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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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3,518 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So... fairings. Yeah, folks here usually dump em, but for some reason I like the way dustbins & tails look, and there's no getting around that (done right) they make the bike faster. Shame they hid all the sexy mechanical bits. So, how about making a dustbin / tail setup that is transparent? Crazy cool, or just plain crazy?

I looked into blow-shaping hot acrylic, and wow, what an expensive pain in the ass that would be.

Then I thought about shrink wrap, and did some research. Turns out there's a fair number of folks building (open water style) kayaks with shrink wrap skins, using the same sort of wrap used to winterize boats and cover machinery for truck transport. And when using clear, it looks SEXY. And its CHEAP and EASY.



Any thoughts on the practicality of building a fairing this way? I'm thinking build a skeleton from aluminum tubing, mount it, and wrap that bitch in crystal clear hotness. With a solid structure in the right places, the skeleton might even double as crash / slide protection. The wrap would get wasted, but that stuff is damn cheap, and actually hard to find in small quantities.

Not sure what the aerodynamics would be like. Shrink wrap produces concave surfaces, and aero shapes tend to be convex. I know BMW experimented with stretch skins for cars though. Seems like with the right frame, you can get some nice shapes.

 

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Legit goon
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1,466 Posts
Seems like this'd be amazing when executed well. I'm always down for new and different :thumbsup:
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Hell, I'd try it. The reason I won't run a fairing is bcause it hides all the mechanical bits, I like the look of a machine. I want to see the parts, that's why I hate new car engines, you just get a platic bit on top and that's what you get to look at. Fuck that.
 

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Registered
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4,653 Posts
Definitely looks like it has potential but don't people usually hide all the ugly wiring bits in their tails not to much of mechanical sexiness to show off in it.
 

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30,403 Posts
Definitely looks like it has potential but don't people usually hide all the ugly wiring bits in their tails not to much of mechanical sexiness to show off in it.
Unless the wiring was made to look nice and everything was tidy.
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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3,518 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yah, I'm thinking this would basically be for a bike that looks decent naked. Probably something old with carbs and and air cooling, not for your typical modern sport bike that has a lot of stuff you'd want to hide anyhow (efi wires, hoses, radiator, etc).

For example, this bike, with a clear fairing. There's a freaking V8 sitting behind that green fiberglass!

 

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Hack in a barn
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4,409 Posts
LOL well damn, that shit is cool!

Like that last gsxr!
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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3,518 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I had no idea this was a thing that actually got used on track and road (even occasionally)- figured it was just for display bikes. I wouldn't want to try heat shaping a piece of plastic that big though, at least not to anything like that level of curvature and complexity. Guessing those were some BIG molds.

I like the valve covers, and they seem small enough to actually be practical to make, maybe. Wonder what that would look like on a dual cam bucket shim bike? Probably easiest to make those yourself is the same way you'd do a clear clutch cover- that is, put clear inserts on the metal part. Hmm, or maybe take a mold from the inside of your cover, then vacuum form some plastic over that. And I happen to have a cracked valve cover....
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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3,518 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah, you really need a vacuum molding box for anything more complex than a 1 dimensional bend, because it needs to be heated WHILE its being shaped AND you have to be able to see it (to judge when the plastic's sag is right) and it needs air pressure. And for a fairing, you'd basically need the same sort of mold you use for fiber glass, only it needs to be stiff enough to hold up to the air pressure and light / small enough to fit in your moulding box.

The Hack Factory has a couple of old industrial vac formers that get used occasionally, but they are not big enough for a fairing. Could easily handle a valve cover though, or a fly screen, etc. I may be doing my air box that way, making a form, splitting it in half, then vacuum shaping the halves and bolting them together with a sponge rubber gasket. Since its an exposed part (not up under the tank) would look pretty cool if clear, so I've been planning to make it from plexi. Air filter is gonna be a 3" automotive cone, will look like a giant pod filter. Shouldn't even require any tuning, if I match the stock box volume and snorkle dimensions.

There's somebody there doing a bunch of clear plastic forming right now, they build a nichrome wire heated bender for doing sharp(ish) corners that will be available for public use, is kinda how I got started thinking on this whole jag. He gave me some great advice, but it boiled down to "doing a heat shaped plexi fairing would be a huge, expensive pain in the ass"
 

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Is my bike ok?
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15,025 Posts
We used to form some Lexan in my buddies powdercoating oven. We'd put Lean windows in our drag cars,for weight obviously,but they always looked like poo because they were dead flat. One day we were building a '69 Camaro and the quarter windows just looked like ass being made out of flat Lexan. Those quarter windows also hold the chrome trim/weatherstripping piece that seals it against the door windows.

We cut a piece of Lexan a little big and just used squeeze clamps to hold it in place on the factory window. Stuck it in the oven at about 300*f . Maybe 15-20 IIRC. Cut the oven off and waited for about 30 minutes.We just watched the internal temp gauge until it hit room temp than waited a few more minutes. It was ok,but the squeeze clamps had left indentations where they sunk in to the softened Lexan. Shoulda known. We redid it with large blocks of plywood to distribute the pressure of the squeeze clamps and it did fine. We've probably done about 4 or 5 pairs of windows like this now with good results. I even did the back window for my '48 Olds like this and it was basically a bubble shape. Looks fine, still holding up. Just putting it out there FWIW. :)

Pictures don't show much,but here ya go.

Back window on my coupe


And a windshield I formed for my FED. Nothing as intricate as a full-on fairing,but definitely doable.
 

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moron with a hammer
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119 Posts
Off topic, but "my FED" is a phrase I hope I can someday type in seriousness.

Rad.
 
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