Abs – the plastic for auto tuning

ABS - the plastic for car tuning

A plastic such as ABS is used, especially because of the many possibilities of even complex contours and shapes can take, very popular in the car tuning or. used for the production of individual body parts. Due to the relatively simple processing or deformation, which can be carried out by anyone with half a technical talent, plastics are the first choice for bodystyling your vehicle.

We would like to explain the tuning plastic ABS in more detail and show you the processing possibilities of ABS, so that you too can soon produce your very own side skirts, bumpers, rear diffuser or spoiler for your vehicle.

Requirements for the plastic in auto tuning

There are many supporters, but just as many opponents of plastic in the tuning scene. One hears again and again Plastic does not come with me to the car.

The latter should be told that hardly any vehicle body can do without plastic, because for decades now, bumpers of mass-produced vehicles have been made of ABS. Even finished bodykits, front spoiler or rear spoiler, are usually made of high-quality, impact-resistant ABS plastic, if they are to have road approval. There are also cheap versions made of GRP (glass fiber plastic composite) but these usually do not have an ABE (general operating permit) and are also nowhere near as robust as the higher quality body parts made of ABS.

Plastics in vehicle tuning have various advantages compared to body parts. For one thing, they are significantly lighter than metal, which is likely to be of particular interest to those who want to achieve the highest possible power-to-weight ratio. ABS can also be shaped and processed much more easily than metal, because thermoforming, i.e. the effect of heat, can be used to shape ABS into almost any conceivable form without the need for welding or ironing. Another decisive factor is that plastics do not rust.

Approval in road traffic

If a vehicle is to be approved for road use and not just driven on the Nordschleife or any other race track, the materials used should be approved in accordance with the StVZO (Road Traffic Licensing Regulations). If this is not the case, this can result in the worst case that the lovingly, with much diligence in handwork tuned vehicle is not accepted and the operating license is withdrawn.

For example, body components must not have any sharp edges that could injure road users. This also applies in particular to the splintering behavior of the materials used. ABS plastic meets the requirements for splintering behavior and is therefore suitable for approval in road traffic.

Durability of the plastic

ABS is an extremely robust and impact-resistant plastic, so it will not break with the slightest blow. So-called parking bumps, which usually result in an unsightly dent in the case of metal body parts, usually only lead to minor damage, if any, in the case of ABS. Another advantage of plastics in vehicle tuning.

Processability of the plastic

Very few people will glue entire plastic sheets to the vehicle, so the workability of plastic parts is also a very important criterion in the tuning scene. ABS can be shaped with very simple tools, such as a handsaw, a jigsaw, a router, a Dremel© , or all other tools for woodworking can be processed and that without welding knowledge, or experience in metal construction. ABS can also be excellently glued or painted (more on this later) and hot formed at temperatures between XX°C and XX°C.

Body tuning of a hot rod with ABS plastic
Body rear of a Beetle handmade from ABS plastics
Wheel spacers are easy to make with ABS plastic
Customized body kits and front spoilers made of ABS plastic

Machining ABS plastic

As already mentioned, ABS is very easy to process. Simple woodworking tools, such as conventional saws or milling machines, are all that is needed to cut the plastic to size. ABS can also be cut with a CO2 laser, or turned. Also hole drilling with a simple cordless screwdriver and a drill for metal, are no problem.

Finer processing steps can be done with metal arrows or sandpaper, so you can produce body parts for your vehicle accurate to the tenth of a millimeter without needing great knowledge.

Ach bonding of ABS is possible with suitable plastic adhesives such as our Ruderer L530.

The hot forming of ABS, for example the folding or bending of radii, is just as feasible under the influence of heat as the deep-drawing of prefabricated ABS plastic parts using heat and vacuum.

ABS paint

If you take the trouble to tune your vehicle and create individual body parts from ABS plastic, you will certainly not be satisfied with leaving these parts in the appropriate plastic color. In 99,9% of the cases it is desired that also the self-made tuning parts of the body kit are painted in car color. But this is not a problem with ABS, because this plastic can be painted very well.

In order to achieve a really hard-wearing paint finish, which resembles the scratch-resistant paint of a new car, we recommend, on the one hand, a thorough cleaning of the plastic surfaces and, on the other hand, we advise to use a plastic bonding agent before painting.

Please note that we can also mill parts from ABS exactly to your specifications. All information about our milling service can be found on the info page of our store.

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