More Canopy Progress

Things have been busy over the last few days working on the BatBerry .  I’ve been jumping between projects trying to make the best use of the great weather we’ve been having!

One of those projects has been working on the canopy.  I had previously chopped it up and made it fit better with the body shell, but that was just the start of the work needed.

Next I needed to fill in the gaps created by that process with some short strand filler so that I could then re-shape the contours of the canopy.

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Final Touch for the Dashboard

I had mentioned previously that there was one final touch that was needed for my dashboard in order to make it as screen accurate as possible.  That was the little 2″ tweeter (shown in the photo at the top of this post) of the hero car dashboard used in the movie

This was a tough one to track down, but with the help from the member “Nitro” on the chicks love the car forum I now have a screen accurate speaker for my dashboard.

Turns out this was an old off-the-shelf Radio Shack tweeter from the late 80’s and there was an eBay auction for one that I could quickly get my hands on.

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Footwell Fabrication Complete

As I’ve been working on the dashboard I’ve known that there’s a finishing touch that needed to be added to the car.  I’ve completed fabrication of the dash lid, and the dash face, but I hadn’t addressed the footwells yet.

If you look down in the footwells of your own car you’ll notice that you can’t see behind the dash and that there’s trim pieces that block off that area and hide all the nasty mess of wires behind your dashboard/console.

Now that I had my dash face securely mounted I needed to address this area in the BatBerry.  I started with the driver’s side by mounting the dash face and then working with some bristol board material to template each of the pieces one by one and mounting them as I went along.

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Shaping The Trunk Lid

After finishing up the water trough around the edges of the trunk I turned my attention to re-shaping the trunk lid.  Just like the canopy the trunk lid needed to be adjusted a little to make it fit properly on the body shell.

First steps were getting the trunk lid to open properly again now that the water trough was in place.  That meant having to cut some material out of the trunk supports.  The center curve between the hinges was for clearance, and the side cut was to allow the corner of the trunk lid to be pulled in.

I can tell you that installing and removing that trunk 3-4 times wasn’t a lot of fun.  An extra set of hands would have been great!

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Waterproofing The Trunk

After getting my trunk vents shaped and water tight I decided to continue forward with waterproofing the trunk area.  The trunk lid will eventually need to be better shaped to the body, but before that happens I need to deal with water run-off.

Something that you’ll notice if you look in the trunk of your own car is that there’s a rubber seal that goes around the entire opening.  This is usually rubber that presses down over top of a ridge which goes all around the opening.  Essentially the ridge creates a water trough to channel the water and the rubber acts as a seal against the trunk lid.

Of course this isn’t a feature of the body shells you get as part of a Batmobile kit.  So if you want to make sure you don’t have a bathtub in your trunk every time you wash the car you need to take care of some business 🙂

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Dashboard Fabrication Complete

I’ve been working a lot on the dashboard over the last few days and have been saving up the photos and updates for this post.  So there’s lots of detailed photos and progress to show 🙂

Making sure that the dashboard and dash lid are finished properly will save lots of re-work time down the road.  So I wanted to pay a lot of attention to detail, fitting and mounting points so that everything was thought out and there are no surprises when I start to cover the lid and dash face with black vinyl.

The very first step was fabricating some mounting points for the dash face.  These would need to be out of the way and not in your line of sight.  Everything is pretty much held in place with pressure, so I just needed a couple of anchor points on both side of the dash.  I started off by creating myself four little 90 degree angle brackets.

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More Dashboard Progress

Over the last couple of days I’ve been able to move the dashboard along to where I’m almost finished the rough fabrication.  I’ll still have to do some smoothing out here and there but most of the fitting is now complete.

When I tried to fit the dash lid back into the car I realized that the thickness of the top piece of fiberglass had so much memory of where it wanted to go that it would pull the lid up where it wouldn’t fit properly.

This was much like the issue with the fiberglass on the canopy where the material has a memory of what it wants to do and you can’t easily bend it into shape.  It will end up finding a way to get back to where it wants to go.

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Trunk Vents Are Sealed

I was able to work on a bunch of different projects yesterday, including the canopy and dashboard, but I also managed to finally finish up the trunk vents by sealing in the vent mesh to ensure that the trunk is water tight.

This involved using some fiberglass to seal the outer edges of the steel inserts and then eventually covering everything in fiberglass as seen in the picture at the top of this post.

The first step was carefully sealing in the edges of the steel inserts without dripping resin through the sides and onto the face of the mesh.

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Shaping The Canopy

One of the trickiest things of working with fiberglass is that it tends to have a mind of its own.  When it has a shape that it wants to take there is no way of bending and forcing it to your will.  It will eventually spring back to where it wants to be.

So in order to actually bend it to your will, you sometimes need to do a bit of surgery.  Surgery was what needed to be done on the canopy.  You may remember that I previously created a steel frame inside the canopy to hold everything where I wanted it.   That holds everything in-place, but I’ve always struggled with getting the edges of the canopy to fit nicely along the body opening.  They always spring back up and leave gaps.

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Electronics Rack Is Complete

As I was waiting for things to warm up yesterday morning, I decided to finish up the fabrication on the electronics rack.  This is the rack where I hold all of the different electronics for the car such as the amplifier, sound boards and Arduino control systems.

Although I did run out of staples to finish off the second bottom piece of the rack that will be used for any extra items that I may add.  I finished painting the bars for the rack the other day so all I had left to do was to wrap the boards with speaker box material and bolt it all together

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