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.
This meant cutting a bunch of relief cuts so that the dash lid would sit naturally into position without any forcing or bending required.
I wanted this to be the last time I fiddled with the shape of the dash structure so I lay down two layers of fiberglass matt and resin to ensure that it would hold its shape.
The nice part about the relief cuts is that they also fill with resin ensuring that they don’t want to try and pull back together and cause the dash to warp. Unfortunately this also means that I will end up having to do a bunch of smoothing on the lid surface 😦
Once everything was cured I also reinforced the underside of the front portion of the dash lid with another layer of fiberglass. I’ll likely end up creating a trim piece to cover where the wrapped vinyl comes under the overhanging area. I wanted this area to be nice and thick so that I wouldn’t have any trouble with a trim screw taking hold.
The photo below is of the dash lid trimmed and installed so that I could then do some trimming of the dash face. As you can see I’ll need to do a little bit of work ensuring that the edge of the dash lid is a consistent height all around where it meets the body shell along with a LOT of smoothing. You can also see the slot that is needed to allow the center canopy arm to travel back into its closed position. This area drains down into that little box that was fabricated on the bottom of the dash going to the outside of the car.
Now I needed to make a few adjustments to the dash face so that it had a nice flush edge where it met the lid. I also needed to close in the one end of the dash face in order to use it as a mounting location for a trim screw.
This was accomplished using the usual techniques of cutting some bristol board to create the shape I wanted and taping it to the dash face to use as a dam in order for me to lay down some fiberglass.
I also took this opportunity to widen the bottom of the dash face to better fit one of the switch panels by creating a relief cut and holding it open in order to fill it with fiberglass.
Once I trimmed off the excess and removed the bristol board, I filled in the remaining grove along the top with some short strand filler. Once it cured I ground off the excess to create a nice finished edge.
Here’s a look at the finished edge of the dash face. It should be pretty darn good once both the dash lid and the dash face are wrapped in vinyl. I’ll also likely have a trim piece that covers the bottom side of the dash lid and meets flush with the dash face.
Hopefully today I’ll get a chance to create some mounting points for the dash face and get the steering wheel/column reinstalled. Unfortunately I still need to do some shaping of the dash face around the steering column before I can consider the rough fabrication complete 🙂