Introduction: Design Sheet Metal Bumper for My Nissan Truck

About: A father of a wonderful 2-year-old girl. Passionate about turning digital files into real world creations.

In my first Instructable I would try to explain how I made faceted style front bumper for my Nissan Terrano II (Ford Maverick) using software like Sketchup, Rhino, Pepakura.

In the process I made a paper version of the bumper to check if it fits well and afterwards I make another template to be cut from 2mm sheet metal.

I tried to use free software or software with 30 day trial versions. I couldn't avoid the Pepakura software, but I'm willing to help anyone that wants to prepare his template for print.

Please, bear with my English. I'm from Bulgaria and explaining something too complicated in a different language is not that easy.

Step 1: Get Yourself Some Reference Images

Before you start working on the design, you got to know the dimensions of your vehicle. These days it's pretty easy to Google the model of your car and look for those FRONT / SIDE / TOP views with the dimensions written on them.

I have Nissan Terrano II which is equivalent of Ford Maverick and this is the images I found on Internet.

I have checked most of the dimension with a tape measure, but when it work ok on the first couple measurements, I decided to do not waste my time and start working on the design of the bumper.

Step 2: Draw Your Design on Paper

Sketch your ideas over the reference images. It helps you out to clear what exactly you want achieve. I went for a edgy low poly kind of bumper. I do think it makes the whole appearance more fierce. This kind of design works better with sheet metal too.

I'm sure my scribbles won't be from a particular interest, so I'm saving them for myself. :)

Step 3: Make the Model in a 3D Program

I'm a Rhino user and that was my weapon of choice. I know that most of you won't be familiar with the program and the 30 day trial won't be enough to wrap your head around most of the commands so this is why I'm uploading a Sketchup file too.

The free version of Sketchup does not include one of the most important function and that is EXPORT 3D model but you could get the trial version:

Sketchup PRO


Once you have the model designed there, export it as a OBJ or Collada (.dae) file. I usually work with the OBJ file, but in the last couple of days I have some issues there that I don't face with the Collada file.

(IF you are familiar with Rhino, have in mind that I do have the T-Splines plugin installed!)

Step 4: Make Carstock Template in Pepakura Viewer

From a 3D model to real world paper model!

Now that you have your 3D file ready, go ahead and download the FREE software called Pepakura Viewer from the following link:

Pepakura Viewer

With the help of this wonderfull software you could print the PDO file that I'm including. To modify your model you have to purchase the full version of the software.

Step 5: Print Cardstock Bumper

Before I start cutting and welding metal I would like to be sure the design that I made works and I like the way it looks on the truck. To get a better idea of what I'm making I have used Pepakura to make a PDF template of all the parts needed. Than I have printed them on thick cardstock in a local print shop.

In Pepakura you have the option to print the flaps on the individual parts or have the detail only. For the sheet metal template you could skip the flaps. For the cardstock template I have kept them for easy assembly.

As you can probably guess, I'm not a native speaker and this is my first Instructable, so please excuse my tangled speech.

Step 6: Make Some Changes

I'm far from thinking you would get your model right from the first try. I did not made it the first time. After I have printed and assembled the bumper, I have made some changes of the overall shape. The sides were too wide with strange angle between them so I have corrected that. Also, there were really small and sharp triangles so I have combined them to make bigger easier to cut pieces.

Once I was happy with the design, I have exported the final file in OBJ, send it over to Pepakura and made the template with the "flaps" option off.

I'm not a welder and there was a guy who welded the pieces for me. He used 2 mm sheet metal. Afterwards we cut some holes on one of the front facets and put a LED blinkers for direction lights. They were bright and looked right.

Step 7: Conclusion and Some Files

Hey, if you are reading this that means I have accomplished something today! :)

What might get wrong:

  • You might find hard to work with the 3D programs
  • Sometimes the export of the files get messed up and that is really frustrating
  • You don't want to pay for any software and I'm not sure I know how you could get around the Pepakura PRO software, but you could contact me and I'll make the template for you.

I'm adding all of the files that you may find useful. Fell free to use them if you want.

My name is Daniel Zdravkov and I run a Etsy shop where I sell papercraft PDF templates. You can check my stuff here:

Etsy - Poligonia Shop

I would be really happy if my first Instructable helps someone. Needless to say that I'll answer reply immediately to anyone that contacts me and I'm willing to help with whatever Is in my powers.