Interested in a cool logo for your car? Not impressed with store-bought options? Afraid the one you like will not survive life on this hostile planet? Or you might be concerned that your decal will not survive an altercation with sticky fingers that might be walking by your ride? Challenge accepted, make it yourself, and make it tough. Here's how I made a rather permanent and heavy duty "tattoo" for my Jeep.
Step 1: Decide on a Design
Whether you are crafty with a pencil, or CAD based program, it will benefit your efforts to simplify your logo to it's basic shapes. 'Analog' printing not your thing? TO THE INTERWEBS!! On the search engine of your choice, look for images of your desired logo preferably a Line drawing version if possible. If your attempts to search the internet for a line drawing version of your desired logo turn up empty, well there are ways around that, right? Indeed.
You can easily import an image into a drawing program and use it to base your template from. For those that have skill in the " @4"<90" world (AutoCAD joke), you can draw your logo on top of the "research Image", and soon be on your way to the next step.
Step 2: Print / Cut
Next, print out your template. This is the point where you get to test the scale of your work, before you start the fun stuff.
Now is as good a time as any to inform you that at no place in this Instructable, nor any other I intend to publish will there be a step titled: " Hurt yourself, or break something, as a result of being careless or too ambitious". that being said, don't do it. At the very least, try your best to be careful. After all, you can't enjoy creating a handmade project, if your hands are missing. :)
Now back to business. If your logo is the right size, Congratulations! you are doing alright. If not, Do not get discouraged. Simply try again until it's right.
All set? Great! Now cut out the pieces, and lets get cracking.
Step 3: Materials/ Tools
Here is a list of what I used, your list may be different.
Metal cutting band saw
Angle Grinder with Flap disc
Welder and welder accessories
Blade ( for template trimming)
metal drill bit (that is same size as bolts used)
small magnets (for layout purposes)
1/4" steel plate
Bolts (whatever is available)
Clear coat enamel spray paint
Depending on the look your hoping to achieve, the thickness of your material will play a major role in the process. I chose 1/4" steel plate, because I wanted to bevel the edges and it still be on the clunky side( technical term). Most awesome things from the 80's were boxy and clunky, including alien robots. So, why should this logo be any different?
If your logo has duplicate pieces, it's good to label how many of each you will need. This will help you keep track of what needs to be cut out when you get to that step.
Step 4: CUT STEEL
To keep consistent with the theme of safety, I opted to use both hands to cut the steel, instead of photographing and work. Now is the time to take the metal cutting tool you are most comfortable with, and get cutting!
Step 5: Grinding, Welding, And....flapping
Tack your pieces together, when it's good, finish those welds! Then, clean them up a bit. you want the back to be good and flat.
Step 6: Prep the Bolts
Here's where you gotta get crafty. I wanted this logo to sit as close to the car surface as possible. that meant I had to do some shaving of the bolt heads.
I used a 1/8 inch thick metal ruler as a guide, and lined with permanent marker, the material I needed to remove to put the logo placement the desired distance off of the jeep surface. It's good to use a vice for this step, the bolts get really hot, and again it's safer to use both hands with power tools.
Step 7: Place the Bolts, Prep the Back
Once you have figured out where you want the bolts, weld them on!
then, it would be clever of you to use a clear coat on the back to prevent rust.
After the enamel has dried, put some Silicone around the base of the bolts. this will help seal the holes you are about to make in your door.
Step 8: Placement
Use your logo to prepare a simple cardboard template to aid in the placement of your finished work. Be sure to make the holes in the cardboard where the bolts go, so you can transfer their location onto your car door. the magnets I have happened to be the same diameter as the bolts used. This was a happy accident, because It made much easier lining up the template with the ability to step back and look at the jeep from a distance to make sure it was where I wanted it to go.
When you're ready to drill the hole, start with a center punch. It will be MUCH easier and more accurate.
Step 9: Mount, Season, and Seal.
You are most likely going to have to remove some interior panels to access the party end of the bolt (threaded side, where the nut goes) going through the door. If you don't mind having bolts sticking through to the inside part where people sit, you can use 8" bolts and not have to worry about removing anything.
Put some silicone on both sides of the bolt bits. logo side- silicone - door panel- silicone- nut.
I wanted my logo to look like it had some age to it, so I left it unpainted and let it rain on it a few times until the rust started looking cool, then I used more clear coat to seal it up. Now I have a rather permanent, rather tough, custom Autobot logo for my jeep. if you followed my instructable, and used the same design, you do to! congrats.