When building as a product designer and developer, you need to gain skills, experience and routine in various fields. The craft base for the product designer and developer is extremely useful – it gives a very different approach and confidence in building a product, regardless of its function, application and niche market. The development of products for cars and motorcycles was a very specific stage of my development, from which I took only the benefits. In this area I left behind different types of products, several more serious projects, established style of work and attitude to the process and the client. There were extremely constructive developments, which subsequently proved to be profitable for the end customer – gaining additional value after the sale of the project and related product. All those projects that I went from sketch to finished product, were useful for my growth – making the final product, organizing the process and going through various stages and production methods. Of course, there were some contradictory moments, but they were part of the path and my development as a professional that every person dealing with products goes through.
Usually products for cars and motorcycles are distinguished in the definition of “custom products”. Due to their approach and specificity, they always differ in their nature, problems to solve and application. This makes them a broad concept and can be very difficult to fit into any framework, specific area, or profiled product type. Products that are installed individually are often composed of different parts or are formed into more complex body kit sets – modules. In addition to achieving the specific objectives, there must be a logical connection between the main object on which they are mounted – a car or a motorcycle – and the specific product. It is necessary to have a balanced combination – adequate styling and functionality, but satisfying the specific needs of the client. Often the products are located in close proximity; have asymmetrical structures, characteristic shape and ratio between volumes and lines. This makes them very specific during the shaping processes. Compliance with the technological requirements until the production of the final product is reached is also essential. The complexity of the structure, the consideration of the characteristics of each detail, as well as the sizing and logical scaling, make this type of product a huge challenge.
The need to make such products is usually caused by the desire to modify, weight reduction with a racing element or a specific redesign of the basic styling of the car or motorcycle. Such products immediately become “custom”, and this automatically increases their final price. This type of product development services should be offered by people with certain abilities, approaches and practical skills. Everything in these projects should be moderate, with individuality and a sense of every detail of the overall structure of the site – car or motorcycle. A certain communication and relationship is built between the two parties – the contractor and the client. The limited number of manufactured products – the so-called “limited product” type – and the technological terms for their production, inevitably become determining factors for the high values of this type of products. In this regard – the smaller the number of products produced, the more the value of this process increases, as well as the cost of the final product. If you are looking for a low value of the service related to the production of this type of products, it is difficult to achieve the end result that is expected from the customer. These are not empty words and self-serving statements, in order to unnecessarily increase the cost of this creative service, but a reality that has its own rational justification and evidence. This has not been and will never be available and a mass type of service – with high added value – for each customer, but is aimed at a specific target group. This is a principle that can be defended with many arguments, but the main one is the word “custom”. Production process that exceeds many times the price of the basic factory part on the car or motorcycle, which is mass-produced and offered on the market. The process itself would not be justified purely in time and technology, as well as the skills used in it – if its final price does not exceed the market value several times, the original basic products on the car or motorcycle.
The production technology starts with the formation of main models, continues with the casting of fibreglass mould and ends with the production of the final product. I have used a specific approach in building the main models on which the fibreglass moulds were made. Basically, for these models I have adapted a specific model material, typical for the studios for automobile, industrial and product design – industrial designer clay. In some developments I had to adapt as a basis for the main model, different types of materials: polyurethane structures, standard plastics, structure elements of wood and metal, impregnation materials, adhesives and consumables for finishing procedures. For the production of the matrix, as well as for the final product, I used a specific combination of composite materials – fiberglass, polyester resin and gelcoat. Prior to mounting on the car or motorcycle, processes for trimming excess, grinding and refining the product are performed. Usually the final modifications are extremely precise, in view of the assembly of the product – fixing and adjusting in the functional areas and adapting to the technological parts. It is a laborious craft that requires patience, discipline and focus. The craftsman creates a sense of detail and attitude towards the final product. The designs have always been varied – whether it is a visual modification, an aerodynamic product, a functional detail or a structural part, which are located on the exterior of the car or motorcycle, or in the interior of the car. These are usually products made of composite materials, but although they are rarely used and different types of plastics – ABS, Polycarbonate, Veralite and Plexiglas. Recently, products that are made on 3D printers have entered, and in the future will be an integral part of custom products for cars and motorcycles. The main materials used for this type of custom products are from the composite industry: different types of resins and gelcoats, various glass fiber or carbon fiber materials – fiberglass, e-glass fiberglass, carbon fiber, kevlar and hybrid materials. Whether it is a single, limited or small-scale production of products, these continue to be the main and most used materials in this field. Their successful combination, the correct preparation and operation of the specific composite technology (fibreglass moulding by hand, vacuum infusion or beginning infusion process), gives extremely good results as mechanical and visual characteristics in the final products. Observance of the production technology and the achievement of mechanical stability in the using of the products must be among the main priorities when using these type of materials.
Over the years, I have had to fulfill a variety of individual customer orders, whether it is a car or motorcycle product. There have always been specific requirements, applications, functionality or style preferences. The wide range and range of types of products, as well as the goals in the specific project, have never had limitations – complete redesign, styling, functional or structural parts, complementary products and more. The products I have designed and manufactured are in an extremely wide range: body kit details for rally cars; car rear bumper diffuser; car fender flares on front and rear fenders; front bumpers; car side skirts; hood scoops for front car hoods; car roof vent – roof scoop and internal roof scoop part; front bumper additives to cool the brake discs; weight reduction of side car doors; center consoles for car dashboards; lip spoilers; a number of other structural and functional details in the car exterior and car interior; motorcycle helmet shells; motorcycle body kit details – side covers body fairing, body kit details for track motorcycles and scooters, etc.
There are always refinements, corrections and unforeseen situations in the process. Therefore, the way to solve the problems is important. The flexible and optimal approach in such situations is imperious, especially in the advanced phase of the production of the custom product. The end result is important – the quality of the final product and the justified expectations of the customer. Consistency of actions is required in this area, so continuous feedback from the customer is very important – during the whole process, as well as at each completion of a specific stage of the product. Over the years, I gained invaluable experience from handmade custom products, with which I upgraded a useful foundation in the future – in the design and development of various types of products and product innovations. In each order product I have left my style, approach and way of working, as well as covering the specific requirements of the client. Then it was important for me to make a quality product according to certain rules and methods, creating habits with design, development and implementation. It was not just self-serving movements and deliberate pursuit of “taking the customer’s money”, but creating value, attitude towards the final product, building a reputation, approach to the process, as well as pleasant communication and satisfaction in both parts – in me as a contractor of the product, and in the customer, as the recipient of the final product.
Projects in which I have been a designer, developer and contractor of custom products – in the field of cars and motorcycles:
Auto & Moto Body Kit Parts – https://solo-form.com/en/project/auto-and-moto-body-kit-parts/
Car Body Products – Product Sketches – https://solo-form.com/en/project/car-body-products-product-sketches/
VW Polo S2000 – Rally Car – https://solo-form.com/en/project/vw-polo-s2000-rally-car/
Mazda MX-5 – Body Kit – https://solo-form.com/en/project/mazda-mx-5-body-kit/
Motorcycle Helmet – “Predator” – https://solo-form.com/en/project/motorcycle-helmet-predator/
Aerodynamic Panel – Box Van Trailer – https://solo-form.com/en/project/aerodynamic-panel-box-van-trailer/