DIY Dashboard: Gordo Style!
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Thread: DIY Dashboard: Gordo Style!

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    DIY Dashboard: Gordo Style!

    This is my thread about making an entire dashboard and instrument panel for a GT from scratch. Any idiot can do what I’m going to try to do. I’m not going to use exotic materials. I’m going to try to assemble it’s basic structure with sheet metal, nuts, bolts, and screws. The dashboard part will be styrofoam on a sheet metal base and vinyl upholstered. Nothing is carved in stone at this time and I might change direction or start all over again at any point. Lots of racer dudes have made sheet metal dashes with lots of gauges and switches. I’m doing the same thing, but I’m finishing it off a bit further for esthetics and adding conveniences that you would expect in an every day, average driver, car. Nothing new here, as far as the dashboard, that lots of other people haven’t already done.

    The layout of the instruments will be radically different, however. I will be installing an all-in one digital instrument cluster that puts all the gauge info in front of the driver where the oem tach and speedo are. I will be using a Dakota Digital cluster that I had made specifically for my GT. Early discussions of this idea can be found in these threads:

    https://www.opelgt.com/forums/general...nt-panels.html

    https://www.opelgt.com/forums/1e-othe...al-guages.html

    Another big change will be the installation of a double-DIN size all-in-one media center similar to the one seen here, that I put in my Solstice:

    https://www.opelgt.com/forums/member-...tml#post702666

    The discussion that led to this mod was started here:

    https://www.opelgt.com/forums/sound-s...dio-ideas.html

    I plan on mounting the all-in-one stereo unit high in the area currently occupied by the 3 center console gauges. Switches and storage compartments with be mounted below and the center-of-the-car part of the dash will be extruded outwards to approximately the front of the ashtray. I drive automatics, so how far out will be determined by the clearance needed to easily grab the tranny selector when it is in park. This dash will go in the GTX, which has had the flip over headlights deleted in favor of tunnel lights, so there’s no need to leave room for the headlight flip lever. A more useful center console will be designed and integrated into the extruded out dash and the parking brake lever will be deleted and an alternative might be installed, as per discussions in this thread:

    https://www.opelgt.com/forums/group-5...ake-lever.html

    The top of the dashboard will continue straight across on the passenger side, rather than indenting and having a dash-mounted urinal for a glove box. A proper glove box/storage area will be installed instead.

    It’s likely that I will redesign and reduct the heater/defroster to take up less space and only function as a defroster. I removed the heater box area in the engine compartment, for better side draft carb access and fitment, and I will be using a Manta/Kadet fan to blow at the heater core and my own sheet metal enclosure and ducting after that.

    Okay, on with the show:


    MAKING THE TOP

    After many years thinking about this, weighing pros and cons, being honest with myself about my skills, and what design would be the most fun and least stressful to do, I decided that I would make the dash’s basic structure like an Erector Set. Receiving an Erector Set at age 7 for Xmas was what got my passion started for my mechanical work path in life, so why not come full circle and incorporate the Erector Set concept on this project. My concept centers around being able to attach everything to everything else with nuts and bolts. In particular, my concept involves being able to have bolts or “posts” sticking down from the top of the dash to mount everything to. You’ll see what I mean later. Making the top of the dash out of a piece of sheet metal with lots of holes already in it seems like a good starting point. I got this idea from a hunk of “craft metal” that Norbert had sent me along with the grill lights he made for me.

    If anything goes wrong with this design………it’s Norbert’s fault!

    I couldn’t find a big hunk of sheet metal with holes at Home Depot or the hardware store, so I went to a huge metal products place nearby called Fazzio’s and sniffed around for something to do the job. The choices were almost zero………until I saw The Holy Grail of Perforated Sheet Metal:





    Holy Cow! Look at all them holes! Wheeeee! It’s a $50 4’x4’ hunk of 1/16” thick, pretty rigid, perforated with overlapping ¼” holes, aluminum sheet metal. Surprisingly heavy, too. I had to check it with a magnet to believe that it was really aluminum.

    I like the shape and curve of the oem dash, so I just needed to trace an existing dash onto the metal and cut it out. I used the plastic dash cap that Jimmy had sent me a while back and that made the job a cinch. The edge of the dash closest to the driver/passenger is virtually straight, so I was able to align that with the nice finished edge of the sheet metal:





    To make the snipping a bit easier, I used my table saw to trim off the excess sheet metal.

    Last edited by The Scifi Guy; 10-25-2014 at 12:52 PM.

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    ……Then I snipped out the pattern with sheet metal snips followed by a little hammering and belt sanding to lessen sharp or bent edges:



    I fit it to the car, trimmed a bit from the window pillar areas, and it now sits nicely in place and looks similar to the way the oem dash fits:






    That’s what I’ve accomplished this morning. Time to get some leaves raked. Next, I will start to fashion L-brackets to hold the sheet metal to the base of the windshield and the vertical frame work that will support the dash in the center and form the struts to attach the sides of the center console area to. The dash will be 3-piece: The top and 2 vertical elements at the center console.

    More later……
    Frozen Tundra GT and pherrley like this.

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    Boys will be boys!

    "... I decided that I would make the dash’s basic structure like an Erector Set. Receiving an Erector Set at age 7 for Xmas was what got my passion started for my mechanical work path in life, so why not come full circle and incorporate the Erector Set concept on this project." Boys will be boys! And the difference between men and boys is the PRICE of their toys.

    I like it! and with no welding planned, the AL is a great idea! I'm about 3-6 months behind you so don't make this a really long term project (like I do)!

    Looking forward to each new post! -- Doug

    PS - From one of your earlier threads (which I just read), this is where I am thinking/going:
    "... The harder, but maybe easier, way would be to make it in 3 humped sections (Drivers side, Center, and Passenger side). ...." except the "Drivers Side" is very small so may get axed?
    Last edited by slracer; 10-25-2014 at 11:51 AM. Reason: Added PS

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    Gordo, you are just to good with this kind of stuff. Thinking up these mods is my problem, can't get beyond what is already there. It's the outside the box thinking that makes many of your ideas cool I will be looking forward to the progress you are making. Great ideas and great workmanship makes the projects outstanding. Be sure to post your progress.

    Bob
    71 Chrome Yellow GT

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    Think about cool and heat.... warp-age and such.....
    https://www.opelgt.com/forums/images/misc/blitz.jpg

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slracer View Post

    PS - From one of your earlier threads (which I just read), this is where I am thinking/going:
    "... The harder, but maybe easier, way would be to make it in 3 humped sections (Drivers side, Center, and Passenger side). ...." except the "Drivers Side" is very small so may get axed?
    That was back before I decided to go the sheet metal route and was thinking about 3 wood top base sections. This way is simpler and requires less bracing and connection points. And, whereas the 3 hump design would require me to custom form 3 unique humped sections, this way keeps things closer to the oem shape and the natural curve of the sheet metal dictates the height of the 2 vertical support sections in the middle.

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    Your Noble Friend ;-) G.v.Mainberg's Avatar
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    You did good price-wise on the 4x4 sheet metal, McMaster would have been more expensive. Although - you could have gotten a lightweight piece of aluminum instead!

    BTW: How the heck did you cut the sheet metal with a table saw? I virtually see a comet-like trail of sparks in your garage...

    Dieter
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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heimue View Post
    You did good price-wise on the 4x4 sheet metal, McMaster would have been more expensive. Although - you could have gotten a lightweight piece of aluminum instead!

    BTW: How the heck did you cut the sheet metal with a table saw? I virtually see a comet-like trail of sparks in your garage...

    Dieter
    It is the ALUMINUM. And about the same price as you found. It's probably the same or similar 3000 series grade as what you found also.

    My neighbor, a retired cabinet maker, turned me on to using a table saw to cut aluminum. I cut a lot of the aluminum pieces on my Frankentrailer that way. You want the blade as high as it will go so that the saw teeth bite as straight down as possible and consequently takes smaller "bites". This prevents jamming or snagging of the saw blade.

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    I went down to the basement this evening to see what raw materials I had on hand to use as support brackets and the vertical support struts at the center console. I was hoping to find some 1” aluminum angle stuff. Instead, I discovered my lost stash of strip hinges I had cannibalized from some equipment we disposed of at work. Hmmmmm……..strip hinges are essentially the same thing as angle iron, except that they’re not fixed at a right angle. They’re adjustable, they conform to the angle you want them at. They are tight and don’t rattle. You can cut them to any length you need. They’ve got holes in them already.

    I’m going to have to deal with all sorts of different angles and curving surfaces where I need to install various brackets, braces, and struts. I think that using the hinges may be the perfect solution.

    We’ll find out tomorrow…..


    The task before me:



    1” strip hinges!:



    Where they’ll go:



    An old drawing I made of the rough dimensions of an oem dash that someone might find useful:


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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Perfect!

    Wah! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Good one, Gary!



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    Site Founder Gary's Avatar
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    Here's the readers digest version of that 1974 Mel Brooks classic:
    Young Frankenstein in Five Minutes - YouTube

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    Haha is the moderator hijacking a thread? Interesting!
    "Mira," 1970 Opel GT Working ARA AC, European 2.0L and Midikit
    "Kara," 1972 Opel GT Targa, Welded Doors, Rhinolined, 40 DCOE SSD

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    Site Founder Gary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorm65 View Post
    Haha is the moderator hijacking a thread? Interesting!
    I figured Gordo could use a punch line refresher.

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    This is a pic of the Lenk instrument panel:





  18. #16
    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Posted by Norbert:

    In the spring was the same theme here!
    There are two kinds of this Panel, one from Lenk and more harmonic from Lumma.
    The black one with lether covert was for sell in the switzerland.
    The red one was also in offer.
    Norbert

    Einloggen

    Oh oh
    That idears begins so and ended so

    Google-Ergebnis für http://rc.opelgt.org/gtcseite.jpg

    But when you need help,give him a call!

    http://bilder.bild.de/fotos-skaliert...9,c=0.bild.jpg

    Norbert

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    I never got around to starting the attachment of the perforated stuff to the windshield area on Sunday because a nephew(a different one this time) decided to break in and steal a few items from me and my tenant, including a key power tool I needed. The last few days have been spent tracking his crime spree through the family. I'm out about a grand reimbersing my tenant for his stolen goods and 80 bucks for a new angle grinder.

    But, I sort of felt that I needed to pause until I acquired a key piece of raw material before I went any further, so that I could set the height of the dash top correctly. Mainly, if too high I'll have fitment and installation of the windshield issues. The shape of the firewall below the windshield gasket makes installation of mounting brackets kinda challenging if I lower it down from it's present position.

    I needed the styrofoam that goes on top. I searched around and it was impossible to find a 1/2"-1" thick x 16" x 48" piece of ANY kind of styrofoam. Then a local hobby shop suggested I get sculpting/carving foam. Oh yeah, that's what the videos I had seen had recommended:

    https://www.opelgt.com/forums/general...tml#post604410

    So I found this stuff on ebay:

    Landau Vinyl Roof Top Pad Padding Sculpting Foam 1 2" | eBay

    It should get here by Friday.

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slracer View Post
    Gordo, Hmmm! The material in that picture looks a lot thinner than 1/2" (or the roll - if of the actual material being used) looks to be 3 FEET in diameter? From the pic, I'd say the "3" in 1/32 inch was lost! let us know as I could sure use some of that to finish my headliner.

    Doug


    The seller used the same pic for all his different sizes of the stuff. Here is the search I did that shows all the different sizes he offers:

    Landau Vinyl Roof Top Pad Padding Sculpting Foam | eBay

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Mounting the front of the perforated metal to the base of the windshield was a breeze! The perforated metal and short lengths I cut of the strip hinges got the job done perfectly! It only took about an hour. This was the hardest part about the design and I was really worried that I would get hung up on this stage.

    I needed to put some bends at either end of the perf’d metal to elevate the dash to the approximate height of the oem dash(about 1” below the top of the steering wheel). I cut a longish strip hinge for the center and set the height of the dash 1” below the lip that the windshield gasket grabs. This center bracket had to bolt to a 45* surface. Then a set of short hinges where the windshield starts to bend back sharply. These were about 90-110* angles. Then another set at the ends where I bent the perf’d metal. These were 150* angles.

    Next come the vertical supports at the center console……..













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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Here’s the sculpting foam. 6” x4’ roll:





    Center framing finished:




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