Chevy Nova Forum banner
21 - 28 of 28 Posts

· Premium Member
1974 Nova SS pro-tour resto-mod.
Joined
·
1,556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
If you could make a template for a flat surface to mount your gauges to you could have sendcutsend laser out a piece of carbon, aluminum, or steel to fit. I think all your gauges are going to be a tough fit in the original dash though.

If you get some good measurements/ scan a template I could help you out with the drawings if need be. I could send you a pdf back and you could print it out at 1:1 scale and see how it fits. Could easily have them make holes for lights, fasteners, etc.
Thanks Dave. Funny you would mention sendcutsend. After your post about the bracket you just installed, I went to their site and checked them out. Appreciate the offer, I might need to take you up on it. I am interested in attempting a drawing in solidworks though. It looks like you can get a cloud subscription to that software for about $10/month. I definitely like this idea. Thanks again.
 

· Premium Member
1974 Nova SS pro-tour resto-mod.
Joined
·
1,556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
This is a great round up of gauge panel options! Thanks @exotec for tagging me here. Below is a recent photo of my 3D print cluster insert during mockup. In this photo it's literally just sitting in place so I could check fitment with things in the car. The plan is to fill and sand out the layer lines, paint the whole piece black, then add chrome on the raised edges / trim rings. I looked at a ton of early 70s interiors looking for ideas before I designed this. It required cutting out some areas of the original panel, which I did with a Dremel tool and round carbide bit. @kimmer71 you mentioned concerns about cutting the brittle original piece. This was a concern for me also, because several of the mounting posts were cracked or broken off on mine. I found it actually cut easily with the Dremel and felt like new plastic as I cut through. I used JB Weld Plastic Bonder 2 part adhesive to repair the posts and some cracks; it is shockingly strong. I'm not trying to encourage you to go this route though, because I think an all metal dash is also a great option and would be a great way to continue building your already-great metal working skills. For ideas, take a look at 1969camaroskunkworks on Instagram; he fabricates these for Camaros and Novas and he has a few posts where you can see the individual pieces as he's making the panels.

View attachment 451542
That bezel looks great! Thanks for the tips too. Did you use an abrasive wheel on the Dremel to cut? I'm thinking something along the lines of this:
543 Cut-Off Wheels | Dremel
 

· Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
That bezel looks great! Thanks for the tips too. Did you use an abrasive wheel on the Dremel to cut? I'm thinking something along the lines of this:
543 Cut-Off Wheels | Dremel
The specific bit I used was the Dremel P/N 9901 Tungsten Carbide Carving Bit; it's a very handy bit to have for shaping or cleaning up metal components too. I made sure I was supporting my Dremel tool with both hands, using one hand against the part to keep it stable as I cut. I also moved in a specific direction, because if you look at the waste piece sitting on the workbench, you'll notice the edge has a bunch of ugly melted-looking plastic that doesn't show on the "keep" side of the panel which is much cleaner. For the area photographed, this was done by starting on the right side and moving clockwise around the half-moon shape. For me these cuts will not be visible, so I didn't take much time trying to make them perfectly straight. A cutoff disc wheel like what you linked would make it easier to get straight lines if that's what you need.

Wood Drill Rotary tool Gas Drilling
 

· Premium Member
1974 Nova SS pro-tour resto-mod.
Joined
·
1,556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
I took a shot a laying out a template. It's a squeeze but I think I can make them fit. I'll have to cut away most of the the bottom part where the oem ebrake light is. The existing opening is 16” x 4.25". I'd like to angle the face back similar to oem which means putting them in a pocket. That should be interesting to accomplish. I found the indicator lights at Billet Automotive Buttons. It looks like they are out of Australia. Anyone ever use these guys? Link here: Pilot Warning Lights


Font Circle Parallel Symmetry Pattern
 

· Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
Personally I would try to fit larger main gauges. My plastic insert fits 4-1/2" gauges and I'm sure I could modify the layout to squeeze a second pair of 2-1/16 gauges on the sides. I would honestly prefer to have larger but 4-1/2 is the max I could fit vertically and still have room for the shroud design I came up with. Also your layout seems to be missing the half moon cutout for the steering column.

Take a look at this one from Joe Kerek (aka froejoe on Instagram). He has more detailed photos in his ls1tech build thread and they are worth searching for, but I can't recall off the top of my head where to find them. Here is the link to his thread. See section 16 of his table of contents on the first post; unfortunately the links don't work for me but maybe you'll have better luck: LQ4 into a 3rd Gen/1972 Nova - LS1TECH - Camaro and Firebird Forum Discussion
Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive design Gauge Rim


Gauge Speedometer Vehicle Tachometer Measuring instrument
 

· Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
I found the indicator lights at Billet Automotive Buttons. It looks like they are out of Australia. Anyone ever use these guys? Link here: Pilot Warning Lights
Some of those lights are Alpinetech and those are the ones I am using on mine. You can find more here: Automotive - Dash Indicator Light with Symbols - Page 1 - Alpinetech I bought the 8mm black bezel versions for turn/arrows, high beam, parking brake, and check engine. I tested them with direct battery power and they look great. They are very bright. They also make them in 1/2" / 12mm. I bought mine through an Amazon seller.

It's very hard to get a photo of these, but here's the best I can do:
Automotive lighting Finger Wrist Electric blue Cloud
Automotive lighting Gesture Thumb Nail Wrist
 

· Premium Member
1974 Nova SS pro-tour resto-mod.
Joined
·
1,556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Personally I would try to fit larger main gauges. My plastic insert fits 4-1/2" gauges and I'm sure I could modify the layout to squeeze a second pair of 2-1/16 gauges on the sides. I would honestly prefer to have larger but 4-1/2 is the max I could fit vertically and still have room for the shroud design I came up with. Also your layout seems to be missing the half moon cutout for the steering column.
I think I would prefer larger gauges but I already have them ($300 swap meet score) and really don't want to buy new ones. My working plan so far is to cut out a section of the bottom of the oem opening just large enough to allow fitment of the aftermarket set I have. I don't think I will have to get into the steering wheel hump to accomplish it. My bezel is in pretty rough shape though. I'll take a shot at it and see how it turns out. If it becomes a disaster, I suppose I'll be looking for another solution. I'll keep adding to this post as I move along with it.

Blue Gas Musical instrument accessory Electric blue Auto part
 

· Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
@kimmer71 Thanks for clarifying. I understand now why you're doing what you're doing. These aren't criticisms - just some thoughts for consideration:
(1) When you remove that section you will be cutting through the original mounting posts used to attach the original gauge cluster. How do you intend to mount your new panel?
(2) Will your new panel be mounted at the back so it maintains the original recess and angle of the original gauges or will it mount to the front where it will be angled more downward? Consider that if you mount it to the front, that surface is curved and angled downward. It may not be the best for visibility.
(3) Cracks can be repaired with JB Weld Plastic Bonder P/N 50139. This stuff works incredibly well. I actually cut bosses off of one area and bonded them where old bosses had broken off and they hold. For cracks like those shown, I would clean with a toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol, allow to dry completely, then apply bonder to the back side. If you want to make them invisible, you can fill the front side also then sand and paint the entire panel using an interior paint. I plan to use VHT Interior Black on mine followed by Molotow chrome paint pin for all the edging.
(4) For warp, a heat gun and finger pressure should be enough to restore the original straightness, but those upper areas are mostly hidden with the dash pad so I would not sweat it.

Really look forward to seeing what you come up with!

I'm still plugging away at mine. I finished up the mounting bracket last night.

Hood Circuit component Motor vehicle Audio equipment Electronic instrument


Next step will be filler-primer and sanding to remove the 3d print layer lines. And then paint. And then wiring. And then and then...

Gear shift Gauge Motor vehicle Vehicle Steering wheel
 
21 - 28 of 28 Posts
Top