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Old 11-03-2004, 03:03 PM
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Fiberglass dashboard

I was wondering if anybody here has any experience with making a completely new dashboard out of fiberglass. I have a 1991 chevy fullsize and am trying myself without any previous experience and it has been tough. The hardest part is making the frame. I want it to have a smooth uniform look but obviously need it to be accessible and fairly easy to remove. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

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Old 11-07-2004, 08:53 AM
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Fiberglass

Yes I have done it but I would just direct you to this site... http://ecominet2.alpine-usa.com/html.../2004_mini.htm

You can get an idea of how to do it here, Just make sure you make a strong frame because warpage is a big problem. You can make a frame out of MDF wood and steel. Make tabs to remove it but don't remove it until you have the duraglass installed and hardened. Remove to sand the duraglass to your finish. Reinstall and check for fit. If you get warpage, reinstall it and place a heat lamp on the dash until it softens. Do whatever it takes to hold it into place. You can quench it with cold water and a towel if it is a bad warp. For a mild warp just let it cool down naturally. WOW this could go on forever about how to do it and I am sure that there are many that will have a different way to do this, BUT this works for me. Good luck with your project and please post pics when you are done. I have some pics on a site... www.carolinarodshop.com go to the project pics for "39 Chevy" and I am seen in there making fiberglass headliner and interior panels.
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Old 11-07-2004, 10:54 AM
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My plan was to create a frame from either MDF, LuAnn, or just regular ply wood, then stretch and staple either fleece or another material over it then lay my glass, then my duraglass, then sand and cover with foam and vinyl. Are there any tips or tricks to help prevent warpage? If I make a strong enough frame should that be enough support to prevent the fiberglass from warping? Thanks for the website. I'm gonna check it out right now. I appreciate all the info it should help me a ton!!! thanks
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Old 11-07-2004, 12:38 PM
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to lessen warpage use an epoxy resin rather than polyester because it has less shrinkage characteristics... Its more expensive though, and you still will get a bit of warpage. so if you build your frame strong also, it should help with the warpage factor
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Old 11-07-2004, 01:08 PM
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Sorry to bother you, but I just got done looking at the link that you gave me and I had some questions. First they lay down a layer of tape, then a layer of aluminum foil on top of that. Then after it's covered and fiberglassed they say to take it out but how do they do that? Do you just pull it out still attached to the aluminum foil or do they have it bolted in somehow? Thanks again.
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Old 11-07-2004, 05:32 PM
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Fiberglass

I bolt in my tabs for mounting before anything is started but when everything is dry...unbolt your tabs and give it a yank and it will come off the foil with no problem. If you do a roof for a headliner, like I did, Use compressed air to pop your casting off. I would tell you to do a few mock ups for the feel of it. Don't forget your draft angle....If the angle is wrong then you will never get the part out of the car. So pay close attention to which way your angles run. Negative angles will give you a nice part that splits when you pull it and then it is headed for the trash bin. Just try to imagine the glass already hardened before you wet it. If you visualize the part never coming out then it probably wont. Oh and about the epoxy resin....It don't smell as bad either. When we do an interior that has to be done quickly we use this because the fumes from poly resin will be there for a long time. And just when you think that it is gone...put the car in the sunlight and there comes the smell again. In cold climates I have had parts take almost a week to kick off completely to loose the smell.

good Luck!
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Old 11-07-2004, 07:34 PM
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Okay, I'm new at this so I have to ask you what some of this stuff means. Like what the heck is draft angle? As for the mounting tabs your talking about, do you use the stock mounting brackets or do you create your own. With my truck, I want to use the stock brackets but the mounting holes located at the top of the firewall where the old dash used to bolt on, were accesed throught the defroster opening and I'm not sure how to make it so that I can use them. The bottom and side brackets I can use because I can just make L brackets and attach them or just bolt them on, but with the brackets near the defrosterI couldn't do the same thing because I'd have the bolts showing through the fiberglass. Any suggestions? Thanks
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Old 11-07-2004, 10:44 PM
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tabs

Well for a dash you can try to make it so that you can access the upper bolts from the bottom. For the lower support just make simple tabs on the ends just like the factory does. But in a dash make sure that you cast in a kicker bracket from the middle of the dash to the firewall. Also if you are going to use a column drop then you need to make a steel frame to hold the column and make the dash fit around the column. If you cannot get to the mounting tabs or screws, you can make an insert for the defrost vents. Rout out some MDF openings for the defrost vents but make them double duty for mounting holes for screws to fasten the dash in. Rabbet the MDF and make a sheetmetal insert to go in the rabbet for support of the mounting screws and defrost vent. fasten it in the car with the screws. Tape up the entire rabbet area. Now when you stretch your fleece or panty hose, staple it to the top part of the rabbet. After each coat of resin starts to kick (turns rubbery) trace the outline with a razorknife to keep the edge. When you are completely done with the dash sanding and all...It's time to make the plug. I install new tape in the rabbet as well as the surrounding area of the finished dash. Then use spray glue on the tape and install a layer of alum foil. Make sure you have no wrinkles. Lay up a HOT coat of resin (mix like 1 oz) on the inside area of the rabbet. Let this coat get sticky and then rip small chunks of chopped mat and fill this area one layer at a time allowing resin to only kick off. Do not let it completely dry before the next coat of glass. Fill it in layers to about 1/16 to 1/8 from the top of the finished dash. Then when this last coat kicks you can add the duraglass to the level of the finished dash. Let this dry overnight and sand the next day. When you sand thru to the alum foil you should be able to pop out this plug from the bottom. after all the tape and foil is gone you have a plug that fits the top of the dash perfectly and now you can make your own custom vent to install in the plug. The plug just covers up the screws and doubles as the defrost hole. WHEW...Now I gotta talk about draft angles... Think of it like this. Say you have an icetray to make ice cubes. If the hole was shaped like a "V" then the ice would pop out easy. If it were shaped like "A" then the ice would be trapped because the bottom of the cube was actually larger than the opening to come out of. So draft angle is an angle where your bottom of the casting is always smaller than the top of your casting in all angles. If you get to a weird angle just use cardboard to make the angle friendly and tape it in place. Then the foil you place over the rest will help this form a nice positive angle for you to remove the part.
If someone is reading and see's that I missed something, Please add to this. It's late and I am doing this off the top of my head. This should be enough to get you into trouble... But remember that if you have not played with glass and resin, You need to do a few jobs to get used to the kick time and how much MEKP to use per oz. I use 10 drops per oz on a hot day and 12 to 14 drops per oz on rainy and or cold days. Always mix your resin for 30 secs min...I do 1 min when I mix more than 4 oz at a time. You can also make killer glue if you get some "Aerosil" and mix it in your resin, before the MEKP, to a thickness almost like peanut butter. Add the MEKP (I use 14 drops for glue per oz) mix for 1 to 2 mins and apply the glue to the part. Clamp in place and let dry overnight. This is the best glue for fiberglass if you properly sand both parts of fiberglass to be glued together and clamp them together. It kinda like TIG welding fiberglass HEHEHE your glue is the same thing that is holding the fiberglass strands together in the first place. But it will still glue almost anything to fiberglass. I think that is enough to kill my fingers for the night. good luck with this info and whatever else info comes your way.
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Old 11-07-2004, 11:01 PM
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That was a kick *** reply and I don't wanna bother you so I'll keep this post short. What is a rabbet and what is MEKP? Thanks
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Old 11-08-2004, 04:47 AM
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glassin

MEKP is the resin hardener and the rabbet is a woodworking term. .Just think of this, You will need a router table and router bits. There you will find a rabbet bit. You will use many different bits for the different shapes that you will need. Get some woodworking books and do alot of research. Also check out... www.the12volt.com

L8R
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