Complete Build Journal


Starting a competition dash

This weekend I brought home some aluminum from work that was going to be thrown out.  It is some 0.043 with a nice brushed look on one side.

My first attempt at putting gauges in place went okay, but the aluminum was too thick to bend at the corners.   I also broke off part of the material when putting the 90degree bend in the material.  So I wanted to try again.

I took a 15" x 72" piece and traced the outline of the dash profile that came from Factory Five onto this sheet.  

I then cut out the profile with aluminum snips and sanded the edges with 100 grit.  This took away the sharp edges.

When putting the 90 degree bend in the material, I tried to keep a soft bend so that the aluminum won't crack.  It worked by putting it over the edge of my workbench plywood and hitting it into shape with a rubber mallet.   Unfortunately, I did get some cracking at the edges.  That can be patched with some JB Weld.

The only hole I traced and transferred from the template to this piece was the steering wheel hole.   When cutting it out, I used a hole saw that seemed to come out too big. Because it's an oval, there are two drill pilot holes.  Because my first hole came out to big, it interfered with the pilot hole on the second half of the oval.  Therefore, I've got cut marks showing where I don't want them.   I learned to do the hole saw cutting from the back, so if there are mistakes it doesn't show up as easily.

I'm going to try to stay with the brushed aluminum look.  I like it with the black faced gauges.

First, I marked the hole locations with a center punch
Next I used my #30 drill bit for pilot holes
Then, I broke out the Hole Saw Kit
4" hole saw was used for the speedo and tach.  
2" hole saw was used for the 2" gauges
step drill up to 1/2" was used for switches
3/4" hole saw then I sanded it out to make it larger with a dremel to fit the horn button.

Those step drill bits were perfect for this application!

All in all, I think it looks great!

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