DIY: Mesh Grill Inserts for Carsby Steve Smith
A mesh grill insert has a style all its own. Along with functioning as a grill block, it adds texture and detail where usually only lateral lines exist. A mesh grill is made from webbed metal that is purchased from a specialty retailer or metal store.
Finding Mesh Metal
Mesh metal is manufactured for a multitude of purposes. It is used for fencing, air grates, vents and cooking appliances. There are several types of mesh metal available for purchase from metal suppliers and car auto body shops. Stainless steel mesh, chrome mesh, matte black mesh and raw or unfinished metal are among the most common. Locate a metal dealer or an auto body and parts store to find an insert that matches your tastes and style. Remember, unfinished mesh must be weatherproofed before use.
Designing the Mesh Insert
The next step is to design your mesh insert. Measure the width and length of your car grill using a tape measure and translate the measurements onto a sheet of graph paper. Draw the grill shape carefully using the graph paper to accurately scale your new insert. Then transfer the drawing to a sheet of poster board by using the scale method. Another method is to trace the outline of the grill onto a template. Place a sheet of poster board over the grill, and using a pencil, trace the outline carefully. Once finished, cut out this template and use it to cut your mesh grill.
Cutting and Shaping
The next step is cutting and shaping the mesh insert. Lay out a large sheet of your mesh and trace the outline of your template onto the metal. Use a highly legible paint or marker to trace the outline. Then use a pair of metal shears or a metal saw to cut the mesh after transferring the template outline. Leave some space around the edge of your grill when you cut. Dry fit the grill into place, cutting away excess metal where needed.
For unfinished metal, a final coat of paint must be applied. If you want to make the grill chrome, send it to a chroming company. This is an involved process that requires specialized skills and metals. For all other finishes, prime the grill with a coat of auto primer and let dry overnight. Then finish it with a final coat of automotive grade paint.
- photo_camera corrugated metal mesh color image by ryasick from Fotolia.com