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The Showroom
This is the place to show off your BMW to other members of the community. Post pictures and videos of your car and the modifications you have done to it. If you need a picture of something on a coupe, sedan, convertible or touring you will probably find it here!

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Old 03-05-2007, 11:27 AM   #1
LAFENGAS
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DIY: Custom Seats *Pics Re-Hosted

Since my host server of the original thread disappeared, i have rehosted the
pics here on e46 to ensure they never go down.

original thread: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=303688


The Scope: To design/build aggressive seats with good support and a good look while maintaining all of the power features including heat and adding A/C cooling.


So I've done plenty of body work, paint work, welding, plastic welding, powder coating, composite fabrication, machining..etc, etc. But I've never done upholstery, this was my chance.

I purchased these seats for a show vehicle to be used for SEMA last year, but never ended up using them. So now, I have a set of these grey leather power/heated non-sport seats out of a '00 325ci just waiting to be abused.
What I started with:











I started to modify the inner structure of the seats. Since these ARE custom for me... I took measurements of my body frame and started 'sculpting' the main supports keeping my dimensions in mind. Measured my hips, thighs, shoulders and lats.

Since the stock non-sport seats offer virtually no bolster support I have to enhance the design. These tubes will obviously be wrapped in foam, but if these supports weren't there, the foam would basically fold over, offering no support and completely defeat the purpose of building these seats.

I took some steel tubing, bent it, cut it, and then welded the tubes to the frame. You can start to see the new shape of the seats now. From here I will continue designing/building/fabricating the guts of the seat and start playing with foam.







I know it looks horrible at this point....but it's going to take a bit of finesse. It's tough to envision, but somewhere in there lies a nice shaped piece of ass foam




I purchased an electric carving knife from Wal-Mart ($9.95) and it works AWESOME! Perfect for this application. It makes quick work of big trimming. Once you have fine tuning to do... the carving knife doesn't work very well.
For the fine tuning and smoothing I found an Angle Grinder with a grinding disk works the best.
I had already welded the bolster bars on then simply covered with home pipe insulation. It's dense enough that I won't feel the bar through the Alcantara.



Started filling in the open voids under the bolsters:



With a bit of gluing and trimming:



I then glued the seat bottom in place... It looks a bit rough (and it is) but all the fine tuning will take place once I get everything situated.



I also started to shape the thigh supports and figure out where it sits best for me. The 3 different color foams you see are all different densities. I use the varying densities to make some areas more firm then others. The black foam is a closed cell polypropylene. It's pretty rigid. I'm using this for the thigh supports because it will be overhanging the front of the seat and needs to strong enough to support without internal framework.



The grey foam is very thin foam and I use that for "patching". If I need to build up the surface or fix any surface imperfections, I glue it over the area that needs attention and then reshape it. I can do that several times if need be to get the shape right

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Old 03-05-2007, 11:28 AM   #2
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And a nice comparison between the seat I made and the OEM non-sport cushion. A HUGGGGGE difference. It's nice that the foam looks kind of like Alcantara too so I can imagine it wrapped better.



Longer and deeper seating, with thigh support. Nice fitting, aggressive thigh bolsters. So far I'm very pleased. Have a long way to go though still.



I received my roll of Alcantara from the UK. Material looks awesome.






I broke down my original seats to pull the lever mechanisms off and transfer them to my new seats.
I also transferred the internal air bladder for lumbar support. The setup for that is pretty sweet.

.... still hacking away.




I started wrapping the seat back with more foam and hope to trim it down it its final shape this weekend.



Slowly taking shape:



Trying to imagine what they'll look like completed:




I took these pics for comparison. Side by side you can really see the difference.

Before:

After:



I still need to reshape the headrest, but I may wait until after it has been upholstered to decide the shape/thickness. I need to think about which way to go to with so it all flows well with each other.

I started and finished forming the second seatback. It was a lot easier, faster, and cleaner looking then the first one, experience is paying off with this one. 75% done. All I have left is to weld up the 2nd frame for the seat bottom and shape that to match the first. That should be finished this week.
Once I have them side by side, I'll choose the stitching pattern and how I want to coordinate the two tone alcantara. But that's the fun part.
Here's the 2nd seat back, symmetrical with the other. I did carve it more around the shoulder area and smooth it out, just don't have an updated pic:



And again, for comparison. The difference between the new seats and stock.


I had ATM Restyle in Hamburg do the upholstery, they did an awesome job. I wanted to do it myself, but it was too close to bring the car out of storage to try screwing around with sewing.

Happy with the results. The only thing I wanted different was the blue arc. I wanted it smoother, but it will have to work.

They aren't fully stretched right now, not until I get them mounted fully. All I have left to do is reshape the plastic pieces that hold the seat controls.

Since the contour of the seat is slightly different around the base, it needs to be fitted to give it a good tight fit.


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Old 03-05-2007, 11:29 AM   #3
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Final product:



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Old 03-05-2007, 11:30 AM   #4
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damn. great stuff as always!
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:31 AM   #5
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I was just thinking if there were any updates on this project...
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:45 AM   #6
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WOW, totally awsome DIY.
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:48 AM   #7
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holy
you never stop to impress me!! amazing work
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:54 AM   #8
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:56 AM   #9
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NOOOOIIIIICCECeeeeeee sick sick sick
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:57 AM   #10
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PIMPIN!!!!!
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Old 03-05-2007, 12:00 PM   #11
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whoa! Nice work
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Old 03-05-2007, 12:19 PM   #12
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Wow...I mean...just, wow.

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Old 03-05-2007, 12:23 PM   #13
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what a baller, nice step by step diy
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Old 03-05-2007, 12:25 PM   #14
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Old 03-05-2007, 01:12 PM   #15
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You are amazing. Everything you do turns out great. Thanks for the great DIY although i dunno if i will ever have the stones to try it.
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Old 03-05-2007, 01:20 PM   #16
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Old 03-05-2007, 01:23 PM   #17
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Old 03-05-2007, 01:25 PM   #18
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Old 03-05-2007, 01:51 PM   #19
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crazy... great job.
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:02 PM   #20
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