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Fabrication Gurus: Here is what I want to try and do..

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  • Fabrication Gurus: Here is what I want to try and do..

    K. My fabrication experience is essentially fiberglass subwoofer boxes (foil, fleece, etc). I have never fabricated something like this.

    I've read and read posts. I am just hoping to get some advice, suggestions, gotchas, etc about my particular project.

    OK. Here is what I want to do. I want to mount my Xenarc into the center console cubby of my 02 Celica. Not just the cubby space, but inside the cubby and maintain the hatch. In order to do it, I need to increase the vertical dimension of the cubby and door.

    * Please excuse my quick and dirty Photoshop. I have detailed measurements, etc down on paper. Photoshop is just to show it.

    * Yes, I know that I have a double din slot, right there, that would accomadate the Xenarc quite well. I just want it in the cubby for a number of reasons. 1. My car audio setups have been stolen numerous times, while living in other places. Although I currently live in a pretty safe part of the county, I have learned over the years not to invite theft, so I want to hide it. 2. Local friend had his surface-mounted Lili stolen. 3. The vertically raised hatch will act as a good visor for the screen. 4. James Bond's cool gadgets always pop out of nowhere (HA).

    Couple specific questions:

    As I said I know a little about fiberglassing, but two dash pieces cut in half to extend the box. How to fill the void and reattach?

    Two dash pieces cut in half to subtract from the double din. How to reattach?

    I've been checking ebay and no luck. Anyone know where to get a (cheap)second center console because I'm going to screw up?


    I have my dremel and I'm ready to cut, but fuzzy on the "put it back together" part. Let me know how you would do it. Thanks, in advance, for your help

  • #2
    I'd try to make it fit without hacking up the dash. Will the screen alone fit? I'd mount the screen in there, relocate the circuit board, and remote the buttons. You can cut up and reuse the portion of the case around the screen for a finisher.

    If that's still a no-go don't cut the sides. Leave the sides intact and drip down just the divider portion between the lid and the radio opening. Then enlarge the lid in height. I'd use epoxy and glass cloth, then finish with epoxy fillers.


    • #3
      There is a reason your the expert.... It didn't occur to me to just cut out the floor and drop it. You just made the job atleast a half easier.

      Unfortunately, disassembling the Xenarc doesn't give enough to warrant the disassembly. The space would need more height even with just the LCD module. It is approximately 2.5 inches short with the casing and approximately 1.5 inches short with my screen face measurements of just the LCD.

      Fiberglassing the new "joints"... Would that be easier with thread/resin premix gunk? I've used cloth on speaker boxes and can't quite picture the technique for such a small space application strength/fill.


      • #4
        Well if you're filling in that much missing material even a reinforced filler isn't strong enough. Taper the edges to a knife point, and bridge the front neatly with multiple layers of tape. Then cut your strips of glass to fit perfectly. 2-3 layers of 6 oz. should do it. I'd want it as thick as the original plastic was. Use a SLOW cure laminating epoxy from a hobby shop or West Marine (West Systems), and saturate your strips on a piece of scrap metal/plastic, then lay them onto the backside of your part, dab with brush to smoooth/blend/remove air bubbles, and allow to cure overnight. Some heat will accelerate things if you want. Then remove the tape, sand the front side of the repair, and apply the finishing filler. Here I would use a thicker reinforced epoxy like PowerPoxy or something similar. Thicken it even more with Microballoons or Cab-o-sil and work until its perfect.

        For the lid, do essentially the same thing, but first prepare the lid joint by tapering and roughing it up. Then install the lower lid in the latched position and secure it with hot melt, adhesive caulk, bubble gum, anything temporary and removable. Then cut 2-3 "back-braces" out of scraps of whatever and tack those on VERY WELL with hot melt. These basically just locate and align the two halves with respect to each other. Then do the same thing again. Remove the "assembled" lid, and tape up the front to establish the surface of the glass. This should naturally be low because of the curvature in these parts so there is room for filler, and so that you are not removing any of your glass cloth in the finishing process - it is all your strength! Then glass it from the back, remove tape and prep the front, finish the front with epoxy filler. I'm staying away from the poly fillers altogether now and exclusively using epoxy for everything.

        Cardinal rule is don't apply anything over unsanded plastic, so thoroughly sand all the repair area beyond where you think your adhesives/fillers will go. And make sure its ABS not PP.


        • #5
          Poly Resin versus Epoxy Resin. Seems to be deferring opinions.

          As I understand Epoxy is more adhesive and strong. Poly is less adhesive and strong, but easier to work with.

          Is the difference in strength great enough for the added difficulty? Is it really more difficult?

          Epoxy is more expensive. Worth extra cash?


          • #6
            For the amount you'll need, the cost difference is very little. I don't believe poly resin is any easier to work with other than it cures faster.


            • #7
              You mentioned two things: epoxy resin and epoxy filler.

              I found epoxy resin at home depot (was two cans resin and hardner called "Marine Epoxy Resin.)" Seems like the right stuff?

              I couldn't find (at home depot) epoxy filler. Going to the boat store this weekend to look (they close early)


              • #8
                Yup that should work. You probably won't find epoxy filler. I use a product called Poxy Weld by PowerPoxy and thicken that further with Microballoons by Sig as needed.


                • #9
                  OH.... You are just thickening your epoxy resin to use as filler?


                  • #10
                    Yes thats all bondo really is. Polyester resin and filler materials. Cheap bondo like Bondo brand has talc in it which absorbs water like a sponge. Better fillers use microballoons (microspheres) and other fillers. Problem with doing this is mix time. You have to get it all mixed before it starts to gel. Sometimes its best to thicken part A and B separately, then mix them together. There are other epoxy-based plastic adhesive/fillers around but they're hard to find and expensive.


                    • #11
                      Altimat, I am switching gears. I don't think the hatch box idea is going to fly. Unfortunately, There just simply isn't enough space. Largely because of the tilt of the box and how far back I have to put the screen (because of hatch hinge). Below the screen, I want my HU, slimline dvd, and a couple USB ports. Even with the LCD module alone, it is within MMs of being right or wrong. And I won't be able to tell, until after I cut. With it that close, I wouldn't be able to give the screen molding any taper. So...

                      Instead, I am going to cut the box out and do a recessed install (like your stickied post). Seems a great bit more straight-forward for my first fabrication. Perhaps I will revisit the hatch idea on a second console, once I get this one under my belt.

                      One question: You refer to CA as the adhesive used to attach the model wood to the plastic. What is CA?


                      • #12
                        Cyanoacrylate adhesive. Or in simple tems...Super glue.
                        Rick S.

                        XP Pro SP2, Soyo P4RC350 MB, Nvidia FX5200, 320W PS, Inverter & uSDC20D, 2.4GHz CeleronD320, 512MB DDR, 30GB 3.5", Pioneer 106s Slot DVD, Linksys WMP54G WiFi, Lilliput 7" & 4" TFT LCD, Zippy EL610 Keyboard, Touchpad, Garmin GPS V


                        • #13
                          I have searched high and low around this town and cannot find any thickeners (microspheres, milled fiberglass, Cab-o-sil). Are these used for other applications, like would they be in a different place in a store? Should I just sacrifice and use Bondo?


                          • #14
                            TheJack: How it is going on you work?

                            I am going to custome make my center console. I buyed a new one from toyota so I have a reseve
                            Project done in: [####################] - 85%
                            - Custom center console
                            - Custom trunk
                            Se my project here


                            • #15
                              I guess I can say good. I'm not cracking my Xenarc open, as a rule. I am putting the screen where the hatch/box are/were. There is a great place to inside mount the screen with its native mountings. Behind the center console bezel, between the stereo spot and the hatch/box, there is a great shelf for mounting. I collected some server/switch rack brackets (or as we call them ears) from work and was able to cut them into a great mounting bracket that secures the Xenarc by the bottom screw mount and the back mount.

                              Because I'm not cracking my screen, my center console bezel will just butt up against the already secured Xenarc. I had the bezel all fiberglassed up with the recesses to meet the screen, but I wasn't happy with it.... So i cut it all off and am starting over.