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One of the DIY channel car restoration shows had a segment where they moleded and cast their own brake light and parking light lenses.

Anyone have experience with this?

I found a company on-line called Alumilite, and it looks like their stuff is available at just about every hobby store on the planet--it appears to be geared toward model railroaders and miniature hobbyists, but the web-site specifically promotes a vintage car lens application.

Seems kind of cool, just wondered what are the pros/cons.
 

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Reproduction lenses are not that expensive and are probably of higher quality than you can make at home. I am all for making your own parts and doing as much work as possible but tail lighet lenses are one of those things I am going to continue to purchase when needed.
 

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I might not be of a great help right now, but I will very soon cast my own lenses for my marchal shelby fog lights. These lenses are very very very hard to get and if you find some, they are in bad shape or cost a zillion.
I will cast these lenses with the help of a friend who is dental technician. He has all the equipment for casting smaller parts. I will post my experience once the project is completet.
 

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I actually design and cast specialty lenses. It is a very involved task....repro units are cheap and plentiful.
 

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I cast parts and have experience with several manufacturers! ALumilite is not the best product to use!
I use Polytek products and have been very happy! thier website But like someone else said it is a very involved process! You can produce very nice products with soft tooling (silicone rubber molds) rather than building hard tooling for injection molding like the originals are made.

If you have a piece that is not available in reproduction and you want a production run made I can put you in touch with a guy that can do it for you! He makes lots of lenses and his quality is wonderful.

one problem with soft tooling is that original parts are used to make the molds and if they have any imperfections in the original they will be faithfully reproduced in the mold and every part that comes out of the mold unless they are fixed first or a pristine original or NOS part is used. I have even had my fingerprints faithfully reproduced in parts since I did not wipe them off the original part!

The other difficulty with soft tooling is air intrapment! Injection molding uses masive pressures to remove air from the mold and replace it with molten plastic before it cools and sets up. Soft tooling uses gravity, centrifugal force and sometimes syringes to put the plastic into the mold that sometimes does not remove all of the air. proper venting of the mold can solve many of the intrapment problems but sometimes you need to place the entire mold into a vacuum chamber to remove the air while the resin sets up.
here is the mold I use to make jr steering wheels. It is one of the first molds I made and it is a few years old now. I will make a new one someday and make some corrections. That will correct a lot of the flash problems. I have made almost a hundred wheels from this mold.
http://www.jrcentral.com/images/repro6.jpg
 
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