Led lit Acrylic Right Side Cover - Road Star Warrior Forum : Yamaha Star Warrior Forums

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Old 01-26-2014, 10:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
chaddwick2005's Avatar
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Talking Led lit Acrylic Right Side Cover

I have had this cover on for about 6 months so I could not only write about how I made it, but also report on the performance of this mod.

So there I was last summer (2013) wanting to get rid of the awful right side coffin/air box/cover along with the left side scoop and clean up the bike a little bit, after some extensive searching, the only covers that I could find that weren't too expensive, were the metal ones found on Ebay and such. Well, being myself, I always want something that is different, something that I can personalize, and something within my budget (ironically the Warrior fits all those categories)

So, I got my inspiration from Windsor Warrior's right side cover, if you haven't seen it you should take a look. https://www.rswarrior.com/forums/14-i...ide-cover.html

After talking with Windsor, I finally decided to create a right side cover out of acrylic plastic with a metal back. I found several examples of the exact look I wanted, you've probably seen these signs before, they are Led lit acrylic signs, like the one below.

The acrylic is fairly cheap and leds are a dime a dozen. So after establishing my concept, I proceeded onto the design the stage. The first thing was to determine how I was going to mount the acrylic and the metal back to the bike. I opted to use the 3 holes that the stock side airbox uses (the 2 threaded holes on each cylinder and the mounting bracket at the bottom). As for the acrylic, I opted to use the 2 cylinder holes then use 2 bolts at the bottom of the metal back and bolt the acrylic to the metal back. This not only allowed me to secure the acrylic to the metal back, but also gave me a spot at the bottom of the acrylic to mount some Leds to light this thing up from the bottom.

So after designing how this was going to attach to the bike, next was to draw up the shape and style of the acrylic that I wanted. This took some measuring and this is what I came up with.

I wanted the sides of the acrylic to mimic the angles of the cylinders, so the shape of the whole cover is like a cross shape, with the sides almost coming to a point at the bottom.

After getting the shape and size down, I needed to come up with a design or something to go into the middle of the acrylic, this is what the Leds will light up at night. So being close to college football season, and being the huge Husker fan that I am, I chose to go with the Nebraska "N".

The next part was trying to find a local acrylic shop that would make such a piece for me, but also be cheap. Well luck has it, here in Lincoln, NE we have a shop that makes acrylic trophies, but not your average trophy, surfing and boating trophies. Wait, Wait, What? you ask isn't Nebraska known for their corn fields and not waves, so surfing and boating? Yes, but this little shop provides trophies for boating and surfing contests on the East and West coasts, they originated in Cali, but moved to the Midwest so shipping would be the same, no matter which direction they went. Back on topic, I toured this little shop and low and behold, they make Led lit acrylic signs, but just tiny ones, nothing the size I'm wanting. The owner showed me how he cuts the acrylic and etches it. He does it with a laser machine. He can take any design and cut and etch it into acrylic. That's great so I provided him with a drawing of what I wanted.

Yes, the N is backwards because I wanted the image on the back of the acrylic so you could see it through the front, this gives the etching a little bit of protection from the elements.

He was able to take my file and create the plate I needed.

The etching of the acrylic is not very deep, you can barely feel the difference, but that is all you need. It will light up nicely.

I wanted the finished product to be a little hidden, so I found this home window treatment at the local Lowes, that acts like a mirror, the lighter side of the film (side with more light) became the mirror side of the surface. So I applied that to the outside face of the acrylic to create a mirrored look. You will see later how the Leds light up the design and then the design shines right through film.

As you can see, the N on the back side is almost completely hidden.

So, the next step, now that I got the acrylic done, is to make the back plate. This plate will serve 2 purposes. 1-to create a place to mount the leds to shine on the acrylic to light up the design and 2-to be a heat shield to the acrylic, to keep the acrylic from deforming or melting form the heat off the engine. I was able to score some free black on both sides aluminum sheet metal from the owner of the race car I help out with, the owner even gave me a hand in bending and cutting the material into the shape I needed. Below is what I finally came up with.

The shape of the back plate mimics the acrylic, except for the top where I made a flap to overlap the acrylic and at the bottom where the back plate mounts to the lower mounting bracket.

Now, it's time to do some wiring. I got a roll of red waterproof led's from an online retailer for pretty cheap (note: they are not as bright as I hoped for, so I will eventually be replacing them with brighter more expensive leds). I cut 3 strips of Leds, 2 for the top and 1 for the bottom. I then had to solder on some wires and mount the Leds using 3m auto trim mounting tape to the back plate.

(in this image, what you are seeing is the inside of the flap for the top of the acrylic, the piece with 2 strips of leds. The little piece of metal by the pliers is for the bottom of the acrylic, where it bolts to the back plate)

Next was to wire the Leds to the bike. So, like every responsible motorcycle owner, I have a 2 wire plug that is wired to my bike's battery so I can quickly connect and disconnect a trickle charger for the winter seasons. This is how I connect my power to my Leds. I put a switch under the seat, right behind the rear cylinder off the left side cover and ran wire to the Leds.

To make my acrylic assembly removable from the bike, I then used the same style of 2 wire plug to make a connection at the plate near the throttle bodies. This allows me remove the entire thing, without removing all the wiring from the bike.

So, to make the back plate work as a heat shield, I needed the best type of insulation I could get, AIR. So when I designed the back plate flap at the top, I knew that I wanted a space between the back plate and the acrylic to allow air flow between the 2, thus keeping the acrylic cooler. I ran some quick calculations and determined what I needed for spacers. I found this sweet aluminum spacer company online that has about every different size spacer you need.

(each different spacer size was individually bagged, very professional, I can't seem to remember the site, but if I do I will post it)

For the bottom mounting bracket, I found a rubber well nut to bolt the back plate to the bike. If you are not familiar with a well nut, it is a rubber nut that expands as it gets tighter (do a search on Lowes website for Well Nut and you will see what it looks like). So this allowed me to just bolt the whole assembly to the cylinders then just pop this well nut into the bottom mounting bracket and tighten everything up. Here is a photo of everything assembled during a day light scenario.

(notice the N is hardly visible)

Here is a photo of a daylight scenario with the Leds on.

(the N barely lights up in red, sorry for the reflection of the red stool, that isn't apart of the design)

Here is a photo of a night time scenario with the Leds on.

So, I tidied everything up and went for a test ride. After returning from a 30 minute ride, I noticed that the mirrored film was coming off near the 2 bolts at the top of the acrylic. This got me down because I really liked that mirrored look. So, I was forced to remove the film. Which I am really okay with. I like the way the acrylic looks without the film on it, plus the design on the acrylic shines a little better at night without the film on it.

Daytime no Leds on

Daytime with Leds on

(notice a little red hue to the N)

Night time with Leds on (my favorite)

With the acrylic being cut from a square, the sides became "scuffed" which allowed the Leds light to be caught and also make the outline of the acrylic shape light up as well.

To this day, 6 months later, the acrylic is holding up great. I've been through a wide arrange of outside temps, from 100*F humid August days, to cool 50*F November days. I have started to notice some small scratches in the acrylic, this is a soft plastic, so almost anything, even a rough rag, will scratch it. But the acrylic shop said for $40, he will create me another with any design that I want.

So, I've been thinking of more designs, got a coworker drawing me up a Reaper riding an old bomb, but I also wounldn't mind making this design as a cover for the left side (maybe not as big though)

So with that, I hope you all enjoy and who knows, this idea might spark another great concept for your bike, like Windsor's did for me!

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Old 01-26-2014, 11:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Awesome mod and write up.
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That's great and very detailed write-up too. Thanks.

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Old 01-27-2014, 02:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice work!

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Great write up. I think you are on to something.


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Old 01-27-2014, 11:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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thanks for the detailed write up good job

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Old 01-27-2014, 06:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dude that's an awesome job and good write up. I also recently moded a right side cover but I took the simple way out. You're stuff is some good design.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I love it! I have my right side empty right... This might be the to go. Thank you for sharing.

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Old 01-27-2014, 09:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for all the praise. It only took about 5 months from conceptual idea to finished product. Heck its not even finished product yet. I want to make more acrylic pieces so I can interchange them from football season to the time not in football season.

I'm glad this write up is getting good reviews, the sole purpose for it was to spur interest and inspire someone to do something that hasn't been done yet. I hope it works.

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My right side Led lit acrylic cover
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nicely done. Imagination is the limit. I've been thinking what I could do with some L.E.D. lighting too. Excellent job and write up.
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