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Thread: CarPC center console fabrication - Toyota 4Runner

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate seanz0rz's Avatar
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    CarPC center console fabrication - Toyota 4Runner

    ok so i started fabbing up a new center console for my 4runner a few months ago. here are my many reasons for building my own:

    • no cup holders
    • too short
    • no place to put a computer (carPC)
    • practice fabbing stuff up
    • a void in a potential market that i may be able to fill, or at least encourage the filling of by other companies.


    so i got 20 feet of .75" square tubing with 1/16" wall and started cutting.

    here is the basic frame i constructed first:


    Then i added the motherboard tray (in orange), the harddrive tray, the brace that sits on the stock center console bracket, the forward bracket with three holes for bolts that will screw into tapped holes in the body, and the rear shoe that sits on the carpet and is held by two bolts.





    and finally, with the computer in it, as it sat for a very long time.


    in living with it for a long time, including 10+ hour road trip, i found the console to be too tall. i drove around with it since mid october until just a few days ago, making sure i knew the modifications i wanted to make.

    so today, i set out to lower it.

    here it is now, painted with rustoleum black hammer finish.


    so here is what i have learned from this build that will be applied to the next console i build (hopefully to a paying customer):

    needs to be 1/2-1 inch narrower, possibly 1 inch shorter in the arm rest section.
    all corners will be mitered and welded, instead of simple butt welds, this will make it stronger and more visually appealing.
    lines will be cleaner, with no transition between the risers and top(one line, instead of making a Z)
    consoles will be available with or without provisions for a computer. non computer versions will have a deep bucket for storage, computer versions will have a very shallow one.

    motherboard tray supports Mini-ITX form factor, the harddrive is shock mounted on memory foam. i have been offroad with this computer numerous times, including medium speed rough road, and jumping dunes at pismo. never had the computer skip a beat due to vibration or shock.
    1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6 4x4 in Evergreen Pearl Metallic, Lifted, Locked, and Armored. CarPc in custom console with molded touchscreen.
    Pictures
    Photobucket is being updated, if a picture i posted no longer works, please PM me.

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate
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    Several comments/questions.

    First, congrats on taking on this project. It's pretty cool.

    1. Why metal and not wood/fiber glass? Just curious since metal hurts worse in an accident or as an arm rest.
    2. What about covering it? I presume you didn't want customers running around with an open frame. If so, did you account for lowering the center console enough to accommodate a build up of a foam arm rest and a door to access the insides.
    3. Just a suggestion, but since you did use steal, if it were me, on the non-computer versions I would build a safe into it. When I play racquetball, I don't like leaving my stuff in the locker, but at the same time I feel it's more secure than any place in my car. I've been thinking for quite a while about welding up a lockbox somewhere in the car and maybe hiding it behind a panel or carpet or something. Then I could lock my wallet and stuff in there. It would be a cool feature and not much more cost, I think.
    4. You didn't show the shorter version in the car, but the tall one looks like it comes too far forward on the e-brake. Does it?
    5. Details are everything. I'd like to see a covered, finished version.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate seanz0rz's Avatar
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    chose metal because its stronger, and something that will not give way/flex with load applied to it that the original console was never designed to take. the original console had two plastic clips with screws and two 10mm bolts holding it in, this has 5 bolts to the body, and 2 more from the stock bracket. being offroad, there can be lots of load applied to the sides of this console when off camber. also working with metal allowed me to improve my welding skills.

    the original height was about 1/8" too tall for me, so lowering it as much as i did allows for a foam pad to be applied to the top of a lid that will eventually be there, maybe next weekend if i have time.

    the outer skin may be made of fiberglass on the final version. i plan on making another prototype with out the computer tray, and sending it to a friend for independent trials. my personal console will be covered in sheets of abs plastic that are easily removed to service the computer.

    as for the ebrake, a common modification to 96-98 4runners is to swap the console from a 99+ in, which has cup holders and a repositioned ebrake handle. i will be moving the ebrake before the next install, it does not come too far forward.

    i may work on a fiberglass shell next weekend for my current iteration.

    now obviously this is not going to win any contest for style. but its function and construction are unmatched for this vehicle. companies like tuffy make consoles for jeeps, and generic ones that sort of fit other vehicles, but nothing specific to the 3rd generation 4runners. im considering making an armored version. idea is to hammer out a final design first, then start with the modifications.
    1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6 4x4 in Evergreen Pearl Metallic, Lifted, Locked, and Armored. CarPc in custom console with molded touchscreen.
    Pictures
    Photobucket is being updated, if a picture i posted no longer works, please PM me.

  4. #4
    Newbie
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    You should buy a Tuffy console just so you can get an idea of how to build one somewhat inexpensively. I'm quite sure that they don't have any type of frame, but the bends & folds of the sheet metal they use provide the structure. If you are familiar with a cad program of some kind you could then lay out the pieces on a sheet, use a metal break to bend it as needed & then weld or rivet the seams together.

    Don't get me wrong, I think you have a great concept, just trying to help you out with the fabrication of it.

    Later,
    Buddy

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate seanz0rz's Avatar
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    yea i thought about doing it in 16 gauge sheet metal but it doesnt offer the flexibility in design i want. i want to be able to remove panels easily to access the components. if i built it like a tuffy box, they why dont people just go buy a tuffy box?

    i will end up covering in abs plastic this time around, production might end up in fiberglass. i hate dealing with fiberglass, and im not very good at it. i did get some of the prototyping done on the cup holder area and such. i will eventually have to modify the rear attachment point for production, as i noticed i nicked the sheathing on the ebrake cable. obviously im not going to be producing hundreds of these, but more by request.

    after i finish with my own, i will be building a production version with all the included changes, as a model for future orders, then probably either keep it as a model or more likely sell it to the first customer.
    1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6 4x4 in Evergreen Pearl Metallic, Lifted, Locked, and Armored. CarPc in custom console with molded touchscreen.
    Pictures
    Photobucket is being updated, if a picture i posted no longer works, please PM me.

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