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Newbie Ford Explorer 12.1" center conole build.

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  • Newbie Ford Explorer 12.1" center conole build.

    Well A while ago my big *** snapped my center console arm (they are known to be cheap plastic) and when I took it out I thought, "Hey I bet I could put a PC in there!" As fate would have it I had an old PC laying about and that sealed my fate to be forever consumed in this infernal yet addictive crack like hobby.

    Well this is my first build, I am doing this more for fun so I've been doing it on a rather cheap budget, and going slowly b/c I am just doing things as things come in. (I know I should wait for everything to come in but I am kinda "winging" it with rough plans and its more exciting that way.

    My main concern was fitting EVERYTHING into my center console rather than the dash because of theft concerns and I can just slap in a new center console if I ever had to sell it. I had decided on a 12.1 screen (big yes, too much, maybe, but I just prefer it) So I decided to keep my good ole' faithful factory Tape Deck as a ploy and mount the screen in a flip up manner to hide it an protect it from the sun, gets like 104 degrees here in the summer.

    Keep in mind I'm on a budget and just changing things as I go.

    Sooo.... I took it out, took it apart, added some fans (they have grates instead of holes now.

    I cut some MDF screwed on some metal plate (in sections I can bend it to what angle and shape I want the over all piece to look.) I didn't want a box, all square and well boxy. and screwed it to the beat up console. Arrow points to the broken arm rest support.

    Test fitted then got some polyurethan foam gap filler to well, fill gaps, dry, sanded down...

    More Foam on other side, Slapped on some Bondo Glass for strength (first time using it, smells goooood...)

    Sanded the Bondo Glass, put some paint on just to get a better feel for how it looks, then tried my first hand at Fiberglassing, bolted wood to console, fiberglassed curves where console meets radio dash, and fiberglassed where console merges with wood, with a good dose of bondo glass on top to make that smooth transition. ( do NOT wear sandels when fiberglassing and sanding the stuff, the little particles get in your feet and they itch and bleed....ALOT.)

    Screen is 12.1" I picked it cuz it was cheap, had PC input, VGA input, 2 audio jacks, and standard RCA plug (thats what you call a tv cable right? Anyways I cut off the contoller buttons tab thing on the bottom (the guy I bought it from disabled them anyways, I'll find a new spot for them b/c the IR receiver and led power indicator is on it.

    Need some space for the big screen to fit folded down, so I had to cut away a good portion of the front section, after a dry fit, I found I need to cut a bit more.

  • #2
    Screen fits!

    Here's the dry fit so I can see if I can mold the front end to look like it belongs there.

    So I did a massive amount of grinding on the inside walls of that thick MDF so the screen had room to move and fit freely, took maybe 4 hours, did it slow with and angle grinder b/c I didnt want to cut thru the wall, plopped the screen case in place to see the fit and where things would go...

    Hurray, now the screen, she moves up and lays down! Now since I did not get a touch screen I needed a way to navigate, so I picked up a touch pad, better than a mouse sliding everywhere, Anywho I decided to put it in the most logical place... the arm rest. Cut some foam, cut some vinyl....just gotta go slow so when its finished it doesn't look ghetto....

    Now I took the orginal lid, and fiberglassed it so it was raise and providedextra support under the arm rest so the original problem doesn't happen anymore. Layered it reasonably thick so it was strong, and then threw a quick layer of body filler over it to make it less scratchy!, This will go under the arm rest and the opening will contain the cd/dvd tray (I'm gonna use a laptop drive w/ adapter cuz the ball bearings in the tray should ensure a consistent read instead of the standard flat desktop tray style. Since the lid is raised that means that even if the screen is down, the cd can still eject and auto play. Well thats the tentative plan....

    Now I am taking a break from the screen and such and working on placing the rest of the peripherals I want to add in, such as a card reader, solar powered thermometer (that will read the temp of the inside so if it ever gets too hot parked then I just won't turn it on!) Also a LCD fan/temp monitor so I can monitor the temps of cpu and hardrive, a few switches, and maybe some fan contollers. Oh yea a dock for my Ipod and Mobile phone. Maybe too much and making it way to compicated? Once again I say yes, but its cheaper for me this way and more fun, more showy. Hopefully if I can finish this I'll have a Ninja computer unbeknownst to my friends with lots of do dads to wow them. HAHAHAHAAA!

    I am open to any advice or comments, I am a noobie just kinda feeling it out and having fun with it. Kinda more into the fabrication part of it, computer will always be there, but this, this Franken-Carputer is just real fun for me!


    • #3
      I really like the leopard headband hanging from the shifter!


      • #4

        hahahaah, no its a garter belt... a "souvenier" from a crazy halloween nite with cat woman. hahahhaa

        *edit* The reason I am making this out of mostly wood is that it is very easy to use and since I live where it is VERY HOT! there is much less metal surrounding or contacting any components and the wood just doesn't get scorching hot like sitting in the sun like metal, even aluminum.