Saturday, April 19, 2014

Going to break the dash fabrication up into several posts for the sake of viewing comfort. We will start off with the actual dash panel fabrication. The original dash was rusted and orientation of gauges and other controls were not to our satisfaction for what we had planned. Also the center console would be cut into the bottom of the dash. So a clean slate was needed. Original sheet metal was 19 ga. around .041 thickness. We opted for 18 ga. cold rolled, which came in at a slightly thicker .047. This would give a bit more rigidity and also welder friendly. I picked up a 1' x 5' pc. for the dash and a 1' x 2' for the console for $25.00 at a local welding shop. The perimeter was layed out and cut with a jig saw because of not having access to a sheer. Dykem layout fluid was applied and areas that would be bent were scribed. We decided to give the bottom corners a radius where the ends met the kick panel for a finished look. Now all we needed was a sheet metal brake. This is where belonging to a club becomes beneficial. We belong to the Keystone Garage Club that include some very talented
 members. Members that might have some equipment that you don't. One member, Gary Shiley of Shiley Fabrication Inc. was one such member. He graciously allowed me to bring my sheet metal to his shop and bend it for me on his brake. Nice guy, I only hope that I can do something for him someday. Holes were then drilled for mounting, matching location of the original dash, then the steering column hole shape and location transferred from the original as well and cut. The opening for the center console was cut and angled to match the console. Radius pieces were then formed for the bottom corners along with triangular plates for the console area
and welded into place. Since I only have a stick welder a 3/32 6011 rod was used at 60 amp, with alternating stitch welds to eliminate war-page, then ground smooth. So far we have $35.00 invested which also includes the piece for the console and a bit of personalization, which comes in way under the $150.00 for a blank dash panel. Next will be defroster outlets cut in since we are going with a Wrangler defroster set up which exits through the face of the dash compared to a CJ that uses the windshield frame as the defroster duct, that will always lead to a rusted out windshield frame from condinsation. We hope to remedy this by combining the Wrangler outlet with a fabricated CJ dash pad. Needless to say
we have are work cut out for us there.


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