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Fun with a spare dash

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  • Fun with a spare dash

    hey guys, like most of us i've always had the idea to get a 'carputer' going. over the last few months i've managed to score myself a spare dash to suit my car and have also had a laptop sitting around which i do use a bit, but hey, it'd be cooler in my car, i also had a spare laptop monitor around, which has come in handy to size everything up.

    So the plan is to fabricate it all up to perfection over time and install it all in one big hit to save the time my car is out of action. I have everything pretty much planned out in my head so far, and havn't been working to any designs, just placing things where i want them as i go . I'm going to get the dash reupholstered professionally in as close match vynil as the can to the current trim, so that everything looks OEM.

    Anyway, so far i've simply been using expanding foam to create the shape of the dash, the shape is probably about 60% done, i still need to finalise the shape around the tweeter pods and gauges, create another space for a 3rd gauge holder next to the other two, and sand the whole thing back smooth and evenly.

    My main question thus far is that, once i have the shape done and all smooth, is it essential that i put a few layers of fiberglass over the top and then sand it smooth? or can i get away with puting a thin layer of bondo putty over the whole thing, sanding it smooth, and then getting it upholstered. The concern is that i havnt fiberglassed before, and am afraid that my inexperience will show through even after the dash has been upholstered.

    Here's a pic of my current progress, still lots of shaping and smoothing to go obviously:

    What do you guys recommend? Any other tips on fabrication would be great too!

  • #2
    I would say you need to apply a layer of fiberglass over it. If you go with just bondo it will crack over time if your doing a large area. The fiberglass will also give the shape strength. Since your planning to get it professionally vinyled it wont be as critical to get the fiberglass totally smooth, although when you do fibreglass you will need to ensure that you put a layer of plastic or something on top of everything because the chemicals used in fibreglassing will more than likely melt your foam.
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    • #3
      cheers, ill post updates as i go, not going to be the quickest of processes though!


      • #4
        you definently want something strong for good structure because bondo is meant for cosmetic purposes and will definently crack over time. You could either go with fiberglass (as mentioned before it may melt your foam) or fiberglass reinforced bondo may do the trick

        you definently don't want to pay to get it professionally upholstered only to have it crack and ruin over time


        • #5
          good point, i think once i get the shape i want i will cover it all in aluminium foil then fiberglass it.

          Anyways, i havnt been able to work on the dash much over the last... 11 months lol, with finishing work late and winter i rarely found time, as well as traveling england and europe for a few months. But I've had a week or so off work now and weather has been good so I've gotten back onto it. Here's a few quick snaps of current progress:

          the ugly visor thing above the screen is nessesary to block any reflections off the windscreen at night, i plan on sanding it back alot more dont worry!

          and of course, the car this is all going in (to the left):


          • #6
            few more after a little more sanding today:


            • #7
              thats gonna look sweet the car too...good work.


              • #8
                Is that a 180 or 200? I like that S14


                • #9
                  It's a s13 Silvia with 180sx front end, otherwise known as a 'onevia' in australia. I've also put an RB20DET in it . The main aim of the carputer will be to power a bunch of small webcams positioned all around the car to record different angles as i drift around our local track (i compete in the comps and stuff), also the ecu I plan on getting has live usb consult output which i plan to hook up and use the screen for.


                  • #10
                    That's a big screen for that car. Looks sweet so far though!
                    ~ Joel


                    • #11
                      wow that look like it will end up looking great. Is that a 12" screen??? I really like the car too. good work.
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                      • #12
                        nice can't wait to see it done, although monitor looks overkill, i have 10.4 and it's big

                        R. T. F. M


                        • #13
                          HAVE FUN SANDING!!! hehe

                          keep up the good work


                          • #14
                            That is sick! I like it! Gives me an idea for my evo.
                            Dont tell me to shut up, I'm Rick James ******!!!


                            • #15
                              Cooool. Big screens are great, you don't want to have to squint at a small screen in the middle of a drift.

                              I wish I could do a project car like yours. Does the pods or the top of the screen get in the way of seeing the road or anything? I can't wait for update.