Author Topic: dash/instrument bezel  (Read 699 times)

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Offline flyfish

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dash/instrument bezel
« on: January 1, 2017, 05:47:54 PM »
So I've been procrastinating on making a bezel but today I was carrying a few things from storage including my original bezel then set it down for a second and something bumped into it and it was like slow motion watching that 40 year old piece of brittle plastic fall toward the floor. Broke one of the wings off. Now's as good of time as any to start I suppose.

Here's where I'm at so far. I wanted to use something flexible to mock it up so I had some flashing left over from building my deck and used that. I call it death metal because it's so damn sharp and hate even handling it with my welding gloves. If you've fabbed up one of these, you know that the plastic piece is not straight lines even across the bottom and the raised edges make for more fun. I just got it as close as I could by tracing it out section by section and then used some clamps to hold it against the piece while I went around the edges with a dremel sandpaper.

Project was also a good excuse to buy the metal brake I've been wanting. If it's necessary I will hammer the flashing back out straight again and trace it out on the thicker anodized metal sheet I purchased awhile back then bend it from there. Easier to do on the flashing than thick steel.
'78 D150 w/ '68 440- street machine. Edelbrock RPM heads & intake. Edelbrock 800 performer carb. 8.75 rear.

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    Offline 88raminator

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #1 on: January 29, 2017, 03:24:28 AM »
    Thanks for the tip. Why didn't I ever think of that. I always fought to get cardboard to retain the shape I want/need. And when I tried to mock up after market gauges on a cardboard template, to check for clearance issues with inner dash structures, the cardboard couldn't support the weight of the gauges.
    80 W150 Clubcab, 99 4wd Extended cab, 57 dodge 1/2 ton 340 auto ,really miss 80 ramcharger and 98 v-10 3/4

    Offline flyfish

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 08:03:27 PM »
    So it looks like I might have a solid week to work on this dash and I thought I would be ending today having at least bent some metal but seems like I spent most of the day obsessing where to put these gauges. I've seen people place them even with little thought as to how visible they are with the steering wheel in the way and how visible they are when seated, etc so I'm trying to find a balance of a symmetric look that also has visibility but I'm also running into trouble with the subframe if I can figure out a way around that. If Dodge had only made this panel about 1/2 inch taller it would be easier for these mostly standard size 2"1/16.

    Just for fun...and looking for any opinions too...I've attached a couple of "rough" arrangements that I'm considering. I've been pretty much committed to having the gauges within the steering wheel like the first picture and trying to work around that. I'm considering one of the hidden radios with the small attachment that might go on the dash or even somewhere else. That would free up some space. The one pic I don't like how the gauge is way over there by itself...like I said been obsessing about it a bit too much I think
    '78 D150 w/ '68 440- street machine. Edelbrock RPM heads & intake. Edelbrock 800 performer carb. 8.75 rear.

    Offline flyfish

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #3 on: May 13, 2017, 04:19:08 PM »
    Today I cut out the metal from the outline I made with the deck flashing. Decided on where I wanted the gauges and used a drill with hole saw to make the 2 inch holes. Looking back I wish I would have chose a a thinner gauge metal as it would have been much easier to work with but at the time I chose this piece and put it away I was going with heavier and deeper set gauges. Due to the angles and shape of the bezel most all my bending was done with a bench vise and boards along with a leather mallet and heavy mallet. As I mentioned in the first post there is nothing about these bezels that are a straight line...even the folded piece that goes along the top and has screws to attach to the underside of the dash is smaller on one side than the other. Also, and it's hard to see but the bottom edge of the bezel dips down towards the middle and goes back up maybe by an 1/8 of an inch or less. So for that curved part I couldn't just make a bend in the metal to replicate the plastic piece where it screws into the bottom of the dash-instead I made some 1/2" tabs along the bottom.

    The other side the bezel is anodized black-that was supposed to be the front - oops-guess I'll just paint it black.
    I'm also going to make a piece of trim along the bottom to clean up that edge and give some depth. The thin plastic on the dash and under the instrument panel sags down over the years and makes it hard for an exact fit. All my cutting was done with a dremel and an angle grinder-not recommended but that's what I had so it's not perfect but good enough for the edges to be hidden when I'm done.
    « Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 04:27:21 PM by flyfish »
    '78 D150 w/ '68 440- street machine. Edelbrock RPM heads & intake. Edelbrock 800 performer carb. 8.75 rear.

    Offline flyfish

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 10:32:38 PM »
    closing up on this mini project. I used a dremel to cut off the spacers from an extra (broken) bezel I had and used the washers to make up for the cut width. This will have the bezel at the correct depth an allow me to secure the lower dash piece to the bezel with screws otherwise it would be recessed to far back. One could skip this step I suppose but I wanted it to be "buttoned up" along the bottom like the factory did it. I used an industrial strength glue to hold the washers and spacers in place. I need to do some trimming on one of the wings but that about does it.

    I bought the white plastic housing from someone else...how about that fire damage from the ammeter in the corner!
    '78 D150 w/ '68 440- street machine. Edelbrock RPM heads & intake. Edelbrock 800 performer carb. 8.75 rear.

    Offline 1Asterisk

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 09:25:56 AM »
    Nicely done. I'm also building a new panel from .100 in. aluminum. I wasn't as concerned with the instrument placement though. I wanted the speedo, hi-beam, and turn signal indicators visible through the steering wheel. The fuel level and oil pressure are placed far left and far right. A RetroSound radio will fill the traditional location to the right of the speedo. Instruments are from Classic Instruments.


    Offline flyfish

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 01:29:16 PM »
    that looks really nice. Good choice on the gauges too. I went with Speedhut gauges. I wish I would have went with aluminum like you did but it'll have to do. I just got it all hooked up a few minutes ago and about to fire it up for the first time.
    '78 D150 w/ '68 440- street machine. Edelbrock RPM heads & intake. Edelbrock 800 performer carb. 8.75 rear.

    Offline 1Asterisk

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 08:26:23 AM »
    I almost went with the SpeedHut as well. They had a great variety of options in styles, colors, fonts, etc.

    You are very right about there being no straight lines to this project.

    Do you have any thoughts regarding the final finish, ie; paint, wrap, vinyl, etc? I am considering a carbon fiber wrap, or paint to match the black dash.
    « Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 08:31:43 AM by 1Asterisk »

    Offline flyfish

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 09:51:50 AM »
    yea I've been going back and forth on trying to decide that myself. At first I knew I wanted it black and that's why I bought the anodized metal (that I mistakenly cut for the wrong side) but I like the silver/metal-finish too because of the contrast with the black gauges and everything else on the dash is black. If I decide a silver/metal like finish I may powder coat it if I can get it done for a reasonable price-or I have some silver ceramic header paint that might look ok-need to test that today. If black, then I will just use the same paint I used on my dash. I hadn't thought of carbon fiber finish so that's a new possibility but if I go carbon fiber I might want some other pieces/trim in the interior wrapped as well to tie it all together. So instead of that wood grain sticker on the trim that goes along the length of the dash put the carbon fiber over it.
    update. so I just went ahead and painted it the same color as the dash-black.
    « Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 01:27:10 PM by flyfish »
    '78 D150 w/ '68 440- street machine. Edelbrock RPM heads & intake. Edelbrock 800 performer carb. 8.75 rear.

    Offline 1Asterisk

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    Re: dash/instrument bezel
    « Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 09:13:38 PM »
    Yea, I'm going back and forth as well. One thing about vinyl wrap is that there are all kinds of colors ie; gloss black, matte black, silvers, grays, brushed aluminum, etc. so even if you decide to change it down the road, it would not be difficult. If I were to wrap the instrument bezel in carbon fiber, I was also thinking of wrapping the interior door panels [stamped metal [73 D100 Utiline]] as well, but then I wonder if that would be a bit much carbon fiber.

    Thanks for posting this project. Good luck with it.

     

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