Build your own gauge pod! CUSTOM!!!11OMFG!!!
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This is a discussion on Build your own gauge pod! CUSTOM!!!11OMFG!!! within the Cockpit and Cabin forums, part of the Tutorials & DIY category; Well, I don't know if many of you remember, but I had talked about building my own gauge pod. I ...

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    Registered User E-Wrex's Avatar
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    Build your own gauge pod! CUSTOM!!!11OMFG!!!

    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.
    Crappy clothes.
    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.
    Bondo-$9
    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.



    close up:


    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!
    My poor tranny!... someone sell me an aspen white 06 sti.

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    Registered User E-Wrex's Avatar
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    Started with the bondo, its starting to actually look decent. I think it's going to actually look really nice, definetly better than an ill-fitting ebay knock-off. I'm also going to throw in a row of switches: one for the power on the gauges, and then I'll have some for an intercooler sprayer and some other stuff when the time comes.
    My poor tranny!... someone sell me an aspen white 06 sti.

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    Registered User WRX13oy's Avatar
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    wow you are determined my friend... i wanna see the end result
    she was like "ahhhh you're nailing me!..cool."

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    Registered User 20wrx02's Avatar
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    awsome job -- but wouldnt it be better if u buy one off ebay

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    Registered User flabele's Avatar
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    Thats cool stuff. But it seems like alot of work for what it is. But as long as u have fun doing it..good luck !!
    My money pit

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    Registered User E-Wrex's Avatar
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    It's a ton of work, and I'm getting slightly bored of sanding. its starting to get smooth after the bondo has been sanded down a bit. It's going to take some engenuity(?) to get it to fit once its finished, but its seems like it shouldnt be too much of a problem. It's kind of a cool practice project for when I make some other cool stuff out of fiberglass and bondo, so even if I decide it didn't turn out for the best, I atleast got some experience.
    My poor tranny!... someone sell me an aspen white 06 sti.

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    Registered User turbosk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Wrex
    even if I decide it didn't turn out for the best, I atleast got some experience.
    So which one was it? Did it turn out for the best, or was it an experience builder? Nothing ventured, nothing gained....

    pax,
    jason
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    nice bottle of yeger in the backround

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    Registered User rallymaniac's Avatar
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    you my friend have wayyyy to much time on your hands or are extremely bored
    i'm too lazy to do such thing
    but i wanna see how it will work out
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    Turns are for fast drivers...
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    Moderator timber's Avatar
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    Outstanding initiative! The only prob. I can forsee is that I had to flex my A-pillar a little to install it, and that may wreak havoc with your bondo..
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    Registered User E-Wrex's Avatar
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    well, Im almost there, part of it is smooth as a babies buttocks. I need to do a couple more layers of bondo, then work on fitting it. I don't think I'll have to much of an Issue, I know its relatively the same proportions of the original, and a bit of trimming here and there should get it right in there. I think I'm going to finally finish it this weekend, I was just a bit preoccupied with school and my FMIC Install , when I do my turbo Install, I will do a partial write up on the FMIC Install as well.
    My poor tranny!... someone sell me an aspen white 06 sti.

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    Registered User Wrinkleboi's Avatar
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    looks like a lot of work for the money saved, but i know exactly where you are at. sometimes projects like that are fun, and you'll appreciate it. i'm in teh middle of seeing if i can replicate the rally armor mudflaps for under $50 total... probably not worth the time, but its a fun challenge.
    bryan

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    Registered User Redline927's Avatar
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    sometimes its not about money saved, for those who have pointed it out. its about making something, and having it be much more special once its complete, bc its your own work

    nice job so far man!

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    Registered User E-Wrex's Avatar
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    Man, I've been slacking, but now I have a good excuse to finish, i need to get my gauges installed. Ima finish bondoing and sanding tomorrow, I'll try and post some pics. Its starting to look far more impressive than just the fiberglass stuff. Its actually smooth and has pretty good form. Like I said, it'll be interesting getting everything to line up, but oh well, It would seem that i am somewhat determined.
    My poor tranny!... someone sell me an aspen white 06 sti.

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