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Thread: how to add plastic panel over aluminium?

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate Grrrmachine's Avatar
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    how to add plastic panel over aluminium?

    A few years ago I built a Lilliput into my BMW's dash. The screen is bolted to an aluminium plate, like so:



    You can see the small holes at the top of the plate; this is where it screws to the mounts that are part of the dashboard itself.

    Then I had a flat piece of ABS plastic (from a Playstation) laid over the top:



    This piece was cut just a little too big, so that the pressure on each side held it in place. It was also gripped by the buttons on the left side, which are a push-fit type.

    Trouble is, after four years that plastic is properly ruined and the aluminium plate buckled and bent from being taken out and reinstalled so many times. I'll be making a new aluminium plate, but I can't think of a good way to secure the plastic over the top. The plastic needs to be removable as it covers the aluminium bolts, so glue is out of the question, and it needs to be held on tight so that it doesn't buzz or rattle when driving. If I use something like velcro pads the plastic will be pushed too far away from the aluminium and there'll be really ugly gaps. So I'm a bit stumped for ideas.

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate
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    urethane is your friend. its the staff used to seal the headlights, and the windshields in place.
    normally, you have to heat both areas being glued, in order to glue them good (and then re-heat if you want to remove). but i thnik, that in small quantity without heat, over the aluminum, it will hold the plastic in place, and will only require small pressure to be removed.

  3. #3
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    Look for a socket and plug type connector. In the past I have used something where the receiving end uses something like a hard plastic grommet pushed into a hold drilled into the receiving unit. In this case your aluminum plate. This hole plugging grommet is used because the plastic is durable and won't cut the "plug" like the aluminum will. Then you glue the "plug" onto your plastic piece. The plug looks like a ball with a stand mounted to it. The idea is the ball will insert into the socket and will hold it tight. Then to remove it you just pop it out.

    I used these to mount speaker grills into a truck I had. I can not find the pieces online right now but maybe someone else has an idea what I am talking about and can provide a source.

    We used epoxy to glue the "Ball" onto the outside piece. Worked very well.
    ephect likes this.

  4. #4
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    Not really what I was looking for but you could epoxy something like this onto your plastic piece and have a hole in your aluminum piece to receive it. Using a plastic, pop in grommet might make the connector last longer but may space your plastic out a little bit unless this is desired. If you pop the plastic piece out only every so often this should work for you. (once every few months.)

    http://www.marshallshardware.com/pro...?uid=2-141-504

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    You can also use 3M 467MP transfer adhesive. It's not tape, rather the adhesive that would go into tape. Use the 3/4" wide by 2mils thick material. You would only need to use about 1" in 4 corners to hold the panel on. Then just gently pry it up when you need access. I use it for lots of stuff where you want it to hold forever, yet still be able to remove it if needed.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate Grrrmachine's Avatar
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    Yeah, adhesive tape might be the way to go. I'll try that, and if it peels off/comes loose too often, I'll try the plastic clips.

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate FockMasterDan's Avatar
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    If you get the right adhesive tape like that it'll never come off unless you want it to. We use it at work for broadcast television trucks and in brutal environments I haven't seen one with an issue of the adhesive failing. It isn't being removed all the time, but if that's an issue just slap some new adhesive on when you pull the panel. It'll work and is far simpler than any of the other options.
    Computer is in the car, but in a very "raw" install right now.

    Worklog - here

  8. #8
    Newbie BennY-'s Avatar
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    How about hook-and-loop tape? (don't know the exactly correct english word for it, maybe it's known as Velcro® strip)

  9. #9
    Constant Bitrate FockMasterDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BennY- View Post
    How about hook-and-loop tape? (don't know the exactly correct english word for it, maybe it's known as Velcro® strip)
    The big issue with something like that here is that the thickness of the tape has to be accounted for. If you can have where the hook and loop tape is recessed so the piece ends up sitting flat then it can work fine. You'd still have to worry about rattles between the contact areas of the two pieces.
    Computer is in the car, but in a very "raw" install right now.

    Worklog - here

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