Metal Letters Full set question

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JT68
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Metal Letters Full set question

Post by JT68 »

Hi guys,

There have recently been some new and used roadster hood emblems offered up for sale as well at least one aftermarket approximation for sale of the DATSUN hood letter set.

Reproducing these is right smack in our wheel house so thought I’d ask: if nearly exact correct metal&chrome letters were available would anyone still want “approximate” versions?

We looked at CNC machining the letters in SS, but to my eye they just look like a caricature of the original letters. Stainless or aluminum or whatever, they would never pass any Ted test.

Obviously quality (USA production) chrome would cost more no matter what, but not THAT much more since no semi-decent repro would be super cheap.

So since we COULD make terrific oem style copies, should we bother with gross approximations?

You can post, pm or call me.

Thx,
j
Last edited by JT68 on Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Solex68
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by Solex68 »

I would be interested in correct style. I don't see a need for an approximate type.
Last edited by Solex68 on Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Linda
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by Linda »

Exact copies would be best, I think.
Approximations would be OK if not too expensive, but you might not want to bother.
If someone has letters on their car, then they lose one, well they have to do something. Can’t really plug up all the holes without a repaint. So I think there is a market. Might want to get a feel for what the market and cost would be. Stainless would be nice.
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23yrRebuild
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by 23yrRebuild »

Solex68 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:45 pm
I would be interested in correct style. I don't see a need for an approximate type.
+1 JT
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Linda
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by Linda »

Why would CNC machining produce a “caricature” of the correct font letters? I thought it was very precise?
Guess if you did a test letter and put it next to OEM, and no one could tell the difference exceppt Ted it wouldn’t matter :lol: :lol:
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JT68
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by JT68 »

Hi Linda, right, its not a question of accuracy or precision with a CNC machine. Modern machines are ridiculously precise and accurate. Its more about features of the letters that anyone's eye can easily spot that would be silly expensive to duplicate by CNC.

If you take a close look at a OEM set there are many features that would require hours of machine time to implement. That means high machining cost and high programming cost to attempt to make a close copy. Then there is polishing & finishing cost. The finished surface has to be highly polished for plating or use "as-is". Gets expensive quickly. Are owners going to pay 1000$ a set? doubt it.

There are also some sharp casting features that just do not lend themselves well to CNC, so a machined set at reasonable cost would be really easy to spot. Ted jr. or Ted III could probably spot them from 10 feet. That's why I say caricature of the oem letters.

This is why I asked the question though. Since hood letters are SO visible and prominent, would many folks want a fairly expensive set that is just a gross approximation? I'll look into it further, but unless I'm missing something, do agree with all the comments above. Thanks guys
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jrusso07
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by jrusso07 »

My opinion = Correct style
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Linda
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by Linda »

Seems like plastic ones would be cheaper and easier if they can be made correctly.
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by GeoffM »

I guess the question is; Does modern manufacturing techniques help drive down the cost of small batch duplicates while getting OEM quality?
Injection molded plastic with vapor deposition "chrome" finish (like any chrome plastic piece now-a-days would probably make a part indistinguishable from the OEM at a decent unit price but the tooling would be very expensive

Investment cast stainless piece that are micro-polished would be get rid of the chroming requirement but again the tooling.

Also, they both rely on the quality of the vendor and their QC. Its one thing to make a functional piece, its another to make a decorative piece.

I can see where doing these letters becomes tough constraining quality vs cost. Consequences on consequences.

Good luck!!
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by spl310 »

What about investment castings?
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JT68
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by JT68 »

GeoffM wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:15 pm
I guess the question is; Does modern manufacturing techniques help drive down the cost of small batch duplicates while getting OEM quality?
Injection molded plastic with vapor deposition "chrome" finish (like any chrome plastic piece now-a-days would probably make a part indistinguishable from the OEM at a decent unit price but the tooling would be very expensive

Investment cast stainless piece that are micro-polished would be get rid of the chroming requirement but again the tooling.

Also, they both rely on the quality of the vendor and their QC. Its one thing to make a functional piece, its another to make a decorative piece.

I can see where doing these letters becomes tough constraining quality vs cost. Consequences on consequences.

Good luck!!

I think these comments are pretty much dead on the mark (at least from my experience). Sid, yes, investment casting would be a way to cast the parts correctly, but casting, trimming, polishing and chrome would definitely add up - literally like making jewelry. Gold letters anyone? As Geoff points out, proper tooling (mold) and processes would do the job correctly and accurately, its just $$$$ of money upfront and it totally "relies on the quality of the vendor and their QC". We'll see if we can find a solution.

Guess I'll re-plate some oem metal letters and salvage all the plastic ones while we explore it.
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garth
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Re: Metal Letters Full set question

Post by garth »

JT68 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:44 am
GeoffM wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:15 pm
I guess the question is; Does modern manufacturing techniques help drive down the cost of small batch duplicates while getting OEM quality?
Injection molded plastic with vapor deposition "chrome" finish (like any chrome plastic piece now-a-days would probably make a part indistinguishable from the OEM at a decent unit price but the tooling would be very expensive

Investment cast stainless piece that are micro-polished would be get rid of the chroming requirement but again the tooling.

Also, they both rely on the quality of the vendor and their QC. Its one thing to make a functional piece, its another to make a decorative piece.

I can see where doing these letters becomes tough constraining quality vs cost. Consequences on consequences.

Good luck!!

I think these comments are pretty much dead on the mark (at least from my experience). Sid, yes, investment casting would be a way to cast the parts correctly, but casting, trimming, polishing and chrome would definitely add up - literally like making jewelry. Gold letters anyone? As Geoff points out, proper tooling (mold) and processes would do the job correctly and accurately, its just $$$$ of money upfront and it totally "relies on the quality of the vendor and their QC". We'll see if we can find a solution.

Guess I'll re-plate some oem metal letters and salvage all the plastic ones while we explore it.

No counter argument from me JT!

I think we have arrived at a point in roadster history where almost the entire fleet of surviving roadsters should be considered as restoration projects in progress save for a small stream of cars going into the racing program. In trying to achieve ultimate "OEM originality", most restorers will spend $$'s to get the highest finish quality and quick delivery particularly if the product/service is vetted by the roadster community.

I don't pretend know the current trends of the entire roadster world but in the community that is closest to me and I'm in touch with, there is a lot of owners who are currently upgrading cars. Whether it is WIP daily drivers being freshened to show level cars, or project cars that have been passed on to new owners willing to fund their newly acquired cars to show winning finish, an encouraging level of restoration is happening. A lot of them will choose the replacement option rather than restoring or swapping in a better-looking used part options.

It is great to see proactive vendors developing new “original quality” replacement parts!
Garth
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