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Dash gauge console

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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby Picasso » 23 Nov 2016 08:03

Hallo Cedric / Dustin

I don't want to cause confusion but does the thin layer of adhesive not also eat into the foam / Styrofoam ?

Whatever method you use.... test the compatibility of the material / substances first.

One more point;

The resin which you intend to use is most likely polyester resin which will indeed eat into the Styrofoam if not treated in the one or other way.
Alternatively you can also use Epoxy resin which does not eat into the foam.

The cons: Its more expensive compared to Polyester .... but that should not matter too much as you use only a small amount of resin; + its not as easily available compared to polyester. (One shop I know of is AMT in Spartan / Kempton Park)
The pros: It does not eat into Styrofoam, The curing time is longer which gives you more time to laminate the foam cor. Shrinkage is better .

:salute:
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby ricster » 23 Nov 2016 08:56

Fantastic info Picasso and Dustin.... Thank you !!!! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

I was concerned about the foam ( closed cell - but not sure if its a Sondor SPX60 or similar ) being dissolved/eaten by the resin, hence my first plug being made out of Plaster of paris.

Dustin, I just want to check with you... ( i don't really know what I'm doing with this, but enjoy the challenge of making something successful by jumping into it both feet first....hahaha )
1) The foam plug is the shape i want to create
2) I then want to make a rigid mold of the plug. To make matters even more complicated, due to the plaster mold breaking in the 2 part mold, I need to make this new mold a 3 part mold. One part for the face, one part for the top, and then the last part for the base.
3) This 3 part mold will then allow me to make quite a few of these consoles as there are a few guys that have asked for one when they are made.

Even though the dream is to create a finish on the final product that allows one not to have to upholster the console if so desired, but I know that this may not work out quite as I hope for, but hey, its still worth the try as I'm having fun trying !!

If I used a contact adhesive ( Picasso - I'll definitively test the contact adhesive on a scrap piece of foam beforehand ) and tinfoil, trying to keep it as smooth/flat as possible, waxed and PVA release agent on top of the tinfoil, then gelcoat and then fibreglass the 3 molds, would/can this work?

Silly question but why would the wax not work on the foam. If one puts on 5 or more coats/layers of wax, would that not create a sufficient barrier between foam and gelcoat ( I assume the gelcoat is also aggressive with closed cell foam ).

Another possibly crazy question.... If I bought a can of that aerosol spray adhesive and coated the foam a good few times to create a barrier, then wax the adhesive coat once dry and cured and no longer tacky..... would that work?

I'm enjoying this learning curve!! :thumbup: :thumbup: :helpsign: :helpsign:
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby Dustin » 23 Nov 2016 22:34

Cedric

Apologies for the late reply.
I've been going flat out for the last 2 weeks. Our CNC programmer did a runner on us going into our busiest period of the year, so I've been heading up the design office and programming all of our CNC machinery (4X CNC routers, 3X CNC milling machines, 1X CNC lathe and 1X CNC laser machine) for the last 2 weeks, so it's been....interesting to say the least :eek:
I haven't had time to sit and concentrate on anything else.
I've been having some serious Patrol Forum withdrawal symptoms :rolling:

Back on topic :

I don't really get that involved with our pattern shop to know all of the products and going on's, simply because of time constraints, but I've picked up my fair share of knowledge and what does & doesn't work over the years.
The majority of molds we make are from "F16 aluminium tooling compound" (epoxy resin base with aluminium powder and a special catalyst - can't remember exactly what it is though).
The stuff is heavy and hard as hell. The main reason for using this is for it's heat resistance, because they are used in our vacuum thermoforming process.
We manufacture heavy gauge plastic returnable interlayers and packaging for the motor industry to be used line side in production or for export to and from OEM suppliers.
They can be for things as small as the chrome button on your handbrake right up to complete engines, etc. and they are 99% stackable and collapsible for transport. So as you would imagine the molds can become unbelievably complex. Typical machine time for a large mold can be upwards of 10 hours. One I did in 2014 ran for 83 hours :surprised:
A single mold typically has a duty life cycle of 250 000 parts before refurbishment or remolding.

With all that background info in mind, the main thing to remember when designing molds is they must have taper to the shape for a single direction of delaminating to make things easy on you and the mold.
I don't see why you can't make the console in a single part. It would save you time and 'goon ache' when churning out multiple parts.
From what I can see on the pics, it seems like there is sufficient taper on the sides. The front face looks as if it has an 'undercut' face (tilted forward) that could cause a few issues when delaminating, but not the end of the world. To overcome that, you will simply have to delaminate by removing the part towards the rear (windscreen direction of part), so basically slide it out backwards. Just be sure to add taper to the lip so it's not at 90 degrees to the face so the surface tension can be easily broken when delaminating the part.
You could always put a taper on the front face to simplify issues, maybe follow the shape of the dash as it curves upwards towards the air vents. The lip will still have it's fair share of quirks, but it does look cool on the console.

We've tried all sorts of different substrates for prototyping and then cloning into a mold. We've tried all sorts of foams and we've just started testing a special poured substance that looks like plaster but is some sort of ceramic compound.
The best thing we ever tried and we've used it for 20+ years now for our tooling is good old MDF/Supawood and body filler. Cheap, easy to work and works really well with fibreglass process.
We laminate layers of supawood and shape it by hand or on the CNC machines from 3D CAD models and then add details with body filler.
We generally give the prototype mold a few good coats of a polyacrethane paint and run trial parts off of it, and once we're happy we clone it and make our F16 tooling resin mold for production. You can use a sanding sealer to substitute the polyacrethane because it's damn expensive and not required for your process.
The cloning process involves the mold/plug being waxed with RAM wax and then coated with PVA release agent. Then gel coat and 6-8 layers of fibreglass.
The negative is then delaminated, sanded with water paper and polished.
The it's waxed, coated with release agent, and tooling resin process begins to create the final mold.

The same principles will apply to your part.
Clone the prototype and it will become the negative mold you will build your consoles from, so you'll basically build them upside down and inside out sort of thing. Gel coat first and then work inwards.

Have you looked at how you plan to attach the console to the dash ?
Mechanically fixed or blended to dash ? You can laminate threaded inserts into the console during the manufacture process.

You can add a texture to the final part by doing an embossing process to the negative to add the surface texture desired in the final part.
You can achieve the texture finish by draping a textured cloth/material over the plug that will be cloned to the negative.

I'll make an effort to go spend some time with our head pattern maker tomorrow and show him the pics for his opinion.

I wanted to do a decent sketch or quick 3D model for illustration purposes, but to be honest, I'm just too tired and gatvol to make the effort right now. So I apologize in advance :lol:
I'm too lazy to go find my technical pen set and graph paper, so the back of a statement and my daughter's blunt brown pencil is all I can muster at this point. Never mind the fact that I'm a lefty to make matters worse :biggrin:
You need to ensure the leading edges of the lip are tapered slightly and a slight radius added to avoid any fouling when delaminating the part.

Hope this all helps.
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby DH70 » 24 Nov 2016 00:20

Not advice for your project, I'm just mentioning the following because I find it a very interesting alternative for exactly the kind of thing you're doing. My ex neighbor designs engines and parts and has a3D printer in his garage with which he prints parts. He prints prototypes and showed me a part he printed with internal moving bits, super light and freakishly strong, all printed in one go. Something like your console will be a breeze to print, but then again I guess it defeats the whole point of a DIY project.
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby ricster » 24 Nov 2016 09:15

Dustin.... A HUGE thank you for this info !!!! I appreciate the time you have offered me !!

DH70..... I did consider 3D printing to be 100% honest, but unless you own a 3D printer, I think the cost for a part would be quite high.... and someone would have to redraw the original ( plug ) into the appropriate program ( I don't know much about 3D printing process ). Due the the curves on ALL of the axis of this console it will be quite a challenge to get spot on, and any high spot will cause an irritating rocking action that will drive me insane ( also to a degree, depending on how one mounts the console ).

On the point of mounting the console. I will be adding 4 threaded inserts or molding 4 nuts to the underside, allowing 4 bolts to be drilled through the dash and fixing the console permanently to the dash. Now I know many are saying .... WHAT!!! You are crazy, I would never do that.... However, this console is something that will stay with the vehicle for the rest of its life. One wouldn't sell the vehicle without the gauges, and if one does, the next owner would probably be most appreciative of the fact that he/she now has a designated place to put the gauges that you removed, so that's not a major issue in my opinion and will not reduce the value of the Patrol. If however one doesn't want to physically bolt the console down, Velcro strips can be attached to the underside of the console and top of dash allowing removal at any stage. there will be cutouts on the underside of the console to allow easy access to the back of the gauges for wiring up purposes too.

@ Dustin.... That lip on the front of the console was where my plaster original plug had its biggest issue. There was a slight taper, but I doubt enough, as 95% of the lip came out the mold perfectly but I battled at the curved end and that's where I had the failure.

Due to the rigidity of the plaster, I figured that the flexibility of the closed cell foam may be the answer to my dilemma. I cannot make the console any higher as it will then affect the line of site from the drivers sitting position, to the opposite corner of the bonnet. Its amazing how just 5mm extra height creates an obstruction of ones line of site, and due to us not being all of the same height .... well self explanatory i guess...haha.

If I thicken up the lip to allow a greater angle ( for release ) then I loose some height on the face where the gauges fix to. this in turn creates the problem that the gauges will not fit from the right hand side of the face towards the right hand side end, due the the curve of the GU dash shape. Also different manufacturers of gauges have different thicknesses of bezels which also has to be taken into account. This console can house comfortably 4 x round gauges and 1 x square EGT gauge ( like the Madman or MGL ). The face will be without any holes to allow whomever to fit either 1 to 5 round gauges or what ever variety of set ups. Ideally I would like it if one can fit the TPS monitor many guys have in there too, taking it out of the way of the also important dash cluster lights and gauges. Basically I want to make something that is hugely multi-functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, in other words an almost factory design finish.

Going back the the flexibility of the closed cell foam as a plug, I figured that I could possibly keep the current lip thickness and angle, as the plaster plug "almost" came out cleanly. By using the closed cell foam plug would give me the flexibility to wiggle the plug out without any damage to the negative mold.... I may be wrong on this, but hey that was my blonde logic at work. The possibility of the foam not being the right kind of foam for this purpose is a bit of a concern, but... If the plug could last long enough after a gazillion coats of wax and PVC release, for the resin to harden sufficiently to hold the form for the negative mold. The foam plug will in effect be turfed away if the negative mold is a success.

As for the finish.... hmmm ... I will probably still upholster mine in a similar type vinyl to match the current grey/brown dash, or use the Alcantara ( suede look ) material to reduce the reflective glare on the windscreen ( which is something that has bugged the crap out of me on almost all the vehicles I've owned ).
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby Dustin » 24 Nov 2016 14:33

Always a pleasure sharing a bit of knowledge with a fellow Patroller, that's how we roll :lol: :thumbup:
Better to spread knowledge than to keep it to yourself I say.

3D printing is something I'm also involved with.
I've been to a bunch of workshops and demos doing research so that we can start printing parts sent from OEM's that we receive in 3D CAD format.
It will help us with our rapid prototyping, as 99% of the time OEM's send us a surface geometry model of what a part will look like and we have to develop a concept for it.
I was lucky enough recently to have the only set of headlights and tail lights produced world wide for the latest Toyota Hilux and Fortuner to use for packaging we produced for the line... I had to treat them like gold.

3D printing has it's merits, but it is incredibly slow and expensive as you are charged per hour.
It lays down layer upon layer of extruded filament to build up the part.
The most common types of filament used are either ABS or PLA.
ABS is very soft and breaks easily, but has a smoother finish and PLA is more rigid but still fragile, but has a rough surface.
The problem with anything you want printed will always be build chamber size.
The size of what the table and chamber can accommodate will limit your part size.
We're looking at a MakerBot Z18 3D printer, which has a much larger build chamber size compared to the rest of the field. It's chamber can print a part 300x300x450mm.
Another problem will be creating a hollow shape like the console will make the walls prone to delaminating between layers if manipulated. 3D printers like to honeycomb the internal of a shape to reduce material used and time but keeping the overall rigidity of a form.

Your console doesn't necessarily have to have a full bottom face/surface to it, as you will be mechanically fixing it to the dash.
You can build a lip around the bottom edge for your inserts and for a bit of rigidity, but leave the centre open for the wiring to be drawn up into the console.
It will also make it quicker to manufacture, and of course less material used as well.

I spoke to my head pattern maker and he had a look a the photos posted of the foam plug.
He said the best would be to apply a thin layer of body filler over the foam and sand to smooth finish, because the foam doesn't take the wax and release so well and you'll probably be left with finger in hole when you try to delaminate the mold from the foam.
He did say that too much pressure or movement in the foam with the putty layer might crack it.
His suggestion (I know you don't want to hear this so far along) is to reshape it from MDF/supawood, clean up the lines and blend with body filler and mold from it as it will last longer and won't break as easily.

I've actually looked at making a long shallow pod cluster to sit on top of the dash where the instrument cluster is located. Almost like gradually thickening up the lip of the dash above the cluster to take a Madman, boost gauge and 1 more.
Still toying with it.
I'm just too lazy to keep shifting my focus left and right. That and I know I've got a bit of OCD and FOMO so my neck will be sore after just a short drive to the shop :rolling:

I used Alcantara some years back when I built up a 1959 Chevy Apache street rod.
It's a beautiful material to work with, but my thoughts immediately went to "what about the dust when off roading" when you mentioned using it.
That stuff is a magnet for dirt and near impossible to clean properly.
Just a thought.

I think you console is going to be pretty sweet once you're done with it.
Can't wait to see the finished product :thumbup:

I want to see some progress photos next month when we're having some ice cold libations in Cape Town :biggrin:
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby ricster » 24 Nov 2016 15:27

hahaha... I was hoping to have a couple of them finished by the time I hit some ice cold libations in Cape Town..... :rolling: :rolling:

Hmmm.... making a whole new MDF plug...... WWW WWW WWW .... will try that if the second attempt doesn't work according to plan.

I was thinking the same regarding putting a thin layer of body filler and sand it smooth, then shhhhhhhhhh loads of wax layers and PVC release. I'm going to do a few test pieces first to see what-how-where-when....

This console was also due to the fact that I hate having to look down at my gear lever ( near the cigarette lighter ) to see the EGT temps. I also don't like the gauges where the radio goes, cause I have my radio head unit and then my 2 way radio in there, so with this console I can have everything almost in line of site and can be checked literally at a glance, without sun shining on the gauge making looking at it through sunglasses difficult...... damn I wonder if I am developing OCD..... :rolling: :rolling: ..... Ja well.... I have been know to have issues at the way certain things in life are done !!!!
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby Dustin » 24 Nov 2016 16:04

It's an Architect thing :rolling:
It develops into full blown OCD with time.
With me changing to engineering, it hasn't helped much.

Give the foam one a bash and see how it goes.
You've come thins far, might as well try.
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby ricster » 24 Nov 2016 16:29

:rolling: :rolling: :rolling: ...... One guess what field I work in..... Architecture !!!!! ( I nearly fell off my chair when I read your post......hahaha )

http://www.scsarchitects.co.za/
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Re: Dash gauge console

Postby ricster » 25 Nov 2016 09:37

Ok... so I did a quick tester on an offcut piece of foam....very interesting results...

I coated a section with plain old cobra floor polish ( i know its not the best stuff but its all I have at the moment ) and it seems to settle well on the foam leaving a nice looking barrier. On another section ( unwaxed ) I put some body filler directly onto the foam. This seemed to adhere nicely to the foam. I then took some gelcoat and applied it to both treated (waxed) and the untreated section of the rubber and left it overnight to see the results.

After 14 hours the sample is in exactly the same condition as last night !! considering that the fibreglass resin will not be in direct contact with the foam I didn't put any on as the gelcoat will be the barrier ( and the PVC mold release ). Here is a pic of my test sample.....

DSC_1043a.JPG
DSC_1043a.JPG (454.87 KiB) Viewed 494 times
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