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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey SVrers,

I just want to put out a feeler to see what interest there might be for fiberglass for seat cowls.

For more background info, you can read my mod thread: http://forum.svrider.com/showthread.php?p=1422997#post1422997 (/self promotion :p) Anyways, I'm in the process of making a custom rear seat cowl. I decided to do this myself as a fun project/experiment, and because I objected to paying $160+ for an unpainted cowl.

I'm currently using balsa wood to sculpt the shape I want, and will eventually lay fiberglass over it. So the question is, would you be interested in a fiberglass shell? At this point, if I do this, I don't plan on providing/fabbing mounts, since I'm using a spare rear seat, so that would be up to you. If you were interested, how much would you pay for the shell? These would be for first gens only.

I'm not there yet, but once I'm done shaping the cowl, I have to decide whether to just glass over it, or to make a mold. Also, much forewarning, but if I do this, I'd like to keep it to very small quanitities (~5-10) initially, and delivery time will probably be pretty slow. So, thoughts?
 

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So, thoughts?
make the mold.
this way if someone stumbles on this a month from now you'll be able to just run a quick unit from the mold.
i would go ahead and fabricate the mounts, finish the glass nice and primer it. Then sell it for $100 or $75. You're creating a product of similar, i want to quality, but at that price you're bound to get the business of a few people despite not having a name out in the game (ie a few people from this board, and then they might tell their friends ect..) You would keep the costs low, making the mold and adding the mounts will take the most time, but when it comes time to make another unit it will be fast. And it would also delivery time wouldnt be that slow unless you tried to do them all at once.
 

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I would say it depends a lot on how it attached to the seat pan. I would like a cowl, but If it's going to be a major pita to attach it to a salvage yard seat pan, I'm probably not going to mess with it. I noticed from your other thread the original seat pan has been modded so I'm guessing that would have to be a part of the process? Or maybe you've got a way to make it work without the cutting? I would say $50-$75 depending on the amount of work it takes to get it mounted. Maybe a bit more if you were to come up with a complete kit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback. Regarding the seat pan, I think I cut more off than was really required. Like I said, this is still preliminary, and as I get further along with the shape, I'll have a better idea of what I could provide.

It will require a bit more work to make the mold, but if folks are interested in a low-cost alternative that requires a little bit of work on their part (ie, the mounting) I'm interested in providing the cowls for not much more cost than the glass and a bit of labor, so I think you're price estimate is pretty reasonable.

How would you feel about it if I was able to provide the cowl, with some bracing, internal structure, so that all you needed to do was glue it to a seat-pan (from ebay, your bike, salvage yard, etc)?
 

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Like you said, you were tired of paying $160 for an unpainted cowl.

Find the balance of cheap and easy is the key.

I personally would love a seat cowl, but haven't bought one for the same reason, price. So, I'm very interested in what you've got going here.

Later,
Chrome...
 

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Are first gen cowls really that much? I know you would make pocket change on the second gens since you can get them already painted for $75.


Another good one to look into would be for an R6, a friend of mine just paid $180 for one, you could sell them all day long for $100 probably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, the cheapest I have seen was $160 unpainted I believe, with painted ones going for around 200. They seem much less common than the cowls for the second gens.

I really don't have the interest, motivation, or time to turn this into a profit venture. My motivation really is to offset my cost/effort of making my own design by providing a few to other riders out there who feel the same way that I do regarding the prices of what's available.
 

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That is pretty rediculous just for a seat cowl, you can get a whole tail for that price.
 

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Yeah, the G1 cowls are pretty high. Targa seems to think theirs are made from the hopes and dreams of a thousand orphaned children, or something. Price seems to be anywhere between $135 and $189. But back on point here, something like you described with a little structure and bracing could do the trick. I'm wondering though, if you're adding internal structure, how hard would is it to work the bracing into the layers of glass so that it could be bolted or screwed to the seat pan and skip gluing? Keep in mind, this question is from someone who's never laid a single sheet of glass in his life so that kind of work may be the very reason these things are so high in the first place! Keep us posted.
 

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There's no reason that the cowl should require internal bracing.

My advice is to just make what you want and then go ride your bike. :) I think that by the time the project is over you'll find that you've had enough and the last thing you want to do is repeat the process for others without making a profit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, I think that will probably be true, but it's interesting to have the discussion out there, and if it works out to make a few, then so be it. Maybe I'll really enjoy working with the glass.

At the very least, this might serve to inspire others to make their own shapes.
 

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Definitely make a good mould with nice big flanges. The better the mould, the better the part.

Make a cowl out of anything you can, wood, foam, bondo, cardboard, doesn't matter. Sand it back to about 240 grit, then take a basic 'splash' mould from that.... basically that just means lay some glass over the top of your waxed up plug. Then make a good part from that. It'll be rough as your splash mould was quick and dirty, but you'll have a good solid fibreglass basis to do your finishing detail to. Get that nicely shaped down, sand it with 240 grit, and then shoot some Duratec surfacing primer over that. Sand that back, progressively getting higher and higher grit, till you get to 1200-1500 odd. Then buff that to a high gloss sheene with some light cutting compound. You'll be able to see yourself in it. Then wax it, flange it, wax the flange, wax it good, then cover it in tooling gelcoat, and lay your mould. Then you'll have a mould that'll make a few dozen parts, parts which will be good enough to merely trim, put a little primer on, then some paint. Not only that, but it'll be good enough to bag carbon against it.
 

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I would definatley be interested in a cowl if reasonable, I don't carry passenger so would be nice if I coud turn that area into a little more storege esp. for tools and travel goodies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update (and crosspost from my mod thread):

My bike got to stay in the lab last night, and when I got over here this afternoon picked up where I left off on shaping the plug for the seat cowl. Last night I glued a few blocks onto the frame that I had made previously, and left it to dry overnight looking like this:


Today I worked on what has been the hardest part for me, how to deal with the fact that the seatpan sits higher than the bodywork. As I want this to have as small a gap as possible between cowl and bodywork, I ended up going with expanding foam (didn't somebody recommend against that?), but it seemed the best way to fill in gaps and let me shape it how I want later.

So, started framing the lower parts of the cowl:


Building up a bit:


All done, with a few preliminary cuts to be made on the bandsaw on Tuesday when our shop opens back up:


Flipped over and foamed in all the gaps:



It needs to cure for 8 hours to reach full strength, which works out pretty well, so tomorrow morning I can file away the excess and get it ready for cutting/filing/sanding to shape.

More to come . . .
 

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You might have been better off spaying in the foam with the piece already on the bike, so the foam would take the shape of the bike.

BTW - you can get aluminum foil that has teflon on one side, and it's awesome to lay over something that you don't want epoxy resin or expanding foam to stick to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You might have been better off spaying in the foam with the piece already on the bike, so the foam would take the shape of the bike.

BTW - you can get aluminum foil that has teflon on one side, and it's awesome to lay over something that you don't want epoxy resin or expanding foam to stick to.
Good to know about the teflon coated foil now :p, but thanks for the info.

As for doing it on the bike, that might have been better in the long run, but I didn't want to mask everything or risk getting foam in weird places in the trunk. This should work out fine (I hope), but I'll keep that in mind if there is ever a next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Made a few cuts to the plug today with the bandsaw. I'll try to get an update with pics tomorrow after getting the bike over to school and playing with fitment/shaping.
 

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I'm just going to throw an idea out there to make your life easier.

Why not use the expanding foam you have over your seat? That way you can let it fill up tons of space and you can shape it to whatever shape you want and then fg over that. Just an idea. With sub boxes, wood is only used for framing. You can use felt to make smooth shapes and then fg over that.

*shrugs*. Just trying to make your life easier (hopefully)
 

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Ya. All you had to do was throw a sheet of plastic over the bike, then cut a hole over the rear seat and tape it around the edges. Then build the shell of the frame, then fill with foam. Then just shape her down. It would have taken mabye 30 minutes. Try it on you next one...
 
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