Register now to get rid of these ads!

ABS Plastic and Door Panels

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mj40's, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,280

    mj40's
    Member

    The past 40 years I have been an upholster. Mostly in the furniture line. I have done a few cars for friends and have always struggled with what to use for door panels and such. Panel board used to be what the pros used. It was a tar board made to repel moisture but it would eventually warp. I used to use wood paneling of the type used in bathrooms with a vinyl coating on one side. Putting the vinyl side toward the outside did help. I recently was introduced to ABS paneling. I’m in aahh! Its advantages is unlimited. It comes in 4x8 sheets in different thicknesses. I use the 1/8” for door panels and have used thinner in a pickup headliner. The neat thing about it is it cuts very easy. Just scribe it with a box knife and it will break off with a clean edge. You can clean up the edges with a sanding block or I have used my 4” grinder with a sanding disc to adjust the edges or smooth them out. It can be glued with the ABS glue to make different patterns in the surface. For instance if you want a flamed pattern in the door panel or headliner. Just cut out your pattern, glue it into place and glue your material over the surface and form the material around the pattern. It can bend to odd curves and heated to hold its shape. The first photo is of the area around the side of the front window of my 40 Pickup. You can see that the last upholster used chrome screws to attach the windlace around the dash area. The second photo shows a panel I made to clean up that area. All it needs now is to be covered in material to match and screwed in under the widow molding. No screws showing and a very clean look. I made a pattern of the area, cut it out of ABS plastic and screwed it into the area using the stock molding holes. I used a heat gun to warm it up to the point that the ABS was pliable and used a screw driver to mold it into place. Take the heat away and in a few seconds it will cool and hold its shape. You can see the photo a before sample of this panel and the lower one is one formed to fit a 40-46 Ford pickup to go from the kick panel up to the door trim formed around the dash curves.
    <O:p</O:p
    In the headliner shot I made a pattern for the front forward edge. I transferred that to 1/16” ABS and cut it to width. You can slide it under the header and formed it down the back of the seat area and held in place with a couple metal screws that will be covered by the back panel. Heat doesn’t work here because you can’t heat a big enough area at one time to hold its shape. For the side headliner panel I transferred a pattern to 1/8” ABS to hold its shape better. The back corners were heated to hold its curve to match the corners. Now that I have it all in place, I can make patterns out of ABS to put any design I want in the headliner. Glue them into place and cover with material or vinyl.
    The easiest way I have found to make door panel patterns is to buy that cheap clear plastic at your local fabric store. Cut it a little larger than the door and spray with fast tac adhesive. Stick it to the door and you can mark the outside edges with a black felt pen. You can also mark any mounting points, armrest holes as well as door handle and window riser handles. Peal it off and transfer it over to you ABS panel and cut out your new door panel. All the hole should line up and you can cover with your choice of materials or designs. You can also see that I use automotive snaps to hold the panel to the door. I don’t care for the spring clips that were used at the factory. Take your time and you can make it look professional and a substantially less in cost.
    The best place I have found to find ABS is to look in your Yellow Pages for any local plastics supply house. It runs about $40 a sheet depending on the thickness. One side is smooth and the other textured. I believe it comes in black and white but that doesn’t matter if it is to be covered. You can use SEM vinyl spray in any color if you want it to be used in a restoration to look factory stock. As in old pickup kick panels or headliners. Good Luck!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,444

    brady1929
    Member

    great info, thanks
     
  3. SCR8PINHRD
    Joined: Jul 25, 2007
    Posts: 222

    SCR8PINHRD
    Member
    from delta pa

    check out rod doors, they have been using abs for a couple of years. and i agree it is very easy to work with and the cost is not bad.
     
  4. thewildturkey46
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 746

    thewildturkey46
    Member
    from Rice, MN

    mj40 is right.....buy it from local plastic supplier...Roddoors charges 4times as much as my local supplier for sheets. If you want it already molded to fit somethiing, then Rodoors is the place...just send money.
     

  5. 57tony31
    Joined: Jul 20, 2008
    Posts: 632

    57tony31
    Member
    from Woods

    The price of the rod doors stuff you need to bring a bank with you 1st lol.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,280

    mj40's
    Member

    The whole idea of this post was to give the little guy an option in getting the end results. I have always been one to encourage a newbie to expand their mind and try something on their own. I knew Rod Doors products were available but there is just something about trying it yourself that is fun and educational. There is something satisfying in saying ' I did it myself".
     
    Driver50x, Dino 64 and LOU WELLS like this.
  7. plywude
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 700

    plywude
    Member Emeritus
    from manteca ca

    Good info here I'll be doing my 36 roadster door panels soon and the abs will let me form the bend thats in those doors, didn't see what you ment about snaps are you talking about chrome snaps:confused:
     
  8. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 9,436

    40StudeDude
    Member

    You can also take a heat gun and warm it and form it...I used some on a dash...instead of metal...and then I simply siliconed it on...

    R-
     
  9. 64LeSabre455
    Joined: Dec 29, 2007
    Posts: 779

    64LeSabre455
    Member
    from Adkins, Tx

    Looks Good, very nice. There is nothing better than doing it yourself.

    Whats the R rating on your truck?:D:D
    R-15
     
    slack likes this.
  10. Is it hard to glue foam or upholstery to the ABS using regular contact cement? Any special tricks to getting contact cement to stick to it, like do you have to scuff it up first or something?
     
  11. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,639

    Squablow
    Member


    I'd like to know that, and I'd also like to know where you're getting this stuff from. I'll be doing my '55 Dodge door panels this winter and I'm up for trying something new if it works.
     
  12. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,280

    mj40's
    Member

    The photo will show the snaps I use. Tape the door panel in place and drill through the panel into the door with a 1/8" bit at the four corners. Install the male snap side to the metal door with a 1/8" pop rivet. Install the other pieces to the door panel. I like using the flat stud instead of the chrome dome studs on the face of the panel to keep it flat and no bulges in the material when done. Snap the panel back to the door and now you can drill the rest of the holes for the snaps around the edge in places where you need them. I usually place them about 6" apart and 3/4" in from the edges. Make sure you check around the edges for snap placement for anything that will effect their location. Like hinges, latches etc.
    As far as gluing, I have had no problems gluing to the ABS surface. If you are concerned, use the textured edge facing outward. For a permanent hold, spray contact glue on both surfaces to be attached and let dry before attaching to panel. Anytime you just want a temporary hold, spray glue just on one surface. <O:p
     

    Attached Files:

    LOU WELLS likes this.
  13. ken1939
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,558

    ken1939

    I never had any luck with getting glue or adhesives to stick to it. Wanted to use it on my late friends roadster as a tribute, thinking the plastic was more weather friendly in an open car, but had issues with it staying together. Went back to luan board. Cuts with a jigsaw and a little 80 grit on the edges, all is good.
     
  14. 32SEDAN
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,292

    32SEDAN
    Member

    Thanks for the post. I'm in the market for redoing my panels as well. Where do you recommend buying the ABS panels?
     
  15. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 9,436

    40StudeDude
    Member

    Any upholstery supply place will have the plastic...

    R-
     
  16. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,846

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    I used a bunch of ABS on my 37 4-door, but not for door panels (the interior guy used what he wanted). But I did make the side and back panels in the trunk, kick panels, a trim strip inder the dash and several other removable panels for fuse boxes and wiring under the dash that were attached with velcro for easy access. ABS is a nifty way to go as it is light, waterproof and no one can tell after it is covered any way. The local plastics place always had it and often scraps were either freebies or discounted. It doesn't take much, either.

    I also used thicker ABS, normally 1/4" - 5/16" or so for brackets instead of steel or aluminum under the dash. I fabed up brackets for the Lokar release handles, smaller components (little groups of relays, the cruise and alarm box mounts, etc. that were feather light, easy to work with hand tools or my mini-band saw, and just as strong and far cheaper than metal for the purpose.

    I also used some ultra-light (styrene I think) 1/2" thick board in between two ABS parts to fab brackets that were thicker or that needed to be an unusual shape. I used common PVC pipe cement and clamps to weld the stuff and it could be drilled later to bolt on, just like a custom alumiunm brackets. I plan to use even more in my next build and do the doors panels myself.

    To that end, what thickness do you guys recommend for door panels? Later, Gary
     
  17. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 1,979

    chopped
    Member

    I used 3M rattle cans. They make one for fabric and another for vinyl. You can get it in qt's or gallons if you want to use a gun.
     
  18. Roupe
    Joined: Feb 11, 2006
    Posts: 721

    Roupe
    Member

    Great info, thanks!
     
  19. pkj
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 88

    pkj
    Member

    i have been working with ABS since the 90's and its great stuff. contact spray glues work great, but work better if you scuff the ABS and clean with alchoal first. for bonding 2 pieces of ABS, or ABS to wood or metal i use a 2-part urethane adhesive with a promotor. also we staple the fabric just like its wood. most ABS's have no U.V. protection, so if exposed to sun light protect with paint. i use the stuff for interior and exterior, but than it helps that i have a vac forming machine. i mentioned in an earlier thread about ABS, that if anyone is in my area, i have a bunch of ABS to get rid of, so if i can help? pkj
     
  20. Rob Paul
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,266

    Rob Paul
    Member


    John, They sell it at Midland plastics in green bay. Its about 35 bucks for a 4x8 sheet. It right by Menards on the west side.

    ROB
     
  21. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,444

    brady1929
    Member

    where do you get the snaps from?
     
  22. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,280

    mj40's
    Member

    I have seen them at Ace hardware stores but a little expensive bought as per piece. Check you areas for local upholstery supply companies. I buy mine from Dot Fasteners Direct but they have a minimum order of $50. They come in a box of 100 per side.

    http://www.dotfastenersdirect.com/
     
  23. tinlid
    Joined: Nov 28, 2008
    Posts: 43

    tinlid
    Member

    If you can mold it with heat from a heat gun, how does it hold up in a black coupe in the direct sun in places like Arizona?
     
  24. Flat Roy
    Joined: Nov 23, 2007
    Posts: 428

    Flat Roy
    Member

    I'm mostly a do it myself guy and the next project will be the interior of my 50 F1. Thanks a lot for the great tips MJ40's.
     
  25. I bought some 1/8" sheets last summer at ALRO Plastics - they are nationwide - I think I bought 8 4X8 sheets and got the price down to just under $30 per. Stuff works really great.

    Charlie
     
  26. wrecker55
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 33

    wrecker55
    Member

    Walmart has DURO spray adhev glue, works better than 3 M and only 4 bucks a can
     
  27. gillgonzalez
    Joined: Oct 9, 2005
    Posts: 359

    gillgonzalez
    Member
    from San Diego

    Also try "expanded PVC" I think a brand name is Komatex. I get smoother roll with it, i think ABS tends to kink easier when bending. I was able to put a nice smooth roll in this trunk quarter panel to clear the air tank and also rolled it in to mate the back panel. The PVC seems to have a slight "foam like" property.
     

    Attached Files:

  28. Nice job on that trunk!!!
     
  29. I also used white 1/8" PVC to do the interior of my roadster and it has worked great the last 8 years. It is a little softer and less brittle than ABS, but both work great. You can also sew through both types with a commercial sewing machine too. Also PVC comes in many different colors if you don't want to upholster it at all. My supplier is Empire Plastics in Sioux Falls, SD.
     
  30. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,280

    mj40's
    Member

    I don't think it will get as hot in Arizona as the heat from out the end of a commercial heat gun. It takes a good amount of heat to get it to the point it will relax. As far as the ABS kinking, you can bend it in half and it will not break unless it is scored first. You have to bend it back and forth several times to get it to break. It bent very nicely in the back edge of my pickup headliner. That was a 90 degree bend with about an 8" radius but I will check into the PVC the next time I'm at my plastics suppliers. ABS can be stapled and I&#8217;m not sure about PVC? I'm into trying anything especially if it is cheaper and will still do the job.
     
    LOU WELLS likes this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.