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Hey everyone. Most people wouldn't remember me but I was a frequent user of this forum a few years back and am now getting back into this.

The problem I am having is creating templates on vehicles from scratch. Basically Im trying to make a template of the body contours of certain areas of vehicles (hoods, tailgates, etc.), then somehow scan that template and import it into my design software so I can then trace it and cut it out to be installed on vehicles. The process I have been doing is time consuming and I am wondering if others have mastered this and could provide input on how they do it.

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Are you shooting for full wrap or something? Most of that type of thing just gets overbuilt and cut off after the install. 

IF it's just to fit INSIDE a given area (which is what I do) I take pics with a tape measure in the pic and then scale the pic to real size and design within that area. Works like a charm. To scale the pic just draw a 12" rectangle and place it on top of the pic in the program of your choice and start scaling the pic until the tape measure fits the 12" rectangle you created. 

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Im not looking for templates that are "close" to original. I don't do wraps or anything. I simply want to exactly replicate the existing lines of a part of a vehicle so I can make graphics that fit it perfectly. Attached is a picture of a hood. If I wanted to make a template of the areas that are red (which follow the edges of the top contour of the hood), what would be the best way to do that? Ive thought about laying wide format tracing paper over it and making marks along the edges. Having that paper scanned and importing it in, then I can trace it and scale it. This is a time consuming process as it takes some tweaking each time to get it perfect.

I know people do this but Ive never seen any tutorials. Ive actually never seen it mentioned aside from my own queries. The vehicle template software is nowhere close to the accuracy I need.

0711st_05_z+1999_ford_ranger+custom_hood.jpg

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I don't do this type of work, but what you are describing sounds like the perfect fit for the knife less finish line cutting tape. There have been post on here in the past about it and there are some videos of it's use someplace. Some pretty neat stuff.

To get a cutter to cut something to exactly fit a hood or what ever and then apply it perfectly, is going to be near impossible.

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4 hours ago, darcshadow said:

I don't do this type of work, but what you are describing sounds like the perfect fit for the knife less finish line cutting tape. There have been post on here in the past about it and there are some videos of it's use someplace. Some pretty neat stuff.

To get a cutter to cut something to exactly fit a hood or what ever and then apply it perfectly, is going to be near impossible.

That's pretty cool technology...its just not something that will work for my needs, unfortunately.

I specialize in online sales so my graphics are shipped out and installed by others. They fit precisely so the end user doesn't have to do any modifications. One method I had though about years ago but never tried was to buy a reusable sheet of clear static cling vinyl to apply over the surface I wanted to work on. I could then trace out the design onto the vinyl, pull it off and trace it out onto the paper, scan it and go from there. I am apparently doing something that most people don't do or just don't want to give away their methods. Oh well, if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears.

That knife-less cutting tape is sweet. I'll be ordering that soon for other projects.

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I gotcha. Yeah that is definitely tricky, especially if the car isn't at your disposal. 

I watched one of the hotrod shows a while back that was wanting custom hood graphics and the guy who showed up to discuss it with the host pulled out some low tack paper app tape and stuck it on there and traced out the area with a pencil then pulled up the tape and took it with him. I haven't tried that method but it seems to work, the area they were working was not that large.  The only thing I have done similar was for some Peterbilt emblems. I did the pic method. Scaled it and then actually printed out the outline since it would fit on a piece of paper and tested it out before I cut them. I had to do minor adjustments to the radius on both ends but the final product fit pretty good. 

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6 minutes ago, Wildgoose said:

I gotcha. Yeah that is definitely tricky, especially if the car isn't at your disposal. 

I watched one of the hotrod shows a while back that was wanting custom hood graphics and the guy who showed up to discuss it with the host pulled out some low tack paper app tape and stuck it on there and traced out the area with a pencil then pulled up the tape and took it with him. I haven't tried that method but it seems to work, the area they were working was not that large.  The only thing I have done similar was for some Peterbilt emblems. I did the pic method. Scaled it and then actually printed out the outline since it would fit on a piece of paper and tested it out before I cut them. I had to do minor adjustments to the radius on both ends but the final product fit pretty good. 

The app tape isn't a bad idea. It is essentially the same idea as the static cling only its more widely available and cheaper. That would work the same way. Im coming up with all kinds of ideas now. I think that's what I needed. I appreciate your help Wildgoose.

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