evanevery

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Like many folks here on the forum, I wanted a way to temporarily mount my Front License Plate "when needed". I certainly don't want to drill holes in my front bumper to mount a plate. I am also not a fan of the tow hook plate mounts (I have this for my M4). I think they look pretty clunky and non-symetrical on the vehicle. So, here were my design goals:

1. A Removable License Plate mount
2. Easily/Quickly removable/installable requiring no special tools or process
3. Mounts on vehicle centerline in basically the same place as the Porsche mount.
4. No permanent changes to vehicle if possible. Minimal, otherwise.
5. Unobtrusive when removed.
6. Will not interfere with vehicle cameras or sensors.
7. Solid and Structurally sound when installed (even at "Autobahn" speeds).
8. Will not scratch or damage the vehicle when installed
9. Capable of supporting a license plate transponder (EZPASS) as well as the license plate itself.
10. 3D Printable and requiring no special attachment hardware.
11. *** VHB Mountable Variant for more permanent VHB tape (removable) attachment (also without drilling any holes).

After spending several days with a contour gauge, digitizer, and digital angle gauge/protractor ... and a bunch of test prints and tweaks along the way, I have something I am very happy with! I am providing the 3D Print Files at the end of this message if anyone else would like to take advantage of this design. Here are some photos and notes:

Here are the four basic pieces which make up the mount. The mount consists of 2 mounting blocks (left/right) and two upright supports (left/right). The vehicle requires a different left/right pieces as the bumper is raked a bit to either side as it wraps around the vehicle. (At the point the supports get installed, it is raked approximately 3.2 degrees back on each side). So, the "mounts" and the "supports" both have compound curves to accommodate the flow of the bumper:

Mounts Profile.jpg


You will note that the mounts and supports have six hexagonal recesses in them to perfectly accommodate (and hold) a 1/4-20 stainless nut. I put a small bead of black plastic epoxy behind each nut after I firmly seated them. This will simply keep the nut from backing away from the front of each hole when they are not tightened down (plate dismounted).:

Bolt Holes.jpg


(Although I prefer metric fasteners, I used SAE bolt sizes since I have a very complete assortment of 1/4-20 black and stainless bolts and nuts. I expect 6mm hardware will fit as well)

Bolts.jpg


The next thing I did was to put an adhesive backed fuzzy strip of Velcro on the back of each support. I then trimmed the sides of these strips with a razor knife so they fit the supports perfectly. I specifically sized the mounts to have about 1mm of distance between the support and the bumper when mounted (without the fuzzy Velcro). So, adding the soft Velcro strip fills this gap and provides a nice soft surface between the support and the bumper.

Velcro Installed.jpg


Also, the precise fit of the support w/Velcro provides a smooth contact area for the plate to push straight back on when at speed. This ensures very little torsional loading on the actual mounts attached under the bumper. Basically, at highway speeds, the plate would effectively stay in place without any mounts at all!

So, here is my car with no front plate or mounts installed at all (for reference):

Bare Bumper.JPG


...and here is my car with just the little mounting blocks installed. You will note that they coexist nicely with the front camera and a few other items in that little grill area. If you didn't know they were added, you would probably never notice them.

Mounts Only.JPG


...and a close up of the mounts as installed:

Mounts Close Up.JPG


Here is the vehicle with the Removable Plate installed. Note that it only takes two screws and a screwdriver to mount the plate!

Plate Mounted.JPG


A close up side view to show the fitment:

Profile.JPG


..and here is the Porsche Bracket temporarily (green Tape) mounted (for comparison):

Porsche Mount.JPG


Although you can mount your license plate directly to the supports, I also decided to laser cut a piece of 1/8 inch black acrylic to use as a backing plate to increase rigidity. While I was at it, I cut an alignment tool to help ensure the mounting blocks were perfectly centered. The tool uses the same ridges on the grill for alignment as does the Porsche front plate mount:

Acrylic.jpg


If you are going to print these yourself, I would note the following: Print them with ABS, as PLA is not intended to stand up to direct sunlight (it will "migrate") ...and the following installation tip: Use the alignment tool (or empty supports) to manually position the blocks when you attach them to the black plastic grill. Don't try and attach them using the supports and a plate pre-mounted. If you don't get the plate perfectly mounted to your supports then you risk not having the mounting blocks optimally seated. Seat the blocks first. The holes in the US License plates are actually a little larger than 1/4 inch so there will be a bit of play in the plate to align it AFTER the blocks are firmly attached. Get the blocks firmly seated and attached in the proper location first (use the alignment tool) - then worry about the supports and plate later.

UPDATE: See Notes in posting BELOW for updated adhesive recommendations. As far as adhesive goes, I was initially going to use silicone. Silicone provides a pretty good "stick" and can generally be removed later without damage to the surface. Since the design of the supports hug the bumper profile nicely, there is very torsion on the mount and most of the force would be straight back. This incurs very little "challenge" to the adhesive. That being said, I decided to use a more permanent "plastic epoxy" since the little mounting blocks ended up being so unobtrusive when installed. IOW: I don't think I would ever need to remove the little mounting blocks so I decided to go with a more permanent, robust, adhesive: https://www.amazon.com/Permatex-84145-Permapoxy-Black-Plastic/dp/B00THUUVSU

Since I went through all the work to get the compound curves of the bumper laid down, and the design already has a 1mm gap to accommodate the fuzzy Velcro, it was a quick step to modify the supports to accept VHB tape for folks who want a more permanent plate attachment solution (instead of the Porsche bracket which requires drilling). The VHB tape essentially fills the same gap as the fuzzy Velcro so the support dimensions are basically the same. VHB Tape holds very well and is generally removable as it can be slowly (and CAREFULLY) peeled away from a surface without any damage. The VHB supports are also a bit shorter as they don't require attachment to any mounting blocks. So, if you want to try a "VHB Tape" mount, I have also included those print files as well. NOTE That virtually NOTHING sticks to a Ceramic Coating, so if you want to try a VHB Tape mount be sure a buff the coating away first if you have it (then reapply after attaching the supports). VHB should stick fine to naked PPF though...

I have attached the following set of files:

1. 3D Print Files (STL) for the mounts and supports

2. Optional Laser Cut Files (DWG, DXF) for Plate Bracket and Alignment Tool

3. 3D Print Files (STL) for the shorter VHB Mountable support variant

If anyone has any questions about the design, or desires more detailed installation information, please let me know. If you print and use this design please also let us know. Suggestions are also appreciated!

Update: I'm curious how well the epoxy will stick to the little black grill under the bumper. (If its made of polyethelyene then I might need to try a different adhesive). My epoxy is currently curing and I should be able to get a better idea of its relative holding capacity sometime tomorrow.
 

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JayGT4

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Awesome info and thanks for providing the print files! Very elegant solution.

Love when owners/enthusiasts share their ingenuity with fellow owners. Might be time for me to finally buy a 3D printer. Been looking for a good enough reason and this might be it :)
 
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evanevery

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Awesome info and thanks for providing the print files! Very elegant solution.

Love when owners/enthusiasts share their ingenuity with fellow owners. Might be time for me to finally buy a 3D printer. Been looking for a good enough reason and this might be it :)
Once you get one you will never be able to live without it! I currently have 4 of the 5 3D printers I have owned and 3 of them are still running. (One was crap so I gave it away to a local Makerspace and one is more-or-less a museum piece in my office).

You will also want to learn how to use a decent CAD package to make your own stuff. The REAL power of 3D Printers is being able to bring your own ideas to life - not simply printing stuff other folks have designed. (I can recommend TurboCAD as very powerful package at a reasonable price - but you can start with Google Sketchup for free!).

If you are REALLY looking for a great 3D Printer, my current all time favorite is the RAISE3D Pro2 Plus.

$0.02
 

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Once you get one you will never be able to live without it! I currently have 4 of the 5 3D printers I have owned and 3 of them are still running. (One was crap so I gave it away to a local Makerspace and one is more-or-less a museum piece in my office).

You will also want to learn how to use a decent CAD package to make your own stuff. The REAL power of 3D Printers is being able to bring your own ideas to life - not simply printing stuff other folks have designed. (I can recommend TurboCAD as very powerful package at a reasonable price - but you can start with Google Sketchup for free!).

If you are REALLY looking for a great 3D Printer, my current all time favorite is the RAISE3D Pro2 Plus.

$0.02
@evanevery Great work!!!! This is really fantastic and really high quality. I used your files for the phone mount on my Ender 3 Pro (just a beginner on a beginner printer) and installed it today. It worked perfectly and looked great! I really appreciate you sharing your ideas, knowledge and files.
 
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evanevery

evanevery

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I continue working to identify the best adhesive for this application. It looks like my Epoxy is holding well, but I found these other methods which might prove even better!

If I was going to do it again, I might choose these hot melt glue sticks as the "optimum" solution. They are made specifically to bond poly plastics (which this trim piece might be), they cure fast, and the adhesive would be very good at filling any gaps (not that my design isn't PERFECT!). ;-)

I also found this other adhesive. I'm not typically a fan of Cyanoacrylate-based adhesives (SuperGlue), but this one is made specifically for poly plastics. I think the glue sticks above would be a better solution but if you don't have a hot melt glue gun then this might work pretty good as well.

Not that I'm obsessive or anything...but I have both of these on order for testing... ;)

I also have a request into my Porsche dealer on what that little trim panel itself costs. Its pretty small and fairly simple. If its cheap (what are the odds?) and easy to remove and replace, I might also make another set of mounts which can be screwed into from behind through trim panel (instead of using adhesive). I'll see how that plays out as well...

UPDATE: Yup - I'm pretty sure that panel is Polypropylene! I spent some time working with my epoxy adhered mounts and I was able to remove them with a little work. The telling factor here was that they came off very cleanly. (The epoxy didn't bond INTO the trim panel - just the mounts). While this is not a bad thing, I want a more permanent attachment method. I'm going to print another set of mounts and wait for those poly-specific Glue Sticks to arrive and give them a try. Probably this weekend!
 
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Dee

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That's some nice work you've done there.
My compliments!

One question though:
What about dust, sand or debris caught into the Velcro?
I can imagining it'll act as sandpaper...even if the paint is protected by PPF.
I've used Velcro on my rc models and they collect dust, sand and debris like crazy!
Maybe another kind of material would be more suitable, like a piece of neoprene which is much more "closed" and can't hold dust, sand or debris.
Also way better to (keep) clean.
Just a suggestion. :)
 
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evanevery

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That's some nice work you've done there.
My compliments!

One question though:
What about dust, sand or debris caught into the Velcro?
I can imagining it'll act as sandpaper...even if the paint is protected by PPF.
I've used Velcro on my rc models and they collect dust, sand and debris like crazy!
Maybe another kind of material would be more suitable, like a piece of neoprene which is much more "closed" and can't hold dust, sand or debris.
Also way better to (keep) clean.
Just a suggestion. :)
Neoprene would also be an interesting option but I think it might actually be more likely to scratch if something DID get trapped between it and the paint... You are correct though...the very characteristic of Velcro which allows it to "swallow" dirt is the same one that makes it "trap" dirt. I thought about dirt/debris vs Velcro... But as this is primarily intended for "occasional" use I think its probably a pretty good solution. Its really not going to be in place long-term and it can be cleaned a bit when it is removed.

For those who want a more "permanent" solution, I also posted a different set of mounts (shorter) which can be attached to the vehicle with VHB tape. This type of solution would be the one I would think would be appropriate if dust/dirt were really a long term consideration. VHB tape sticks very well (NOT to a ceramic coating!) but is still removable (with patience). Nothing would get between the tape and the surface once attached.

Maybe neoprene is the best "middle-ground" option where you want to use these mounts all the time (instead of VHB tape)?
 

Johnc33458

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Beautiful...why didn't Porsche think about such an option? You would think with most of its sales in the US and with many states requiring such, Porsche would have been more aware of customer wants/needs. Many thanks....
 

Dee

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Beautiful...why didn't Porsche think about such an option? You would think with most of its sales in the US and with many states requiring such, Porsche would have been more aware of customer wants/needs. Many thanks....
I wish!
Mine came with the front holder mounted...
I just removed it and put on a (smaller) decal of the plate instead, illegal btw.

I covered the holes with fake "parking sensors" which are removable, just in case the officer wants me to put the original plate back on... :)

But Evans solution is much better, just because his bumper is without holes.... I envy that! :)

IMG_20200703_194814485_HDR.jpg
 

Squiden

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Very nice job, evanevery! I love the implementation!
 
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evanevery

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I'm still waiting for those polyethylene glue sticks to try them as an adhesive...

However, my sales guy tells me the price for the little black panel below the bumper is $102. That's not too crazy, even in Porsche terms... I've asked them how to remove it. I can't see any fasteners and I'm guessing its snapped in place but I don't want to break anything trying to get mine off. If I can get one for $102, and its easily removable, then I might also experiment with ways to fasten the mounting blocks by screwing them through the back of the trim panel...
 

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Question: how much filament did your print use? I was going to buy some black ABS for this, but I don't want to have too much sitting around when I'm done...
 
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evanevery

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Question: how much filament did your print use? I was going to buy some black ABS for this, but I don't want to have too much sitting around when I'm done...
My slicing software tells me 161 g at 50% infill. I also don't know how anyone can have "too much filament sitting around"! My filament never sits around for long... ;) That's like having too much beer that sits around...

Plus, I always store my filament in a vacuum sealed containers with reusable desiccant in little bags so it never really deteriorates...
 

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