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FX-R Projector Retrofit, Part II

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    FX-R Projector Retrofit, Part II

    So. Many of you were following the FX-R projector retrofit that I started in late 2011. Yeah, 2011. My dawdling skills are second to none and since then I have blown the engine on my E30 (and got a new one built for it), got married and bought a house. Life tends to get in the way of car projects. Despite that, I am finally back on the wagon and have made big steps in this project.

    Original thread:
    http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=231842

    As of now, I have one finished adapter plate (out of the two that I will need). The other one will get made over the next couple of weekends. Enough typing though, ain't nobody got time for that. Actually I do, so prepare to get your read on suckas.

    I started out by getting my material blanks prepared with the necessary tooling holes. As my father has always said when it comes to cutting ANYTHING, "clamping is everything".


    Many cuts later. The digital position readouts on the mill died a while back so this was all run manually the "old school" way...counting ticks/revolutions and doing cuts in only one direction per axis thanks to the ~50 mils of backlash in X & Y lol. I really need to go get some new readouts, manual mode sucks. I got MUCH better results on this one than my first one since I spent a lot more time thinking out the order of operations, and I made a drawing that called out my "tool paths" for each cut so I wasn't trying to subtract cutter diameters in my head while I did it. The first pass on everything left 35 mils of material, then I took off 25 mils and then the final pass was 10 mils on everything. Trying to hog it all out in a single pass is a recipe for crappy surface finish and lousy accuracy.


    This was the final operation, and the one that I was most nervous about. Cutting the thing out of the original blank. Clamping was a little challenging just based on cutter clearances and the holes that I left available in the tooling plate (the threaded holes in the pic above). Anyway, it worked out just fine. I stepped through the Z/depth in 6 passes to avoid putting too much force on the clamps in the middle, and then made some light passes to get the diameter right.


    Originally, my plan was to make some little cleats that would be screwed to the plastic buckets and then the adapter would screw into those. Well, since I am using much thicker material than originally planned, it became an option to use radial screw connections between the adapter and housing. Much simpler! It will still get sealed with RTV, but I don't trust adhesives enough to just glue the plates on. Here you can see the setup for making the radial mount holes.


    Next up were some little spacers. Because I simplified the adapter design to be made as a single-sided milling operation (the original plan involved flipping it over, re-indexing it and machining the second side), I needed some little precision spacers for the FX-R projector bodies.


    Finishing one up. I love macro shots lol.


    Much to my relief, it fit FLAWLESSLY. No slop, no play, no grinding needed.


    In case you were wondering about those radial holes, here's the deal. There are 3 of them (1 at the bottom, 2 about 30 off-center at the top). The screws were just to hold it together for the test-fit and I have some proper ones on order form McMaster.






    Those little spacers doing their job here. Note the two open holes in the adapter between the spacers. I'll mention those at the end.


    Looking good! There is about 0.5mm of play available in X & Y for fine-tuning the centering of the lens in the housing / "smiley" trim ring since I used M4 screws and the holes in the projector are 5mm. Mixing inches and millimeters in a design. Fun times. I wish I had metric lead-screws for the mill lol.


    Using some countersunk screws to force the projector into alignment with the adapter, the fit is nearly perfect. I may want to nudge it about 10 mils to the left, but then again it doesn't really matter in any functional sense and nobody will ever see (you can't in this picture).


    I double-checked the clearance between the lens and projector and there is (a safe) 2mm. There's about 0.5mm between the projector and "smiley" trim ring, so it's dead-on like I wanted.


    I will be sealing up the gaps with some high temperature (-30F to 325F) weather-proof aluminum tape that I ordered on McMaster. The high-beam solenoid wires are getting run through some weatherproof silicone rubber grommets that will be mounted in the bottom of the plastic headlight bucket.

    Those two holes that I mentioned a few pictures above will be used for some little breather vents. They were originally for screw-mounting the adapter to the separate metal cleats that I decided not to make. However, I got super lucky and they are basically the exact right diameter to tap some 10-32 UNF threads into. Why? So I can mount these little breather/filters there!
    www.mcmaster.com/#8556t24

    Moisture is a big concern of mine. The original headlights had breather passages in them to let moisture escape. I am hoping that these little guys will do exactly that while also keeping dust out.

    I also ordered a bunch of M4x0.7 fasteners on McMaster that are the exact right length for the various mount holes. The ones holding the adapter to the buckets are button-head types since they are cleaner looking, and the ones holding the projector to the adapter are low-profile socket heads. All black-oxide type too for increased ballerness. Before final installation I am going to see about getting the adapters and spacers anodized some sort of gray color that matches the plastic buckets. Dat OEMness. Hrngggggggg.

    Oh yeah, how sweet is my mouse pad from 1998? Shit's VINTAGE.

    #2
    great work, i want a pair!
    sigpic

    Comment


      #3
      Wow man. So glad that this is near completion!! Serious work put into this. :up:


      Need OE BMW or Aftermarket Parts? Shoot me a PM! | Leave me feedback here
      (631) 393 0334 | info@omgmotorworks.com

      Comment


        #4
        pretty awesome retro fit and amazing work! you've got some mad milling skills! do you plan to keep the part aluminum or go with plastic like the prototype in your other thread?

        if you plan to market these, how could you translate this to average joe considering the requirement to cut the stock housing?

        glucklich21 has come up with a plastic retro fit solution for bosch smileys. however, his retro uses the morimoto mini. the FX-R is definitely a choice projector.

        Comment


          #5
          If I was to make kits, part of the deal would have to be that the buyer sends me their buckets and I modify them. And a kit would not be cheap. I'd probably charge at least $300 for the adapters and bucket modding, and the buyer still has to buy their own FX-R projectors and related bits. That also assumes that I have a CNC shop do batches of adapters because there's no way that I am doing these manually after the first set.

          I did consider 3D printing plastic adapters, but I am just not convinced that ABS is going to handle the heat adequately, and PLA is just not even remotely an option. The nylon material that my prototypes were printed from also doesn't have thermal resistance properties that I am comfortable with. Then add in water & salt spray exposure and...nope. I wouldn't be comfortable selling a non-metal adapter because headlights are a vital safety system and I don't need any lawsuits.

          Comment


            #6
            Considering how much R&D that you put into this... I think that at $300 for YOUR time and labor that's more than fair.


            Need OE BMW or Aftermarket Parts? Shoot me a PM! | Leave me feedback here
            (631) 393 0334 | info@omgmotorworks.com

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks dude. I certainly don't want to make any promises about selling these, but it seems like there is a fair amount of interest. Once I get mine done and test them out over a month or two I will see about a group buy or something.

              My McMaster goodies came today, so I will be getting the one headlight reassembled soon! Any recommendations for adhesives to glue the buckets' glass lenses back on?

              Comment


                #8
                what you said makes sense. you've spent a tremendous amount of time developing these parts and time is money. reading through parts I and II of your retro fit was very inspiring. I think I'm going to try and come up with something to adapt a S2000 low beam into a Bosch housing. time to fire up my 14 day trial of autocad.

                also, have you factored in any provisions to adjust/rotate the FX-R housing in the case that the cutoffs from each headlight are not parallel to each other?

                Edit: it looks like your 0.5mm of play available in X & Y may do the trick.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Do these really blow the mini away?

                  Yes they do. totally blow it away.
                  Pause at 1:45.

                  mini top
                  fxr bottem.

                  http://youtu.be/GnC3cdgU1vE?t=1m45s
                  Last edited by LowR3V'in; 03-26-2014, 07:51 PM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by MyE30 View Post
                    what you said makes sense. you've spent a tremendous amount of time developing these parts and time is money. reading through parts I and II of your retro fit was very inspiring. I think I'm going to try and come up with something to adapt a S2000 low beam into a Bosch housing. time to fire up my 14 day trial of autocad.

                    also, have you factored in any provisions to adjust/rotate the FX-R housing in the case that the cutoffs from each headlight are not parallel to each other?

                    Edit: it looks like your 0.5mm of play available in X & Y may do the trick.
                    Is the S2000 headlight a 2.5" or 3" diameter lens? I seem to recall going with the FX-R because it was the best 2.5" projector on TRS. It's certainly possible to make the opening in the plastic trim ring bigger, so I guess a 3" projector isn't out of the realm of possibility.

                    Good call on rotating this. From what I can tell, the FX-R casting isn't perfect and it may be that the assembly isn't going to have a perfectly horizontal beam pattern just becase I got the mount holes horizontal. If that is the case then I will look into ways to allow for more adjustment.

                    If you do the S2000 lights, definitely get a thread going!

                    Originally posted by LowR3V'in View Post
                    Do these really blow the mini away?

                    Yes they do. totally blow it away.
                    Pause at 1:45.

                    mini top
                    fxr bottem.

                    http://youtu.be/GnC3cdgU1vE?t=1m45s
                    Man, what a difference! I was contemplating adapting the mini's to my wife's Civic after I finished mine, but it looks like FX-R / S2000 or don't bother! My coworker is adapting the mini's to his Miata's H4 housings and I am going to send him that to rustle his jimmies lol.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by LowR3V'in View Post
                      Do these really blow the mini away?

                      Yes they do. totally blow it away.
                      Pause at 1:45.

                      mini top
                      fxr bottem.

                      http://youtu.be/GnC3cdgU1vE?t=1m45s
                      I don't know enough about this kind of stuff to tell which one is better. What makes a "better" beam pattern?

                      OP, looking great!

                      Having these CNC'd out of aluminum wouldn't cost much more than plastic. Most of the cost would be the material, not the process.

                      As far as "glue" to re-attach the lenses, I used black windshield sealant when I smoked my lights. Came in a tube like gasket sealant. Acted the same as well. Can't remember what brand it was, but I got it at O'Reilly's.
                      Last edited by AndrewBird; 03-27-2014, 12:08 AM.
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                        #12
                        bmwman91, the S2000 lens is 2.5". It's housing, due to being low beam only, has slightly smaller dimensions compared to the FX-R as well. Now that you've proven that the FX-R can fit I'm positive the S2000 housing will fit.

                        IMO, for aftermarket bi-xenon projectors, FX-Rs are tough to beat especially for the price and performance. S2000 projectors are the the benchmark for HID projectors; however, they cost a pretty penny new. Maybe I'll start lurking on some S2000 forums to see if I can get my hands on a used pair.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          fxr's can blow away s2k's with little tweeking. I loved my fxr's smileys back when I had them in a e30.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by bmwman91 View Post
                            I did consider 3D printing plastic adapters, but I am just not convinced that ABS is going to handle the heat adequately
                            It might be fine if you live in Oregon/Washington. If you live in TX or CA....might not.
                            Originally posted by Matt-B
                            hey does anyone know anyone who gets upset and makes electronics?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by NitroRustlerDriver View Post
                              I don't know enough about this kind of stuff to tell which one is better. What makes a "better" beam pattern?

                              OP, looking great!

                              Having these CNC'd out of aluminum wouldn't cost much more than plastic. Most of the cost would be the material, not the process.

                              As far as "glue" to re-attach the lenses, I used black windshield sealant when I smoked my lights. Came in a tube like gasket sealant. Acted the same as well. Can't remember what brand it was, but I got it at O'Reilly's.
                              Good to know thanks. I will check to see what sorts of windshield sealants are at the local parts place.

                              You got any suggestions for shops that could do a batch of these? I have contacted a number of places locally and they never got back to me.

                              Originally posted by MyE30 View Post
                              bmwman91, the S2000 lens is 2.5". It's housing, due to being low beam only, has slightly smaller dimensions compared to the FX-R as well. Now that you've proven that the FX-R can fit I'm positive the S2000 housing will fit.

                              IMO, for aftermarket bi-xenon projectors, FX-Rs are tough to beat especially for the price and performance. S2000 projectors are the the benchmark for HID projectors; however, they cost a pretty penny new. Maybe I'll start lurking on some S2000 forums to see if I can get my hands on a used pair.
                              True, I forgot that they aren't bi-xenon. Looking at it, the body seems similar to the FX-R (wouldn't surprise me if TRS duplicated the projector geometry) and you are right, it might be a little easier without the bi-xenon solenoid.

                              Originally posted by e30trooper View Post
                              fxr's can blow away s2k's with little tweeking. I loved my fxr's smileys back when I had them in a e30.
                              What all did you do to mod the FX-R's?

                              Originally posted by george graves View Post
                              It might be fine if you live in Oregon/Washington. If you live in TX or CA....might not.
                              Ha! Could be. I would guess that 90% of users would be fine with ABS really. But I can't sleep knowing that I might leave 10% of people hung out to dry. I worked with various SAE test standards at work for a long time and J1455 puts middle/lower under-hood temperatures at 141C as an expected worst-case condition for under-hood electronics. It's a corner-case for sure, but I'd rather design the thing so that the OEM stuff fails before mine does!

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