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Old August 11th, 2003, 09:11 PM   #1
yun
 
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Smile DIY center cap project finished!

Do any of you have Volk TE-37 rims? These rims are awesome, but the center caps that go with them are quite untasteful, IMO. They look like cones, only come with bronze color (I have white rims), and they're pretty heavy.

So what I did was make my own set of center caps Here are some pix:







Looks almost like a set of oem rims, huh? With the Volk stickers removed, I bet no one will think it's worth stealing these 15" rims (oh, how wrong they are...)


Here's a closeup:



You gotta look carefully, but the "H" logo part is actually carbon fiber. There's some blemishes, but it's not that noticeable from a distance.


These caps work specifically with Volk TE-37, but if anybody's interested, I can post a how-to. Let me know!
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Old August 11th, 2003, 10:37 PM   #2
 
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Great idea

And the carbon fiber look is a good touch. Honda might be interested in how you did this so they can use it .



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Old August 11th, 2003, 10:58 PM   #3
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Thanks, Plum!

FYI, it's all hand made, without any use of machines... The only tools I used were straight edge, scissors, xacto knife, and different grit sandpaper And I used thin .022" (I think) sheet of carbon fiber that I got on eBay.
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Old August 12th, 2003, 02:45 AM   #4
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nice Yu
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Old August 13th, 2003, 01:23 AM   #5
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thx Boris!


For people who haven't seen it before, here's a picture of a center cap that came with my rims:

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Old August 13th, 2003, 01:22 PM   #6
 
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did you get them that small so it would cut down on weight?
i mean your rims
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Old August 13th, 2003, 02:20 PM   #7
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There's a number of reasons...

1) weight
2) the rotational mass factor
3) I personally don't like big rims (17" is the highest I would go)
4) more cushion from the tire (less worries about bad road, better ride comfort)
5) somewhat keeping the stock look
6) availability at the time when I ordered the rims

I actually wanted 16", but I had to wait 3 months for them, and I needed new rims/tires fast... There's no regret, tho
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Old August 13th, 2003, 02:24 PM   #8
 
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Yun, great DIY job they look sweet!

Definately post a How-to!
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Old August 13th, 2003, 02:26 PM   #9
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Beautiful!
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Old August 13th, 2003, 03:19 PM   #10
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very good DIY Yu, i like them much better than those ugly volk ones too (which dont even match the color of the rims). The CF "H" adds that clean touch to the OEM look. In fact, that really looks like a factory option you have there. nice job.
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Old August 13th, 2003, 06:04 PM   #11
 
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white rims on silver ...


nice job on the center caps though ... looks real clean !!
nice job man
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Old August 13th, 2003, 06:10 PM   #12
 
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Nice job
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Old August 14th, 2003, 02:04 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate it


PMantis, I'll take some more pictures tomorrow and try to post a how-to.


Usul, I agree with ya about silver body/white rims. I wanted gun metal, but that was gonna take 3 months as well... and I really didn't like the look of bronze.

As soon as I get my own garage (I park outside right now; it's a safe neighborhood), I'm gonna get the entire body custom painted blue, plus possibly a body kit. Once that happens I think the rims will look ok.
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Old August 14th, 2003, 02:51 AM   #14
 
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Yea Awesome Idea Yu!
looks nice!
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Old August 15th, 2003, 02:46 AM   #15
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OK, these are the steps I took to make these caps. Sorry, I don't have step-by-step pictures... I should've taken them while I was working Anyways, here we go:


1. Cap Template

I measured the diameter of the circular opening at the center of the rim, and it was about 63mm. I drew a circle with that diameter on a piece of paper and scanned the image.

Next, I grabbed a Honda "H" emblem image from somewhere on the net. I put the two images together with Photoshop, and printed it.

I cut out the circle first, then the H in the middle with scissors and xacto knife/straight edge. I used that flimsy template to draw the image on a cardboard, and made a sturdier template.


2. Shaping the Cap

I used the cardboard template to draw the image on the .022" carbon fiber sheet that I bought on eBay. (This sheet is thin enough that you can use scissors to cut it ) I drew the lines with white marker, so I could see the lines clearly. I used scissors to cut out the circle, xacto knife/straight edge to cut out the H, and 80-grit and 220-grit sandpaper to sand the piece of carbon fiber to the desired shape.

I also cut out another circle, same diameter as the piece with H. This piece was to be the base, with the piece with H painted white and glued on top of it. (The piece of circle by itself was rather weak, but with the piece with H glued to it, it became strong enough to be used as a cap.)

Also, I took the circle piece and the H piece to my car, and tried fitting them inside the circular opening of the rim. They were a little bigger than the opening, so I sanded the circumference a little.


3. Painting

After sanding the surface of the H piece with 400-grit sandpaper, I applied several coats of Spot Filler & Primer spray. This was needed to fill the small holes that were on the surface of the carbon fiber sheet, but the primer couldn't fill some of the bigger holes. For those holes, I took white touch up paint (small bottle with a brush attached to its lid) and filled the holes with dabs of paint.

After the primer and the white touch up paint dried, I used 600-grit sandpaper to flatten the surface. Then, I applied several coats of white spray paint. Once dry, I used 1500-grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface.

By the way, these paint that I used were plasti-kote brand, and I bought them at a nearby Pep Boys. High temp paint was not used because the rims don't get THAT hot, and these carbon fiber pieces will not endure the 600 degrees Fahrenheit temperature needed to cure high temp paint. Trust me, I tried...


4. Gluing, Part 1

I used Plastic Repair Epoxy that I got from Ace's Hardware to glue the circle piece and the H piece together. Of course, I sanded the gluing surfaces with 400-grit sandpaper. I wanted to keep the carbon fiber pattern nice and clean, so I didn't sand the circle piece that much.

Immediately after putting the pieces together, I wiped the excess epoxy off with nail polish remover (rubbing alcohol can be used too), especially the H area.

The epoxy I used took 24 hours to cure; once cured, I sanded the outer edge of the cap, washed it clean, and used rubbing compound to polish the surface. (If excess epoxy got on the white paint, the rubbing compound can take care of it.)


5. Clear Coat

Then, I sprayed the clear coat on the front, visible surface of the cap several times.

WARNING: Make sure there's absolutely no dust, hair and other stuff in the air when you spray the clear coat on! Surround the cap with cardboard, and as soon as you finish spraying, put another cardboard or newspaper on top so nothing will come in contact with the surface. Unfortunately, I didn't do this and as a result there are some stuff on/underneath the clear coating... You'd probably want to do this in a semi-enclosed area, like inside a garage with the door open.

After the clear coat dried, I sprayed one coat of clear coat on the back, hidden surface of the cap, for protection against moisture (I don't know if that helps at all).

After that, I used rubbing compound on the front, visible surface. And finally, I put some car wax on to make the cap shine and give additional protection.


6. Gluing, Part 2

The last step was to do something that would keep the cap on the rim. I decided to use a long piece of carbon fiber (a tiny bit longer than the diameter of the cap) and epoxy just the middle of it to the back of the cap. That way, the long piece acted as a spring and held the cap from the inside of the rim.

I cut out a 67mm by 20mm piece of carbon fiber and rounded the ends. I also cut out a 10mm by 20mm piece and glued that right in the middle of the long piece.

After the epoxy dried somewhat (I probably left it for an hour or so), I put more epoxy over the 10mm by 20mm piece and stuck it right in the middle of the back, hidden surface of the cap (I sanded the middle part, of course).

I waited a little bit for the glue to set, then I put folded pieces of paper between the cap and the two ends of the long piece to make sure that only the middle part of the long piece was epoxied to the cap (or else it wouldn't act as a spring).

After the epoxy cured, I tested out the cap by putting it on the rim. I used the xacto knife to push one end of the long piece into the circular opening on the rim first. Then, I used the xacto knife on the other end of the long piece. After some time and effort, both ends of the long piece were in the circuler opening, and the cap was secured. I could still rotate the cap with my hand by applying some force, but I was sure that it wasn't gonna come off

Relieved that my plan actually worked (hehe), I worked on the other caps and put them on my other 3 rims. You can see the result in the first post


7. Considerations

Right now, I'm worried about 2 things: (1) whether the epoxy that I used to glue the long piece to the middle of the cap is durable enough, and (2) how easily can the visible surface of the cap be scarred/scratched.

For (1), I really don't know how long the cap will last. The epoxy's bond strength is 1,900 PSI, so that's pretty strong. Hopefully the epoxy will stay on...

And as for (2)... I've had the caps on for about a week, taking surface streets and freeways, and so far the brake dust dirtied them and that's it. No scars, no scratches. I guess I can get that clear protective film called StonGuard and put that on the visible surface of the caps. If that stuff works well with headlights, I'm sure it'll work with these caps.


Well, that's it! Once again, I'm sorry for the lack of pictures I bet some parts of the steps were difficult to understand... Now that I'm done making these caps, this picture of the templates for the H piece and the long piece is the only thing I can provide:



I actually cut out the H piece template in the picture from the carbon fiber sheet, just so that I'd know how it'd look like if I were to make these caps again. Plus, it's more durable than cardboard.

The brown piece is the template for the long piece that acts as a spring. This template is made of cardboard because the shape is nice and simple (less chance of it getting messed up).


If there are any questions, please feel free to post here or send me pm. I'll edit this post accordingly.

Last edited by yun; August 15th, 2003 at 03:02 AM..
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 04:41 PM   #16
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So, where are my caps? You have measurements. You know the color and shape I want.
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 01:37 AM   #17
 
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what size are those rims? they look really small
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 01:44 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by iNteGraz92 on September 2nd, 2003 at 12:37 AM

what size are those rims? they look really small
15"

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