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Custom Exhaust Tips

Having the right exhaust tips is very important for adding extra detail to the rear side of a car. Standard plastic ones are not always up for the job, especially if you're building a customized car. Therefore, making your own exhaust tips out of a stainless-steel or aluminium rod at the right size, will make your build stand out from the rest! 

When I was making the exhaust tips for the Honda NSX, I decided to document the whole procedure to share with you all so that you could start making your own exhaust tips too!

Here's how the exhaust tips look at the back of the NSX. Let's see how I did them exactly

In the picture above, the rod on top is the stainless-steel item I began working with. Bottom one, is the finished item ready to be attached to the Honda NSX

First thing I do is to assemble the exhaust (silencer) to the chassis. Then, I assemble the chassis to the body and overturn the car. Next, I place the rod in place and mark where I need to cut. At this point it's important to decide about the final position of the tip and how much you want it to protrude from the rear bumper as this makes a difference where to actually cut. You don't want it to be too long or too short!

Now, a safety moment! When following this procedure, don't forget your safety equipment, like safety glasses, especially if like me you're using a rotary tool to cut the rod

Here I've cut the rod from where I had previously marked using a rotary tool. Then I use a sanding file to level out the surface into a neat finish, as can be seen on the cutting mat

With the cut and filing complete, it's now time to make it more realistic. The rod I use is slightly thick and won't look very realistic in place. So I use the diamond cutter (above) to make the rod material thinner and hence more realistic. The rod resting on the cutting mat is the original while the piece being held with the tweezers is the finished product

To achieve that result, I attach the rod into a mini vice and with the rotary tool set to around 12000 rpm, I start gently pushing the diamond cutter down until the rod material is thin enough. Speaking of speed, remember that my rod is made of stainless-steel. If you have an aluminium rod, less speed will work fine too since the material is softer. Once again, don't forget your safety glasses here as milled pieces will start flying everywhere!

Above is the rod just after the diamond cutter process is complete. As you can see, the outer diameter is not smooth. However on the inside it was neatly milled. To get the outside diameter clean, I use the grinding stone seen above. This provides softer sanding than the previous tool, hence it'll remove that uneven edge and leave a clean surface

Seen above inside the tweezers, is the rod after sanding it smooth with the grinding stone. Now, it's time to close the back part. For this, I take a piece of styrene, paint it matt black using a permanent marker and finally attach the rod firmly to the styrene with super glue

Once the super glue has fully cured, I use a nippers to cut all the extra styrene edges off around the rod. As you can see on the cutting mat, I leave the edges slightly longer than the rod, as these will be taken care of in the next polishing step

Now it's time to make the rod shine and chrome! For this job, I use 3-grades of sand paper (800, 1200 and 2000-grit), a rotary tool and finally an old paint brush cut in half!

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An old brush... cut in half? Yes, I use this to polish each tip using the rotary tool. What I do, is first measure the inside diameter of the rod, then measure the old brush to find that same diameter and cut the brush in half from there. Then, I press one side of the cut brush inside the rod, and the other side inside the rotary tool. Finally, I start the rotary tool at the lowest speed (5000 rpm for me) and gently start sanding off with the 800-grit. At this stage, I also sand down those extra styrene edges left earlier

Here's how the rod looks after the first, 800-grit stage. It's already looking much shinier than before and the styrene is perfectly smooth with the edges at the back

Next step is to repeat the same polishing procedure first with the 1200, then with the 2000-grit. Above is the final result, which looks very realistic if you're after a chrome finish

Now, it's time to make the styrene more realistic too! This is achieved by not leaving it flat at the back. To make it more round, I add several drops of super glue on top of each other, giving me the result seen above 

With the exhaust tips finished, it's time to attach them to the car. First thing I do is to measure the standard kit exhaust pipe as we'll need to drill a hole inside the styrene

Since the vernier caliper measured 2.03mm, I used a 2mm drill bit for the holes

Final job, is to paint the back side of the exhaust tips in chrome, and the pipe that will be inserted inside the tips in black. As you can see, the holes aren't exactly in the middle. This was done intentional, so that once inserted inside the pipe at the next stage, I can rotate them how I want and achieve the height I need between the tip and the body

All that remains, is to glue them in place and admire your new custom made exhaust tips! Before gluing them, it's important to first attach the chassis inside the body so that you'll glue the tips exactly in place according to the rear bumper's location and shape

Above is a picture of the R33 exhaust tip I also made. It was done using the same procedure explained here, with the only difference being that once polished, I drilled a hole inside the stock silencer and inserted the tip directly into it

Let's close this tutorial with another picture of the finished NSX, displaying those custom exhaust tips proudly in place. They are a thousand times better than the stock ones and only took around 30 minutes to get them like that. Go on, and start making your own!

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And that’s my whole procedure! Really hope you find it interesting and that it'll help you out with your next custom exhaust tips! If you have any questions, feel free to sign the guestbook or ask on the jdm24scale facebook page.

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