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Thread: Use ABS Sheets Instead of Fabbing?

  1. #1
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    Use ABS Sheets Instead of Fabbing?

    I have no fabrication skills, and unfortunately I have a large piece that needs fabbing. I have no CAD skills either, so I've drawn up what I need to do (the yellow parts will need to be fabricated).



    The curved white piece is the bezel that will hold an iPad and be visible. I've cut out the stuff that used to be in the middle (aircon vents, hole for hazard switch, hole for clock, and hole for defogger) and will be putting all that behind the iPad. To hold the iPad in place, I'm planning something similar to the semi-circular tabs that jr4284 made but with holes cut out so the air from the vents behind the iPad can get out. Since mainly what I need fabbed are large flat pieces, I thought I might be able to use pieces of .125" ABS and simply cover up the edges with bumper repair. How feasible is this?

    EDIT: To make it a bit clearer what exactly you're looking at there, I'm attaching a stock image of the original dashboard.



    The iPad will mount vertically in the dock, and stick up out of the top of the dashboard about 2". This should make it easily removable and allow better GPS reception.

  2. #2
    FLAC SNOtwistR's Avatar
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    your drawing skills are a little ... hehe, anyways i think you might be better off using plywood and covering it over with fiberglass/mactac/fabric/paint or whatever might be easier for you since everything is flat. likely a little stronger too just my 2 cents SNO

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    ABS will work, but how will you make the curved top piece with the half circles?
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    ABS will work, but how will you make the curved top piece with the half circles?
    I have the basic frame, but yes, I would have to fab the semicircles. Beats fabbing the whole thing IMO. I'm guessing I could just apply a chunk of bumper repair to either side and mold it from there?

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    Might have to make a negative mold out of wood, then lay fiberglass in it and cut out the shape you want after it dries. See the pics in the DeLorean thread for how he did it for his bezel.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate david69leonard's Avatar
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    If you have a good mold for the curved pieces, you can use a heat gun to soften the ABSto mold it into whatever shape you want, personally I think ABS would be a better platform for a beginner to start with, fiberglass requires a lot of prep work and can be really hazardous to your health if you breathe in dust or get it on your skin. I would suggest you practice heating, shaping and welding small pieces of ABS then work your way up to the larger project once you are comforatble

  7. #7
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    Fibreglass = Dust
    ABS = Highly toxic fumes

    Personally I'd rather take on fibreglass any day and use a dust mask lol.

    Fibreglass isn't hard to use either, just build it up slowly, I would say ABS would be harder to handle using a heatgun.

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    I had a friend who would fab plastic in his home oven for simple shapes. If it is a continuous curve, not a compound one, you can build a wooden form and lay the plastic on top. Then, turn the oven on and find the temperature that the plastic softens. Took some experimenting to figure that out.

    Then, put the plastic over the mold, put it in the over until it softens, then pull it out and clamp it securely into position. When it cools, it hardens to shape.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  9. #9
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    Yeah, you can youtube vacuum forming and get a lot of DIY solutions just using an oven and a shop vac. However, large pieces are awfully difficult, especially for a first timer.

    I always like forming something out of high density foam. Hot knife cuts off large chunks, then just a sanding block goes and does the rest. Stretch some fabric over it when you're done with some 3M adhesive spray.

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate david69leonard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGuv View Post
    Fibreglass = Dust
    ABS = Highly toxic fumes

    Personally I'd rather take on fibreglass any day and use a dust mask lol.

    Fibreglass isn't hard to use either, just build it up slowly, I would say ABS would be harder to handle using a heatgun.
    Toxic fumes if you set it on fire, the heat gun is to soften the ABS, Obviously you have never done this so thank you for the input

    It does come down to preference, however if you have never used ABS or fiberglass for that matter, you will almost every time have a cleaner install using ABS versus fiberglass... Years of personal experience speaking... you might as well tell him to do his install in carbon fiber!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    I had a friend who would fab plastic in his home oven for simple shapes. If it is a continuous curve, not a compound one, you can build a wooden form and lay the plastic on top. Then, turn the oven on and find the temperature that the plastic softens. Took some experimenting to figure that out.

    Then, put the plastic over the mold, put it in the over until it softens, then pull it out and clamp it securely into position. When it cools, it hardens to shape.
    Like Bugbyte said, little experimenting always does the trick, its all trial by error a learning process

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