Fabricating The Dashboard Chassis, Pt 3

Published by Andrew Hreschak in the hardware, the headunit, chassis
Published on 05/18/06 @ 06:40:00 pm using 622 words, and has 18747 views

If you missed the first two parts of this story, you can read all of the details here:
Fabricating the Dashboard Chassis, Pt 1
Fabricating the Dashboard Chassis, Pt 2

The next stage of the Acura car computer fabrication process involved cutting a sheet of plexiglass to function as a stand-off layer between the metal headunit chassis and the burlwood ABS trim which will be visible to the outside...

Ginormous sheet of plexiglass

We tried an initial cut of the plexiglass without rubberized tape over the surface to be cut, and the plexiglass actually melted closed behind the saw blade as it passed through.

Cutting the plexiglass through a protective layer of masking tape

This was easily remedied by covering the cutting-line with masking tape and recutting the line, after which the plexiglass no longer melted and a perfect vertical cut was achieved without any scarring of the edges.

Cutting the plexiglass through a protective layer of masking tape

Once the plexiglass was cut to size, a pair of 7" x 2" slots needed to be cut out from it, through which both headunits will pass as they get mounted into the dashboard chassis. This proved to be a tricky process, and threw a serious wrench into the works.

The first step was to drill a hole at the corner of the rectangular slot through which the headunit will be mounted. The drilled hole can then be used a starting point through which a jigsaw blade could be inserted to begin cutting the slot.

However, the plexiglass proved very difficult to drill...

Drilling holes through plexiglass sheet

As you can see in the top left corner of the image, the entire corner of the plexiglass faceplate section cracked away while drilling. The holes in the top and bottom right were drilled subsequently, using a different drill bit, and through additional layers of duct tape as shielding. However, due to the initial problems with drilling and cutting the plexiglass, and the number of holes which would need to be drilled, the idea of using plexiglass quickly began to lose its appeal.

A quick trip to a local home improvement retailer was in order to look for other options. The answer was a sheet of furniture-grade plywood, which would provide the necessary rigidity, and which could be more easily cut.

Using plywood instead of plexiglass

Using the initial sheets of plexiglass as a template, we cut two sections of plywood, one which sits against the vehicle dashboard frame, and the other which sits above it and will support the burlwood ABS trim sheet.

Cutting the plywood using the plexiglass sheet as a template

After a couple hours of cutting, drilling, sanding and filing, the two plywood sheets were prepared for mounting to one another. We used spare fragments of a 1/8" sheet of plexiglass to create standoffs between the two sheets of plywood to add to the depth of the entire assembly, so it will more accurately line up with the face of the dashboard.

Once the sheets were mounted one to another, and had sufficient time to set, a test-mounting of both headunits was performed to provide a quick visual reference of the final product.

Alpine headunit and LCD touchscreen mounted in faceplate assembly

Alpine headunit and LCD touchscreen mounted in faceplate assembly

The next step was to cut the burlwood ABS trim sheet which will be mounted to the surface of the plywood faceplate. Contact cement was used to bond the ABS sheet to the plywood. Clamped in place and given enough time to set properly, the image below shows the final product, test-mounted in the dashboard.

Test-mounting the dashboard chassis with headunits installed

The protective layer of plastic has not yet been removed from the burlwood sheet, and the visual distortions and reflections you see in the surface are caused by that protective sheet.

Test-mounting the dashboard chassis with headunits installed

Feel free to skip ahead to some photos of the completed Acura 3.2 CL dashboard installation, including aftermarket headunit and touchscreen...

Contemporaneous Auditory Narcotics:
or, What my speakers are currently pumping...
Hallucinogen - In Dub

Creative Commons LicenseThis post is the creative work of Yours Truly and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Comment from: Tom Goldie [Visitor]  
Tom Goldie

Hi Any idea where I could purchase the plastic wood by the panel? thank you

07/29/09 @ 18:27
Comment from: Andrew Hreschak [Member]  

Deprecated: Non-static method FileRoot::gen_ID() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/nodepart/public_html/blog/inc/files/model/_filerootcache.class.php on line 136

Yes it’s shown in this post:


07/30/09 @ 16:05
Comment from: AMC Parts [Visitor]
AMC Parts

Job well done…

04/21/10 @ 14:05