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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:24 am 
First Gear
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:09 pm
Posts: 77
Location: Northern Idaho
I don't have as much of an update as I'd like for you guys, it's been a pretty crazy week, but I thought you might appreciate a few more pictures of the install. I will be posting up a full installation thread as stated before so the photos below are really just to keep you from losing your appetite.

Pictured below is the part being test fit. The car roof is dirty and so is the is the peice (sanding dust) but it gives a good idea of how it will look. I dropped it off for spray clear coating by a local auto shop and will add more sheen to the appearance. I pick it up Friday and will post pictures. As mentioned earlier in the post, clear coating is not required and is really only for asethetics.

There are a couple of items I want to note though.

First, you'll see that the sunroof has a slight bow to it in the middle. This is a result of having a really thin laminate sheet being heat cured. More fabric would keep it from bowing as much but makes it heavier and more expensive. The bow that exists pushes out with finger pressure and shouldn't cause any troubles during installation.

Second, I am going to put scribe lines in the mold for the periphery shown in the pictures. Anybody that orders one of these and wishes to completely remove the factory system will receive a piece trimmed to this scribe line. It will still require a little final sanding to fit but I'm making the conservative assumption that the hole in my car is on the small end of factory tolerances. This will prevent me from sending you a part that is too small. Sanding to fit is easily done with a sanding block and 180-220 grit. This also keeps you from worrying about having a dremel get away from while you're trimming it.

Third, in the second picture you can see a small line offset about 0.5" in from the outside edge. This is the edge of the glass and where I had to hand tool additional width. The line is visible if you look for it and hit the right just right. Before I make a second piece I will try to blend this out a little more. Any type of secondary surface finishing - clear coating/painting will remove this but I will try to get it out of the mold. Final sanding grit on the mold surface is 3000 which highlights even small shifts in contour. I don't think you'll notice them once installed and they don't prevent you from making a show piece of the part, but I want to ensure you know exactly what you are buying.


With regards to the weight, I'll have a hard answer on the weight of the glass on Friday. The assembly maxed out my current scale (11lbs) so I'll be picking up a larger scale on Friday, so hold tight but the answer is coming.


And as always, please let me know if there are any questions, concerns or comments I can answer. I will start taking orders via PM or email on Tuesday.

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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:34 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8351
Location: Tenino, WA
So the rubber gasket fits on that piece the way it is now or will it need more trimming because it doesn't look like there's any room for the gasket.


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:03 am 
First Gear
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:09 pm
Posts: 77
Location: Northern Idaho
The way it is pictured above you would not use the rubber gasket. My installation is a permanent installation and rather than using a gasket, I will fix the carbon piece directly to the chassis and run a small bead of sealant around the edge for sealing.

If you are replacing just the glass and still using all the factory mounting system then the carbon piece you would get from me will be the same size as the glass itself (smaller than pictured above). In this installation you would remove the glass, glue in the carbon, and then re-install the gasket.

Does this make sense? It's sometimes difficult to explain things in text. So if I'm not being clear, please let me know and I'll be happy to try again. My installation thread will have some more pictures of the tray assembly and how it would work if you are replacing just the glass.

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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:08 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8351
Location: Tenino, WA
Oh, gotcha! Makes perfect sense. I didn't realize this was the permanent solution I was looking at. Looks nice BTW.


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:07 am 
quasi-mod-o
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 6:11 am
Posts: 2757
Location: Charlotte, NC
Curious to see how the car likees to be driven without the assembly. I noticed that it did seem to flex a little with the assembly not tying the roof together. Should make some kind of roof support:$


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:28 pm 
Knowledgeable
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:20 pm
Posts: 9807
Location: Beverly, MA
That's a good point. On the standard roof, there's a lateral support that gets bisected/eliminated with the factory sunroof (when I had my pop out installed, I sized it and had it located so as to preserve this support which may contribute to its resiliency as well as the cars rigidity). Perhaps the sunroof frame serves the purpose of the previous support?


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:12 pm 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:06 am
Posts: 1162
Location: Renton, WA
This is awesome, I would love one of these but I can't bring myself to take out my moonroof :(


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:14 pm 
First Gear
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:09 pm
Posts: 77
Location: Northern Idaho
Sorry for the slow update, it has been a very crazy past week. Excuses aside, I have some news.

First, I have a hard weight on just the glass itself. The glass alone weighs approx. 149oz, +/- 3oz. Getting the glass out of the frame was less than fun but it was also my first time at taking out automotive glass and I am sure there are better techniques (I used a hammer and old chisiel). Still only took about 40 min. including clean up time. Suffice to say though, Subaru uses plenty of sealant on the glass....

Second, I'm afraid I need to slide the first delivery date out a little again. I apologize for this and when this all started, I didn't want to be 'that guy' who claims awesome stuff for the BBS and then never delivers.

But, I'm sliding the date for two reasons. The first, and primary, is my painter is having a little trouble with the clear coat pin-holeing in a couple places. This is an uncommon problem and I have been calling my resin and mold release manufacturers for input and verifications. So before I am willing to sell a part to the public, I need to make a couple test pieces and make sure we have the issue resolved. I will not sell something that I cannot stand behind 100%.

The second reason for the date slide is kinda silly but also very valid. Until I get a new shop up and running I am confined to producing parts out of my garage - which is very doable. However, until I get my sunroof back from the painter I can't fill in the big hole in my car. This is a problem because, as those in the NW know, we've been getting A LOT of rain recently with one sunny day per week if we're lucky. So, until I fill the hole in my car roof, I can't park my car outside to give myself room to work inside the garage. Kinda of silly I know, but I have a fair bit of nice instrumentation in my car that I would really prefer not get rained on...


So yeah, not the update I wanted to be delivering on the day I was supposed to open up the phone lines and take orders. However, this is the situation and I want to make absolutely sure there will not be any problems with subsequent finishing on the parts before I sell them.


Apex3 - Once I get my new shop up and running I will have a small oven that I can heat form Lexan. A replacement that has a Lexan insert will be coming as I really like being able to look up and out myself. This is probably a couple months out, but it is coming.


With regards to the structural stability of the roof. The tray that holds the glass rails is pretty beefy for being stamped sheet. I had not thought about it carry chassis loads, though that seems obvious now. I will keep the headliner out and see if I can make a cross brace to go in place of the tray. Then at the end of the month at the next Auto-X I'll try and see if I can see a difference on the track with the brace and without. FWIW, the headliner attaches to the tray so unless you get creative or use a NA headliner - the tray will need to be reinstalled anyhow.


Anyrate, as always, please let me know if there are any questions, comments, or concerns I can address.

Thank you,

Lee

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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:15 pm 
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Location: Beverly, MA
IIRC, the non-sunroof brace ties the B-pillars together, which is probably obvious, but thought I'd mention it.

How would you put just the curve into the Lexan? Bend and hold it with clamps? Will the material hold when cooled or do you over bend so that it relaxes into the right curvature when it cools? Polycarbonate can be tricky to get the temp right with a heat gun (there's a small threshold between not doing anything and outgassing bubbles). An oven can be made to ramp up gradually, but I don't know how well the temp has to be controlled or what kind of oven you have. I may be building an oven myself for powder coating if I can find a place to put it, but if you've got a similar kind of setup, I would imagine regulating temperature very well might be problematic (IF it's problematic—I'm not sure heat gun difficulty really translates to working with an oven at all so I may be over thinking this).


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:38 am 
quasi-mod-o
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 6:11 am
Posts: 2757
Location: Charlotte, NC
Yes without the sunroof frame or a brace you will notice a difference. The roof metal is quiet thin. I drove highway speeds without it and it would vibrate from the wind


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:42 am 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:06 am
Posts: 1162
Location: Renton, WA
[quote="Dspin Fabrication"]


Apex3 - Once I get my new shop up and running I will have a small oven that I can heat form Lexan. A replacement that has a Lexan insert will be coming as I really like being able to look up and out myself. This is probably a couple months out, but it is coming.
[/quote]

Don't tell me that, I don't need more excuses to spend money


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:08 pm 
First Gear
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:09 pm
Posts: 77
Location: Northern Idaho
Steve - Heat forming should be fairly easy. I am not sure about the spring back and there will be some trial and error. However, my oven will be aerospace quality with full PID control including ramp, soak, cool, datalogging, etc. This will allow full thermal control with a large degree of accuracy, +/- 5 deg F. The controller is already built and tested, I just need to build the oven itself. As far as what I'm going to use to shape the plastic, well, the mold I built is capable of a 400 deg. F cure cycle so I have a pretty good start on a contour fixture :).


Silinc3r - Thanks for the input. That matches my experience of test driving my car with the sunroof and tray out - at about 50mph there is enough turbulance between the open sunroof, and apparently roof flex, that it was deafening and you could even see the door windows oscilating to the point where I was afraid they'd break.


Apex3 - Haha, ain't that the way it always is if you hang out on the BBS.

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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:35 pm 
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Location: Beverly, MA
Damn, that's a serious oven! Does it have a conveyer as well? Jealous, but then I'm not paying for it!


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:10 am 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:00 am
Posts: 1047
Location: kelowna bc canada
i have no issues at speed with not having a sun roof or any of the parts that go with it?


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:29 pm 
First Gear
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:09 pm
Posts: 77
Location: Northern Idaho
Steve - In the world of nice aerospace ovens, mine will be pretty basic. But, I firmly believe that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. When they're my own things I'm willing to bend principles a little, but when it comes to my business - I will not take shortcuts.

Bmx - That is really interesting. I'm not sure I understand it, maybe my roof is unique or the airflow is unique. I don't know, but thank you for the input though. Good to know.


And, I know I've owed you guys an update, and I have one. I finally got my part back from the painter yesterday - we had been trying some different things and took longer than anticipated. However, it came out really nice. I have pictures of it below.

Installation will happen this weekend and I will get a nice How-To thread put together with lots of pictures.

Next week I will be able to finally start making a few of these for you guys.

AWD Addict - I have all the fabric and core cut for your part and the mold polished and waxed. It's ready to build but I can't bring myself to run the vac pump in an apt. complex over Easter weekend :).


Enjoy the pictures. Please let me know if there are any questions, concerns or comments I can address.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:02 pm 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:00 am
Posts: 1047
Location: kelowna bc canada
it might be because my car is completely gutted so the air is not bouncing off the back seats and trying to get back out


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:10 am 
First Gear
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:59 am
Posts: 215
Location: Seattle, WA
Damn, that looks pretty dang clean. Well done, although not my style for this 20 yr old bucket :)


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:46 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 12:22 am
Posts: 2775
Location: Western WA!
Part looks good. Your neighbors won't mind a little extra noise during the day, haha.


[quote="bmxkelowna"]i have no issues at speed with not having a sun roof or any of the parts that go with it?[/quote]

Maybe because your car has a full roll cage, making the chassis stiffer. But it seems like the roof skin wouldn't be affected too much. Or did you have the windows down, allowing air coming in the sunroof hole to escape? There's a few variables to figure out why it was different.


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:27 am 
Fifth Gear
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:41 am
Posts: 8351
Location: Tenino, WA
Yeah there shouldn't be any air coming into the sunroof hole if the windows are up. I was actually wondering this myself yesterday and put my hand just below the hole and could barely feel any turbulence. It's just like the people who remove their tail gates on their pickup trucks thinking they're reducing drag when the wind doesn't even go into the bed with the tail gate up. It goes right over because of the pocket of air in the bed. When they remove the gate however, the air flows through the bed creating more drag and I shake my head every time I see a truck with no tail gate.


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:33 pm 
First Gear
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:09 pm
Posts: 77
Location: Northern Idaho
Thank you for the compliments on the part. The clear coating did come out well and highlights the weave nicely. I am happy with it but the real test will be when AWD Addict gets the first part.

I started an installation intructions thread in the Body and Chassis forum. Link - viewtopic.php?f=10&t=46851&p=357354#p357354

I am going to request that any specific questions regarding installation be posted there to keep all the installation information in a single place.

With regards to the buffeting - I had to roll my windows down on my single test drive or it was absolutely deafening. One thing to keep in mind though, you don't need signficant airflow to transmitt pressure waves throughout the cabin. Those pressure waves are easily generated if there is a zone of seperation or turbulence present. But, realistically, the easiest solution is just to buy a carbon replacement to fill the hole :).


AWD Addict - Haha, yeah. The landlords are kind enough to let me work on my car even though I'm not supposed to per the lease so I probably shouldn't push them too much... But, tomorrow they are predicting the outside temperature to be above 50*F, only day this week, so I planning on laying up your part tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:42 pm 
Knowledgeable
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Posts: 9807
Location: Beverly, MA
I had my sunroof out when I hit the 133 and I'm surprised the buffeting didn't cause hearing damage, but F that BMW douchebag—I was going to show him up with a stock old station wagon anyway. I usually crack the rear windows open, but I needed to reduce drag as much as possible to reach that speed (my sunroof's a pop out, so I couldn't just close it).


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:38 am 
Fourth Gear
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 5:02 pm
Posts: 1897
Location: Greenville, SC
This is awesome. I am definitely gonna be in for one of these.


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:51 pm 
First Gear
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:35 pm
Posts: 71
Location: Huntington NY
any news on this ?


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:13 pm 
Third Gear
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:05 pm
Posts: 661
Location: Montreal Quebec
hello i got a question is this can still open like the oem windows or you cannot open the sunroof anymore????


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 Post subject: Re: 91-94 Sedan Carbon Fiber Sunroof, Now With Picture of Pa
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:42 pm 
I apologize for the late/lack of response last few weeks. I've been burning the candle on both ends with a oxy-acetalene torch... I did not want to provide an update until I had something firm to provide, and now do.

As far as an update, there is a fair bit to update on. The dissolving of Dspin Fabrication has been finalized. Dspin Fabricatoin and the parent, Axis Composites, is still being run by my old buisness partner and can be found on Facebook through Axis Composite Technologies.

That said, I have now fully established my new company - Northwind Composites, LLC. I moved into a new shop about three weeks ago and am slowly getting setup to run production volumes on these sunroofs and other composite components. I have not been able to get as much done on the shop as I'd like to due to getting trained for a mountaineering trip down to the Sawtooths in a couple weeks - I've made the decision to slide a little work on the shop so that I can assure I don't fall off a mountain... which would of course result in the discontinuation of the sunroof project :).


So, all of that said, where are actual parts and production at right now? I have SN-0001 at the painter right now for clear coat and AWD_Addict is anxiously waiting for it. I should be shipping it to him early/mid next week. I will finish my heat room this upcoming week in my new facilities which will allow me to effectively build parts and get a little stock built up. The goal is to have a few parts built and taken to my painter for him to work with while I'm on my trip. This means when I get back from my trip, around July 12th, there should be parts ready for shipment.

I have been running the first one on my car for a few weeks now and have about 500 mi, one Auto-X, and a lot of rain on it. It's been holding up great! The weight savings was noticable at the track and I did not notice any issues regarding chassis stiffeness, granted I did re-install the metal tray but trimmed it out significantly.

Once I get back from my trip I will finishing filling any orders for the sunroofs and then have an S13 trunk lid to tool up. Right after that I will be working on a hood for us Post-Face lift guys.


Again, I do apologize for the slow response and the large schedule slide on this program. However, I am a strong believer in doing things right and setting up a business properly is not a quick item. But, Northwind is now up and running and please let me know if there are any questions, regarding these sunroofs or any other project.

Thank you,

Lee Skidmore
Owner / President
Lee@NorthwindComp.com
208-290-5585


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