My try at ABS sludging a xenarc
So I decided to try the ABS sludge method for molding my xenarc into the center console of my 99 VW jetta mk3.
I searched home depot for quite a while, they didn't carry the ABS pipe that others recommended, or any other items clearly marked as ABS. So I just experimented with acetone and plastics around the house, turns out the shells to these really ancient mac external floppy drives I had are ABS, so that's what I used. Used a 3/8" spade drill bit on my drill press and a big bucket lid to catch the shavings, and this is what I ended up with:
stuffed a bunch into a dish soap squirt bottle with some acetone, and after some shaking to get it mostly broken down into a chunky sludge, and then letting it sit for a while to finish melting, I had about 1/3 bottle of nice ABS sludge, which is even conveniently almost the same color as my console.
some quick dremel work, and the cubby hole in the console was gone...
some more dremel work, and the xenarc fit nicely...
I took apart the screen, taped the front panel in position, and secured it with a few beads of epoxy around the edges. That didn't turn out to be so strong, since the epoxy didn't bond to the console plastic, but it was enough to keep it in place while I started with the sludge. Unfortunately, I also found out (much too late at this point) that the console plastic is not acetone-soluble... so the sludge doesn't actually bond to it. I decided to go ahead with it anyway, since I have heard fiberglass has a hard time sticking to plastic as well, but people still have success molding screens in with it.
Anyway, here it is after the first round of sludge. For this, I made it very thick and spread it with a dowel, rather than pouring it on. I had sealed the major gaps between the screen and console by putting a piece of scrap plastic on the bottom gap, and sealing the remainder with some masking tape in behind. I also put some sludge in behind, to give it some more structural integrity. Since I have to worry about the ABS separating from the console, I figure having the console sandwiched between the inner and outer layers of ABS would help a bit.
And then after allowing that to sit for about half a day, I applied more sludge, this time I added more acetone to thin it out a little more so it would pour, and also so it would tend to spread and smooth out a bit more on its own; this comes in handy because the stuff dries so fast, it develops a skin in just seconds after being squeezed out. making it thinner gave a little more time to spread it out and get everything a little more even; this second application went a LONG way toward getting it ready for sanding, some filling, and then finish work. (sorry the pic is so washed out by the flash, i suck at photography)
EDIT: I've removed the rest of the images in this thread, please visit my site, where there's a more thorough article with more pictures:
Here's the "final" picture, just for eye candy. This is as good as it ever looked, the failure to bond to the polypropylene ended up creating big cracks down the sides, so I moved on to another method for the finished install - fiberglass. That's for another thread.