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Putting on the Ritz

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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Badges ain't like they used to be.

It used to be that badges on cars were installed with integral pins or screws on the backs of the badges. You'd push the fasteners through matching holes punched in the body panels, attach them with clips or nuts on the other side, and viola, you had a secure badge. Today, they're applied with double-sided foam tape. The issue with this design is placement. Since there isn't a pre-defined place marked on the body panel like screw or pin holes, getting them right can be a challenge.

To get them aligned correctly at the factory, the assembly-line workers use a template that either aligns or attaches to the car and then the badges are pressed onto the panel in the correct position. Of course, those templates don't exist out here in the real world where we have to make repairs. However, using my design skills, I've come up with a simple solution: create a template out of cardboard.

Using my graphic design know-how, I simply made and cut a template out with a mechanical pencil, a metal ruler, a metal T-square, an X-Acto knife, and a cutting mat. To prep the body, I sprayed it down with GreaseMaster, rinsed with a wet towel, and dried — if the panel is already clean, then any paint-safe auto body paint prep should work just fine and won't require the rinsing and drying steps. Then to apply the badges I used the body lines that I took the measurements from for alignment purposes, some 3M Auto Body Masking Tape to attach the template to the body, pressed, and viola, I was done.

This time, it was just that easy. I know, rarely does anything go easy, but it did for me and I'm not going to look this gift horse in the mouth. I'm just going to go on my trip and hope the Cobalt returns unscathed.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Ryan

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