How to: - Custom Center Console Gauge and Switch Pod | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to: Custom Center Console Gauge and Switch Pod

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SilverSPL

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Ok heres my first how to, I did this back in june and someone on here suggested I do a writeup on how I did it so here it is. Bear with me it's been awhile sice i did it so I forget a couple of thigs.

Well this is the final product, I'll take you through all the steps to make this.
PICT4259.jpg

Started out by removing the center console, it's held in by clips and one screw under the black ruber. Then I taped off the area where I want to make the pod with 3m Painters tape. Then rub mold release wax ontop of the tape.
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I then drew out some guide lines onto the tape with a Black sharpie that will transfer to the fiberglass. Then laid down 5 layers of glass
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Pulled it out and trimmed off the excess and cut out the bottom
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Then out of 1/8 inch wood (similar to mdf or is, not sure) I cut our the openings I wanted for the gagues and switches. Then hot glued them to wooden sticks in place
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wrapped in cloth and held by adhesive spray glue, then cover the appropriate areas with resin. then once hardened trimmed away unneeded cloth
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Sanded and added more resin in many areas, test fitted for gaps on sides
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coated inside with fiberglass and resin really good
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Applies bondo and sanded 3 or 4 times
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sanded and primered, then ready for paint. I took it to a body shop to get it painted the same color as my car.
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came back like this
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taped off the top so I wouldnt scratch the paint
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Wired up the switches, I used 2 atx 12" extenders made to extend power supplies in computers for my quick disconnect plugs.
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wired up switches
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wired up the car
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inside shot
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Final product:D;)
PICT4259.jpg

Hope you like my How To
 






I must have to say that that is one of the coolest things I have seen for switches and guages. May I ask you what all you have for all of those switches?
 






Jesus Christ thats alot of switches, great work!
 


















I have to admit that you do excellent fab work! Where did you get your fiberglass? Did you use a drill press to cut the holes? You made a console like the bat mobile! A label maker would probably help avoid confusion.
 






I have to admit that you do excellent fab work! Where did you get your fiberglass? Did you use a drill press to cut the holes? You made a console like the bat mobile!

Thanks, I got the fibergalls in bulk from ebay. I used a unibit for the small holes and a 2 1/8 hole drilling bit for the large holes. drilled with a cordless dewalt drill.
 






That's pretty good for free hand drilling. I'm not familiar with working with fiberglass. I know that there are different compounds for hardening it. You have a glossy look with sparkle which is unique. The corners are round, and it doesn't show wrinkled edges either. Maybe this could be another how to article? It would be how to work with fiberglass. BTW, I rated this thread with 5 stars.:thumbsup:
 






That's pretty good for free hand drilling. I'm not familiar with working with fiberglass. I know that there are different compounds for hardening it. You have a glossy look with sparkle which is unique. The corners are round, and it doesn't show wrinkled edges either. Maybe this could be another how to article? It would be how to work with fiberglass. BTW, I rated this thread with 5 stars.:thumbsup:

It took me allot of time and patience to get it perfect. Requires alot of sanding and reapplying bondo and primer. You want to get a high build primer also. It will make it allot easier and time saving. I used about 6 different grits of sanpaper. The last grit I used was I think 550 grit. I havn't done much with fiberglass before this and this was the first piece I did that I had painted. The other pieces I did in fiberglass I would cover with carpet to hide all the imperfections.
 






For not working much with fiberglass, you did a great job! it's a very tricky thing to learn how to use fiberglass.
 






Very nicely done! Very professional wiring job! Looks awesome!
 






Very nicely done. I've tried a few small fiberglass projects myself - don't remember any of them coming out as nice as this.

Nice pictures and article, too! Thanks.

regards,

Jeff
 












Great article!

I just set you up with three months of Elite Explorer privileges for your effort.

I have one request though. If you could upload your photos directly to the site so the photos will always stay with the article I would greatly appreciate it.:salute:
 






Great write up, and awesome finished project!!! I looked through your old posts, saw the one about your interior trim- do you have some pics of your truck in and out? Love to see the fruits of your labor!
 






Moved from other thread:
i just spent a little over an hour looking at that thread of your build. simply amazing! how much did it cost to get those panels color matched and painted? i am not a huge fan of the woodgrain either.
Thanks, Yeaa I hated the fake woodgrain. I cost $150 to paint the console, headunit trim and the 4 door panels trim.
 






Fantastic fab work! :thumbsup: Thanks for sharing.
 



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Great work! That looks awsome!
I've wanted to do this exact same thing when I find a nice full length console.
I already have the switches that I want to use, and a Yaesu dual band ham rig will sit on top. I've never worked with fiberglass myself, though.
 






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