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Habitual Offender
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 Post subject: DIY seat shaping *updated with CF seat cover!*
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:03 pm 
I had a bit of a wild hair today.

It's been pouring and windy and I have NO IDEA when I am going to have an operational front brake. So no scootering for the forseeable future.

So I thought I would open up the seat and start working on it.

I ordered a 10"x9" gel pad which I am going to mount flush.

I bought a yard of cheap vinyl covering and some thin foam filler to begin practicing making a new seat cover. Once I have the technique down I am going to order a yard of carbon fiber weave vinyl and make a nice, custom cover.

BTW I did the shaping up to this point with a bread knife. I might tweak it slightly. I can't thin the front much more because the plastic seat base itself has a hump. If you do this yourself you will not the that the surface of the foam is smooth because it is molded. When you start shaping, you get a rough surface as you break open all the cells. I spent about 1.5 hours to get to where it is now, very carefully shaving. Doesn't look great for so much time spent, does it? The best idea is to take your time and not cut off too much.... It's a lot harder to add foam than it is to take it off.

I bought a 10 amp electric stapler but either a) it is too weak or b) I have the wrong kind of staples because it won't drive them through the plastic. All I can find are chisel shaped staples. I need pointy ones to get the drive focused on the smallest point possible to penetrate the plastic. The stapler has a good kick but just bends the staples over and leaves a pair of tiny dents in the plastic. No good.

I'll post another pic when I start laying the gel in.

I might trade the stapler in on a 14 amp model like DIYMotorcycleSeat.com recommends.

Image
Image

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Last edited by QWKDTSN on Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Dirty Sanchez
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:33 pm 
NICE! I've been thinking of making a nice suede replacement cover for the Met.


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Shot Caller
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:41 pm 
QWKDTSN thank you for doing this. I always learn new stuff from here. I wanted to get rid of that hump also. Can't wait till you get this how-to done.

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Habitual Offender
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 10:08 pm 
Suede would be extraordinarily badass... Raffit has a suede seat and it's awesome looking. Only problem would be rain/moisture/dirt. Maybe Alcantara would be a good alternative as it is a synthetic suede and a bit more forgiving with water, I believe. Only problem with THAT would be that Alcantara is about $75+ a yard and many places require a 3-yard minimum order.

I found carbon fiber weave vinyl for about $13 a yard plus shipping, and that's enough to make about 4-5 seat covers, the way I measure it... So there is plenty of room to make mistakes and start over without breaking the bank. I'm going to try to make a one-piece cover... just because my sewing skills are not topnotch... but there is the option of having one of the rescue swimmers I work with help me sew a 2-piece cover with contrasting stitching.

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Dirty Sanchez
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:49 am 
QWKDTSN wrote:
Suede would be extraordinarily badass... Raffit has a suede seat and it's awesome looking. Only problem would be rain/moisture/dirt. Maybe Alcantara would be a good alternative as it is a synthetic suede and a bit more forgiving with water, I believe. Only problem with THAT would be that Alcantara is about $75+ a yard and many places require a 3-yard minimum order.


I had an Alcantara seat on my first Zoomer (it's somewhere in the Members Rides section), and although it is synthetic, it still soaks up water in the rain. When wet it will be dry in a few hours, so it's not perfect in rainy areas. It'll look nice though when dry, unless the suede which will look worse and worse.

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Habitual Offender
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 1:29 am 
Thanks for that tip about the Alcantara! :)

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Dirty Sanchez
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:44 am 
Awesome...This was going to be my spring project. Glad to see a regular knife will work.

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Needs Training Wheels
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:23 pm 
We use an electric carving knife at the mascot factory to carve foam, but I still have not yet attempted the set recover, so I don't know if it would make it easier or harder.


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Habitual Offender
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:24 am 
The carving knife is a standard foam shaping tool... You will see it on every seat shaping website and on Biker Build-off et al...

I don't have an electric knife so a serrated bread knife works well with a bit of patience... but I understand electric knives are available for about $15. Thanks for chiming in. :)

I put a temporary vinyl cover on the seat and learned a lot about seat covering. It looks terrible and took a lot of work, just to look terrible. I learned what vinyl not to buy. I won't have the gel insert until the 9th, so I won't have updated pictures on this project until I come back from vacation in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

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Donkey Puncher
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:15 am 
welcome back, PP! i thought you abandoned TR and Ruckus :shock:

anymore pictures of your mascots on a ruck?


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Needs Training Wheels
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:53 am 
Not abandoned. Loopyeddie and I have been modding my '07...I'll post when it's done powder coating.

It's SOOOO cold here now. I'm scared to even test ride the new mods on the ice here! Once it gets warm, maybe I'll try out monkey in a bikini on ruck, or frankenstein on ruck. For now, the firefighter and lumberjack pics/movie will have to do!

(sorry QWKDTSN, no threadjack intended)


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Habitual Offender
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:50 pm 
My gel pad arrived while I was away on vacation so I got to work installing it today.

The installation procedure is pretty easy but once you begin you're committed.

The pad I bought was 9"x10" and 1/2" thick and cost $26. This is a great deal because if you look around the web, all that's available are pre-shaped pads that seem to start at about $50 for a size that might or might not fit the Ruckus seat. I looked pretty heavily into the medical industry online (for wheelchair users and the like) but couldn't find a sheet of gel this size and price. http://www.diymotorcycleseat.com has this deal!

This pad is oversized by just enough that you can trim it to the shape you want. I wanted the pad to remain on the flat area of the seat, and trimmed it to shape with scissors. Dust flour along the edges as you go because when you trim it, the edges are extraordinarily sticky. The flour makes it much easier to work with (the instructions recommended this). I didn't take a picture of the pad before starting work, so just imagine a rectangle just a little bigger than this.

Image

I laid the pad in place, traced around it on the foam, and began to cut it out.

I used a serrated knife which I marked to 1/2" depth to cut into the foam. I cut about 1/8" inside the line I had traced. Once you have the outline cut, cut strips in the foam. Then remove each strip to 1/2" depth. The easiest way to do this is to pull up and back on the foam strip, and carefully saw at the base. If done right the strips come right out to the approximate depth.

Image

Then, roughly smooth out the base and lay the gel insert in.

It was a good idea to cut 1/8" inside the traced line, because you can gently squeeze the gel pad into place without any gaps. It fits snug and after letting it settle, you can see which areas need a bit more shaving.

I worked the foam (gently shaving away at it with my serrated knife... a cheap steak knife, in fact) until it was even. Once satisfied, I sprayed some craft glue into the cutout and laid the gel insert in evenly.

Image

Image

After you have the insert in place, it's a good idea to put some smoothing foam over the whole seat pad. This will smooth out the shape of the seat and keep the parts that you shaped from looking rough and unfinished. What I found at the craft store is some headliner cloth which has a thin foam backing.

Spray glue over the seat, put the foam in place, and stick it down over all the curves. Stretch and add more glue as necessary, then when it's glued down sufficiently, trim around the edges with scissors so it's even with the foam.

At this point you should be ready to re-cover the seat.

Image

I don't have my final seat covering material ready yet so I just did a quickie job (like 10 minutes) with some vinyl from the craft store so I can ride in the meantime. The stuff I bought is the wrong kind, it has a weak cotton-wool backing. What you need has a kind of stretchy fabric backing (that's what the stock Honda seat is made of). The cottony backing is easily torn through by staples and doesn't stretch well. I'm ordering some carbon fiber vinyl and will probably just make a single-piece seat cover, though I might stitch a couple of pieces together with some contrasting red thread for a more custom look.


Image


Image

A job well done. I'll post again when I actually finish the seat with a good-looking cover without wrinkles in it!


Image

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Dirty Sanchez
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:27 pm 
sw33t......L00king g00d s*r!!!!!111!!

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Shot Caller
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:56 pm 
looks sweet! see ya at CON!!!

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Dirty Sanchez
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:17 am 
Looking great :) How does it feel compared to the stock seat?

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