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Reproduction parts - Ram hood ornament


vicpanza
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I would like to ask the group for some feedback regarding manufacturing of hard to find parts for our old Dodge autos and trucks. What stimulated my interest in this is my need for a Ram hood ornament (#651992) for my 1937 MC pickup truck. I have resources for all sorts of fabrication and casting services and have been told that casting this (and other) hood ornaments and grills is quite possible, and that with the new technology, may be fairly reasonable.

So my question is this, what are the four or five most desirable (most volume or most needed) parts that we might consider making. And, what do you think would be a reasonable retail price for them? Please be assured that the casting would be high quality zinc castings that will be properly plated (we will duplicate the original manufacturing process). Given that I have limited experience with older Dodge production, I am quite open to input and assistance.

Finally, if we decide to make a cast part, I will need an original (almost any quality is OK) to copy. Might someone have a ram (651992) that they would be willing to lend to the project, or sell?

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

Vic (724-625-4440)

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I once was thinking about reproducing the horn grilles on the '36 Dodge cars but found thet it was a very expensive and labor intensive project. One problem was the minimum quantity that the foundries wanted in order to make it worth while .Many shops will not fool with onesies or twosies. I put an ad on the Dodge site to see if anyone was interested ,but responses were slow and I could not get a firm quantity. Prices are going to be based on quantity of production ,amount of work to get the casting ready for plating and then there was the plating. Turned out that the final price was just too high for most people. With cars that are not real popular and that are not high dollar it's sometimes hard to find people willing to pay maybe thousands of dollars for new part! Your best bet IMO ,is to get a definate price on manufacturing a product and the preselling all the product before production! I had a friend who reproduced about 50 sets of '31 Buick hubcaps years ago. He had to go offshore,it took several years to sell all the sets and to get the prototypes perfect before production. He did ,however,end up with some beautiful hubcaps and all this for one set for his car. I will say,make sure the reproduction is absolutely correct and perfect or your part will be virtually worthless!

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Thanks for your comments. Looks like we are neighbors, as I am in South Butler County! I have a sense as to the retail threshold and suspect that it needs to be under $350. The folks I am speaking with do some casting for Harley Davidson, and I am confident in the quality of their product. I am going to look into a run of about ten units, and if they can do this and keep me in the $350 retail range, might be a viable product for this small market. Need to find a sample to get them started on estimating costs, etc. Might have to pay $500 and buy one of those replated originals off of eBay. You wouldn't have anything around that we might use??

Thanks

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Yeah,we are neighbors! I used to go to the Pittsburgh Parts_A Rama years ago! I hope you can get the parts to around $350 but the last ornament I had plated cost me $500.00 I'm sorry to say that I don't have any '37 ornaments,you'll have to ask on this forum or check E-bay. Good luck!

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Iv'e done some repro stuff for quite rare (Austin Swallow cars) over here. I think the trick is to make sure you have enough written orders, or al least expressions of interest first, or you could end up with a lot of very slow moving stock which you end up discounting. You should be quite safe with hood ornaments though.

Best of luck.

Ray.

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Hey Vic: I would try to avoid a re-chrome for your sample if at all possible. It probably would have lost a lot of small detail in the re-chrome process. Best to find a very good original if you can to use for your sample. I have seen some copies made in stainless that were nice looking but lacked detail, and the price was similar to what you are talking about.

This is just me, but for a zinc copy I would tend to lean more toward $250 to $300 for a sale price. Then you may start to catch those that want a "replacement" for their rough one, and not just guys that don't have one at all. That may expand your market a bit.

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Stainless as I understand it,is very hard to cast with any true consistancy ,especially with fine details. It's shrinkage ratio is too great! You might be better off casting in brass; itpours better,usually gives a better finished product and can be plated over. Might be cheaper in the long run. It will also last longer as zinc has a tendancy to breakdown very quickly! Of course your foundry can tell you more. I think the lost wax process can give almost perfect finishes to a casting but might be more expensive. You really want to avoid alot of hand finish work!

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VINTAGE AND CLASSIC REPRODUCTIONS IN AUSTRALIA WILL DO A 1 OFF COPY IN STAINLESS STEEL (NO CHROMING NECESSARY )

THE ITEM MAY APPEAR TO BE EXPENSIVE .IN THE OVERALL PICTURE THE ITEM COMPLETES YOUR RESTORATION

I ACTUALLY DID ALL THE ELECTRICAL WORK FOR GLEN TO ENABLE HIS NEW STAINLESS STEEL FURNACE TO BE PRODUCTIVE

THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING PROCESS TO SEE YOUR PARTS BEING MADE FROM YOUR SAMPLE

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Thanks for all of your feedback. I have been looking at some new processes that utilize a three dimensional laser that scans the part and creates a digital copy of it. One can then edit the file to make corrections should there be any issues with the original part. Once this is done, there are several options to produce these. The digital file can be used in a new process that "prints" the part in various (finished) materials, or can be used to make a wax copy for use in making a mold.

The interesting aspect of this new process, is that once the digital file is done, the cost to product parts is about the same regardless of quantity. I need to find a link that better describes this process, but it is gaining a good deal of popularity for specialty manufacturing of low volume parts. The precision of the process is now exceptional as well. The beauty of this process is that once the original file is made, the parts can be produced on an as needed basis!

I think I can solve the challenges of production. Now the question is what to make, and getting to the base cost! Given that I don't have a part, guess that the first task at hand is to find a nice original to scan.

Thanks to everyone.

Vic

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We had this discussion some time ago, if you watch the video closely and look at the object being reproduced it is not the same, small changes within it, maybe they have gotten better at it now. I think I posted this same video here maybe 6 months ago

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My sense is that this process may be optimal in making the model from which we can cast parts, in a more traditional manor. Having a 3-D digital image that can be tweaked to make corrections, and then archived for future use may be of value. There have been significant advancements in this technology and it's bound to get even better. Once again, just starting to research this with a few colleagues who are in the industry.

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Thanks Pete:

Will keep a note on this. Love to see some pictures of your truck. Just got mine and will not be starting on it for some time. Really scrambling to find some good reference resources for this era truck. By the way, where you located

Vic - Pittsburgh

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Pete:

Hauled my 1937 to the farm today to start looking over the needs. Found an old hood ornament that may work for a model, and will be looking into how these can be made. Also found the front windshield crank. Looking for rear fenders, front bumper and grill parts. I did find a rear bumper off a 1936 sedan. Don't think it will work?? Might anyone know.

Vic

Here are my new pictures: 1937 Dodge - a set on Flickr

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looks real good to me . dont loose that windshield regulator very hard to find and very expensive if you do. i had to find one for my 1935 dodge and the one i found was in someone garage for 25 yrs just got very lucky but it still cost me

Jen

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Can anyone comment on the bed. I has a seam up the middle, and I was wondering if this is original or might it have been replaced. Also the pattern that is pressed into the metal? I have some photos of one other truck, and it looks the same to me, but hoping that someone who has this series of truck would comment. It's the last picture: 1937 Dodge - a set on Flickr

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I was just checking out the photos of your truck. The cab , bed, and hood look really good; the fenders not so much! Love that crazy "bob" job on the rears. You have to wonder why anyone would do that!! The bed floor looks original and in pretty good shape. I don't know if Mack Products reproduces that type of floor or not. It looks similar to industrial steel decking for concrete floors. The seam is probably original also as they may not have been able to stamp a single piece that large! Nice truck ,have fun!

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I was just checking out the photos of your truck. The cab , bed, and hood look really good; the fenders not so much! Love that crazy "bob" job on the rears. You have to wonder why anyone would do that!! The bed floor looks original and in pretty good shape. I don't know if Mack Products reproduces that type of floor or not. It looks similar to industrial steel decking for concrete floors. The seam is probably original also as they may not have been able to stamp a single piece that large! Nice truck ,have fun!

both beds i here have a seam as well in them , the 9ft bed and the 6 ft

Jen

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Thanks for your comments. In looking at pictures of other trucks, it appears that they did have a seam in the center. Certainly would make installing it much easier. I see that Mack has the head panel and tail gate. I got a rear bumper with brackets off a 1936 sedan, but it doesn't look right. Too curved! Need to do a thorough inventory of parts needed!!

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Vic, did those trucks come with a rear bumper as standard equipment or was it a factory option? Seems a bumper would only get in the way! I saw some of the industrial sheeting today used as a fence and it had the 2 1/2 in or 3 in. wide ridges,looked alot like your bed. I don't know how thick it was but I imagine that the sheet metalon the truck is only about 18 ga.originally.

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I believe that a rear bumper was an option. The rear bumper I picked up was to be used on the front, but doesn't fit. The search continues. The more I research the bed, the more I believe it is original. Will probably be able to confirm once I have it off. For now, just looking for parts. The rear fenders are obviously the challenge, and hate to have to use fiberglass.

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There used to be a man who sold fenders and sheet metal parts years ago,I think his name was Whitlow or maybe Whitlaw. He may no longer be in the business but maybe someone knows if anyone took over. He had tons of WPC fenders.

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Looks to me like those are original wheels for that model. I think you may only have to search for a extra for a spare. Do the ones on your truck have five holes or ten holes?

I sent you an email with a link to a photo showing a rear bumper. It is rather flat, especially compared to car bumpers. Here it is again for others. Maybe someone knows where one is. IMCDb.org: 1937 Dodge ½-Ton Pickup [MC] in "Mischief, 1985"

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I believe that a rear bumper was an option. The rear bumper I picked up was to be used on the front, but doesn't fit. The search continues. The more I research the bed, the more I believe it is original. Will probably be able to confirm once I have it off. For now, just looking for parts. The rear fenders are obviously the challenge, and hate to have to use fiberglass.

the bed is original its same as my 9ft bed that is here

rear fenders i think will be easier to find than 1933 to early 1935 in steel as i just had to pay alot for my pair i just purchased

Jen

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