|10-28-2012, 10:03 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2011
Kick Panel Tutorial pt 1.
I did a search and didn't find anything recent as far as building kick panels. A step by step tutorial. To do them right, you need a work shop with a router, circle jig, dremel (at the very least a jigsaw) and many other general tools. You also need the time to devote to doing it right. It involves a lot of time but once you know how to do it, door panels, trunks, dashboards…the world is your oyster. The only problem with my pictures is that they are from various kick builds so they illustrate the step but may not be coherent with the other pictures or even a step I'm explaining that I didn't learn till later on in my experience. So here it goes…
First step is to work out your area. I was serious about my build and this particular car didn't have a lot of room to work with so I cut out the rug in any place that would allow me more working depth. If you really have to it's not terribly difficult to extend or reroute wires. It's just not the kind of thing you want to screw up so don't take it lightly. For me this car they were not in the way.
Next which I don't have a photo of is to tape up your working area. You want to use a serious tape as your bottom layer covering rugs. Gorilla tape works well. Go crazy on this protection layer of taping, tape much farther than think you have to, tape stuff you couldn't imagine needing to tape. If it's something delicate you can use masking tape but use multiple layers. Ie if you have suede seats, don't' use gorilla tape, use something more appropriate.
Over the Gorilla tape put a high quality masking tape. You can find it at an auto body shop which is where I would buy my glass materials if you can. I always put two layers of masking tape. Again, tape, tape, tape. This is a messy process and Fiberglass Resin will NEVER come off or out of anything so protect yourself. As your final step you are going to put a double layer of aluminum foil. Take care with each of these steps to really follow the contours of your car. These are the form fitting shells we're making here so we want them to be contoured.
Tape the aluminum foil in place with masking tape on the edges and any seams you need to tape. If you can get a strip of foil over your tape seem. The reason we want the foil is it makes a nice break away layer once the fiberglass is cured. It will not soak through the doubled up foil and makes a nice release layer. If you were not to use the aluminum foil the resin would soak through the fleece material, through the masking tape and make the masking tape adhesive stick to the under layer randomly and getting your molds out will be a huge hassle. The foil is the answer to that. You can see it poking out from the edge in this picture
Once you do that you will use some crazy fleece you fin on sale at any fabric store. You want a thick fleece that will soak up the fiberglass resin and make a good strong mold. Here is the stuff I used.
Your corner will inevitably get bunchy so figure it where that is going to be and cut the material away ahead of time. I'll explain why later but a 2-3" hole should be perfect.(not pictured) This should be done before mixing the resin as you only have a short amount of working time with the materials.
Mix the resin to spec. Keep in mind outside temperature will affect how much hardener you use. If you screw up the ratio and you mix it hot (dries too quickly) don't attempt to keep going. Just finish where you can and mix a new batch. Use a painting motion with a cheap brush as you can only use it once to apply this layer only. Once you get a layer on your aluminum apply your fleece keeping in mind we want a good form fitting mold. Once your fleece is applied to your kick area paint on another layer of resin. This time however we are going to cut away some of the brush length so that we have a short stiff bristled brush and apply the resin with a stabbing motion to get it into the fleece. Painting it on during this step is not going to get the most amount of resin into the fleece. Cut the brush, use short stabbing motions, really soak the fleece. Pay close attention to the areas that will be transition points to the door frame etc. Make sure these are wrapped accurately and in a good way. I'll show you why with some of my early mistakes later.
Once cured you can pull out your molds and if you did your foil layer right they should pop right out. Now you want to use fiberglass matt and add several layers to your molds on the inside surface obviously. 3-4 layers is usually good as we are going to add some deadening later. But you want your molds to be at bare minimum 1/4", 3/8" is better. After curing you then use a dremel and trim them to the shape you want/need. For now cut them long. This is also the step where you want to mount your speaker rings (baffles)
Your speaker baffles you can approach in one of many different ways but remember that you are going to need to build your speaker grill design into your baffles. Many tweeters have a grill built in so I did a set this way that the tweeter would just top mount and did a ring with cloth to cover the midrange.
Once I got into home speakers which have no "built-in" protection I had to do a different grill design. Notice that here too I used t-nuts on the back of the baffle to bolt the speaker to the baffle. I also used a layer of non hardening modeling clay as a decoupler between the speaker and the baffle. One thing you have to remember is we are going to glass over the speaker rings with another 3/8" of glass so you have to account for that in your baffle design.
As for aiming your speakers this is where many different people will have many different theories and a lot of them have it totally wrong. You need to look at the speakers you plan on using and look at the frequency response graph as these will include the on axis response as well as 30 degrees off axis, 60 degrees and sometimes more. You need to get the best mix of both sides. Part of why you do kick panels is to get better path lengths. Both speakers are farther away which makes the difference between the one closest to you and the one farther away less important. You then try to make up that difference of near speaker and far speaker with the aiming. The farther speaker should have a better frequency response which usually means more on axis and the closer speaker should have have a lower frequency response which will usually mean more off axis. Some people will come up with a rig to mount the speakers and test them but unless they are in an enclosure that is totally meaningless. Just use the response graphs and your brain and pick a point to aim the speakers. Some speakers respond really well off axis so you can aim them at the opposing windows. MB Quartz are famous for this. The speakers I used in the above photo the seas excel lotus and hiquphon ow1 (the morel supremo is pictured but the hiquphon owned it and was the speaker I used permanently) I aimed both speakers at the dome light and that was the way to go. The excel did not work being very off axis for either side so it was that more central aiming that worked. Response graph and your brain is the way to go when picking an aiming point.
Once you have an aiming point you use dowels and hot glue or some sort of and mount them to your molds. You need them to be secure enough that you can stretch the fleece over it pretty tightly w/o ruining your aiming/mounting system.
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Last edited by claythrow; 10-29-2012 at 07:31 PM.