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Casting an External Enclosure For GPS/Bluetooth/WiFi

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  • Casting an External Enclosure For GPS/Bluetooth/WiFi

    Hello all,
    I've been lurking around here for about a year and a half and have just now begun gathering the parts to install a carputer. My main hangup is how to maximize the range of all my potential wireless devices. I was thinking about casting an enclosure out of resin and mounting all the various antennas on the outside of my care in said enclosure. As I have no problems drilling holes in the exterior of my truck and I'm pretty handy at casting and lite fabrication stuff I guess what i really need to know is there a better resin /polymer to use? I know i can't bulk it out with aluminium powder because it will interfere with and incoming/outgoing signals. Any one have any suggestions as to what i should use?

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Standard polyester resin is not great for casting...tends to be brittle. But you can re-enforce it with milled fiber. That is fiberglass ground down till it looks like sparkly gray powder. That would give you strength and should not cause problems with transmission. The other thing to use would be clear casting acrylic. It is made for casting and hardens clear. You can also dye it different colors if you like.

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    • #3
      Yeah, was looking at clear acrylic because it is super cheap. I really didn't know if it would interfere with the transmitting though. I hope to get the stuff here in the next day or so and start casting. I'm shooting for the GM OnStar/Whatever look. you think i could paint it? If not dye it with what?

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      • #4
        I would paint it. I don't think painting it would hinder it at all....not positive though.

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        • #5
          Everything you put in front of an antenna will degrade the signal slightly, it doesn't matter what it's made of. Use the acryllic, but make it as thin as possible along your signal path without making it full of holes. Painting it shouldn't be a problem unless you use thick coats or metallic paint.

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          • #6
            the best test for seeing if a material will block a signal from a gps / wifi..... is to test to see if it absorbs microwaves. To do this (and this might sound insane) but put it in the microwave with a cup of water and cook it for a minute. The water should get hot as hell, but not the material you used. For example, most PVC pipe does not absorb microwaves, so if you were to encase it in a pvc case, put a piece of the type of pvc you are using in the microwave.

            Be careful with paints, most metalic colored paints have .....well metal in it, so this will cause some signal degregation. I would not suggest putting something painted/metal in the microwave...........you could destroy your microwave.
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            • #7
              I used a black 4" diameter plastic oil filter wrentch (used in the aid of removing such filters) cost me $3 at wal-mart, to cover my GPS. I can post a pic of anyone wants to see it, also using hot clue (stuff moms use for fun crafts and such) works great for adhesing to your auto body, it's the same stuff used for Paintless Dent Repair to "pull" dents out, and come off clean with some alcohol.

              So I used a small bead around the edge and cut a groove for the data cable sealed it up and stuck it on the roof, been through mainy rainstorms and a volunteer car was and still works great
              Shawn



              Check out my web company Minneapolis Web Designer | MODx Web Design - Himmelberger Design

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              • #8
                sure post, what the hey
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                • #9
                  just got stuff in the mail

                  I just got the casting acrylic in the mail. I'm gonna try to post pix of the process as it happpens this weekend. I have to work so it it may be a little iffy. I am going to try to sculpt the "original" in sculpy clay and then cast a mold of it. i am nearly done w/ it so pix will be up soon. I hope some body can give me a lil adivice as to the asthetics of it.

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                  • #10
                    i have my gps antenna under a fender in my car with little degradation in the signal..oh and i have navy blue matalic paint too. THe corvette panel is a lot thicker then what you'll be making so i doubt that you'll have much of an issue.
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