Idiot lights restoration


Idiot lights restoration

Postby Kool_Biker » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:14 am

Hi
Is there a simple way to restore the lettering on the instrument cluster idiot lights?
DSC07425.jpg

Thanks
Aris
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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby Don » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:22 am

Try masking a small rectangle as close around the lettering as possible

Spray paint that white - Let dry a day or two

Sand off the paint using wet or dry paper and plenty of water. Begin with #600 but stop before all the extra white is gone and then work your way through #'s 1000, 1500 and 2000 and by the time the extra white is gone, the plastic should look like new . . . . with the new white paint left only in the lettering

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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby Kool_Biker » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:16 am

Hi Don
This makes a lot of sense assuming the original lettering 'wells' (for lack of a better word) are still there.
In my case these are absent, 'polished out' I guess through numerous cleans near the ends of the words (see below), and hence this method might not work.
P1060056.jpg


Any more ideas?
I remember once contacting Letraset, being pleasantly surprised by how few custom sheets with words etc one could order at what seemed then reasonable cost ... but it's been some time.

Thanks
Aris
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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby Don » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:40 am

Aris,

My bad - From your close-up photo, it appears there never were any 'wells' and that the white lettering was stencilled on as opposed to paint sitting in grooves - Probably why it wears off so easily

It's gonna be much harder to get them to an original condition than we thought

It might be possible to take them to an engraver and have him engrave grooves in the plastic, which you could then fill with paint using the above method. Maybe buy a spare or two to try that method and see how it works out, so you don't mess up your originals. I would try to get an extra pair of the amber turn signal ones and see if you can get the 'TURN' engraved in them and see how they look when you're finished and then go from there - You could wind up with them looking better than new

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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby barryadam » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:52 pm

Aris,

If you could get a precision cut custom stencil made from vinyl or ?, you could apply new letters with screening or spraying.
There are lots of precision masking capabilities in the semi-conductor industry. I don't know if the custom vinyl sign cutters would be capable.

If someone invested in these stencils, a lot of owners could polish up the indicator faces and apply new wording.

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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby Don » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:16 pm

That would be cool . . . . but it would be hard to reuse a vinyl stencil due to the tiny, separate bits inside the 'B', 'R', 'O' and 'A's on the light covers. I don't know if the engraving process would be practical, but it might be cheaper than having custom dercals made. I suspect the engraving process would be more permanent though than either stencils or decals

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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby Kool_Biker » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:59 am

Thanks for all suggestions.

I have no idea who to turn to to engrave these pieces of plastic competently, although it would be a nice challenge :?
Seems to me using 'Letraset' (not sure if they use the same Brand name in the US, they are big in Europe) decals, protected by a suitable varnish might be a good and doable solution, at least where I live.

I agree, a good repeatable solution would benefit many of us.
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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby NobleHops » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:00 pm

An itty-bitty silkscreen would be the shizzle. It would be fiddly as heck, but I imagine that if you completely sanded/polished off the old lettering, you could silkscreen on some durable ink in pretty close to the original position. A custom Letraset run might be more practical. Once upon a time there was an photomechanical process called 'wash offs' that produced something similar. It used some chemicals that literally gave me a prickly feeling in my brain, so I imagine it's long-since outlawed, at least in the USA.

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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby Louis » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:29 pm

I do have new ones if you decide to go that way.. Will even take your old ones in trade. Email me at usedcbxparts@hotmail.com Thanks, Louis
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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby Diogo Conti » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:41 am

Good morning, does anyone know where to buy new lights for the gauge cover? I need blue, red and green
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Re: Idiot lights restoration

Postby NobleHops » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:24 am

If you have your originals, you can send them to Marcel Den Butter at cb750faces.com and he will restore them for 10 euros ea. He is doing 3 sets for me now, will post pics when I get them back.
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