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 Post subject: home made headlights?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:23 am 
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 1:13 pm
Posts: 257
Location: cleveland, ohio
ok so i know these wont be DOT legal but if that matters to u than dont worry about the thread. as for everyone who realizes that a locost is likely to be able to run any headlights it wants without any trouble here is the question.

Has anyone thought of or tried to make their own headlights? like i said i realize it wont b DOT legal but i can live with that. I dont want the typical round headlights and most others are too big square/rectangle or expensive. so if we an bend and hammer and form sheet metal in all forms for bodywork why not make some headlight housings to shape. i realize there is much design that can go into the general headlight shaping to determine reflection and angle and brightness but is there any real reason not too make our own?

my car is a long way off from needing headlights but i though maybe i'd share and see what consensus is.
discuss amongst yourselfs
thanks as always

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86 rx7 as my dd
90 talon as old dd turned into donor for the locost
06 suzuki sv1ks for the kneedragging fix

mitsu 4g63 powered 442e - viewtopic.php?f=35&t=7317&start=0


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:12 pm
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Location: Denver, CO
Here's the biggest problem I see with it, if you're making a traditional style halogen headlamp, you'll run into the problem of your reflector. No offense, but I seriously doubt you'd be able to whack together a good reflector that casts light on the road and not directly into peoples eyes. Manufacturers spend a ton of time and money perfecting the reflectors for their halogen lights, something not easily replicated with a hammer and sheet metal. So either start with a reflector and make a housing for it, or just buy a premade headlamp.

That said, lots of guys who want HID's but hate cheap HID eBay kits *points to self* instead use retrofit kits. Get a projector out of another car (BMW, Mercedes, Acura, etc etc), and find a set of bulbs and ballasts to drive them. Here's the nifty part, the projector is, technically, the entire headlamp! You don't need a reflector, just a housing to hold the projector and keep it dry and out of the elements. So, for you, find a glass lens, form some metal around it however you like, just make sure you can fit your projector into it. Bam, not only do you have custom headlights, but you also have some nice HID's that WILL NOT blind other drivers due to a poor beam pattern being bounced off a reflector designed for a halogen bulb!

Here's a website that sells a lot of HID retrofit stuff, including OEM projectors and HID kits to fit them. A little pricey (certainly moreso than used projectors from eBay) but very good quality stuff: http://www.theretrofitsource.com

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 1:13 pm
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Location: cleveland, ohio
'No offense taken. I don't think I could form a proper deflector either. The big difference in headlights or fog or driving I think is just the reflector so I agree that it probably not be the best.

I thought of refamking a factory but for now my donor uses old school 4x6 units so that was out. When time comes maybe I'll go junkyard scavanging for tiny oem headlight units to tear apart

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86 rx7 as my dd
90 talon as old dd turned into donor for the locost
06 suzuki sv1ks for the kneedragging fix

mitsu 4g63 powered 442e - viewtopic.php?f=35&t=7317&start=0


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:52 pm
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My $0.02 on making headlights.

I don't think making headlights is going to be a cost savings, although it might possibly be. To me the #1 reason to make your own headlights is to have something unique for your car.

You could certainly use a sealed beam lamp from the auto parts store -- which would give you the reflector, glass and lamp all in one, and just build your own enclosure. There are some places that sell halogen replacements for for sealed beams, so you could later upgrade if you wanted more light -- but I suspect that at that point you will have lost any cost savings.

You can also use 12V halogen lamps designed for interior lighting like the MR11 style. I make headlights for choppers, and also make an insert that is a drop-in replacement for a 4.5" sealed beam that uses four 75watt sealed (glass front) MR11 spots.

This is the headlight I make, which uses a standard 4.5" sealed beam lamp
(shown only partly polished, we sell them fully polished now)
Image

and this is the halogen unit I make, with three 75 watt sealed lamps
Image


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 347
Location: Darboy, WI
My understanding for not having sculpted headlights until the last 15 years or so, was because of the lack of a simplified equations to determine the focus of a compound curved area. Therefore all we had before then were simply round, square, or rectangluar. Once computing power became cheap and plentiful, they were used to design the crazy headlight shapes you've been used to seeing in recent history.

Short story: Too complex to figure out by ones self without a phD in photometrics or similar. Although the HID projector idea sounds doable! :D

If you do make something, post pictures and a write-up! Good Luck.

Ross


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:40 pm
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Location: san francisco bay area
if its simply a matter of external visual appearance the newer projectors get pretty durn small. ..
the intent of this video series is installing some into an existing housing but might give you a few ideas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imIiglkq7HA

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:47 am
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it doesnt seem like this should be too hard of a deal if you are ok spending a little money. With HID kits you really only need a 2.5-3" hole, the housing does the rest. You should be able to make the rest of it any shape you like.


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