Exceptional job Joel!
Keep up the great work! Lot of time in that gauge panel, did you consider CAD/3d printing it?
Are those big sharp corners on your instrument cluster going to pass inspection? Looks dangerous to me.Dash Console for Gauge Panel
On the Miura, the center dash console housing the small gauges flows downward to seamlessly connect with the center console. As such, I need to make sure I keep this in mind and design in a way to interconnect the two while fabricating the dash console. My idea is to used rounded edges on the dash console that can be matched up with aluminum tubing to carry the rounded edge shape through a decently tight curve to the center console (see pictures in Post #240 for shape I’m trying to replicate).
To get the rounded edges on the dash console sides and top, I hammer formed .050 3003 Al over a ½” round tube using a rubber hammer. Once the sheet formed 180 degrees over the tube, I then clamped the works under a metal bar and bent a flange out 90 degrees to serve as dash panel mount.
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Using cardboard to make a template, I was able to determine a good panel outline and mounting flanges for the side panels.
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The top panel has curved edges on the sides to then mate up with side panels. A 1 ½” round tube was used to hammer form these edges.
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All is good so far, but now for the hard part. There are 3 radiused edges now converging at each top corner that need to blend together. Given this is all happening in a very small area, this makes for a real metal shaping challenge. I could make a couple of wooden hammer forms and whack some aluminum into the desired shape but that feels more time consuming than I’d like. I decided that making these pieces without a hammer form was easier tackled in multiple pieces but welding on too small pieces usually turns into melted aluminum on the floor. So I did it in 2 pieces and still ended up melting a couple of them into waste while attempting tack welds. Here’s one of the pieces successfully welded to the top.
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The second piece was formed and welded to side panel and then carefully hammered and trimmed to blend with the other while the side and top panels were clekoed together. Once a good fit and shape was achieved, the corners were welded up and then welds filed for final shape.
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I decided to use counter sunk rivets to join the top and side panels to avoid panel warpage that is hard to avoid when welding flat thin aluminum surfaces together. Rivnuts were added to the mounting flanges to complete the console.
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I plan to finish the gauge panel in wrinkle powder coat and the dash console will get upholstered in leather but those finishes will wait till much later in the project.
Are those big sharp corners on your instrument cluster going to pass inspection? Looks dangerous to me.
OK, I hear you but I would not do it..Hmmm...interesting question. First off, it's driver/passenger safety I'd worry about, not inspection (because there isn't really a "safety" inspection from my experience with homebuilt cars). I'm guessing the pictures shown don't do a good job of showing the context so I took some measurements.
It's 36" from the seat back to the upper corner of that dash console from the seating position I'd use. The seats are fairly inclined backward as you'd expect in a car with about a 40" roofline. When seated with my head in a driving position, it's 25" from the tip of my nose to that upper corner. With no seat belt restraints and a sudden stop, the driver could conceivably hit their head on that corner. But with shoulder restraints, 25" is a long way and most likely not possible. It's a similar situation for the passenger as well.
Ok, seat belts it is, but that's always the case in cars I drive. Also with the inclined seating positions, gravity must be overcome for occupant forward travel. With these two considerations, I'm not concerned that the dash console presents any real dangers.