There is no doubt about it, our customers keep us moving forward. People are finding amazing ways to use the growing range of (CF) Carbon Fiber Series components.
When we started getting Customer Service requests asking how they could buy the 'Soundbar Pack' we knew that something creative had been posted on the internet, most likely Instagram.
Sure enough, Justin Pitcairn (Instagram: @pitcairnoverland) had let the amazing image (above) fly - and the community had responded.
Justin decided to remove his JK Soundbar and using a traditional nut, washer and socket cap fastener with a a previously supplied 20mm ball from 67 Designs he set to work.
Justin figured out how to remove the OEM light, fish through the foam in the soundbar and attach a washer and nut from the inside.
So this is what you can do....
Out of respect for Justin's work on his JK, we are calling the following guide the "Project Soundbar".
What follows is a method for using the latest 67 Designs Little Ball for Flat Surfaces" that will allow anyone to mount small carbon fiber arms (only the Nano is recommended) and a smaller device holder without needing access to the rear of the surface material.
The image below shows what you can accomplish in about 15-30 minutes with a few supplies and simple tools.
(Shown here is an iPhone 6 attached to the front bar of a BestTop NSX top vs the Soundbar, but the method is the same).
Before you get started, here is a big caveat!
This is just one method that has been used successfully by the 67 Designs team after careful review of the BestTop bar materials and location. It is crucial that anyone going beyond this point be aware that it's just a write-up of what worked well for one of our JKs.
We strongly suggest anyone attempting this method to investigate the materials and practice this before starting to drill their vehicle. Take the time to watch rivet nut videos on YouTube and see how they work and the limitations of rivet nuts. Know that rivet nuts rely on mechanical compression and that the thickness, type and other material properties are a key factor in how long the mechanical 'staying power' will last. Rivet nuts of often used with sheet metal, non-fracturing plastics, but may not be suitable for fibrous or other plastics prone to splintering and cracking under compression conditions.
In short, do your research and mindful that rivet nuts are only one option and maybe the traditional nut, washer and socket cap fastener are the better way to achieve your goal.
What You will Need
Before you start, gather a few simple tools and order the Little Ball for Flat Surfaces (2nd option with the 6mm rivet nut!) as well as a nano or mini carbon fiber arms and the device holder.
Included with the Little Ball for Flat Surfaces with 6mm rivet nut:
- 1 x 20mm metal ball for 1" tube.
- 1 x Nylon adapter for flat surfaces.
- 1 x Metric socket cap, steel black oxide finish, 6mm x 1.0mm x 45mm.
- 1 x 6mm aluminum rivet nut .
Tools and Supplies:
- 1 x Drill with an 8.5mm drill bit with a drill stop collar.
- 1 x Small hammer.
- 1 x 10mm wrench.
- 1 x 5mm Hex Key (aka. Allen wrench) for the 6mm socket cap fastener.
- 3 x 6mm washers used to compress the aluminum rivet nut.
Skills Required and Time:
- This is a basic-moderate skills task using a few simple tools
- Allow 15-30 minutes at an easy pace.
So Let's Get Started
Step 1 - Find Your Desired Location.
- Take the Nylon adapter and place it in a location that meets the following criteria:
- The base sits flat on the mounting surface
- That there is a hollow behind the plastic you believe is at least 15m (0.6") 'deep'.
- Allows the head of the rivet nut to sit flat to the surface.
- Mark the location for the center hole with a pen, pencil etc.
- Caution: It is really obvious, but we have to say it - if the location you are thinking about flexes when pressed, then almost certainly that will make a terrible mounting position and almost certainly you will have an extremely wobbly phone, GPS or action camera. Use common sense when selecting your mounting point! 'If in doubt, don't' is a pretty good mantra when mounting to interior trim of vehicles.
Step 2 - Drill the Hole for the Rivet Nut.
- We always recommend using a drill stop collar for any holes using this rivet nut method.
- Decide if you wish to drill a pilot hole or not with a small drill bit.
- Complete the hole with an 8.5mm (0.33") drill bit.
- It is crucial that you do not drill a hole that is too big or the rivet nut will not be able to do its job and the mount will likely spin!!!
Step 3 - Gently Tap the Rivet Nut into the 8.5mm hole.
- Using a hammer, gently tap the rivet nut into the hole.
- Do not go crazy as it could bend the rivet nut as it is relatively soft aluminum.
- Tap it all the way in until the head of the rivet nut is flush with the surface of the material you are mounting to.
- The rivet nut should be tight. If it is spinning or has any turning movement, then you drilled the hole too big!
Step 4 - Compressing the Back of the Rivet Nut
- OK, this takes some explaining, but if you you do not have a rivet nut tool, this method works just fine.
- Take the metric socket cap fastener ( 6mm x 1.0mm x 45mm) in one hand and with other hand thread on the 6mm nut with your fingers, all the way to the thread stop.
- Slide on the 3 x 6mm washers toward the nut.
- Carefully screw the socket cap fastener into rivet nut just deep enough to know you are all the way through the thread. Be gentle and do not cross thread the parts or this will not work!
- Slide the washers toward the exposed face of the rivet nut.
- Gently rotate the nut to meet the washers while ensuring the socket cap fastener does not rotate.
- Take the 10mm wrench and place on the nut, but do not turn.
- Take the 5mm Hex Key and place it in the head of the socket cap fastener. Hold it firmly and in a way that you can ensure in the next step the socket cap fastener will not rotate after you move the wrench.
- Now...get ready to be firm, but aware of the stress you are going to apply to the rivet nut with the wrench.
- Begin turning the nut clockwise with the wrench. It will pressure the washer on the rivet head. It will be resistant initially, but turning the wrench in clean, smooth arcs will compress the back of the rivet nut. The process will force the rivet nut to expand onto the plastic or metal that you drilled. Do not let the fastener turn by holding the Hex Key firmly.
- Keep going and 'feeling' the compression in the aluminum rivet nut. Do NOT overstrain the fastener or you may strip the 6mm thread. Compression is required to form a mechanical 'fit'.
Step 5 - Removing the fastener from the Rivet Nut
- Keeping the Hex Key in place, turn the wrench anti-clockwise to release the pressure on the face of the rivet nut.
- Once the nut can be turned by hand, remove the socket cap fastener, washers and nut from the rivet nut.
- Remove the washers and nut from the socket cap fastener. You no longer need them.
Step 6 - Install the nylon base and metal Little Ball
- Slide the Little Ball on the 45mm long socket cap fastener.
- Slide the nylon adapter on the fastener so the base aligns logically with the top of the part. (Hint: curve meets curve.)
- Start to thread the fastener into the rivet nut by hand. Do NOT cross the thread or all your effort will now be wasted.
- Gently tighten the socket cap fastener with the Hex Key until the base is firmly in place against the surface of the mounting area. Do not over tighten, but apply sufficient pressure to get a suitable grip.
- Optional: It is possible to use a Loctite Thread Locker of your choice.
- Optional: Some may wish to use epoxy under the flat of the nylon adapter if they want a fully permanent solution. The Nylon adapter has been designed with recesses to aid in working with bonding agents. Select the epoxy or other bonding agent that best suits Nylon and the mounting surface. Prep the mounting surface according to the bonding agent instructions.
- Caution: Applying excess pressure or having large moments of force due to medium or long carbon fiber arms or inducing high dynamic loads with heavy holders/devices can easily cause the rivet nut to lose mechanical grip and the base and ball to rotate. Once that happens it can make removal of the fastener near impossible. In short, use common sense and use this to mount small iPhones, GoPro® or other action cameras!
We have done our best to offer some tips and guidance, but develop your own techniques. There are plenty of manual rivet nut compression videos on Youtube. Check them out and see the basics before starting this work.
If you have any suggestions for improving this article, let Customer Service know. Above all, have fun, get creative by installing these mounts in places that make sense for you.