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Building a grill

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Member - Posts: 6
Member spacespace
Joined: December 03, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: March 30, 2006 at 2:07 PM / IP Logged  

Hi, I have a Mazda 323f, in the US it's called a protege5.  I have had to chuck my old grill, so instead of buying one i want to make one. I have a good idea of what i want it to look like but not quite sure how to take a mold.

Here is a pic of my car with no grill:

And, here is similar to what i would like to make:

After reading some posts, i was thinking i would try and use expanding foam sprayed in a bin bag to get the shape of the hole, from there cut the foam. Then not sure what to do as the foam would be exact size, so if i glass on top it will end up too big, if it ry and reduce the size of the foam i will most likely screw the lines up a bit, or should i glass the foam - scoop out the foam and then use the inside of the new fibreglass piece as a mold?

As you can probably tell, i have never fibreglassed before, although i have read i lot of post on this forum.

Any ideas to help me out?


Silver - Posts: 433
Silver spacespace
Joined: September 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posted: March 30, 2006 at 4:57 PM / IP Logged  
plaster the foam into a mold then fiberglass the mold. that way the foam won't dissolve w/ the resin and you get an almost exact replica of what you carved out of the mold. Good luck as this will be tricky to do though. but it might be possible
Copper - Posts: 232
Copper spacespace
Joined: November 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posted: March 30, 2006 at 6:23 PM / IP Logged  
Take a  factory grill, cut everything off of it except the mounting holes/ screws, and everythting connecting it.  Then you can build off that, so you it looks more factory.
Copper - Posts: 185
Copper spacespace
Joined: March 03, 2006
Location: Canada
Posted: March 30, 2006 at 8:25 PM / IP Logged  

i would cut 1/2 MDF sheet into strips about 2" wide then...cut up the strips into pieces that will fit in the opening the way it is supposed to...i would put about1/8 of tape on the outside of the wood pieces..line them u in the hole so the tape is againts the grill opening...use a bit of kitty hair (mix it hot) to join the pieces of wood in-situ....after thet you can build up the MDF to shape you need on the inside , remove the tape and build up the outside in the corners...sand it to the shape you need...tape off the whole thing roll on some foil and take a mold off it...and your set to go...

long process...tough piece to build..lots of angles and thin profile...

if you do it this way be sure to foil your bumper as well.. 

Fiberglass Guru.
placid warrior 
Silver - Posts: 357
Silver spacespace
Joined: November 06, 2004
Location: Canada
Posted: March 30, 2006 at 9:58 PM / IP Logged  
from the second pic it looks sorta like u could tape off the inside of the grill area and lay down a few layers of glass along the sides and bottom, then cut a piece of MDF (whatever thickness u want) and put it at the top since it looks like its straight across...after that u would need to build up the sides and bottom to the same thickness as the top piece which i suppose could be done with foam and then cut down with a rasp.
There seems to be a few different ways to do this. just dont forget about mounting points for it.
Copper - Posts: 126
Copper spacespace
Joined: August 11, 2005
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Posted: March 30, 2006 at 11:52 PM / IP Logged  
I don't know guys, I'm thinking the burgers and brats are just gonna fall straight through thar, fellers.
Couldn't help myself, getting hungry.....
Silver - Posts: 751
Silver spacespace
Joined: September 09, 2004
Posted: March 31, 2006 at 8:13 AM / IP Logged  
I second austin customs vote.   I would take the factory grill and cut it the way you want it. Maybe have to get some of hzemalls plastic stuff but it would work better than reinventing the wheel and totally remaking it I think. But hey thats just an opinion.
Learning the trade one fiberglass creation at a time!
placid warrior 
Silver - Posts: 357
Silver spacespace
Joined: November 06, 2004
Location: Canada
Posted: March 31, 2006 at 10:04 AM / IP Logged  
how much would a stock grill cost?  is the second pic a custom job or is it something u can buy.
Member - Posts: 26
Member spacespace
Joined: November 07, 2005
Location: United States
Posted: April 01, 2006 at 8:57 PM / IP Logged  
A Idea that might deviate from your ideas. I use expanded aluminum for all my grills and polsih them every once and a while. Screws with those chrome caps or zip ties work great to hold it in. And best of all its Cheap and Easy to make.
eric anderson-nosredna cire
Copper - Posts: 144
Copper spacespace
Joined: January 15, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: April 03, 2006 at 1:29 AM / IP Logged  

Gonna have to agree with REALITYCHECK and third AUSTINCUSTOMS intelligence.  Makes total sense to use what is already there, remove what you dont want, and fabricate what you do want.  This concept would allow you to keep factory mounting provisions and with no change in your final component's integrity.  No matter whether your an MDF / FiberGlass / or Plastics-Urethane finatic, if you have a will, then theres your way.

Regarding using expanding foam....  You can fit a bag in the opening (dont set it back too far so you have allowance to pull the bag straight out)(or you can construct a cardboard form) - fill the bag with the required amount of foam - let expand fully - remove the bag from the grille opening - remove bag off of the foam plug - trim the foam plug(trim to allow desired spacing between grille and bumper/valance and hood) - TEST FIT - cut the desired design(s) into or out of the foam plug as desired - cover plug completely with tape/foil - cover half of the plug laterally or to desired depth of the grille with FG/resin and let cure - remove foam if needed - TEST FIT - finish as desired - if youve made it this far, your imagination will have grown enough to make you realize how easy it is to make the mounts as well.

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