Fibreglass Fabricator wanted! - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old February 21st, 2007, 10:58 AM
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Neil McLeod
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Fibreglass Fabricator wanted!

How hard would it be for someone with fibreglass fabrication skills to make molds and produce a Hard Top for us D90ers based on the LR original version? With any modifications to improve design? That would be sweeeet. He'd make some money (not a lot though ) and our specialist needs would be met.

We need to find that man and quick as it's too cold up here in Canada. I'm sure it's the same for peeps living in northerly US areas.
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  #2  
Old February 21st, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Jim Cheney
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What you need is an aluminum top. The fiberglass one is worse than the soft top.
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  #3  
Old February 21st, 2007, 11:10 AM
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Neil McLeod
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I'm trying to stick as close to the original design concept as possible. I am also suggesting improvements to the way it can be installed to facilitate a better fit. Fibreglass is lighter and easier to install and dare I say cheaper, assuming someone doesn't take this idea forward with a view to milk us for all we're worth.

That said, if someone has an ally top going cheap, I wouldn't be averse to changing my mind.
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  #4  
Old February 21st, 2007, 11:54 AM
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Check with Kevin from ontario, he can probably get you a UK alum top cheap enough. Problem with the alum tops is two fold:
1. Liftgates are hard to come by and expensive.
2. POE attachment brackets are like hens teeth.

1. You can sell the tailgate and run a SW door, but #2 is a real issue.
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  #5  
Old February 21st, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Ade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erimus 1
How hard would it be for someone with fibreglass fabrication skills to make molds and produce a Hard Top for us D90ers based on the LR original version? With any modifications to improve design? That would be sweeeet. He'd make some money (not a lot though ) and our specialist needs would be met.

We need to find that man and quick as it's too cold up here in Canada. I'm sure it's the same for peeps living in northerly US areas.
Hey Neil, I actually looked into exactly what you are asking. From what I was told, the cost to make the mold was the issue. Once the mold is made, new tops would run around $1K or so. I think you would need 15 or more interested parties to offset the cost of the mold.

The guy I spoke to, said there were ways to make the tops stronger so that they wouldn't break as easy.

What are most Jeep Hardtops made of? Wouldn't that be a better option?
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  #6  
Old February 21st, 2007, 12:33 PM
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Kris
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Is there anyway to modify an aluminum hardtop to act like the fiberglass top?

I love the look of the aluminum, but the ability to take off and put the top back on at will would be great. I really dont want to go through the trouble of removing sections of the roll cage.

Pendy said this wasnt feasible, and Im sure hes right, but has anyone else thought about it?
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  #7  
Old February 21st, 2007, 12:53 PM
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I looked into making an aluminum version and it would have been cost prohibitive.
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  #8  
Old February 21st, 2007, 08:16 PM
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Neil McLeod
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Hi Ron

Where does Kevin hide out? I'm an ex-pat in the wilderness with little knowledge of places or people!

Ta muchly,

Neil

Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij
Check with Kevin from ontario, he can probably get you a UK alum top cheap enough. Problem with the alum tops is two fold:
1. Liftgates are hard to come by and expensive.
2. POE attachment brackets are like hens teeth.

1. You can sell the tailgate and run a SW door, but #2 is a real issue.
Follow-up Post:

Hi Ade

That's quite a reasonable price and if someone developed a mold you could pretty much guarantee that it would pay for itself a thousand fold over. Now imagine if we had a rich D90 owner on here who could absorb this initial cost with a local fabricator who could manufacture these little puppies. I'm surprised that the major guys out there haven't cottoned on to the idea of making a replica ST sympathetic to the original look. I'm sure there are more than just guys like us who'd want something lightweight, easy to install and remove that was reasonably priced and that resembled the old stock top but did a better job because it was stronger.

Design outline prepared, now for that rich, friendly and affable D90 owner looking to speculate and accumulate a modest profit. Or maybe an entrepreneurial fabricator spotting a gap in the market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by themaxx
Hey Neil, I actually looked into exactly what you are asking. From what I was told, the cost to make the mold was the issue. Once the mold is made, new tops would run around $1K or so. I think you would need 15 or more interested parties to offset the cost of the mold.

The guy I spoke to, said there were ways to make the tops stronger so that they wouldn't break as easy.

What are most Jeep Hardtops made of? Wouldn't that be a better option?
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  #9  
Old February 21st, 2007, 09:07 PM
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Mike
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I have thought about making a hard top from aluminum that would assemble/disassemble just like the fiberglass hardtop. I like the look of the aluminum hardtop and the safety that the roll cage provides. My expertise is more into machining than sheet metal fabrication though. Anybody here savvy with sheet metal work???

Cheers...
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  #10  
Old February 21st, 2007, 11:42 PM
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Chris Snyder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grover
I have thought about making a hard top from aluminum that would assemble/disassemble just like the fiberglass hardtop. I like the look of the aluminum hardtop and the safety that the roll cage provides. My expertise is more into machining than sheet metal fabrication though. Anybody here savvy with sheet metal work???

Cheers...
Man that'd be cool...
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  #11  
Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:43 PM
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Neil McLeod
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I feel a D90 Project Team forming! I still like the idea of a lightweight fibreglass top but if you think it would be possible to set up a somehwat heavier ally rig that does the job then I'm all ears and my wallet is on stand-by for an exciting exchange of metal and cash!
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  #12  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 09:00 AM
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Dave Lucas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij
2. POE attachment brackets are like hens teeth.
What do they look like, I might be able to make a batch if people would be intrested in them.
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  #13  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 09:27 AM
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Trevor K
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
What you need is an aluminum top. The fiberglass one is worse than the soft top.
I love my fiberglass top compared to my soft top, If i didn't like driving most of the summer without a top at all i'd leave it on year round...

The molds for the top don't seem overly complicated, just large, it would be very straight forward to cast it into plaster or something, i bet you i could find a couple of skilled mexicans who if given the space and materials could turn out the tops for sub 1k easily, minus glass , mounting hardware, and rear hatch
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  #14  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 10:52 PM
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Neil McLeod
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I think you're right Trevor. It isn't rocket science, it's just a simple fabrication issue. All that's needed is an original soft top and as you say plaster to make the mold inside and out along with other tools needed for the job and Bob's your Uncle. Anyone with a bit if knowledge and experience in fabrication would surely be able to come up with something that would be an excellent fit for our D90's.

Fibreglass is definitely the way to go for me, minus any design flaws present in the original design. I know I'm being overly simplistic and that a lot of thought will need to be applied to take into account back and side windows/hinges/fixings etc but I'm sure it can be done.
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  #15  
Old February 24th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Adam Knox
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While you are at it, you should do a replacement for the interior door panels. Although fiberglass might be a little thick...
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