Sun Visor Update

I wrote a blog entry back in December about Sun Visors and a call out for some ideas of reproducing the heat sealed edge that some Vintage Ferraris originally had and I wanted to give an update to those that may have been wondering.

The owner of Stoddard NLA contacted me to give me some ideas. Stoddard sells reproduction parts for Vintage Porsches, and has a large array of parts for these cars including sun visors for 365s that are made in a similar fashion to what I’m finding on the Ferraris. Brad Ripley and I had a long conversation about sun visors, and the all the details beyond what I even considered before. He had obviously done extensive research on materials, details, and manufacturing to reproduce the a sun visor that would be acceptable to his clients that own Porsches. Mr. Ripley generously provided the manufacturer’s contact information for me to discuss the possibilities of reproducing a similar visor for Ferraris.

One thing became obvious to me during my conversation with Stoddard was the scale of manufacturing for a sun visor to be feasible. Yards of material would have to be purchased, separate dies would have to made to cut the internal foam and outer vinyl for each visor. Before I even called the manufacturer, I began to see why no one had solved this problem before for Ferraris!

The manufacturer in California was very helpful in explaining the process of making sun visors for Stoddard. The RF sealing machine that melts the edges of the vinyl is used for all sorts of manufacturing including things like IV bags you see hanging in hospitals. This same process is what is used for the sun visors, but custom dies have to be made for each shape of sun visor. As they added up the cost for each die for the foam insert, and the outer vinyl skin, along with set up time with the machine, a cost of about $8000 dollars was estimated before any material was purchased or even a visor was manufactured! For a company that makes visors for Porsches or cars needing hundreds or even thousands, the scale of production makes it worth the investment. It was worth investigating this process and I learned a lot about how things like these are made. Thanks to everyone who educated me.

I will continue to explore ideas of how to make these visors in another direction. One thought was to use a heat transfer machine like an industrial iron and making a die that would seal the edge of the vinyl. I may just have to buy one of these irons and try it out…