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Old 05-22-2012, 03:57 AM
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Blainestang Blainestang is offline
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Default Prototype Widebody Arches

Finally got around to finishing a [rough] prototype of an R56 'Widebody' Arch. I'm thinking about looking into production, but wanted to make sure there's interest, and figured I could count on M|U for some honest responses and constructive criticism. I got some input on my MINI-related FB page, but looking for more.

Background: First, the prototype shown is very rough. It looks OK in the pictures, but the craftsmanship is way below anything I'd consider 'production'.

The prototype is Carbon Fiber, but I'm considering having them made out of factory-look plastic based on input from Rally (a long time ago, now) and others. The issue would be set-up costs for molds and such. Any input on that would be appreciated.

The arch shown is 3/4" wider than the factory arch in the center, but mounts to all the factory points. Having never removed or installed an R56 arch before, I removed the factory one and installed this one in front of my cabin at Fontana in about 30 mins. It would take far less time, now.

So, the pics... forgive the dirty car. Never had a chance to wash it at the Dragon:

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IMG_3443 by Blainestang, on Flickr

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IMG_3446 by Blainestang, on Flickr

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IMG_3440 by Blainestang, on Flickr

There are more pics in that set on Flickr, as well.


So, many questions:

CF vs. Plastic
3/4" Wider vs. ?
Ballpark Cost you'd consider (factory are ~$320 total)
Reflectors?
...

So, any input, questions, comments, fit issues, etc?
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:16 AM
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YES YES YES. Well done. Consider me your first customer. I will buy them, no question.

My input:

-Plastic to match OEM. I really think that would be amazing. I don't know what I'd do with CF arches. They look great, but I'd feel weird paying for such nice CF work only to paint them flat black. I feel people will be more likely to snag up a set if all they had to do was snap them in rather than find a bodyshop and pay the additional cost to get it all painted along with the lip and sideskirts. Just imagine....wide arches and reflector delete installed in an hour with no hassle. You also wouldnt have to worry about clearcoating like you would with CF.

- I think 3/4" is good IMO. 1" would be acceptable as well.

- Obviously it depends on cost to create and the quantity you need to move (if there are minimums). You'd sell them like crack at $500. I'd happily pay $800 and feel like I was getting a decent deal. I might pay more depending how nice they look.

- NO WAY on reflectors. I imagine they would cost more to produce. Shaving the reflectors would allow people to feel like they were getting 2 mods at once. If someone wanted reflectors to stay legal, there are plenty of options for them to stick on.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Rally View Post
- I think 3/4" is good IMO. 1" would be acceptable as well.

- Obviously it depends on cost to create and the quantity you need to move (if there are minimums). You'd sell them like crack at $500. I'd happily pay $800 and feel like I was getting a decent deal. I might pay more depending how nice they look.

- NO WAY on reflectors. I imagine they would cost more to produce. Shaving the reflectors would allow people to feel like they were getting 2 mods at once. If someone wanted reflectors to stay legal, there are plenty of options for them to stick on.
All of this is what I would say too. One more thing: you're gonna make a shit ton of money. Good luck
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:44 AM
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YES YES YES. Well done. Consider me your first customer. I will buy them, no question.
Glad you like the prototype, Rally!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rally View Post
My input:

-Plastic to match OEM. I really think that would be amazing. I don't know what I'd do with CF arches. They look great, but I'd feel weird paying for such nice CF work only to paint them flat black. I feel people will be more likely to snag up a set if all they had to do was snap them in rather than find a bodyshop and pay the additional cost to get it all painted along with the lip and sideskirts. Just imagine....wide arches and reflector delete installed in an hour with no hassle. You also wouldnt have to worry about clearcoating like you would with CF.
I completely agree. The market would be much larger with factory-look plastic than CF, simply because of the cost to make it all match if someone didn't want the CF look. I think a full CF set on the right car would look incredible, but there are certainly far fewer cars that could pull it off. The key will be matching the OEM quality and texture.


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- I think 3/4" is good IMO. 1" would be acceptable as well.
I'm glad I listened to your advice from a while back and kept the width increase modest. I think the 3/4" flows well with the angle coming up from the bottom of the bumper trim, and again, for most people, filling anything bigger than 3/4"-1" wider than stock would be tough.


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Originally Posted by Rally View Post
- Obviously it depends on cost to create and the quantity you need to move (if there are minimums). You'd sell them like crack at $500. I'd happily pay $800 and feel like I was getting a decent deal. I might pay more depending how nice they look.
I honestly have no idea what they would cost to make at this point, but that's great input. That's definitely the range I was hoping to be in, but I wanted to get some more input before I took this further. That said, if anyone here has a connection or recommendation for a plastic injection molding company, feel free to shoot me a PM or something.

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- NO WAY on reflectors. I imagine they would cost more to produce. Shaving the reflectors would allow people to feel like they were getting 2 mods at once. If someone wanted reflectors to stay legal, there are plenty of options for them to stick on.
I hadn't thought of stick-on reflectors as a fix for people who needed them! That simplifies that question. I'd rather not have them, or bother with designing a way for them to work, but that gives people an option.

That brings up another question: If you pull the connector off of the arch reflector light, does that give you a light warning in the dash? Is the bulb in the connector or arch? I should have checked when I swapped the prototype on, but the track wheels caused a TPMS issue, so I didn't notice if there were multiple warning lights or not.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:45 AM
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Now you have to pay Rally too
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Blainestang View Post

I honestly have no idea what they would cost to make at this point, but that's great input. That's definitely the range I was hoping to be in, but I wanted to get some more input before I took this further. That said, if anyone here has a connection or recommendation for a plastic injection molding company, feel free to shoot me a PM or something.
Plastic will be costly. The actual production cost won't be very high (plastic is relatively cheap), but the initial mold cost will probably be high. With that said, if it's just a high initial cost and the cost to manufacture after that is low, all you need to do is sell enough to clear those mold costs. A solution to this is working with other MINI companies and pricing the part accordingly to move more arches. I could easily see you approaching Duell or Garbino to sell these in Japan for you as well as finding a UK distributor. Their initial inventory orders could help clear the mold costs much quicker.

It is risky, but if you can clear the mold charges, you'll have a profit machine on your hands assuming they do as well as I'd assume.


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That brings up another question: If you pull the connector off of the arch reflector light, does that give you a light warning in the dash? Is the bulb in the connector or arch? I should have checked when I swapped the prototype on, but the track wheels caused a TPMS issue, so I didn't notice if there were multiple warning lights or not.
What I did was just leave the bulbs in and wrap them in electrical tape. They just sit inside the wheel well liners now.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:54 AM
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All of this is what I would say too. One more thing: you're gonna make a shit ton of money. Good luck
Haha... I really enjoy designing and prototyping this kind of stuff, so while making a bunch of money wasn't the main goal, it would certainly help me justify the time spent working on this kind of stuff.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:19 AM
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I want these, in oem plastic style. I have been dreaming of these exact arches since I got the car. I am with rally though if CF is the only affordable option then I would paint them.

I have an idea on what production molds cost $$$$$ to $$$$$$ for cheap ones that size. I used to design headlights for oems. Doesn't mean it can't be done just not easy from what I know. Maybe there is another process. Have you though of fiberglass?

One question wouldn't you have to cut/roll the fenders to get any real benefit? I cut the shit out of my 235s in the rear because the sheet metal is about 2mm above the plastic.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rally View Post
Plastic will be costly. The actual production cost won't be very high (plastic is relatively cheap), but the initial mold cost will probably be high. With that said, if it's just a high initial cost and the cost to manufacture after that is low, all you need to do is sell enough to clear those mold costs. A solution to this is working with other MINI companies and pricing the part accordingly to move more arches. I could easily see you approaching Duell or Garbino to sell these in Japan for you as well as finding a UK distributor. Their initial inventory orders could help clear the mold costs much quicker.

It is risky, but if you can clear the mold charges, you'll have a profit machine on your hands assuming they do as well as I'd assume.
That was my basic plan: Figure out how to offset the set-up costs by "pre-selling" a certain amount to MINI vendors and direct pre-orders via Turn17. I hadn't thought of international sales, though! I think the key to these arches would be the simplicity of simply popping the old ones off and popping these on. I know Schirra makes some wide arches, but I wouldn't say they're very comparable to these.


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What I did was just leave the bulbs in and wrap them in electrical tape. They just sit inside the wheel well liners now.
Gotcha. I did the same (minus the tape), but that was just for a few days.


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Now you have to pay Rally too
I can't promise anything at this point, but I reserve the right to give discounts when these make it to production.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:37 AM
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I want these, in oem plastic style. I have been dreaming of these exact arches since I got the car. I am with rally though if CF is the only affordable option then I would paint them.
Hopefully I can make your dreams come true.

CF very well may be the only possibility. Well, that or the fiberglass you mention below. If plastic isn't feasible, maybe fiberglass for people who plan to paint, and CF for those who want that. It's a thought.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rlnewby View Post
I have an idea on what production molds cost $$$$$ to $$$$$$ for cheap ones that size. I used to design headlights for oems. Doesn't mean it can't be done just not easy from what I know. Maybe there is another process. Have you though of fiberglass?
I'm hoping that the process of R&D and mold-creating is becoming a lot more reasonable as a result of 3D scanners, rapid prototyping, etc. I guess we'll find out.


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Originally Posted by rlnewby View Post
One question wouldn't you have to cut/roll the fenders to get any real benefit? I cut the shit out of my 235s in the rear because the sheet metal is about 2mm above the plastic.
Good point... I hope to do some testing, whether it's by me or getting prototypes to others, to get a better feel for the likelihood of making fender modifications, but I think the short answer is: maybe. Like other cars, I think there are several variables that go into this. Wheel/tire size, ride height, suspension stiffness, suspension travel, even production tolerances. I expect that some people will need to trim back the metal a little and that some won't.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:44 AM
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I think approaching foreign markets (specifically Japan) would be a smart move. They tend to spend more on their MINIs than the average US owner. Just look at the Japanese bodykits...those are thousands of dollars. Their aftermarket community over there is much more intense.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:50 AM
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bummer second gen... how hard was it to make your prototypes.
(pmed you as well)
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:54 AM
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I think approaching foreign markets (specifically Japan) would be a smart move. They tend to spend more on their MINIs than the average US owner. Just look at the Japanese bodykits...those are thousands of dollars. Their aftermarket community over there is much more intense.
I will absolutely look into connecting with someone over there. They certainly seem far more serious about modding their MINIs than most here do.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:10 AM
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2 years later....blaine the millionaire
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:23 AM
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I'll have some. Make sure when do to the rear arches you don't follow the rear lines as the critical point is not at the top of the arch but a few inches back as the body curves inwards. You'll need to add the most room there.

This is the fitment we're looking for: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5l_F4o8W2k
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