Major GTX1 Surgery...


Triheart7

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Apr 3, 2007
2,537
Northern California
Thank you for your continuing wonderful insight into your project. It also provides an understanding of why "the top" was always the Achilles Heel of the GTX1. :cheers
Kip,

This is an amazing project to follow. I second Kirby's comments.
 

spyder625

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Sep 23, 2008
417
Kip-1

Does this mean for people that didn't get the opportunity to get a GTX-1, we can now get a KIP-1 car??
 

Shelby#18

GTX1 Owner/Moderator
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Dec 15, 2006
1,621
Nev./So. Cal./Minn.
Thanks for keeping us updated Kip, I'm looking forward to seeing it at the Rally!!!
 

Kip Ewing

CF Vendor
Mark II Lifetime
Feb 23, 2007
288
Suburban Detroit
Thanks

"Again, there is no point in inventing a solution to a problem someone has solved with more resources." - Kip


Absolute gospel.

The design/engineering you've applied to that top is way ABOVE first rate. :thumbsup:thumbsup
Hey thanks!

We are getting close.
 

centerpunch

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Sep 16, 2005
719
OH/NC
Oh sh**. Then I'd be out of excuses.
Did this site become family friendly when I wasn't paying attention?

Are you going to go modify the other 289 posts with that word?
 
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centerpunch

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Sep 16, 2005
719
OH/NC
Oh sh**, maybe you are! Now it's down to 202!
 
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HeritageBruce

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Mar 13, 2006
746
Southern CA
Kip,
I think there may be quite a few of us who in the long term would like to take a non-modified GT (as opposed to a GTX-1) with the original body lines intact and convert it to a convertible. As you mentioned this would involve making the doors normal, which I don't have a problem with...it was cool at first, but now it is mostly a pain. Keep us up to date.
Fantastic work...I look forward to seeing more.
Scott
Same here. I prefer to keep the roof intact and at least physicologically I'd feel the car is stiffer. If the top portion of the doors can be cut-off and made into a removable mini t-top type panels that snap into the existing roof openings, we'd get a Smoky and the Bandit t-top while making ingress and egress easier, I'd be all over this mod. I still have fond memories of my '79 Z28 (not quite Burt's Trans Am) w/ t-tops. :banana
 

Kip Ewing

CF Vendor
Mark II Lifetime
Feb 23, 2007
288
Suburban Detroit
Latches

Well it's all coming together.

One week to go before the car ships, and all the hard work in pattern making, tooling, and processing the bits is coming together.

This is the fun part when everything starts to look pretty and you get to bolt and bond it all together. It's the "showey bit" a the end of the hard work.

Here's the progress on the latch receivers;

You'll note from the early photos of the receiver development that they looked a bit like 1st year high school shop class. Well, these rough parts were only critical in terms of their geometry. We use these fabricated bits as an armature to sculpt body filler over and make a casting pattern.
Here you can see the finished patterns and the parting boards for the foundry.

With the sand casting process, you have to establish a parting line for both halves of sand mold. The pattern drops into the parting board and you pack sand over it. You then flip that plug of sand over, remove the parting board and pack the sand to the opposite side of the pattern. Once you remove the pattern, you now have cavity to cast into.

Here's a photo of a raw cast latch receiver and a pattern.

Once we have the raw casting, we machine the holes for mounting and the guide pin bushing. We also clean up the surface and get it ready for powder coat.
We sand blast the part, prior to powder coating. We use the Craftsman powdercoating gun. These are not sold anymore. I have no idea why. They are fantastic for the small quantities of parts we coat in-house.


Once the part is sprayed, we put it into the lab oven at 420 degrees F for about 20 minutes. The coating melts, flows out and (in this case) takes a wrinkle finish.


So, here's the finished product.

These things really turned out cool.
Everyone that comes into the shop really digs these things.
You hardly see any of this part, most of it is hidden behind the header trim, but I think it is one of the cooler little details we've done.

OK, so this weekend we finish the headliner, form the rear window, paint the door caps and start to wrap this little monster up!
This thing has been a ton more work than I was expecting.....

4 GTX1s coming in on the heels of this one.
Good thing the new building is about ready.
I drove around the block to look at it today.
New glass block windows, the offices getting renovated....
3000 more square feet is going to be great!
 

Shelby#18

GTX1 Owner/Moderator
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Dec 15, 2006
1,621
Nev./So. Cal./Minn.
Looks good Kip, unfortunately that 3,000 more square feet will fill up faster than you can say Carbon Fiber. :cheers
 

Kip Ewing

CF Vendor
Mark II Lifetime
Feb 23, 2007
288
Suburban Detroit
Hey Tim

Kip, I've really enjoyed this thread. Thanks for posting your process. This has been fascinating to read. I'll see you at the rally!
Hey Tim

Thanks!
It's loads of work, so I am glad a lot of people find the process entertaining.
It is about to get real entertaining...

Oh, yah. I am ready for the rally!
Be sure and stay through Monday.
Dale Watson usually plays the Continental Club every Monday.
 

Hammer

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Sep 10, 2006
221
San Diego, CA
Absolutely stunning!
 

stevo

GT Owner
May 22, 2006
71
Monaco
GTX Roof

Hi, Kip, nice job indeed. I hve my roof redone here in France and it's waterproof. You are right in cutting the doors ulmost to the windows level. The side gaskets must be changed too. May I see a pic of the luggage compartment ??
 

Kip Ewing

CF Vendor
Mark II Lifetime
Feb 23, 2007
288
Suburban Detroit
Hey Rick

Kip,

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. A lot of good info exchanged regarding this top. I look forward to your comments with your visit to my car at Rich's. If you need to call me while your there with Rich, please do.
Hey Rick
It was great to catch up today.
I think I can get to Rich's on Friday.
 

Kip Ewing

CF Vendor
Mark II Lifetime
Feb 23, 2007
288
Suburban Detroit
Hey Kirby

Thanks for the continuing update. You have to love what you're doing to do what you're doing :cheers
This one is a lot of work, but it is gratifying to see it come together.
You are making Austin, right?
 

Kip Ewing

CF Vendor
Mark II Lifetime
Feb 23, 2007
288
Suburban Detroit
3000 square feet

Looks good Kip, unfortunately that 3,000 more square feet will fill up faster than you can say Carbon Fiber. :cheers
Yah, that's what I am afraid of......
It's a great problem to have!

I do have my eye on the building next door, already......
It would make for a nice little complex.
 

STUNTS

FORD GT OWNER & LITTLE TIMMYS DAD!
Mark IV Lifetime
Apr 5, 2006
2,418
SoCal
Yah, that's what I am afraid of......
It's a great problem to have!

I do have my eye on the building next door, already......
It would make for a nice little complex.
When are you getting your GT brotha!!!! :cheers
 

Kip Ewing

CF Vendor
Mark II Lifetime
Feb 23, 2007
288
Suburban Detroit
0

0
 

mousecatcher

GT Owner
Jun 26, 2007
200
San Mateo, CA
I don't want a removable top, but I suppose I could modify a GT(with major surgery) to remove the tops of the doors, modify the roof to mimic a GTX1 top (although fixed in place), and then use this new sealing solution you are developing?
I had the exact same thought.

Except that if butterfly doors are reversible, besides not killing the value it might also be a superior solution in that it preserves the ability to get in the car quickly with a helmet.

Downside is that in a rollover you can't open the door, but it's like that stock as well. Butterfly doors are probably worse though, since with the stock doors if the car is slightly canted you can open a door, whereas that won't work with the butterfly design.
 
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Kip Ewing

CF Vendor
Mark II Lifetime
Feb 23, 2007
288
Suburban Detroit
More progress

Greetings all

OK, more progress.

This past week we completed the surfacing of the roof pattern.
Time to make the production tool!

The first step in this process is to form what we call 'run-off'.
This is essentially an extension of the part surface. This helps to give the mold structure. It also helps with providing land to affix the vaccum bag when we infuse the part with resin.



After the run-off is formed, we apply wax to the pattern as a release agent. After that, another release is sprayed, before we apply a gel coat surface to the pattern. This gives us a very smooth and durable face to the tool.

After this gel has cured a bit, we start to build up numerous layers of heavy fiberglass to create the tool.

Beyond this, we build up an extensive backing structure to the tool.
This ensures it won't warp in the future. Changes in temperature can cause tools to change form.

Loads more progress in the past week that we will post in the coming days.
We already molded the first exterior skin, remastered the inner structure off of this production skin, and created the production tool for the inner structure.

Tomorrow we produce the first inner panel.

Massive progress to come.
Got to get this thing ready for the Rally!

Once again, I will be forced to use a GT Rally to catch up on my sleep....
Unless, of course, Dale Watson is playing at the Continental....

October will be a busy month. We are moving to a new shop that is nearly 3 times as large as the current one! Anyone need to store a GT this winter?
 

SLF360

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Gentlemen,

Some of our newer members may not be aware of all the cool carbon fiber parts that Kip has developed for non-GTX-1 Ford GTs. Check out Kip's website and order your GT an early Christmas gift! All of Kip's parts are works of art. He is also a Forum sponsor.

Chip
I need a carbon fibre replacement for the melted plastic piece around the exhaust outlet, as my entire exhaust train is jetcoated, and hence the end pieces must be smokin hot when I drive her like I stole her (like on the track) and i dont want to end up in smoke....:rofl