All vehicles come from the manufacturer with a designation of some sort; sometimes it's a name, a fictional word, or just numbers. But when a project gets more personal and starts to represent more than just mechanized motion, there is almost always a more singular alias that arises. That badge on the fender, that's what the manufacturer called it. What will you call it when it becomes yours?
It's becoming quite popular over the past decade for builders to create distinctive and memorable names as mnemonic devices for the builds that they want the hot rodding public to recall with ease. First Love, Ferrambo, Scarliner, Blowfish, Red Devil, OneLapCamaro, you type any of those into Google Images and get photos of those award-winning cars right away. Magazines are also notorious for this: Max Effort, EcoNova, g/28, and Project Talladega here at PHR for example.
In the past, those names, and sometimes their logos, are either airbrushed or pinstriped onto the car, or applied with a vinyl decal afterward. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but it does lack the level of finish that an emblem offers. Water jetting, laser cutting, and etching offer a significant step up since they allow for a piece of material to actually become an emblem. Casting is, of course, an option and has been employed since the beginning of cars, but finding qualified shops with artists who can do it well can be difficult, pricey, and require significant time. Technology has an answer, though.
We previously covered the capabilities of rapid prototyping and how it is going to continually change the face of hot rodding, thanks to the ease of creating complex, one-off pieces, and thanks to decreasing costs it's rapidly filtering down to the little touches on cars such as emblems. (Heck, we even saw an item on the news feed yesterday about a UPS store that had a 3-D SLA printer in addition to its standard line of paper printers.) After seeing custom emblems that looked exactly like factory equipment on a few cars, such as Greening Auto Company's Valiant project named "Pissed Off" (you'll see more on that elsewhere in this issue), we reached out to our friends at Greening and Forecast 3D to create something for our own Valiant.
Forecast 3D has amazing rapid prototyping capabilities, including an incredibly versatile form of 3-D printing called Stereo Lithography Apparatus, or SLA. Using a photosensitive resin, parts can be built layer by layer from scratch in short order. But enough description; the photos are more fun. Check out how the Violent Valiant got its own custom one-off emblems.