And the molds continue

Reg is currently off with a race team and we’re on our own, continuing to pull molds from Seven’s re-sculpted body. A lot of finish work was necessary prior to pulling the molds as we worked from the rear to the front of the car. The hood and front fenders particularly needed a lot of prep work in order to get he body lines right and the hood itself as smooth and symmetrical as possible.

Every time I stepped back to look at the car, I found something new that needed to be addressed. After working with Reg on the rear of the car, I saw many flaws and problem areas I had not seen before.

Taking longer than expected, we finally got to pulling molds of the rear doors and moved on to the front doors and hood of the car. A bit precarious at times, for we were unsure when we were pulling the mold if we would destroy the original body part. In fact, this was something we all thought of while laying up the epoxy and fiberglass on the hood with Reg being a good thousand miles away and unable to help us if we got into a bind.  We could no longer quell our fears by saying “ah, Reg can fix it.”

But due to Reg’s excellent instruction, and probably a lot of luck, the molds came out extremely well. No parts were damaged.

Now we must finish prepping the molds so that they are ready for the parts to be formed when Reg returns at the end of this September. And we’ll move on to the front fenders and door pillers, hoping to finish sculpting those so that when he arrives molds can be pulled of those as well.

It seems like we’ve been working on this for a long time and we still have a long way to go. So here I go back out to the shop to hack some more off the car and sand it smooth, hoping I get it to look right this time.

More photos of the process have been added to our photo gallery. Take a gander.

3 Responses

  1. Did you guys consider 3D scanning the car and then using a CNC machine to make the molds? I know it sounds complicated, but I’m not sure that what your doing isn’t more complicated. Especially now you have consumer gadgets like the Kinect around that do cool stuff.

    I have watched your project from afar for some time. It seems to be going well. I’ll look forward to seeing the car when you have all the carbon fibre done.

  2. Nick,
    Good question; why not use 3D scanning and CNC the molds.?
    Well, first we have no experience with either of those techniques
    And we have no money to hire someone to help us with it. I think,
    even with scanning you still need to CNC the plug to pull the molds off of, to CNC the molds you’d have to machine them out of a solid block of fairly ridged material, the hood for example would need to have been made out of a cube of fiberglass or like the auto manufacturers do a cube of steel, 7 feet wide by 7 feet long by 3 feet thick, a very pricey proposition.
    I think that’s why most one offs or low production vehicles, if they use CNC, they use it to make a foam plug that is then finished by hand and molds are pulled from it. So even if we had the know how and resources to make a 3D scan and CNC the plug we’d still be doing all the manual labor you see us doing now in order to pull the molds and make the parts.
    However, I am speaking kind’ve based on my own very limited knowledge of manufacturing techniques, which seem to be changing rapidly as automated and computer added techniques are being adopted and invented by the industry; being a small time manufacturer, almost one completed prototype, I am a bit behind that curve. So YES! I would love to find a quicker and easier way to build Seven(s) and will gladly accept any help offered in this area. So if anyone else is just sitting out there quietly watching that has the necessary knowledge and drive to help us accomplish this goal please speek up, email me, wack me over the head with the club of knowledge until the idea sinks in or at least until I appear to be peacefully unconscious.

  3. Thanks for the response Kevin.

    I’m am nobody with no special knowledge or skills, although I do mess around a bit with 3D graphics. I’m just an interested spectator. I hope you didn’t take it as criticism. I think you guys are doing an awesome job. I was just interested in the way you were going about your project.

    I’m also watching Neil Blanchard from afar build his car. He has used Google Sketchup and a cheapish CNC machine to make very thin foam slices of his car. He is now sticking the slices together. I’m not sure how well it will turn out, but it’s fascinating to watch the different approaches.

    I don’t think going down the DIY CNC route is that difficult. I think it is harder to make a Seven type car than it is to build a DIY CNC mill. It is really easy to say that though whilst looking at a computer screen and not building one myself. 😉

    Good luck with everything.

    Nick. 🙂

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