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Thread: Simple budget 350Z screen bezel

  1. #1
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    Simple budget 350Z screen bezel

    So my goal for this project was to be able to mount my 7" Xenarc in my dash, and have it look factory and be able to be completely hidden, WITHOUT taking the screen apart and voiding the warranty. I looked to Nissan for the factory navigation system cubby hole, but turns out it was $145 and would require me to take the screen apart anyway.

    Enter the cheap man's fabrication!

    First, I needed a way to mount the screen behind the dash so that the factory trim with my fabbed bezel would press flush up against it. Turns out the Xenarc fits perfectly in the spot where the factory cd holder/cubby hole is if you remove it. It just comes off the back of the dash trim with a few screws:





    Now, if you have ever been in or worked on a 350Z you will know that it's a very compact car. There is very minimal room to do ANYTHING behind the dash after you remove the cubby. So, I had to come up with a solid but compact way to mount the screen where it needs to sit. I marked the edges of the dash and then fabbed up this little bracket with the help of some dremeling, aluminum strips from home depot, and a couple pop rivets (cost: $4):















    Next, I needed to fill the voids around the sides/top of the screen. I also needed a "slot" at the top for the stock door to slide into to make it stealthy. I started with some cardboard mockups (cost: free):





    Obviously, cardboard won't work. I needed something more sturdy. I thought about using liquid plastic, fiberglass, etc. Nothing seemed as simple as wood. My weapon of choice: 1/8" 5 ply birch plywood (cost: $9.99 per 8x12" sheet at a local wood shop) After some creative cutting, drilling, and sanding with a Dremel tool, I was left with this:



    Some liquid nails ($3 at Home Depot), plastic epoxy ($3 at Home Depot) and eyeglass screws (free from Lenscrafters at the mall) brings it all together:









    Next, a test fit...uh oh! I knew something didn't look right in that last pic.
    Looks like I've got some more dremeling to do:



    A couple more little wedge pieces cut from my 1/8" plywood, some wood filler ($3 at Home Depot), and some time and I have this:





    Finally, the last piece across the top, and a layer of fiberglass RESIN (note, NOT cloth or mat, just the RESIN to seal any weak spots and solidify the whole assembly) and it's starting to look pretty solid. Some old left over resin will do the job, I only needed about an ounce and a few drops of hardener (call it $2 worth):









    And the finishing step (which I haven't completed yet): I'll rough up the wood and paint it with some black acrylic adhesive paint, then flock it. Flocking, for those that don't know, is basically spraying on fabric. It's that fine felt-like finish you will find inside jewelry boxes. I got the applicator (sprayer), flocking fibers, and adhesive paint for under $15 shipped.

    So, total cost:

    $4 for the bracket
    $10 for the wood
    $9 worth of liquid nails, epoxy and wood filler
    $2 worth of fiberglass resin
    $15 for the flocked finish

    $40 for a 100% functional bezel that will look factory, be stealthy and be a little bit unique/something to be proud of, while MAINTAINING THE WARRANTY ON YOUR XENARC. I'll post final pics once I get the flocking finished which hopefully will be in the next few days. I am waiting on the fiber to get here before I can do it!

    As always, feel free to comment/critique!

  2. #2
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    Updated pics of the finished product! I gotta do something about the bracket that's holding the screen cause it's a little flimsy and doesn't push the screen snug up against the bezel, but overall it looks pretty sweet!






  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate dMand's Avatar
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    Fantastic, It looks great!

    You can glue sponge or similar material at the top back portion of the LCD, to give it a little pressure against the dash bezel that you fabricated, to keep it firm.

    Good job!

  4. #4
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    Thanks! I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I'm going to head out and get some thin foamy type weather stripping to protect the edges of the screen where the wood presses up against it, and stiffen up the bracket with something like what you mentioned. Overall it came out great and was really cheap and not too hard!

  5. #5
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    Wow! That looks pretty good, and simple. I'm thinking of doing something similar for my car. I also don't want to disassemble my Xenarc for my car since it's a company leased vehicle. The end of the lease is coming up and they'll be giving me another vehicle but I don't know what it'll be yet. I had started planning how to fab a baffle and mount the screen to it, but your idea with the bar is great in case my next car does not accomodate a baffle design.

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate golfguy's Avatar
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    This is nice work, I am partial myself to simple solutions. I'm planning on an install on a 2004 350z I purchased.

    I know this thread's a little old, but I have a question. How did you secure the cubbyhole door to the panel, since the door attaches to the cubbyhole box? I was thinking about ways to cut the box and mount the screen to it, since I'd like to retain the door, but I'm not coming up with a real good solution. Is your door functional? If so, can you post pictures of how you fabbed up the attachment?

    Also, could you give us a little more detail on the way to flock the inside of the pocket? Looks like you did a good job, and I'd like to re-create that.
    Any day is a good day for golf.

    Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
    (Check Speedy's Install)

    Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by golfguy View Post
    This is nice work, I am partial myself to simple solutions. I'm planning on an install on a 2004 350z I purchased.

    I know this thread's a little old, but I have a question. How did you secure the cubbyhole door to the panel, since the door attaches to the cubbyhole box? I was thinking about ways to cut the box and mount the screen to it, since I'd like to retain the door, but I'm not coming up with a real good solution. Is your door functional? If so, can you post pictures of how you fabbed up the attachment?

    Also, could you give us a little more detail on the way to flock the inside of the pocket? Looks like you did a good job, and I'd like to re-create that.
    Hey dude, sorry it took me so long to get back to this. Hopefully it will still be useful to someone. I haven't been on this site in months but recently decided to come on and check out some bezels cause I'm actually gonna be redoing this one and molding the screen in (since now it's past the warranty period anyway, I may as well make it look sweet )

    Anyway, as far as the door, it's not functional. It just kind of sits on top of the screen and the way the dash is shaped behind it supports the back of the door. When I bring it down, I actually put a couple tiny black screws into the side of the trim piece (kinda facing toward the outsides of the car, and parallel to the screen) and cut a couple tiny notches in the back of the door with a dremel. It just rests on the screws and gravity holds it in place :P

    I am redoing it now just because I want to actually fiberglass the whole trim piece (there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the way it is now, just wanted a new project). This solution works great and I would do it again in a second.

    The flocking is simple. You get a powder called flock from somewhere like this: http://www.craftflocking.com/shoppin....php?id=3&=SID

    Then you buy the adhesive paint: http://www.craftflocking.com/shoppin...php?id=39&=SID

    And finally the applicator: http://www.craftflocking.com/shoppin...php?id=90&=SID

    First you take a brush and brush the adhesive paint on whatever you're flocking. The powder goes into the tube w/o the holes, then you "pump" the tubes and the fabric blows out the holes and sticks to the paint. For this project I did a single coat of paint, single coat of flock, then let it dry for about 4-5 hours, then actually painted the flocked surface w/ adhesive paint and flocked it again. The result was a nice thick and even finish. It's really easy, and you can't overdo it because only so much flocking fiber will stick to the paint, so I just put the thing in a big cardboard box, blew a ton on until no more was sticking, then set the thing aside to dry and recollected whatever was in the box to use for the second coat.

    Warning: once you flock something, you will want to flock everything. The finish is so cool and it's so easy to do!

    Anyway, sorry again that I never responded originally, hopefully this still helps.

    EDIT: There ARE a couple ways you can mess up the flocking. Do NOT tap the excess flock off until after you have let it dry for at least 4-5 hours or you will have an uneven finish. Also, if you're going to do what I did with painting the flocked surface and double-coating it, you should wait long enough for the surface to be completely dry (I'd say 24 hours). Use a dry brush after 24 hours to brush off any excess powder, then paint and reflock. If you paint too soon, you will detach the first coat of flock from the adhesive underneath and it will get clumpy and look like ****. Not the end of the world, you'll just have to start over, but it's definitely better (as with any kind of body work or painting/fab) to be patient. Let it dry for a solid 24 hours just to be 100% sure and you can test after brushing it w/ the dry brush by running your finger over it: if your finger ends up with flock fiber on it, either you didn't brush off the excess well enough or it's not dry.

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