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Discussion Starter #1
I just thought I would let you guys know that I'm going to be making my own airbag delete tray to house an air-to-fuel gauge and an Apexi VAFC in my Del Sol. I have already removed the factory airbag and airbag plate on the passenger side (the plate is super easy - just four nuts holding it in place). I'll be applying the first layer of fiberglas sometime this week. I'll then drill out a few screw holes (so the tray doesn't move once installed) and fiberglas them in with the second layer of fiberglas (the bolts just stick through the mounting areas and are secured by the nuts that I took off to get the original out). After that I'll begin recessing the gauge and VAFC holder.

And yes, I'm recessing them, not making them stick up. I'm toying around with doing a slightly smoked plexi window so the gauge and VAFC are mainly viewable at night to keep theft down.

Anyway, I'll post pics soon. Let me know what you think. And if someone wants, I can walk you guys through every step including the mixing of the fiberglas resin and hardener.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
solblu said:
Don't tell your insurance you messed with the SRS and get in an accident with a passenger....WHy not just get an A pillar gauge pod?
No $hit. ;) I don't want to put a VAFC on an A-pillar, which is why I'm 'glassing. But mostly because it'll look cool.
 

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well thats a cool idea, post pics when done, dont think i would be brave enough to do somthing like that myself :number1
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I haven't done much on this recently but I did manage to get the pics of what I've accomplished up to this point uploaded.

You will need the following tools/materials to complete this project:

Disposable paint brushes from your local hardware store (I use the 2" width)
Fiberglas resin and hardener (buy extra hardener, you will need it)
Disposable mixing cups
Latex gloves
Acetone (it is the only thing that will take resin off)
Fiberglas mat (I don't use the cloth too often because the mat is usually thicker and stronger)
Scissors for cutting the fiberglas
Duct tape
Masking tape
Aluminum foil

Now onto the process. :) After you have removed the tray, mask it completely off with duct tape and aluminum foil as seen below:



Notice how I did not mask off the back completely - which is because I am only going to lay the glas on the top of the airbag tray, not the bottom. But if you look at the second picture you'll see how I had to stretch the duct tape over the lip. I did this to add tension to the duct tape because where the airbag tray bends/curls down (towards the dash itself) the duct tape didn't want to stick. If anyone needs me to elaborate on any of this please let me know. This might seem a bit confusing because I'm not editing this post, just typing straight through ('got other things to do tonight).

Anyway, now we fiberglas! :D Do the conversions (on the container of resin it gives you mixing instructions in drops of resin or some other crazy crap) on an online calculator and then mix it a TAD hot (do NOT put a lot more resin in than recommended because it will heat up in a hurry and cure before you ever to get lay any down). You'll become acustomed to mixing after a few batches, trust me. I don't even look at how much hardener I'm putting in anymore I've done it so much.

OH, a little piece of advice, put some kind of releasing agent on the duct tape / aluminum foil like Armorall, etc. It will help the resin/fiberglas come off easier.

After you pour the hardener in, mix it thoroughly with your paint brush. Apply the resin to the airbag tray and then place the strips of fiberglas mat that you cut onto the resin'd areas. Doing it this way helps the fiberglas avoid air bubbles. Then once the strips are laid down, add more resin with your paint brush on top of the fiberglas.



It has been really cold here recently so I added a heater into the mix to help the resin cure faster:



After the resin has FULLY cured you can then pop the mold off:





That's all for now. I'll be back on later on this week (hopefully) with more progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
More progress! :D

One layer of fiberglas isn't enough to comfortably hold the form so I added another layer of fiberglas by laying the fiberglas mat over the edges where I poured the resin and then laying more resin on top of it with a paint brush. After it cured the panel looked like this:



After that fully cured overnight I cut the resin that was hanging over the edge of the airbag tray. I used an air-powered gun with a cutting wheel to do the cutting.




I then marked where I needed to sand or cut with a permanent marker and did the necessary modifications.




And finally I measured my VAFC and made an MDF dummy of it.



More to come later.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
More progress

The next step is to lay down the fiberglas border/mold of the airbag tray at the appropriate angle and lay the dummy pieces in place...roughly. (note how I duct taped off my gauge so the resin wouldn't stick to it)



In order to get the round gauge mounted how I wanted it I put a trash can and a spare subwoofer enclosure I had laying around next to each other with a little bit of a gap inbetween them. I then used hot glue around the edge of the gauge and inserted it from underneith and rested it on the subwoofer enclosure (the lower of the two), like so:



Now this is where it gets tricky. The goal here is to use hot glue around the edge of the mold to hold down the fleece. That isn't hard...what is hard is trying to keep wrinkles out of the fleece. Any wrinkles you have will give you an extra hour plus per wrinkle with bondo trying to fix it. I laid down a small bead of hot glue (about 7" or so - depending on what side/angle/wrinkle I was trying to lay down/fix - per application) and then GENTLY stretched the fleece over and pressed down with my fingers. Oh yeah, be careful...hot glue is just that...HOT. So try not to get it on your hands. If you get some on your hands while applying just be a man and hold in the pain. It's a lot more trouble to try and fix a bad fleece application than it is to just bear with the pain. ;)



And here's what it looks like when you make it all the way around:



Now that you've glued the fleece down to the top of the mold you can flip it over (glueing it to the top of the fiberglas mold lets the excess you need for the sagging stay in place when you flip it over). Repeat the above process all the way around the mold.



This is what it looks like when before you trim off the excess:



And after you've trimmed the excess (just use a pair of std. scissors):



I then laid the mold with the fleece and gauge attached down over the same supports but with a good bit of aluminum foil down (to catch the overspill of resin). I mixed up about 9 oz of resin, mixed the hardner, and literally poured it on. After I poured about half the resin on I used a brush and spread out what I could and then poured more resin on and repeated (pour, spread, pour, spread, etc) until the resin was gone.




And right now I've got the heater on it again letting it cure. :D
 

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sweet so far looks like your working hard, cant wait to see final product
 

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Man you were so close to doing that the right way. Then you layed down the fleece and made life really difficult for yourself by not making a skeleton frame for the gauges. Now it will look like wavy fabric, not molded plastic when its all done.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This method isn't any different than what I use to make kick panels with...and they turn out nicer than a car body. I guess we'll see for sure when I get done. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Next, I used the air sander to knock the big stuff down (a flat, round, sanding bit - you should be able to see it in one of my earlier posts). Using hand-sanding would have taken a month or so to achieve the same results I got in about 30 minutes.




 

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The tray is done! ...for now. I bought black vynil from a boat cover mfg here local and after I had finished wrapping the vynil it's plain to see that the "black" isn't really as black as it needs to be so I will be re-finishing the tray soon.

Anyway, here are the progress pics:

I used a Dremel with a sideways cutting bit to make the hole for the air-to-fuel guage and the hole for the VAFC mount.


Then I test fitted the units before the vinyl was applied.



I used Elmers Spray Adhesive for the vinyl. When I apply the new vinyl I will be using something else for the adhesive because overnight the tray has developed wrinkles from the adhesive giving way. However, for now, this will suffice.



Next I placed the gauges into the tray.



And here it is in my car.

 

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looks good i like the design and the quality of it but can you see the gauges? it dosent look verry practical for the A/F gauge but i give it an A for fabrication :w00t
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The A/F gauge isn't easy to read from the drivers position. I'm thinking about cutting that section out and fiberglassing it again so the gauge is more directed. The VAFC is a lot easier to read than it was with it being in the glove box though.

But I've got to re-vinyl it anyway, so I might cut the left part out and re-do the gauge mount.

Also, you can see the wrinkles/lines in the vinyl from the adhesive not holding in the last two pics. The picture of the unit not in my car was last night, and the last pic is today. Between that time it developed wrinkles.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The vinyl has almost come completely off now. YAY! :( But I'm kinda glad because my friend and I were riding in it and daytime viewing of the VAFC isn't too swift and I won't be looking over at it during the day for that reason so we have decided to try another tray idea. We are going to put both gauges inside the dash and use a mirror to reflect the images from them up onto the window (at night). During the day it will look like a cavity with nothing in it while sitting in the car. We are going to fool around with it tonight and see how far away the gauges need to be from the mirror (focal point) to be clear and all that good stuff. I believe that if this is a possibility I will need a convex mirror so it will flip the image. Now, all of this is just an idea for now, but either way I will be making another tray that fits the dash better. :)
 
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