View Full Version : Custom Configurations Conflict solved by Casting

01-08-2004, 10:39 PM
My decision to use (better) non standard sized and configured gauges led to the problem of mounting them and also making them look good and not stuck in place.
The GPS particularly looked ugly if surface mounted on the dash or even sunk into it.
The engine instrument needed to fit a curved dash although it's flat and rectangular, also looks out of place.
I was going to cast them from aluminum but certain problems came up. Since the process is almost the same, casting wax models for lost wax casting or casting plastic not all is lost.

I made patterns that fit the gauges and the dash curvature on the back. The fronts were made to be consistant with the others and as long as this is custom made to kind of nest to one another.

The special things the EIS and GPS do sold me on them. The cost was also reasonable.
Cost to make the bezels should be fairly low and compared to an entire new 'standard' layout matching bezels and gauges set is probably less. This isn't really a 1:1 comparision since these 2 gauges are far superior to the standards. The dash is a completely one of a kind custom installation. The locations of the gauge/bezels fit the locations and can't be used elsewhere. May not be for all but the method allows any tastes to be met.

Any way this thing can also be done for other problem items. It requires little skill other than the style idea.

This picture is the EIS bezel with the front being molded. Modeling clay was used to make the container as small as possible to minimize waste. There are many ways to do this. The bottom still needs to be molded. The clay is reattached to the rubber already poured for that.
Also the clay made indentations for alignment and buttons for holding it to the shell.

01-08-2004, 10:43 PM
This shows the wax pattern and how they kind of nest together. The style flows from one to the other.
The wax one is for the switch panel and is mirrored on the other side of the EIS for 2 other custom guages.

Making all these patterns were easier than you might think. Mostly sanding and a powered chisel but simple tools work well for this.

01-08-2004, 10:46 PM
The large holes were a bit of a challenge. Making the grooving deal cover the uneeded upper part of the guage made more work than if left out.

The curvature of the back and how these hold the guages can be seen. Hole saw, chisel, sanding and a table saw were used.

01-08-2004, 10:49 PM
Shows a completed mold with the wax still in it. The problem is the wax was too delicate to remove and making new molds too expensive. Casting them out of aluminum may not have worked on all of them also.
This one in particular would be impossible to remove the wax in 1 piece since its so deep, the tail is very thin and will break off.
My use of buttons to snap the rubber together and to the shell worked too well, the held too well on some and contributed to the wax breaking.

01-08-2004, 10:55 PM
This one shows the GPS bezel. My goal was to expose only what was needed on it. The piece itself was easily made. Grooving was done on all parts with a table saw and many spacers of wood to move the cut over. Shape cut out on band saw. The hard part were the button holes. This took several attempts of penciling them on a sheet of paper for a pattern.
This eventually worked. Rubbed on the buttons transferred thier size and location.
Edges blended with a router round over bit in a drill press.

01-08-2004, 10:57 PM
Reversal of thought drove me crazy. The first one I dished the back out the wrong way. High in the middle instead the sides. Scrap one more pattern. The other was grooving the wrong side of the mirrored set.
The dished out section fits the curved face of the GPS. Looks difficult but was pretty easy.

01-08-2004, 11:00 PM
Heres is the idea with the gauge in place. The large button hole needs to be enlarge so the whole thing can be shifted just a bit for alignment.
The hole and break were when I drilled the mold for the fill hole, other ones I'm not showing, the wax ones, shattered.

01-08-2004, 11:10 PM
For some reason I can't edit or delete and got the wrong pic up there.
Heres the front.

The fitting or making of these is pretty simple and can be done with simple hand tools. Well not the grooving but not many will be doing that. By sanding you can get a shape you wouldn't thought you were able to do. I was amazed at how these turned out with less work than anticipated. Planning the order was important though.

The rubber is a simple 1:1 volume mix and is either poured into a container or brushed on as a thickened thing. There are several ways.

The plastic which I'm still waiting for is also a simple measure thing and should pour in just like the wax did. I did notice using the clear rubber to be helpful for seeing any bubbles or problems.
None of this is very difficult to do only coming up with the idea to do is.http://members.lycos.co.uk/technostv/hpbimg/rear%20done.jpg This kind of shows the dash deal and how it is condensed down in the amount of individual gauges.

01-08-2004, 11:41 PM
When you are done this is gonna be a masterpiece. You have really exerted alot of effert. I wish I had 1/10 the patience and ability. Being from De I did use a new paint brush to paint the boat. Absolutely great freaken job. Rick

01-09-2004, 12:04 AM
Another work of art! Thanks for sharing the cool ideas, I would have never thought of that... if I ever get that far:)