Well, I don't know if many of you remember, but I had talked about building my own gauge pod. I finally got to work on it and got some pics of it. Its as of yet incomplete, but i am going to be progressively adding to this post on the subject of gauges and there assosciated pods.
My thinking behind this whole mess, was: "Why pay 100 some odd dollars for an off the shelf, silly a-pillar gauge pod, when I could build one myself for about fourty?". I know there are cheezy "carbon fiber" looking ones that can be had for cheap on ebay, but to be completely honest, f*** those things. While my logic is rediculous, I must say that I have a new found love for fiberglass. The stuff is just plain fun, and I promise that this won't be the last time I use it. Should you too take interest in playing with fiberglass, I do have some words of advice:
1) Wear a respirator! Fiberglass resin is about ten times more pungent than rubber cement, and gives you quite the buzz, unless your into that of course. It generally feels like it's going genocidal on your brain cells, and makes you feel sick.
2)Wear crappy clothing. if you spill the resin on your clothes, they to become fiberglass.
3)Bring that respirator back for sanding. The stuff is highly irratant on your lungs/skin/eyes/genitalia. Your skin will just itch, whereas your eyes adn lungs can be damaged from the dust, its extremely thin, and no fun.
4)Get cheap paint brushes. I didn't bother figuring out a way to clean the brushes. When the stuff hardens on a brush, the brush becomes useless. Buy the cheap ones, because you will use as many as the layers or applications you use.
5)Be careful about how much hardener you put in. Too much makes the resin harden relatively quickly, and it gets pretty hot to the touch. Too little and your just wasting your time. The jug of resin says to add 12-18 drops of hardener for every ounce of resin. 12 taking about two hours to be completely dry and sandable, 18 taking about 30 minutes or less. 18 will cause the resin to get to about 120 degrees or so, atleast thats what it felt like to the touch.
ok, for this project you will need:
Shaping tools (sander, dremel tool, files, etc...)
Respirator and goggles.
Some place outdoors to use the resin.
Fiberglass cloth-$10 for about 5x10ft sheet - I opted for the woven stuff, not the shreds.
Fiberglass resin-$7 for about 16oz. - comes with enough hardener for like 1/4 the can.
Resin Hardener-$4 for a 2oz. tube. - enough for the rest of the resin.
Brushes-$12 - I used about 6
Sandpaper-$6 - Get a variety pack with the coarse and the fine, and an extra pack of fine.
Pieces of PVC that fit your gauges-cheap
Doing it right the first time-Priceless...
Ok, so at first i tried using epoxy, but that stuff isn't very friendly, and just ended up in the garbage. It would be cool if this actually worked, but it's safe to say it didn't. The epoxy never got really hard like it was supposed to, it stayed kinda rubbery. This stuff would be cool to use because it comes out smooth as glass when it dries. Its weird, it kinda "settles" on the surface you apply it to and turns shiny when it dries.
I formed some aluminum foil to my a-pillar and coated it in epoxy and it came out looking like this:
Needless to say, I wasn't happy at all with the results, and got very depressed about the whole mess. Right when I figured it wasn't going to work, and almost gave in to ebay, I thought I'd pick up some fiberglass to play with. I decided to just apply the fiberglass directly on the pillar, and make a shell that will fit over it. It came out looking something like this:
A little better, eh? After a bit of cutting and shaping it started to look like this:
I started sanding the spots where I was planning on attaching the PVC for the gauge cups. I found that a good razor blade works well to trim off the loose fabric, and a linoleum knife (or a large butcher knife in my case) works decently for trimming up thin hardened fiberglass. I eventually went and got some heavy scissors/shears and went to town. I used some epoxy to attach the PVC rings:
Starting to take shape? Yeah I thought so too. I eventually cut one of those rings out of my plans as you will see. One of my gauges just isn't worth putting on, and I ran into problems trying to get the gauge cups all lined up. So then i went around the pieces of pvc with a bit of fiberglass to make sure they are good and attached.
Took off one of the cups, and did a bit of forming with some more fiberglass, using highball glasses (of all things) for molds:
I've done a bit of sanding/shaping since, and it's looking way better. Almost proffessional
Im putting a turbo gauge in for sure, and I have an oil pressure gauge, and an a/f ratio gauge that might not go in. Well a/f isn't going in for sure because it's not wideband, and I hear they do nothing but take your focus off the road. I may get one of those cool SPA double gauges that blarg has. Maybe a fuel press. and Intake air temp if i can. Once I get my cousins camera back to get some more pics, I'll update my progress. I'm bondoing tomorrow, and it has one more cleaner layer of fiberglass on top of what was in that last pic. So far i'm about 4-5 hours deep into this project, of actual work. The rest was standing around smoking cigarettes waiting for it to dry. I haven't decided what color I'm going to paint it. i was thinking about going with a cool color and starting to paint interior parts until it looks "custom", yeah, i said it.... Whatchoo gon' do about it?
I'll update this week!