Recommended Posts

I couldn't find any answers with the search function - forgive me if this has been discussed before:

I have a 2011 Beetle Blitzer kit coming in the mail. I would like to make my own lexan body - for my own use, not interested in the bay etc. It's hard to find a replacement body here in Canada + my 3 boys will inevitably wreck the original body.

Question: Is there a way I can mold the body that came with the kit so I can reproduce it with Lexan? I'm sure someone has done it - easy to reproduce an already made body using Plaster of Paris, but I was hoping to copy the body that came with the kit. Thanks for any advice! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I've seen a thread of it.  It's a lot of work.  Plus, the size is a problem.  

I make a small mold for resin parts for static kits, etc.  I also make pot metal parts to go into noses of scale airplanes.  But because of the size required, it's not worth the money, time and effort for 1-2 bodies.  It would make sense if you are making a dozen bodies.  I'm not trying to dissuade you from doing it.  People build great sand castles, fully knowing it'll be gone in a day.  If you enjoy the process of making it happen, that's all that matters. 

You'll have to make 2 big molds.  Block out all the openings.  Make a mold of the outside.  Remove the body, and then, make a mold of the inside from the newly made outside mold.  That inside mold will be the one that's going to be used.  Considering the size, you might need a dozen pounds of plaster of paris.  Of course, there are other mediums.  Clay, polymer, etc.  Some are more expensive than others.  

Also the oven would have to be quite large to accommodate the Lexan.  I don't like plastic melting in an oven.  Also large pieces of lexan are not all that cheap.  You will need to make one frame with holes for the vacuum attachment, and another frame to hold the Lexan.  Both would have to be big enough.  

Considering all that, it's just cheaper and convenient to buy one of the many bug shells floating around on ebay.  

https://www.ebay.com/itm/TBG-BODY-FOR-TAMIYA-BLITZER-BEETLE-clear-lexan-bug-body/151024611734?hash=item2329c4b196:g:MsAAAMXQlUNRWZTz

Here is a guy who's making it in small scale. Making one for an RC car body would be much much larger.  

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buy a lexan body to run, if you don't wanna wreck the ABS shell.

Economically speaking, not worth setting up your own moulding plant if you're not already in that trade. If it was easy & cheap we'd all be doing it already ;) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, WillyChang said:

Buy a lexan body to run, if you don't wanna wreck the ABS shell.

Economically speaking, not worth setting up your own moulding plant if you're not already in that trade. If it was easy & cheap we'd all be doing it already ;) 

For sure - totally agree - I’m not looking for easy & cheap as much as doing the project for the sake of doing it. + I can make the 3 boys battle bodies they can swap and wreck. Lexan Bodies here in Canada run $60 a pop..

i appreciate the input though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does it HAVE to look like a VW Bug? :)

If not... a cheaper way of making a buck/former is to get a hunk of wood and start carving until it looks like what you want. Then vacform off that.

You can't vacform off ABS shape directly because it's melting point is too low vs lexan's plasticity point. 

Building a vacform machine ain't rocket science, just fiddly & takes space. Alternative these days is to check out any local Men's Shed or MakerShed facilities nearby you can join. Also worth finding local cosplay enthusiasts, many DIY and have vacformers for their body pieces. 

fwiw... BiTD wed collect empty 2L pop bottles and cut them up into RC bodies :) looked like Weinermobile with added flaps but who cared, it was 'free' 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

some thoughts as I have tried this too.

you should have no trouble finding a 3D model on thingiverse or a stl file from somewhere else. Years ago you where able to use Autodesk 123D (but I think its under a different name now) and you can slice up the model which you can print templates and use that to cut wooden sheets to build up a basic car shape. Can be much quicker than carving from scratch.

This is how I initially tried to do a Volvo Station wagon, file was from 3dwarehouse.com. You don't need to do as much as I did, you could make them say for example 30 mm apart and then cover it like you would a balsa plane. But as mentioned above, it would have to withstand high temp. Lexan melts at 155C.

 

On lexan, I think you'll have a lot more trouble vac forming lexan without a very good setup with good temp control and suction. Much easier, even if it its just to test, is to use PETG, it forms a lot easier (using a vacuum cleaner won't be an issue) as it has a much wider temperature range for vac former than lexan. Its almost as strong too, but much more likely to shatter if hit hard where lexan tends to deform a little first. Its cheaper though and polycarbonate paints aren't the best to use on it.

Volvo-850-BTCC-Estate-build-28.jpg

Volvo-850-BTCC-Estate-build-21.jpg

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow that’s awesome

5 hours ago, yogi-bear said:

some thoughts as I have tried this too.

you should have no trouble finding a 3D model on thingiverse or a stl file from somewhere else. Years ago you where able to use Autodesk 123D (but I think its under a different name now) and you can slice up the model which you can print templates and use that to cut wooden sheets to build up a basic car shape. Can be much quicker than carving from scratch.

This is how I initially tried to do a Volvo Station wagon, file was from 3dwarehouse.com. You don't need to do as much as I did, you could make them say for example 30 mm apart and then cover it like you would a balsa plane. But as mentioned above, it would have to withstand high temp. Lexan melts at 155C.

 

On lexan, I think you'll have a lot more trouble vac forming lexan without a very good setup with good temp control and suction. Much easier, even if it its just to test, is to use PETG, it forms a lot easier (using a vacuum cleaner won't be an issue) as it has a much wider temperature range for vac former than lexan. Its almost as strong too, but much more likely to shatter if hit hard where lexan tends to deform a little first. Its cheaper though and polycarbonate paints aren't the best to use on it.

Volvo-850-BTCC-Estate-build-28.jpg

Volvo-850-BTCC-Estate-build-21.jpg

 

Wow that’s awesome! I’ll have to check that idea out. Also good mention on the PETG, I’ll try that rather than Lexan, besides the project of making it these are going to be used as runners for 3 boys (10-13yrs old and their big kid dad, haha) lunchbox, pumpkin, Blackfoot and Blitzer Beetle - this Mold or one like it could easily fit all of those Chassis’ with a bit of modding. a fun project that will get them away from the gaming etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PETG is baddddd :(

No joke on the shattering, they're as brittle as CD cases! 

I only use them as 1-run bodies because...

DSC03206.jpg

3692e125.jpg

they start chipping from the edge then they'll tear at next small impact

DSC02752.jpg

some worse than others; dunno whether difference is due to different material/batch or thicker etc or some moods draws them too thin.

These shells are (what we believe) PETG that some company knockedoff using existing bodyshells of that time from several other makers (Tamiya, HPI etc)

melting point is a lot lower than lexan

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that perspective WillyChang 😳 certainly requires some more research! But ya buying something off of the bay - may be your getting a cheap PETG body? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd agree that polycarbonate is definitely better and more durable, its just a lot harder to vac form well, especially in home vacuum setup. Thickness will also play a part, and maybe even reinforcing underneath the shell will help with lifespan. But as a way to start a project and even as a first try, I think PETG is a good way to go, and maybe move onto polycarbonate once you have a bit of experience.

There is a good chance anything cheap of eBay is PETG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doesn't PETG go brittle if you use the wrong paint??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Butler said:

Doesn't PETG go brittle if you use the wrong paint??

that seems to be the consensus. Search on the forums here for Retro Racing bodies, that was certainly an issue, which may have been from people using polycarbonate paint on the bodies. And to be honest those bodies weren't clearly sold as PETG bodies. Acrylic paint to my knowledge doesn't affect PETG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Inconclusive on the paint :mellow: I use both PS cans and Fascolor airbrush mainly, with a bit of Pactra, PC or Spaztik or Alclad II on occasion.

The Evo7 in champagne above is PS when the anodised paint first came out.

I painted a swagload more bodies from same batch in PS met blue & black & smoke for a "public test drive" fleet and somehow none of those fell apart even though they sure got a beating that weekend. 

DSC_1637s.jpg

 

These shells were bought by the carton during a local warehouse clear out, think they were importers of yumcha RCs like HSP or similar.

One of the odder models copied was the Baja King :) I've yet to put that shell onto a TL01B. Plastic feels a lot waxier than lexan. Plus if I wish to do minor remodelling, boiling water or a jet of steam is enough to get it pliant.

To do same with lexan I'd need to bust out the heatgun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now