Jump to content
colourbox

How to make door panels out of lexan

Recommended Posts

This project was started a couple months ago. It's still in the works. It's a little more costly than just using cardboard but I wanted something that would last and wouldn't break. Between work and rainy weekends progress keeps getting interrupted. I've got a spare set of door panels to mess with until the lexan is ready. I was able to get the covering off the spare panels. Not too difficult since the glue holding it is 35 years old. I'd like to reuse it on the lexan. Making panels from lexan and reusing the old vinyl is going to be an experiment I hope works out.

Here's the old door panel
VQlZ8ZL.jpg

Stripped off old vinyl material. It just pulled right off.
zmckiYA.jpg

Used the old panel to trace out a template on a thick piece of wood. Used a router to cut the shape.
eGSPs6x.jpg

 

PAv9hNL.jpg

 

wmMSm81.jpg

 


This is the sheet of lexan. It's been cut down into 4 pieces.
vHbtOwR.jpg

Next my husband and I plan on taking the template to his dad's place so we can use his drill press to drill out the door clip holes and holes for the arm rest screws. Plan on doing that this week.

That's where I'm at now. Going on vacation next week so won't get back to this for a couple weeks. Once we get back to this we'll be using the template to route the lexan into shape.

Has anyone ever made door panels and glued in foam between the panel and material? I'm thinking I'd like to do that instead of just gluing the material to the panel. Can anyone recommend some glue for the job? We've got an idea of which will work best but I'd like to hear other people's experience.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Can i ask why not use Masonite??   it's easy to work with,  flexible, and glue sticks to it pretty well.

 

When you go to drill lexan it's going to wanna crack ,,, then when you make the elongated holes for your clips it's going to wanna crack .. Then when you do get clips solidly into door ,, if you ever wanna take it off again to fix window regulator ( it is a Datsun after all ) the pressure of prying it off will make it vulnerable to cracking. Also ,, not alot of adhesives stick long term to plastics ( yeah they make some hightech stuff but high tech usually means,, either you can't get it or high cost.

 

Not shooting you down but i worked in the plastics industry in fabrication for 10 years,, and i would use anything else but hard plastic for that job.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Try the yellow contact cement .....

 

But what you could have done to make the panels last longer is prime the board .. And create a water barrier like the plastic they used...

Share this post


Link to post

And create a water barrier like the plastic they used...

Shower board has a sealed side. Pretty much like dry erase boards. Have the sealed side toward the inside of the door. The other side is rough and unfinished unlike masonite, so it'd be good for glue adhesion if you use some foam inbetween. Gluing vinyl/whatever just to the rough side would probably look bad.

 

It's cheap too. Maybe a few bucks more than regular masonite. I bought a full size sheet (4'x8' 1/8" thick) of masonite a few years ago and it wasn't much.

Share this post


Link to post

I've used thin ~1/8 plywood before, cheap, and easy to work. 

 

Got to agree with Nanners, I've done a lot of work with plastic and polycarbonate in the past also, and he is absolutely right on the problems with this.

Share this post


Link to post

I've thought of doing this myself, and have a water logged 620 black door panel now I'd like to salvage. 25% of the panel is warped and water logged. Drying it out now. I'm debating on reworking it, or just spaying it down and flattening it out.. Kudos for going for it.

 

My concern is how thick your material is. It looks to be 1/2" thick??? Won't that protrude out from the door a lot and catch shoes, fingers, etc?

 

I'll be very impressed if the vinyl skin can be glued back down without stretching out the pattern it or getting lumps.

 

There is a UFO fabric supply store in Vista and one in San Diego that does custom home upholstery. They sell spray on adhesive glue ($7-8 a can)  for gluing foam together, gluing material to backing boards, and for custom molded foam for upholstery seats and the likes. But I think the working time is limited. You might want to try it on a couple smaller practice pieces first to learn how tacky it is and avoid any bubbles, ripples, and the likes. Can send you a pic when I get home. I'm sure most fabric stores carry it, or something like it.

Share this post


Link to post

I used the pressed cardboard material that is made for door panels that I purchased from an upholstery supply house.  I don't recall the price, but I purchased enough to do 3 510s at one time for approximately $50.

 

I removed the fabric from the old panels, clamped the old panel to the new material and traced it.  While still clamped to the new material, I used this tool

http://www.harborfreight.com/9-piece-hollow-punch-set-3838.html

to punch the new holes.  One punch was the perfect size, so I just placed it in the old hole, put a scrap 2x4 under the material, and pounded out the new hole.  Voila.... perfect placement.  I did use a larger hole saw for the window crank and door handle holes.

 

I sewed the old heat pressed panel design into new vinyl backed with 1/4 inch foam.  Then I glued it to the new panel with standard 3M spray adhesive.  Worked well for me.  Here is the only picture I have of the final panel.

 

IMG_0638.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

To answer everyone about the lexan the husband wanted to try it out. He's worked with it and hasn't had any cracking issues. It's about 1/8". Not any bigger than the original panel. It's actually fairly flexible material. Not stiff. If it cracks when we drill it (he has drilling bits for plastic) then it cracks and we move on. He got spray 90 I think to glue the vinyl. I've never had a water issue with Stanley so I'm not too worried about having to water proof anything. And now that he sits in a garage it's less of an issue. Yes, he's a queen :) I appreciate all your feedback. Like I said, it's an experiment so if it doesn't work then I'm all about your suggestions and what you've done cause that will be the next thing I do. I do want to try a test piece to see how well the vinyl will glue to the lexan which is also why I have extra panels. The good ones are still in Stanley.

Here's a pic of the lexan after it was cut down.
P9ZtKx5.jpg

I picked up some door clips from Nissan. They're longer than the originals and also about $3 cheaper. I already tested it out on the panel and the door and it works perfectly.
cJunXEZ.jpg

Didn't get to drill the holes in the template so we won't get back to it until after our vacation. At least I hope so. The husband may be going to Hawaii for a job toward the end of March. So far it's on but delays sometimes happen. When he heads out I'll probably join him for a few weeks.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Quick tip for drilling lexan:

use a heat gun to warm it up

I make a lot of triangle flashers for salmon fishing out of the thicker stuff and use a heat gun on both sides to warm it up and prevent stress cracking. Really important when you're dragging them through water with a whole bunch of drag and weight involved. I'll be doing lexan doors on my 620 as well

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I just upholstered my kick panels a week ago, and used foam backing.  Put most of the process in my wagon thread.

 

The upholstery stuff starts here:

 

http://community.ratsun.net/topic/38680-duncans-71-oz-goon/page-54

 

I took a photo of the glue so I knew which one to get.  They make a Blue label can, and he advised not using it.  The red stuff is quite fumacious, so use outside and/or use a respirator.  I used 2-3 coats of glue on each surface to be mated, and they are not ever going to come loose on their own....

 

My usual disclaimer: I'm sure there are plenty of ways to do this, and most are probably legit.  This is just what I did, YMMV.

 

 

upholglu.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Quick tip for drilling lexan:

use a heat gun to warm it up

I make a lot of triangle flashers for salmon fishing out of the thicker stuff and use a heat gun on both sides to warm it up and prevent stress cracking. Really important when you're dragging them through water with a whole bunch of drag and weight involved. I'll be doing lexan doors on my 620 as well

Thanks. So noted.

Share this post


Link to post

I just upholstered my kick panels a week ago, and used foam backing. Put most of the process in my wagon thread.

 

The upholstery stuff starts here:

 

http://community.ratsun.net/topic/38680-duncans-71-oz-goon/page-54

 

I took a photo of the glue so I knew which one to get. They make a Blue label can, and he advised not using it. The red stuff is quite fumacious, so use outside and/or use a respirator. I used 2-3 coats of glue on each surface to be mated, and they are not ever going to come loose on their own....

 

My usual disclaimer: I'm sure there are plenty of ways to do this, and most are probably legit. This is just what I did, YMMV.

 

 

upholglu.jpg

Thanks I'll check it out.

Share this post


Link to post

We're in Hawaii and it's freaking raining. WTF. Guess I'll have plenty of time for research :)

Share this post


Link to post

Our 3rd full day here and the sun came out. It came out every day after that. It's really breezy today. We leave tomorrow and then it's back to work on the panels. Meanwhile, enjoy a little whale watching.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Colorurbox,

DO NOT use contact cement on your original 36 year old vinyl material. It has a very high probability of distorting and ruining the old vinyl.

 

This week I was in a hurry to repair an original door panel board and orig vinyl. I negligently followed this recommendation without first testing a scrap piece. Why? Because I've used contact cement for all kinds of other jobs and didn't take the time to think about what I was doing.

 

I cut the board off a clip board and glued it on the back of the existing door panel board to back plate it. I had to put down layers of contact cement. There was a hole in the orig board and the contact cement bled thru the foam an distorted my nice orig black vinyl material. As pissed off as I was at ruining my door panel I let it go and hought it was just old material breaking down.

 

Picked up the Dap Weldwood contact cement can and read it ( like I should have done before using it on a new material.) "The solvents in this product may damage painted surfaces, vinyls, & other plastics."

 

Duncan had the best intentions and was lucky not to have that occur. I surmise his didn't distort more than likely because he was using new material with a strong fresh bond, and the vinyl is web-backed.

 

 

 

 

I just upholstered my kick panels a week ago, and used foam backing.  Put most of the process in my wagon thread.

 

upholglu.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the info! Sucks about your panel :(

We've got spray 90 but thanks for the reminder to check what it shouldn't be used on.

Share this post


Link to post

Got the lexan trimmed and ready for routing.
WGr5MsH.jpg

BCXkOoT.jpg

Still working on the template to make sure we get straight edges when routing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Got the arm rest and door clip holes drilled out of the template.

LSW795y.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Door latch and window crank holes have been cut out of the lexan.

6mCfXYV.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Came out nice. No cracks ya'll!

d7Ps7dk.jpg

 

KquCEBk.jpg

Got it sanded so the glue will stick better.

7plOwp4.jpg

 

UYWaatX.jpg

 

hlxGhQs.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Two panels!

tnsyZnW.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Next step is to test them out on Stanley before attempting to put the vinyl covering on. I also need to find some foam. Getting to the home stretch!

Share this post


Link to post

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

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.