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Building the custom center console: a photo journal

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  • Building the custom center console: a photo journal

    Thought I'd post up my experience on customizing my center console since it's turned out very good. I should have taken a before pic, but I'll get one for my webpage if anybody is really that interested.

    In image002 you can see how much of the center console I cut out. Just 1/4 inch remaining all around. Then I stretched pantyhose across to give me a flat curve. I just went around the edges with fiberglass resin.

    In image013 you can see how well that turned out with the excess removed.

    Didn't take a picture of incorperating the screen and frame I made for the processor and DVD-ROM. but I just proped it up and then brushed on the fiberglass resin from underneith and the screen frame and wood frame sitting on top. Side note on the wooden frame. Just went down to Micheal's and bought some small square dowels (terminology?) and glued together a frame to go around the components I wanted to incorperate into the dash.

    Pantyhose with resin in it isn't all that strong, but enough to lay down the first layer of fiberglass mat and resin before building it up from the back. I however, did 3 layers and ended up with some bowing out of the fiberglass so I grabed the dremel and a grinding bit(image024) to take it back down.

    In image014 is the first application of bondo. I did everything I could to keep a very flat surface so I bought the long scrapers from the auto store (image021) and the curved one for the concave curve section. Probably saved a ton of sandpaper too. Made the rough sanding relatively easy.
    Attached Files
    AutoPC: M10k, WinXP, gps, wifi, 80GB HD, dvd-RW. SB mp3+
    MediaEngine front end, map monkey, netstumbler.
    gps mouse is on the fritz.....stupid technology

  • #2
    After 3 applications of bondo and a lot of sanding inbetween, time to move on to the spot putty. (image038 and image044) Went down to hand sanding for the most part. I was just careful to keep everything very smooth. I think I did 3 or 4 applications of spot putty and sanding before I called it good enough.

    Then on to primer. (image046). Remeber kids, lots of thin coats, not one or two thick ones. Then do your wet-sanding. Grab a spray bottle and 800 or higher sandpaper. The water lubricates but more importantly keeps the sandpaper from getting clogged up in less than a minute. I did about 5 or 6 primer applications and wet-sandings.

    I also made a metal mounting bracket for my processor and DVD player. Grabbed a square of sheet metal from the home depot and bent it by hand. Some eyeballin' and sharpies marked out the pattern as I went. Zip a couple screws in and nothing is moving anywhere. Then to give it a bit of support while in the console, I added some small supports and glued them in with some 5 min epoxy. (image061 and image062 and image065)
    Attached Files
    AutoPC: M10k, WinXP, gps, wifi, 80GB HD, dvd-RW. SB mp3+
    MediaEngine front end, map monkey, netstumbler.
    gps mouse is on the fritz.....stupid technology

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    • #3
      I used plasti-kote flat black bumper and trim paint. The finish looks extremely OEM. Again, lots of thin coats. It'll prevent drips and adds a bit of texture.
      Finished product: (image069 and image070)

      I'd have pics of it in the car, but I think I water locked the engine this weekend so it's going to the shop. bugger
      Attached Files
      AutoPC: M10k, WinXP, gps, wifi, 80GB HD, dvd-RW. SB mp3+
      MediaEngine front end, map monkey, netstumbler.
      gps mouse is on the fritz.....stupid technology

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      • #4
        Mad props! Nice work!
        PowerVoice v1 | NaviVoice Source
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        SKINbedder v3

        1995 Lexus SC300

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        • #5
          damn man thats an awesome job. Nice write up too. Show us some pics of it installed inside the car.

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          • #6
            Awesome job there man.
            [H]4 Life
            My next generation Front End is right on schedule.
            It will be done sometime in the next generation.
            I'm a lesbian too.
            I am for hire!

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            • #7
              WOW! Very Nice!!
              Current Vehicle: 2007 Dodge Nitro

              Second Vehicle: Sold it :( 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab

              First Vehicle: 2003 Ford Ranger

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              • #8
                So... I'm a little confused. I guess you just wrapped the hose onto what you had left of your center console after cutting out that large square. Then the resin was just to 'glue' the hose into place while you built it up with Bondo? How did you get the square for the components in there. Your photos go from the hose to bondo, pretty quickly.

                I'm very apreciative of what you've given us here. You make it look almost easy :-)

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                • #9
                  I still can't believe how well it turned out. the photos don't do it justice.

                  It's easier than everybody makes it out to be. This was my first major fiberglass project. Once I glued on the hose with resin. I then put resin over the open area in the middle. The box for the components I used the 1/4 inch sqaure dowel (image071). Picked it up at the local hobby store, near supplies for rockets. Use a small saw (x-acto razor saw for me) to cut pieces to length. Glue them together into a little frame. (fyi - brush on krazy glue is awesome for this). I also used flat pieces of wood to make larger frames for like the mobo and HD and stuff (might make another photo journal of the glovebox install. It's just a matter of taking the components and glueing up this frame around them. image072 kind of hints at this. It's looking at the bottom where the HD sits and the PSU goes right next to it

                  Wish I had some photos inbetween hose and bondo. I just got so excited.

                  Car installation photos will probably be in a week or two. It sounds like I'm going to need a new engine. maybe I'll see about an H22.....for those in the know.

                  oh and thanks for the comments.
                  Attached Files
                  AutoPC: M10k, WinXP, gps, wifi, 80GB HD, dvd-RW. SB mp3+
                  MediaEngine front end, map monkey, netstumbler.
                  gps mouse is on the fritz.....stupid technology

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                  • #10
                    Awesome work sounds like you enjoyed it too! I love doing this stuff!
                    Fabricator

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                    • #11
                      is that ME with a skin?

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                      • #12
                        ME with the skin carbon. it's like red carbon fiber. pretty sweet and should be easy on the eyes at night.
                        AutoPC: M10k, WinXP, gps, wifi, 80GB HD, dvd-RW. SB mp3+
                        MediaEngine front end, map monkey, netstumbler.
                        gps mouse is on the fritz.....stupid technology

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                        • #13
                          Sweet! Your post came just in time. I am starting on mine to relocate my AC and seat heater controls on Thursday.
                          Thanks!!!

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                          • #14
                            that's just wrong..and i mean wrong in the sense that I want mine to look that good. You should be proud of that job...motivating for sure
                            Technology, Gadgets and Making Money Online
                            http://www.genemills.ca

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                            • #15
                              very very very nice and clean. OEM quality easy!
                              [COLOR=Navy][SIZE=1][FONT=Comic Sans MS]Tektility

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