Note: make it easy on yourself: This can be built for a lot of cars, and, for some, you can do all the fit checks right at the workbench by pulling out the cubbyhole part of your dash that it fits in. That way you don't have to run back and forth to the car every time you want to check it. You can use it in your workspace and reinstall it when the project is complete.
Here are the Scion xB-specific instructions for removing the "auxiliary box" in a couple of easy steps: First, pull the knobs off your a/c controls. Under them, you'll find two Phillips-head screws. Remove them. At the very bottom of the bezel, on both sides, you can pull the bezel away from the dash (you may want to start by using a flat-blade screwdriver to pry the bottom of the silver edge strips). Swing the bottom of the bezel out and up, pivoting it from its top; when it's at about a 45-degree angle, pull straight back gently. There are two tabs and two snaps at the very top, and these should slip out. Go by feel, and be gentle -- it's really pretty easy. Once the bezel is off, the auxiliary box is just snapped into place. Once you release the electrical connections (lighter and airbag indicator), it can be pulled out, door and all. Be careful not to lose the door springs. Reverse these steps to reinstall.
Assembly -– You’ll want to do lots of fit checks as you build. Test fit BEFORE you solder or glue. Test fit between steps. Do fit checks compulsively -- you won’t be sorry.
Here are all the pieces assembled, with the tubes labeled:
Click on any image to enlarge it
(1) Put the parts all together. Remember, for the xB, this is narrower at the inner end – it's NOT a rectangle. Luckily, there’s a little “slop” in copper fittings, and we can take advantage of that here.
Note: the 1" middle cross tube legs and the inner foot are so short that the fittings they connect actually touch. That's no problem for us; once the fittings are hot, the solder will suck right into the joints.
(2) Measure the width at the inner end and be sure it is no wider than the back of your cubbyhole; for the xB, that's 7". This should just fit between the back walls of the cubbyhole -- tight, but not a force-fit. Adjust the inner cross tubes as necessary. NOTE: It's hard to cut off small amounts with a tubing cutter. It's easier to use a file, emery cloth or even coarse sandpaper. Just lay the abrasive paper on a flat surface, and rub the end of the tube around on it until you have the length you want.
(3) Measure the overall width at the middle cross tube and be sure it is no wider than the lip of your cubbyhole; for the xB, that's 7-3/8". This fits just inside the lip of the opening. Adjust the inner legs and middle cross tubes as needed.
(4) Test fit the complete assembly into the cubbyhole.
NOTE: The foot in the middle of the inner cross tube should just hold the top against the roof of the box. It should be a firm fit, not a force-fit. The middle cross tube should be tight against the bottom of the box – again, a firm fit, not forced. If it’s too tight at the lip of the box, file away a little of the fitting ends so they fit closer together. If you're building it with the xB keeper foot, swing that into place and see that it locks into the door.
(5) Once you're happy with the way it fits, clean all the parts and start making the final joints with solder or glue. Start by making the keeper with tee, keeper leg and cap. This part will not be soldered or glued in -- it's supposed to be able to rotate. Now assemble everything and start making permanent joints. Be sure the assembly is aligned and level. Let it cool (or let the glue harden) and fit check. Solder or glue some more. Do LOTS of fit checks as you build. I built it upside-down on a workbench, checking often to make sure it was flat.
Remember: The tee holding the keeper foot DOES NOT GET SOLDERED. It rotates so you can lock it into the xB's auxiliary box door.
(6) Clean and sand, grind or trim away any excess solder or glue. Use an abrasive pad or emery cloth to clean it up.
Here's the soldered assembly, and another shot of it after cleanup with an abrasive pad:
(7) OPTIONAL – paint the final product. I sprayed mine with black satin-finish fast-dry acrylic; I left the part covered by foam unpainted. An alternative would be to polish the copper and coat it with clear lacquer.
Okay, all that's left is to pad it. That's next.