so you can pull the plastic under your mold. After you pulled the frame on the mold, push your female mold on the mold and let it cool.

      Congrats if you reached this point
    13. Cut the plastic using a rotary tool with a mini circular saw. If your saw is too small it will just melts the plastic together as it saws it. I also tried a jigsaw but it was just melting.
    The finished product:

    The project was mainly based on this topic:
    Last edited by Csaba; January 26th, 2020, 01:13 PM.

  • #2
    Wow, nice job! I never see people doing these sorts of things anymore.


    • #3
      Awesome job! Greetings to Hungary!
      Subaru Outback retrofit:
      License plate lights with dual brightness:


      • #4
        Good work Sir! Very passionate!