How to make a custom 3rd brakelight cover
- 9"x2" piece of 1/8" thick plexiglass
- Sheet of .25mm styrene plastic - available at your local hobby shop
- X-acto knife
- Jig saw
How To Do It
The cover is made of 2 pieces, a black plexiglass backing, and a white cover over the top. The backing is needed to give the cover a flat surface to mount to. We will start constructing the backing first. Click on the image below to download the template for the backing.
Print out the template and transfer the pattern to the plexiglass. The plexiglass should have a paper covering over it that you can easily write on. Important Note: When printing these templates, do NOT print them from within your browser. You MUST save them to your hard drive and open them in an image editing program (such as Adobe Photoshop) for printing, or they will not be printed at the correct scale. A ruler has been included in the backing template image for reference on size.
Now you need to cut the backing out. I used a jig saw with a fine tooth blade for this part. Cut out the large hole in the center, which will fit around the existing lense. The inside cutout doesnt have to be exact, as the edges will be covered by the cover. Once its all cut out, get out your drill to drill out the holes for the mounting screws.
Now for some X-acto knife fun. Print out the pattern below of the actual cover. Dont print it out on paper though, just run the sheet of styrene plastic through your printer. This is the easiest way to transfer the pattern to the plastic. Just be carefull not to smudge the ink too much:)
Using your exacto knife, carefully cut out all of the lettering. This is a very delicate and time consuming process. Take your time and be carefull. Don't be surprised if you mess up and have to start over. There is plenty of plastic in the package for you to work with:)
Once you have all the lettering done, cut out the holes for the mounting screws, then carefully around the outside, forming the oval shape of the cover. If you have gotten this far, the worst is over!
If you printed the pattern out directly on the styrene, you will need to wash off the excess printer ink now. Just use some soap and water and gently rub off the ink with your fingers. Be carefully not to damage the cover.
Test fit the backing piece you cut out earlier on the lense and on the car. Notice that the left and right edges of the backing are not perfectly square, rather they are slightly angled. The narrow part goes towards the top. It is possible you may have to do some trimming to get it to fit right. Now is the time to do that.
Place the cover on top of the backing piece. Line up the screw holes and insert the screws that you removed from the lense.
Now put the assembly on top of the lense and line up the holes with the screws.
Lift the entire assemply into place on the car, line up the screws with the holes in the spoiler and carefully tighten them down. Be carefull not to over tighten, as you may damage the new cover.