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HOWTO: Building a removable LCD screen bezel and mount

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  • HOWTO: Building a removable LCD screen bezel and mount

    Below is a writeup I have been refining on people who unsuspectingly PM me about my screen bezel and get back a novella. It has helped a number of people build bezels so far, and I think it's in good enough shape to be generally useful as a tutorial on how such a thing can be built for other cars. The same methods I used are going to be very similar in any car, and the end result is a screen that you can access easily for maintenance without disassembling your entire dash. This kind of mount may not work in all cars, but should work in anything with about a double-DIN.

    First, if you want to build a bezel yourself, make sure you keep in mind that it will take a LONG time. It took me over 40 working hours to build my bezel. If you hack it out in a couple of hours/days, you're just not going to get a good result unless you have done it a hundred times. I had never done anything like this before, but I am good at building things and working with tools, so you can probably get a good estimate of it taking your longer than 40 hours or less than 40 hours based on your own skills and experience. Anyone can do this if you have enough patience and motivation. Just think of it as working with play-dough that hardens into rock 5 minutes after you take it out of the can. You can always file it down and you can always build it back up if you don't get it right the first time.

    BUY OR BORROW A RESPIRATOR WITH A FILTER BEFORE WORKING WITH BONDO OR FIBERGLASS. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BREATHE RESIN FUMES, FIBERGLASS DUST, OR PLASTIC PARTICLES. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. A DUST MASK IS NOT AN ADEQUATE FILTER!

    The way I constructed my bezel was to take the front half of the LCD monitor housing off of the LCD and spray some of that spray-in foam insulation around it. I then carved it to a rough shape like I wanted it to end up that would fit into the place in the dash where the radio and climate controls were.





    Next, I put a layer of fiberglass-reinforced bondo over this.




    I then rough filed the fiberglass bondo to shape.


    MY CAR IS FOR SALE!
    See My Project Page for Details - 2003 BMW E46 ///M3
    Custom Dash Monitor Housing - OEM Fitment
    Custom Overhead DVD-ROM Housing in Headliner
    BMW I-Bus Integration
    My homepage with many other fun projects!

  • #2
    I repeated this process three or four more times, each time removing some of the (not very sturdy) foam insulation and filling it in with more bondo..






    Each time between filing and the next coat, you want to see how your fitment is so that you can apply more/less bondo in the right spots.



    At this point, I had a rough frame, but obviously it's not going to sit in there by itself, so I had to make some mounts for it. I bent up some pieces of metal to mold into it that would fit the right places on the dash to hold the bezel securely. Here you can see how the mounts are configured. They are secured into the bezel by putting them down into wet bondo and letting it set around the metal in place.


    MY CAR IS FOR SALE!
    See My Project Page for Details - 2003 BMW E46 ///M3
    Custom Dash Monitor Housing - OEM Fitment
    Custom Overhead DVD-ROM Housing in Headliner
    BMW I-Bus Integration
    My homepage with many other fun projects!

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    • #3
      When setting the mounts, to make sure they were in exactly the right place, I put the bezel into the car while I let the bondo harden. I protected the dash from leaky bondo with a layer of foil. After it hardened, the mounts were in exactly the right spot.



      Now, I had a pretty sturdy frame that would mount in my dash, but it was still pretty rough. I used lightweight bondo from here on out to get the final shape. It is much softer and easier to work with than the fiberglass-reinforced stuff. I essentially repeated applying and filing/sanding until I had the exact shape that I wanted. After the shape was perfect, I applied little dabs of bondo to fill in the last little pockmarks and then dry sanded it down to 400 grit and wet sanded down to 1000 grit to get a perfectly smooth surface ready for painting.




      MY CAR IS FOR SALE!
      See My Project Page for Details - 2003 BMW E46 ///M3
      Custom Dash Monitor Housing - OEM Fitment
      Custom Overhead DVD-ROM Housing in Headliner
      BMW I-Bus Integration
      My homepage with many other fun projects!

      Comment


      • #4
        For painting, first you need a layer of primer. Put on a nice coat and then sand it according to the directions on the particular primer you use. After primer and sanding, your trim part should have a finish that feels as smooth as glass. ANY IMPERFECTIONS WILL MAGNIFY THEMSELVES IN THE FINAL PAINTING SO TAKE THE TIME TO GET IT RIGHT! Don't forget to put some masking tape around your mounts so that you don't get primer all over them.



        For the final painting, I tried to use some 'wrinkle paint' I found at the auto parts store. It produced a very cool kind of finish, but it was inappropriate for the interior of my car. I would recommend this kind of thing for engine valve covers or fluid caps in the engine compartment, but it was terrible on an LCD bezel




        Anyway, I removed it with some paint thinner before it dried completely and started painting again.. This time I tried some flat black over a lighter coat of texture paint in hopes that it would soften the texture quite a bit and make it much less shiny. The result was so horrible I didn't even take a photo of it.

        Try #3 at painting -- I asked some questions and did some research this time and got a can of SEM texutre paint (Try a local bumper shop to find this stuff). I experimented with this stuff on a peice of metal I had to learn how to make various textures with it. You should probably do this yourself to see how to paint with the stuff before you paint your trim piece. I found a couple light coats of the stuff from a medium distance produces a result that matches the OEM BMW dash texutre pretty well (but is not quite the right lustre). A few light coats of Krylon Ultra-Flat black did the trick, and it looks almost 100% OEM. Again, don't forget to tape up your mounting brackets!




        All that was left was to mount the LCD back into the bezel and put it in the car!




        Thus, ends my saga of making a removable screen mount! Hope this is helpful,

        John
        MY CAR IS FOR SALE!
        See My Project Page for Details - 2003 BMW E46 ///M3
        Custom Dash Monitor Housing - OEM Fitment
        Custom Overhead DVD-ROM Housing in Headliner
        BMW I-Bus Integration
        My homepage with many other fun projects!

        Comment


        • #5
          Very nice write up. I like the fact that you included a lot of pics. This is going to come in handy in the (hopefully) near future. The finished product looks very nice. Thanks.

          Derek
          Progress [||-------]
          View my Worklog to see some of my progress.
          Downgraded Progress - Starting with another car... 09/13/06

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          • #6
            Holy ***** that is pimp!
            2004 4runner

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            • #7
              nice walkthrough.. I made this a sticky so its easily found
              '98 Explorer Sport
              http://mp3car.zcentric.com (down atm)
              AMD 800mhz 192megs RAM 60gig hard drive 9 inch widescreen VGA
              80% done

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              • #8
                Looks like you put alot of work into it but man is that nice!!!!!!!

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                • #9
                  hyjinks21: thanks for making it sticky. I hope it is useful to everyone.

                  Also, thanks to everyone for the compliments. It's a lot of work to build this, but it's fun and very simple to do. I hadn't ever done anything like this before, and although it takes quite a long time, the only skill you really need to do the work is patience.
                  MY CAR IS FOR SALE!
                  See My Project Page for Details - 2003 BMW E46 ///M3
                  Custom Dash Monitor Housing - OEM Fitment
                  Custom Overhead DVD-ROM Housing in Headliner
                  BMW I-Bus Integration
                  My homepage with many other fun projects!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Download this tutorial

                    For those of you who are interested, I've complied this tutorial into a Microsoft Word Document. This will make it easier to download and keep and to print out. (Images have been reduced to 75% which made it 4 pages shorter.)

                    Code:
                    http://www.geocities.com/d_sellers1/HOWTO_-_Building_a_removeable_LCD_screen_bezel_and_mount.doc
                    http://www.geocities.com/d_sellers1/..._and_mount.doc
                    Filesize: 512kb
                    Link checked: 22May05 (from Iraq)

                    Derek
                    Progress [||-------]
                    View my Worklog to see some of my progress.
                    Downgraded Progress - Starting with another car... 09/13/06

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Eventually you will have to remove almost or all the foamy stuff right?
                      2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
                      89 Supra Turbo P3 [email protected]/Abit BE6 II, Alpine M-BUS Car2PC.
                      Y2K Accord Dell GX150
                      RoadRunner is the best FE PERIOD
                      EmoRebellion is a SCAMMER

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                      • #12
                        Yes, I eventually removed almost all of it. You can scrape it out wiht an X-Acto pretty easily. If you have to build up a large part, though, you could get away with scraping only 1/4" to 1/2" of foam off and then putting down a couple layers of fiberglass before you start to build it up with the bondo. You could scrape or dissolve the foam out later and still have a nice part.
                        MY CAR IS FOR SALE!
                        See My Project Page for Details - 2003 BMW E46 ///M3
                        Custom Dash Monitor Housing - OEM Fitment
                        Custom Overhead DVD-ROM Housing in Headliner
                        BMW I-Bus Integration
                        My homepage with many other fun projects!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          sometihing that i have done that may also be of a aid , is that i got a dash from a junk yard. reassmbled at my house. the fittig is much cleaner when you are not leaning over you consol. and you dont need to worry about spills.

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                          • #14
                            The "scrap dash from the junkyard" approach is mostly useful when you are actually trying to build a screen mount that is part of your dash. (ie your car does not normally have a double din openinging to work with) The key to this type of mount is that it is removable and not part of the dash. Thus all of the bondo and fiberglass work is done completely outside of the car and with no modification to the OEM parts. You can do this kind of thing even if you lease your car!

                            But on the whole, yes -- if you do not intend or cannot build a removable part, a dash from the junkyard is the best thing to work on since you really don't want to be doing bondo/fiberglass work inside the car.
                            MY CAR IS FOR SALE!
                            See My Project Page for Details - 2003 BMW E46 ///M3
                            Custom Dash Monitor Housing - OEM Fitment
                            Custom Overhead DVD-ROM Housing in Headliner
                            BMW I-Bus Integration
                            My homepage with many other fun projects!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wow! Awesome walkthrough, I saved it for further reference as I might upgrade my system.
                              That is one amazing job!
                              00 Saturn SL2, boosted @ 8 psi - CarDomain
                              Newest install - my quickest ever
                              My 2nd carputer - b4 I broke the touchscreen
                              My very first carputer - voted the most ghetto

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