Sunday, April 7, 2019

Dune Buggy Wind Deflectors Project Part One

As the work progresses on with my Bugatti model project I also started looking at another project for my dune buggy once again.  As most of you already know I have done a lot of work on the dune buggy to make small improvements to this already outstanding vehicle. I thought I had all the projects done but as usual I spoke to soon.

I have been learning a lot about how a dune buggy drives like even though I have yet to have a chance to drive the one I have down the road due to lack of warm enough weather here in the Midwest.  With my online research I have found that the dune buggy will have a lot of side draft wind when it cruises down the road. Or better know as turbulence because of the flat windshield. To eliminate this side wind deflectors normally are installed to stop this from happening or at least reduce it.

Here is a list of what projects that I have completed or have planned for the dune buggy so far.

1. Create and install license plate mounts on front of car
2. Install of 3D printed housing cover to hide ugly hydraulics between the seats
3. Installation of a lock to the rear deck behind the seats
4. Installation of a GPS mount on the steering column
5. Removal of speakers that were badly placed and not hooked up to anything
6. Created 3D printed housing for a 40 watt wireless Bluetooth speaker mounted in roll cage
7. Created and installed fiber glass glove compartment for dash
8. Installation of a video backup camera with LED lights. (Note...there were no backup lights on car)
9. Install needed of wind deflectors on both sides of the windshield
10. Install needed of removeable vinyl Sombrero top
11. Install needed of correct rear tires to match front tires

So you can see I have been busy over the winter months and still have a ways to go before I am done. With that in mind the wind deflectors are at the top of the list now and so the reason for this posting.

With my research online to find information about wind deflectors I came across several manufacturers of this item.  Prices ran from around $200 on up to as much as $300 or more.  I looked at the different assemblies and how they are installed and once again knew that I could make the assemblies cheaper without having to drill holes into the windshield frame of the dune buggy.

Pictured above is what one of the deflectors look like.  This photo is of a deflector sold by Meyer Manx dune buggies. It was a good place to start as from the site I was told that the holes in the polycarbonate plastic were 14 inches apart.  From this bit of information I was able to create a template of the shape and scale it so the holes would be exactly 14 inches apart.  This would make the rest of the drawing to also be correct.  At least that is what I thought. More on this later.

Here is a good example of a pair of wind deflectors for a dune buggy.  Nice but once again holes would have to be drilled into the windshield frame to mount them.  Not what I want to do.

Again another good set of wind deflectors also needing holes drilled in windshield frame to mount.  Plus the fact that these deflectors cost around $300. Not what I want to spend.

Here is a good looking buggy with the wind deflectors installed.  I think this will be great for my buggy as well but I want to keep the cost down without having to drill into the windshield frame to get them installed.

This gentleman has the same idea that I have by using mirror mounts to hold the wind deflectors in position without having to do any drilling.  I found this photo online.  What you see here is actually part of a glass shelving unit for a bathroom.  Not sure how he managed to get the shelving mount to mate to the mirror mount though.

What I have in mind is to use the aluminum mirror mounts along with 3D printed pivot mounts for the wind deflectors.   The deflectors themselves will be made from 1/4" polycarbonate plastic and the 3D printed parts will have a 60% infill to make them strong enough to do the job.  With all of the 3D printing that I have done over the years I thing that a 60% infill should do the job nicely.  The only way the parts could fail is if as my brother had said was to have a major bird strike the mount or at least hit it with a hammer.

By the way for those of you unfamiliar with the term infill in 3D printing this is the amount of plastic within a part when it is printed. If you 3D printed a cube with nothing inside it would be hollow and have a 0% infill.  If the cube was solid it would have a 100% infill.  So I think 60% should work fine for the mounts.

Here's a good look at how the upper and lower mounts would look.  The mounts are attached to the aluminum mirror mounts so there will be no need to drill into the windshield frame which makes the installation much quicker and easier. 
Here's what the aluminum mirror mounts look like and I will be using to mount the wind deflectors.  I have these mounts on the car now and they are well made and are easy enough to install.  Just a couple of minutes to mount all of them for the deflectors so that is a plus.  That and the fact that a mounting hole is already for use could not make things simpler. 

I have the polycarbonate for the deflectors already ordered for the project.  To mention the shape of the deflectors again I originally had copied the image that I had gotten online from the Meyers Manx site.  I cut out a template and this is what I found out.  The shape I had created was good but it looked way to large to use for the project. You can see in the photo above that the deflector if mounted would extend above the edge of the roof line. Not what I wanted at all. Just does not look right in my eyes.

I went back to my computer and reworked the template for the deflectors by shortening the height by three inches.  Now this looks more proper so that is the plan now to use this template for the project. 

It will take me a couple of days to create the 3D printed parts for the mounts which should not be any big problem.  I have the aluminum mirror mounts ordered and should receive them in the next couple of weeks.  When the polycarbonate for the deflectors also arrives I will see if I can get the parts cut out on a laser cutter at my local maker space. If not I know I  can cut them out using a band saw but then some work will have to be done on the parts to sand the edges smooth and then make the edges clear again by using a butane torch to heat the plastic.  I have played with this process before so I know it will work and not be terribly difficult to do.  Just will have to take my time with the parts to get them the way I want and looking good when I am done. 

That's about it for now on this project.  Once I get the materials together and start making parts I will post more info.  It will be another nice addition to the dune buggy.  By then the weather will have warmed up enough for me to actually get it on the road and test out the deflectors too.  Should be fun to be sure. 

1 comment:

  1. will you make a set for others to purchase? PLEEEEAAASSSS.