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2nd bugeye wrx retrofit. Goodbye oem look. Hello sheet metal & acrylic. (progress pics)

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  • #61
    Yes, I liked it when it was all unpainted. But I think there is also a nice dark/light combination hiding somewhere as well. Perhaps a little more procrastination, hmm? lol.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by gold94corolla View Post
      Yes, I liked it when it was all unpainted. But I think there is also a nice dark/light combination hiding somewhere as well. Perhaps a little more procrastination, hmm? lol.
      And procrastinate I will.

      Time to look at a different part: the LED city lights diffuser.

      LED surround trip template, made from the usual cardboard + painters tape combo:

      Used polycarbonate instead of acrylic this time:


      Trimmed, protective sheet not yet removed:
      Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

      3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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      • #63
        Bevel the edges, and add frosted glass paint. Picture below shows one piece already frosted.


        Test placement of the polycarbonate piece, not glued yet. After vs. before pics:
        Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

        3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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        • #64
          Interesting.... so why did you provide the cutout for the LEDs in the diffuser? Seems it covers up the LEDs some. Honestly, if that is the DRL you want, and you want a frosted area (which looks cool I agree), I would have just cut out all that chromy reflectory area behind that diffuser and put in a lot of white LEDs with reflectors, and they would be hidden by the diffuser. That would have given a really clean look, and a bright, even light as well.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by gold94corolla View Post
            Interesting.... so why did you provide the cutout for the LEDs in the diffuser? Seems it covers up the LEDs some. Honestly, if that is the DRL you want, and you want a frosted area (which looks cool I agree), I would have just cut out all that chromy reflectory area behind that diffuser and put in a lot of white LEDs with reflectors, and they would be hidden by the diffuser. That would have given a really clean look, and a bright, even light as well.
            Good points.
            As this is an evolving build, I've explored the use of diffuser for different reasons.

            In a previous thread (link) where I experimented with diffusers, that was from the perspective of diffusing the bare LED's output.

            I concluded then that I liked the circular 23mm diffusers I'm using in this thread, that covers each individual LED. A few posts up shows the pics of the LED with and without diffusers, and they seem to enlarge the footprint of the lit LEDs without significantly reducing the intensity.

            Functionality aside, the flowing area around the LEDs seem to need a bit softening. Frosted acrylic pieces seem to do that imho. I wanted to see how adding more flowing lines could soften the jagged lines where the flowing metal and reflector meet.

            Replacing the 3 LEDs with the already built-in mounting mechanism with small LEDs requires fabricating new mounting points that allow for easy LED replacement (later down the road). It also requires me to experiment with LEDs and the necessary circuitry to power them. I failed miserably when trying some amber LEDs; the output is nowhere near as intense.

            Going back to the layout I had above. I know from the other thread that I don't like using just frosted acrylic ahead of the LEDs. What I was hoping for, was for the frosted acrylic to add shapes that flow better with the other curves I added elsewhere in the headlight. I was also hoping that some stray light from the LEDs would make the frosted acrylic appear to glow softly. Not DRL level, not even city light level. Just a faint hint of curve.
            Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

            3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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            • #66
              Comparison pics: with vs without frosted piece

              Here are some dark shots, with vs. without the frosted piece around the LED area. I tried my best to take them from the same elevation & angle.


              From a more head-on view:


              The frosted polycarbonate piece glows faintly relative to the bright spots cast by the bottom LED. Not so good.

              However, I like how it brings a greyish hue in that area, similar to how the acrylic & aluminum stray light harvester around the turn signal & above the e55r.

              Time to procrastinate again and move on to a different area, perhaps....
              Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

              3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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              • #67
                More comparison pics. This time with the normal use case

                The pics before had both the e55r and Mini D2S lit up, which is not how I will wire them to work as. The e55r will be the main unit, while the Mini D2S will be for other situations. Here are the same comparisons as before. Just for fun, I also flipped the frosted piece upside down to obscure the LEDs while letting the flowing metal piece reflect the glow off of the frosted piece. Of course, the tail needs to be trimmed off if it is to be used this way.

                I still like not using the frosted piece best so far.

                Left to right: without frosted piece, with frosted piece, with upside down frosted piece.


                From a higher elevation, same order:
                Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

                3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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                • #68
                  You're doing awesome work, I like how you change your mind every update haha this is gonna turn out great.

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                  • #69
                    I definitely agree that the "softening" looks really good. But I like how it looks "upside down" so it goes over the circle diffusers. IMO, that softens the area nicely, but the 3 LED domes still shine though, also lighting up the entire softener some.

                    Are you still 100% on using those three LEDs? I am worrying that the head lights are gonna look superb on the workbench, but then once they are on the car, they will look too busy and complicated in comparison. Trust me, I made the same exact mistake on my first lights. Because I was working with them on the bench, they were the entire object of focus. But once on the car, they were too busy. Too much going on. Too many lights. Once I think about your car's appearance at night, I wonder that the LEDs aren't going to make sense with the original design of the car. IMO, the "bugeye" looks good with the "angry" eyelid you've constructed with the flowing pieces and frostings, but once you light it up at night, you are lighting up the wrong side of the eyelid. I am picturing seeing all the projectors lit, as well as the signal diffuser. I can picture the bluish LED area as dark, but with the rest lit up more or less. And I think that will give an aggressive appearance at night. Or, even without the upper projectors lit, I think the one projector with diffuser array will still maintain that aggressive look, the first picture on page one I loved.

                    I think what I am really trying to say is, don't loose sight of the big picture... what the car will ultimately look like with the head lights installed. I my case, I forgot that the head lights were just one element of the painting/sculpture, not the sculpture in and of itself.

                    Thank you for posting up these threads and working so hard with ideas and keeping us up to date. It is helping me, since I have no lighting projects of my own, and I can still brainstorm and have the creative juices flowing, so to say.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by adamj27 View Post
                      You're doing awesome work, I like how you change your mind every update haha this is gonna turn out great.
                      Thank you.
                      I would say that the journey is more important than the destination, so ...
                      Or maybe I just enjoy flip flopping.

                      On a serious note, what I'm trying to do is go through several design iterations for this version 2 without having to close and reopen the headlight many times. I hope I get the benefit of a much more mature design revision, and have version 2 be my last.

                      The cracks on my OEM headlight isn't getting any smaller, so being able to use these replacements would be great.
                      Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

                      3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by gold94corolla View Post
                        I definitely agree that the "softening" looks really good. But I like how it looks "upside down" so it goes over the circle diffusers. IMO, that softens the area nicely, but the 3 LED domes still shine though, also lighting up the entire softener some.
                        The one nice thing about the upside down layout is that the 3 bright spots on the upside down piece look more uniform. The one thing I don't like about the upside down layout is that it needs to line up with the upper perimeter of the shroud. Lining up with this plane makes it obvious that the upside down frosted piece is actually a flat surface. The flatness of it seem a bit jarring to me, even in the upright position. It's not that easy to discern that in pictures.

                        Originally posted by gold94corolla View Post
                        Are you still 100% on using those three LEDs? I am worrying that the head lights are gonna look superb on the workbench, but then once they are on the car, they will look too busy and complicated in comparison. Trust me, I made the same exact mistake on my first lights. Because I was working with them on the bench, they were the entire object of focus. But once on the car, they were too busy. Too much going on. Too many lights. Once I think about your car's appearance at night, I wonder that the LEDs aren't going to make sense with the original design of the car. IMO, the "bugeye" looks good with the "angry" eyelid you've constructed with the flowing pieces and frostings, but once you light it up at night, you are lighting up the wrong side of the eyelid. I am picturing seeing all the projectors lit, as well as the signal diffuser. I can picture the bluish LED area as dark, but with the rest lit up more or less. And I think that will give an aggressive appearance at night. Or, even without the upper projectors lit, I think the one projector with diffuser array will still maintain that aggressive look, the first picture on page one I loved.
                        Yes, I do like the first picture, but that's just one angle and one lighting condition. The headlight has essentially been unchanged over these posts, and still takes on that silhouette under that angle & lighting condition; more or less.

                        I want to take advantage of the 3 LEDs instead of fabricating a new mount & LED circuitry because of the built-in ease of access to the separate LEDs from the back of the housing. They are affixed to holes in the back of the housing via rubber grommets.

                        Trying to strike the balance between too much and too little detail is the reason why I procrastinate, er, go through these design iterations.

                        Originally posted by gold94corolla View Post
                        I think what I am really trying to say is, don't loose sight of the big picture... what the car will ultimately look like with the head lights installed. I my case, I forgot that the head lights were just one element of the painting/sculpture, not the sculpture in and of itself.
                        Agreed, and thanks for reiterating that. Here are a few idea sketches that didn't make it through. If time and cost weren't in the equation, I prefer buying many pairs and actually making several versions to see how they compare in person, in final form.

                        Instead, they are composites of retouched image parts (Paint.net, something like photoshop but free). Most of these are quite old, and many aspects weren't doable (like the tight clearance between the projectors and the shroud).

                        Fig.1. Pre version 1 on the left (with retroreflective spray instead of frosted glass spray), and some bronze chrome shroud with blacked out Mini D2S shield.


                        Fig.2. Bare housing with the lens cover. Sort of a deconstructed point of view.


                        Fig.3. Unpainted (chrome) shroud, plus round LED diffusers plus frosted headlight lens around the LEDs.


                        Fig.4. Same as Fig.3., but with black chrome. Turn signal reflector area is also blacked out, which may compromise the turn signal somewhat.


                        Fig.5. Avoiding blacking out the turn signal area, but otherwise like Fig.4.


                        Fig.6. Another variation of achieving the same goal as Fig.5.


                        Originally posted by gold94corolla View Post
                        Thank you for posting up these threads and working so hard with ideas and keeping us up to date. It is helping me, since I have no lighting projects of my own, and I can still brainstorm and have the creative juices flowing, so to say.
                        Thanks for your interest & feedback.
                        Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

                        3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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                        • #72
                          Dude, the work you have done is awesome and inspiring! You are making me want to do more custom shaping on my project now, stop it!!! LOL

                          P.S. I think I liked the frosted strip to be under the LEDs, like the Nike swish. Have you thought about paint scheme yet? With all the different surfaces it would be cool to see a gloss- and matte-black combo (that's sorta what I have planned on mine, hehe), esp with that eyebrow on the lower projector.

                          Build Thread: [Quad-Retro] ////////////////////////////////// Photobucket Account: [Here]

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by satrya View Post
                            The one nice thing about the upside down layout is that the 3 bright spots on the upside down piece look more uniform. The one thing I don't like about the upside down layout is that it needs to line up with the upper perimeter of the shroud. Lining up with this plane makes it obvious that the upside down frosted piece is actually a flat surface. The flatness of it seem a bit jarring to me, even in the upright position. It's not that easy to discern that in pictures.
                            Well, I was meaning that the entire thing should be frosted to give that uniform look. But as you say, it ends up being too flat from some angles, which of course I couldn't see from here.

                            Originally posted by satrya View Post
                            I want to take advantage of the 3 LEDs instead of fabricating a new mount & LED circuitry because of the built-in ease of access to the separate LEDs from the back of the housing. They are affixed to holes in the back of the housing via rubber grommets.
                            Yes, in fact, my head light LEDs were identical. It was nice to have the access that way. However, when I replaced these with my own whiter, brighter LEDs, I simply cut off the back of the housing and made a door out of it, simply just gluing it back on so it could be removed later if needed.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by truckstang67 View Post
                              Dude, the work you have done is awesome and inspiring! You are making me want to do more custom shaping on my project now, stop it!!! LOL
                              Thanks. I've been following your build thread as well; I wanted to do 3D curved shapes out of clear acrylic like I did for my rear wing riser, but I remember how much work it was. Back to reality.

                              Originally posted by truckstang67 View Post
                              P.S. I think I liked the frosted strip to be under the LEDs, like the Nike swish.
                              Hmm.. I certainly don't want to promote any products; even the Subaru badge & WRX Impreza emblems had to go. It would be weird to have opposing Nike Swish pair glowing inside the headlights.

                              Originally posted by truckstang67 View Post
                              Have you thought about paint scheme yet? With all the different surfaces it would be cool to see a gloss- and matte-black combo (that's sorta what I have planned on mine, hehe), esp with that eyebrow on the lower projector.
                              I contemplated different paint schemes, like some of the "simulated" prototypes a few posts up. Whenever I tried putting the shroud behind the (outer) headlight lens, it seems that flat and gloss variations will not be that noticeable on these headlights. I want it to have some retroreflective property for safety/visibility reason (from oncoming traffic in long, 2 lane, barrierless highways. I also like dark color. Those two are somewhat contradictory. Like gold94corolla said, I need to make sure I don't go overboard with details and features for the headlight to look completely out of place. Imho, your project platform is more conducive to multiple textures & color, because the fender and body panel shapes probably blend better with them.

                              Suggestions welcome.
                              Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

                              3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by gold94corolla View Post
                                Well, I was meaning that the entire thing should be frosted to give that uniform look. But as you say, it ends up being too flat from some angles, which of course I couldn't see from here.
                                And perhaps if it's hard to discern from pictures, it may be not that noticeable from a distance, and with the outer headlight lens installed. But I'm hesistant to go that route in case it does look blatantly flat in person (when completed and installed on the car).

                                Originally posted by gold94corolla View Post
                                Yes, in fact, my head light LEDs were identical. It was nice to have the access that way. However, when I replaced these with my own whiter, brighter LEDs, I simply cut off the back of the housing and made a door out of it, simply just gluing it back on so it could be removed later if needed.
                                Do you mean you replaced each LED with individual LEDs of similar size, or with a cluster of LEDs that require a bit of material removal?
                                Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

                                3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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