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 Bolt-In, Plug-and-Play Projector Lights 
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Post Bolt-In, Plug-and-Play Projector Lights
Don’t get too excited about this yet, but I have been working on bringing bolt-in, plug-and-play projector headlights for the MX-3 to market. Right now, we are still in the design stage, and I need to get some feedback on whether or not it will be financially feasible for me to produce these, due to the high costs involved.

First, a bit of background on our proposed design:

The basic look of the units from the outside will be very similar to the Ford Focus units pictured on www.rallylights.com, but with the low-beams on the outside and the high beams on the inside. Note that these units do not have any outside lenses – the design will allow for the mounting of the readily available GTS headlight covers for those who want them. This will also allow for easy (and relatively cheap) replacement of the covers when (not if!) they become scratched.

The biggest challenge design-wise is the lack of access to the rear of the high-beam lights for aiming adjustments and bulb replacement, and the restrictive space behind the light housing, where the stock mounting bracket resides. This has necessitated the design to have the lights mounted from the front of the unit, with the adjusters accessible from the front. This means that the exterior cover will have to be a separate piece which is bolted or screwed on to the rear housing, and is removed for aiming/adjustment and bulb replacement. Each additional part to the housing increases the cost by 100%, due to the additional mould that has to be made, but there is no way to get around having at least two pieces.

The housings will be made of black, non-weathering ABS plastic, because it is the best material for the job that is readily available in single sheets. The downside to this is that the exterior covers MUST be primed and painted or otherwise protected from the elements, or they will fade/deteriorate rapidly. To make the housings out of a weather-resistant product is not feasible because there are minimum quantity orders required, and I can not afford to pay for all of that material up front.

The housings will bolt in, with no drilling of body parts or cutting of bumpers or fenders required. All that will be required is to unbolt the stock mounting hardware and bolt on the new units.

The lights will be the DOT-approved Hella 90mm H9 DE low beams and FF high beams, and they will plug in directly to your existing wiring with no splicing required. Relays will not be included, as the H9 bulbs are only available in 65W versions anyway, so the stock wiring will be fine. If you really want relays, we can consider adding them to the kit, but the installation will then be somewhat more difficult, but still within the realm of the non-skilled.


Now for the nitty-gritty – what it will cost.

The cost for the lights and wiring is not going to change much regardless of how many units we sell – I figure best case scenario we might get a 5% discount on those parts for a quantity of 20. Same goes for the cost of actually producing the housings – the materials and process cost what they cost.

Where the main variation in price will come is in recovering the pre-production costs of design and mould-making. Remember also that each moulded piece increases this portion of the cost by 100%.

As far as profit margin goes, let’s just say that I will not be retiring on the proceeds from this – most likely, I will be making just enough to buy a set of the lights for myself at cost.

That being said, here is a ROUGH figure for what the complete units as specified above will cost, based on the number of units ordered, and a conservative estimate for the cost of design and mould-making. This is for the bolt-in housings, light units, and direct plug-in wiring harnesses, and does not include shipping, duty or applicable taxes:

    20 units = $975 Canadian (about $820 US at current exchange rates)

    30 units = $875 Canadian (about $735 US)

    40 units = $825 Canadian (about $690 US)

    50 units = $795 Canadian (about $665 US)

    100 units = $735 Canadian (about $615 US)


Before anybody starts complaining that the price is too high, bear in mind that this is VERY low volume production, and I am paying a third party to do the CAD work and mould-making because I am IT guy, not an industrial designer or a plastics manufacturer!

So – are you up for it?

Bearing in mind the prices above, are there at least 20 people willing to drop that kind of money for the lights? Better yet, 50 people? Whether I go ahead with producing these will be dependent on the level of serious, interested buyers.

I would likely require a significant deposit before we go ahead, because I simply can not afford to go thousands of dollars further into debt based on a “yeah, great idea – do it”. All the costs up till now have been coming out of my pocket from my 9-5 job, and a fair chunk of the pre-production costs will be going on my already stressed credit, even allowing for the deposits.

E-mail or PM me (DON’T reply to this post) if you are seriously interested, and let me know what your maximum price point is based on the estimates above.

Spread the word to as many people as you can, because the only way this will get done is if enough people are interested.

If there is not sufficient response within the next month (by August 15th, 2005), I am going to consider this project a bust…


July 15 2005, 9:20 PM
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Awesome idea that will yield some of the best lights out there. Price seems pretty reasonable considering you are remaking all the mounting brackets. Relayed wiring harness would be a must to protect weak stock circuity and to realize the ful potential of H9's. If you do this way, you will also have to make a jumper to have low beams stay on when switching to highs, but that is very very easy. Oh, this is just a comment, I already upgraded my lights.

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July 16 2005, 3:00 AM
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for that price I`m more than happy with sticking to my Civic projectors.....

nope-mx3

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July 16 2005, 7:37 AM
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Ah what the hell count me in!

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July 17 2005, 1:51 AM
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Well for the price and look I think alot more mxers will just stic with the civic lights. I say this because the civic lights are alot nicer looking and even tho the install on them is not cake its woth the time instead of spending that much on bolt ons. just my oppion.


July 17 2005, 1:40 PM
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I think its a good idea. I say go for it and if it is a premium product buyers will come. Good luck


July 17 2005, 2:29 PM
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i would love to buy them, but it might be a tad to high, might have to hardball with the manufacturers see if they can drop their labour rates just a hair.

im a starving student. .... with a klze lol

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July 17 2005, 3:21 PM
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Sorry dude, that price is ludicrous.

I'd be cash that I could find an uphostery shop to build and fiberglass me a set of projectors for a similar price if not less. It woulnd't be THAT hard to make a set, just need some composites experience. Build a wooden frame, stretch some fleece over it, shove resin on it, bondo it, sand it and check for fitment

Then you can make a mold and mass produce them.

I'm just curious, did this plastics company do the CAD work for you? or did you CAD it yourself and send them the blueprints? I can see that price if they did the measurements & design themselves, but if you already did it, they are REALLY ripping you off :(

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July 18 2005, 4:02 PM
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I am going to assume that the cost that you have there (lets work with the 20 units cost) of $820US for a PAIR of headlights.

Now the first thing that came to mind is that that price seemed real familiar, and the reason is that like everyone else I want to replace the headlights I have and since my wife works for a dealer, I had her check the cost.

The cost of a headlight for the MX-3 from the dealer is $350 each, that is a retail cost, she also checked aftermarket OEM and none are made. The dealer cost of $315 each....that's brand spankin new.

So while the projectors look really cool, I can't see paying more for an aftermarket product when I wont spring for the OEM ones.

That said, if these projectors where at a cost of lets say $400US or so, I would consider that a done deal, I know that seems kinda raw considering your trying to do something just about everybody with our cars wants but that cost is way too high...there has got to be a way of working this out at a more reasonable cost.

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July 18 2005, 6:37 PM
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Thank you to all of you who have given some positive feedback on this - it is greatly appreciated!

For all those who are saying the price is too high, let me break it down for you:

    4x H9 projectors @ $59 each = $236 US
    2x 9004 plugs @ $7 each = $14 US
    4x H9 plugs @ $7 each = $28 US
    Relays, wiring, connectors = $50 US
    Total = $328 US FOR JUST THE LIGHTS!!!
Note the pricing above is from rallylights.com - I would be getting them from a local supplier instead, but the pricing would be pretty much the same considering there would be no shipping from the supplier to me. The quantity is just too small to get much of a break on pricing.

Each moulded piece for the housing (there are two) will cost me between $2,000 and $3,000 (each) for the CAD work and machined metal moulds. Worst case scenario, let's say the moulds cost me $6,000. At 20 sets, that is $300 per set (around $250 US at current exchange rates).

Actually producing the moulded pieces, for the material and labour, will cost me around $200 per set (around $175 US at current exchange rates). This will not change unless I am producing in quantities of 50 or more. This is with 100% consistent quality due to the metal moulds, made from thick ABS plastic that will not crack from vibration or impacts like a thin, fiberglass piece would.

Packaging and packing materials, plus printing costs for the instruction sheets, plus my time fabricating the harnesses works out to about another $30 US.

Add that all up, and what do you get?

    $328 for lights, etc.
    $250 pre-production costs
    $175 materials, labour for housings
    $30 miscellaneous
    $783 US AT COST

While I am not looking to become a millionaire off of this, I am also NOT willing to do it for nothing, so my markup would be about $37 US per set. At 20 sets, that is just enough after taxes for me to buy myself one set of lights.

So, the cheapest I could do 20 sets with the current design for is $820 US.

That said, I am working on an alternative design that would reduce the number of moulds required by half while not increasing the production costs, thereby dropping the price by maybe $125 US to around $695 US complete for 20 sets. It will not be as elegant a solution when it comes to the hidden mounting system, but outward appearances would be the same.



Leaving all of that aside, I am getting the distinct impression that most people here are more concerned with "different" looks at a cheap price, rather than DRAMATICALLY improved lighting with 100% perfect fit and adjustability, and a simple bolt-in, plug-in installation.

No disrespect meant for those who have done the Civic conversion, but for me, the "good-from-far but far-from-good" fit of modified Civic projectors is not acceptable.

Likewise, for me, the cheap quality light units used in $200 projector kits are not acceptable. I would rather pay the money and have high-quality units, with magnesium housings and great optics. I would rather pay the money to have a simple, no cutting, no splicing installation.

As for comparisons with brand new, replacement stock units - there simply is NO comparison when it comes to the lighting quality and performance these units will offer. As far as the manufacturing quality of the pieces themselves, they will be as good or better than factory units.


As promised, I will monitor this post until August 15 for sufficient interest.

I sincerely hope there are enough people out there looking for the same kind of quality and performance as I was before I decided to take matters into my own hands. If not, I, like so many others, will simply have to hand-fabricate my own set and let everyone else fend for themselves.


July 19 2005, 12:01 AM
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I don't think there is anyone here that does not appreciate your hard work, nor anyone that can argue that a quality product is certainly worth a certain amount of money more than your average product...I personally agree with your assesment but you are still talking about $820US.

It's great that you see the concern and are acting on it, and that you are looking for an alternative that may leave room for some added savings. That is all I am looking for.

There is no lack of interest, we just need to find level ground for us and yourself. I am anxiously awaiting your results.

Oh by the way...how long will this whole process take? From the time that we pay to deliver...just a rough estimate?

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July 19 2005, 10:41 AM
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i honestly would be down but dont have the money, i want to be honest.

Thats why i never went in on the first GB for the CF hoods.

mainly people that say its way too much dont understand the concept that with 5 milion civic vs the sales of the mx-3

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July 19 2005, 5:10 PM
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Here is an idea for you...

Why not just make the housings for people? If you have figured out a way to mount 2 90mm Hella lights inside the area of the MX-3 headlamp- then by making the housings only- you will take most of the hard work away from people.

This would do several things for you and the MX-3 community:

~Make the Projectors seem less expensive.
While the end cost would be near to what you quoted above, most people can stomach the thought of $400 rather than over $800 in one shot.

~Allow people to buy the types of lights they desire
Most would probably stick with the H7 (or whatever)- but some may want to go HID or whatever else Hella may offer in that light size.

~Allow people to buy at their own pace
Some people like me cannot pay over $800 all at once. We can, however, buy the housings now, then 2 lights, then 2 lights, then the wiring, etc...

All you would need to do would be make a list of supplies & part numbers for people to do the basic set-up as well as a nicely written set of instructions.


I think this is a better solution for you and for the MX-3 community.. and by making the housings only- you are doing the hardest part that really keeps a lot of people away from a project like this. This would also save YOU some work in assembling the lights and ordering the lights from Hella, and putting a big chunk of your money up front.

I see this as a win/win situation for everyone!


Any thoughts?

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July 19 2005, 6:37 PM
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I would be looking at shipping the first units within six weeks of getting the required numbers. Going with the August 15th deadline, I would be aiming for beginning of October to begin shipping.

Absolutely, I would be willing to do just the housings - the way I see it, I am not making anything on the lights anyway, just the housings. I had considered it before, but had hoped that I could get enough people interested in the whole package at once to get us a slight discount on all the hardware as well.

If we were looking at just housings, it would be $455 US for the two-piece moulded units, or if my alternative design works out, it would be around $330 US. Bear in mind that this pricing is based on a worst-case scenario cost per mould, based on the estimates my mould maker has given me. It could work out cheaper, but I'd rather be able to deliver for less cost than promised, rather than asking for more money from people who had already committed at a lower price.

These units will fit any of the Hella 90mm modules, with the exception of the bi-xenon unit, as its mounting system is different. This includes the H9 DOT/SAE approved halogens, the H7 ECE halogens and the D2S single-Xenon HID's.

So, to summarize the info here:

    1. Yes, I will do just the housings.

    2. The housings can mount the Hella 90mm H9 halogens, H7 halogens, or D2S single-Xenon HID's. There is sufficient clearance for any of these units.

    3. Pricing for just the housings should be around $330 US using my alternative design (I am leaning toward the less-expensive option for obvious reasons).

    It may be less, but will almost definitely NOT be more, unless my alternative mounting system works out to be a lot more expensive than I am hoping - I will have more on that within the next couple of weeks once I finish design work and get some quotes on production.

    4. I will be aiming to ship the first units within six weeks of getting the required number of committed buyers. My target date is early October of this year.


July 19 2005, 9:50 PM
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That price range is FAR more reasonable.

I think, however, that before people start committing to buy a unit- they would like to see the design.

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July 19 2005, 10:07 PM
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