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Building a fiberglass console

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  • Building a fiberglass console

    Does anyone know anyting about working with fiberglass?

    I was thinking about building a center console to house the computer and monitor in my car.

    My intentions where to cut out a template using cardboard or thin plywood and then fiberglass over it. Does this sound feasible?

    Is this stuff hard to work with and is it very expensive?

  • #2
    Sounds like a good idea, this is something I plan on trying for my car.

    Thin plywood sheeting will probably be the best thing to use for the template.

    Most car part stores offer fiberglass repair kits that are fairly inexpensive if you dont have too large of a project. One drawback is I've heard it can make quite a mess.

    Then after you are done you can get some vinyl, or other fabric to cover it.

    My console will mostly be made of particle board or MDF.

    Particle board is cheap and easy to round off and smooth edges. It might be an alternative to fiberglass if you dont need a really curved surface. Then just cover like everything else.

    Good luck, let us know how it goes and maybe some pics. I really like people who take the time to make their system look good as well as sound good.


    • #3
      It sounds good in theory, and done right, a fiberglas console would be a wonderful way to make a setp a cut above the rest. That is the keyword(s) though, done right.

      Working with fiberglas mat on a mold is exceedingly hard to do right. I work with the substance myself frequently for motorcycle fairing patching/fabrication, and consider myself fairly good at working with it. The larger the project, it becomes exponentially harder to work with. I have built a console out of 1/8" plywood, covered in vinyl, and think that this was probably the easier and more effective solution to to it neatly. To do a console over a mold, one would be better off to do it the commercial method, of blowing chopped fiberglas mat onto the mold. Needless to say tho, this very expensive to do for one-off projects.

      check out and for two projects that made consoles out of plywood. IMO the better way to do it, if you can handle a jig-saw and a drill.


      • #4
        Another approach would be to make a positive mold out of clay or other material which is easy to form, and then use pieces of fiberglass mesh mixed with the appropriate chemicals.

        I'm not sure what chemicals are used, but I'm going to find out. I do contract work for an art company that makes giant figures out of various materials. They took fiberglass "mesh" (looks like cloth and is easy to bend and fold) and dipped it in some kind of chemical that made it begin to dissolve. You then lay pieces of this wet mesh over the mold and do several layers of it. When it dries it's basically solid fiberglass held together very tight. After about 10min it's nearly as hard as concrete.

        Jason Johnson
        Yorba Linda, California

        M˛PC Phase IV - *** PENDING ***


        • #5
          My cousin Andy and I are planning to make a pair of mp3 players for are cars and post a highly detailed web site on the finished products. One of our topics will be consoles. By far the easiest way to build a console would be to utilize a fiberglass foam core construction method. A property of deformable bodies is that every time you double the thickness of a panel or tube the stiffness of the panel increased to the third power, and 2 to the third power is eight. What I am trying to say is if you double the thickness of a panel you will increase its stiffness by 8 times. Since most of the stress of a panel is on the outer surface, the inter surface can be a bulk filler, foam.
          This technique is used extensively in one-off car bodies, boat halls, hovercrafts, and airplanes. Closed – cell urethane foam can be cut to size, glued together and be “Cheese Graded” to rough shape and size. Then the foam can be sanded smooth and be laid up with two coats of 6 oz. Fiberglass Cloth on each side. This is when I would glue the vinyl on. But if you want a smooth finish bondo could be applied to the fiberglass and shaped and sanded to smooth out waves and ripples that vinyl would surly hide.

          Look in any “how to build a fiberglass boat” book, to read about this more in detail

          MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT !!!!!!!

          The above site will tell you everything you will need to know.
          It shows you how to build one of those 3-wheeled ultra light cars bodies shown in the back of Popular Mechanics magazine.

          Let me know if I have been any help.



          • #6
            Another way to build this type of Console is with PVC. The same plastic that most pipes are made from is also sold in Large flat sheets from 1/8" to 1" thick. Its fairly cheap for the thinner stuff but its more than the plywood or fiberglass! I have an unlimited supply since I work with it all day long at work. Its very easy to cut, drill, or machine. It welds, or glues. And if you get creative, you can bend all you corners and you'll see no ends of plywood! : ) I'll tell you more if your interested.

            Steve Cooke


            • #7
              Im very interested in using PVC...Id like to redisgin hte entire center console of My LeBaron and using PVC might be the best way for me to go...


              • #8
                So anybody know anything about this PVC stuff?


                • #9
                  What tools do I need to use with plexiglass? Is plexiglass expensive? How do I connect the joints of it. I want to put neon and stuff inside like sealed sub bandpass boxes


                  • #10
                    this might give you some ideas:
                    <a href="">clear case chassis</a>.

                    In my experience plexiglass can be faily cheap $5 for a 3' square to as much as $20 or $30 for the thicker stuff. It's pretty easy to cut which is done by "scoring". You can buy a $2 scoring knife that'll make your life a lot easier. You could probably also custom cut it with a vise and a dremel but becareful with the vise.

                    I think places like Lowe's, Home Depot, and etc. can cut it for you (might charge you tho *shrug*)....


                    • #11
                      Custom car audio installer!

                      I was a custom installer for 10 years plus. Now I'm a chef, I found there wasn't enough money in installs that potentially took three months or even longer. Im here just to lend a helping word on helping some of you get things done the way I've experience doing things.


                      • #12
                        Fiberglass console!

                        You should start with a frame work. Kinda like framing a house. I use to use bass wood strips from an art supply store and cut it with handi cutters found at sears. In the shop we used to call them finger lopers. When you see the handi cutters youll see what I mean. Anyway figure out how you want it to look and build your frame. Use a hot glue gun to glue it together. I wouldn't draw it out or measure anything but pieced it together in the car. Cutting pieces as I went along. Your going to get a more natural look this way, if you measure your going to end up with a square console that anyone could build out of wood. After the frame is all glued together with hot glue you should coat each joint or corner with fiberglass resin this will insure a better structural frame. Get some fleece grill cloth and stretchy tshirt material and stretch it over the frame attaching on the underside if possible. With the use of various types of fabric you have more options with hard corners and pieces that need to stretch more. Once your happy with the stretch job coat the whole thing with resin it will get shinny and smooth when the resin has saturated the fabric (important for structural quality) Let this dry for a few hours and start covering with fiberglass mat or spray on fiberglass shards. This will harden also, with a grinder, grind down the high points and fill low points with bondo. As you start working with this stuff everything will make sence. You've also got to use some common sence and read packaging of resin fiberglass mat and bondo. Your going to need body rasping tools, tons of sandpaper and grinding disks face masks (because after 5 years not working with this stuff I still can't smell anything.) Good luck and feel free to ask any questions on this subject. I'll post some pics soon of a current project Im working on with how to pics. Its my own car so things are looking pretty rad.


                        • #13
                          you do realize this thread is from 1999......right????


                          • #14
                            If the thread was from 10 years ago, maybe this is the OP coming back to share his experience and what he's learned since 99.

                            I kid, I kid...
                            Chrysler 300 - Fabricating


                            • #15
                              Ten years?

                              If its ten years old and your worried about it why are you guys still looking at it. I didn't look at the date nor have I installed for about 5 years, but who cares, some people might want the info and this is what I've done. With 6 cars in car audio magazine I suppose a few of you lackies could learn a little bit. And I kid myself.......It is kinda funny that my old *** is acting a bit senile going back to work like I was still there the whole time.