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Paint it? Polish it? Both?

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Discussion Starter #1
This is the first time I ever TIG welded, and the first time I've ever welded aluminum. Done a fair amount of MIG welding over the years, but that's totally a different ball game! I'm planning on putting a stereo in the middle panel below the ash tray but won't cut the hole until I have it in my hands. Also, will be adding defrost tubes and courtesy lights in it as well. When it's all said and done, do you guys think I should paint it? or polish it? or both?? What else should I put into it? Like switches, usb/cigarette/power outlets, etc?

FWIW, I really really like TIG welding over MIG welding. It's actually pretty simple, it's just aluminum can be super picky as all hell!

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This is the first time I ever TIG welded, and the first time I've ever welded aluminum. Done a fair amount of MIG welding over the years, but that's totally a different ball game! I'm planning on putting a stereo in the middle panel below the ash tray but won't cut the hole until I have it in my hands. Also, will be adding defrost tubes and courtesy lights in it as well. When it's all said and done, do you guys think I should paint it? or polish it? or both?? What else should I put into it? Like switches, usb/cigarette/power outlets, etc?

FWIW, I really really like TIG welding over MIG welding. It's actually pretty simple, it's just aluminum can be super picky as all hell!

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Scott, nice job.

I have a Lincoln Square Wave 180 TIG at home and have not had Argon to play with it since my move to MO about 10 years ago. All my welding now is with my Millermatic 225 MIG. If you do not use the art, you lose the talent. Practice, practice, practice, you get the idea.

Your welds from what I can see in the pictures are nice and consistent.

So you asked for opinions and I'll offer mine.

I'm not sure what the rest of your car looks like, style wise, or your interior for that matter. But to me it looks very big and boxy. There are also no removeable access panels.

I could see having to get into something later on and not having side access up around the head unit could be a pain in the butt. You would have to remove the complete console to do any work inside.

This is my opinion only, but I would cut some holes in the side up front where you may need access to the wiring of the head unit etc. I would also cut oversize holes in the sides where you want to place your heater and curtesy lights. I might also cut some access holes in the top of the console for future access.

Once the oversize holes are in place on the sides, I would make thin side panels from 1/8" luan paneling. I would lightly pad the panels and then upholster the sides and top of the console. I would have the top overlap the sides for a smooth planned look. You could also make a hinged lift up arm rest for added storage in the taller rear section.

When installing the heater vents and courtesy lights, you attach them to the upholstered side panels and just slide the panels up and you're done, once you attach the panels. Then the top cover would go on and cover the top access holes.

I would use the plastic push in panel attachment parts that were used a lot in the '70s on door panels. Before you upholster the side and top cover panels, you would drill through the luan and into the aluminum when in place. Then drill out the luan to allow you to twist in the plastic retaining parts. Then drill out the aluminum to the appropriate size, around 1/4". The panels can then be padded and upholstered.

The above is ONLY my opinion and as you know, opinions are like arm pits, everyone has a couple and some of them stink. My opinion may very well be one of the stinkers...

Again, very nice work and I applaud your effort and newly learned skills.

Keep trying new things, that's the only way we learn.

I'm sure it will look great when you have it finished. AND you made it all yourself!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Scott, nice job.

I have a Lincoln Square Wave 180 TIG at home and have not had Argon to play with it since my move to MO about 10 years ago. All my welding now is with my Millermatic 225 MIG. If you do not use the art, you lose the talent. Practice, practice, practice, you get the idea.

Your welds from what I can see in the pictures are nice and consistent.

So you asked for opinions and I'll offer mine.

I'm not sure what the rest of your car looks like, style wise, or your interior for that matter. But to me it looks very big and boxy. There are also no removeable access panels.

I could see having to get into something later on and not having side access up around the head unit could be a pain in the butt. You would have to remove the complete console to do any work inside.

This is my opinion only, but I would cut some holes in the side up front where you may need access to the wiring of the head unit etc. I would also cut oversize holes in the sides where you want to place your heater and curtesy lights. I might also cut some access holes in the top of the console for future access.

Once the oversize holes are in place on the sides, I would make thin side panels from 1/8" luan paneling. I would lightly pad the panels and then upholster the sides and top of the console. I would have the top overlap the sides for a smooth planned look. You could also make a hinged lift up arm rest for added storage in the taller rear section.

When installing the heater vents and courtesy lights, you attach them to the upholstered side panels and just slide the panels up and you're done, once you attach the panels. Then the top cover would go on and cover the top access holes.

I would use the plastic push in panel attachment parts that were used a lot in the '70s on door panels. Before you upholster the side and top cover panels, you would drill through the luan and into the aluminum when in place. Then drill out the luan to allow you to twist in the plastic retaining parts. Then drill out the aluminum to the appropriate size, around 1/4". The panels can then be padded and upholstered.

The above is ONLY my opinion and as you know, opinions are like arm pits, everyone has a couple and some of them stink. My opinion may very well be one of the stinkers...

Again, very nice work and I applaud your effort and newly learned skills.

Keep trying new things, that's the only way we learn.

I'm sure it will look great when you have it finished. AND you made it all yourself!!!
Well I've played with the idea of covering it in vinyl or the like but I don't think it'll be on this piece. Maybe for the top I will though, and a little padded too, so then it won't be cold ***** metal in the morning haha!!

I orignally wanted to chop the top off about 1.5" down for a storage lid. The problem there is keeping the console/lid seam as little wavy as possible. If I do still do that, I'll find a shop that can fix it to a bench or jig and make one smooth continuous cut...instead of me using a die grinder or air saw. Unless maybe someone can point me in a direction for a trim piece that can go over the 1/8" aluminum (like how the chrome window tint add-on things are on a lot of trucks). I bought a nickel plated latch ($50) off McMaster-Carr along with a stainless piano hinge. I would then start with the actual storage and make it all myself out of fiberglass. I'll eventually be dropping in an LS2/T56 combo and was planning on attempting to mount the ECM and PCM in the console. And will be also adding defrost tubes down through into the back and maybe up into the package tray for the back window.

As for getting in there and fixing/repairing anything, I can easily unmount it at the bolts under the ash tray and the rear mounting bolts and remove the shifter bezel and boot, then slide the entire console back about 5 inches or so. If needed I can also cut a couple inches away from the front because I'm about 1/4" from the heater box (as designed) to allow me to make any future fabrication mods if needed. Also, for wiring and working in there, I could install everything on the console on the bench, and put in pigtail connectors in close the head of the console for easy installation.

Also, the welds were perfect about 70% of the time. While first assembling it, I held it all together with plywood and hot glue. Where the shifter is, I had one solid piece of plywood and glued on the bottom edges and (accidentally) the top edges as well. Without spending a bunch of time trying to remove most but not all of the glue before welding in that piece, I went ahead and gave it a shot. The glue acted as a MAJOR contaminate whenever I got close to it welding underneath. So after fabricating it all together, I decided it was best to grind and smooth out all the welds, making it seamless. End result looked awesome in my opinion and if I go with paint, the paint should hopefully fill in any pinholes on the edges. I would be using U-POL etching primer and dupli-color paint, and U-POL clear coat. Almost forgot to pick up the wax and grease remover too haha!
 

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Scott, again very nice work!

I'm sure it will look great when it's all done. If you do paint it, you can always use a very thin skim filler on the seams to fill in any tiny holes.

If you have tiny holes, polishing will probably show them up rather than hide them.

Good luck and let us see some finished pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If it was me I'd make the armrest area into a storage unit and put a thin pad on top of the lid.
This is exactly my originally plan...and still do plan on it. The problem is just getting the top cut off where I want it, but it has to be one clean cut, no bumps, no up and downs, zilch. I would feel better if a shop somewhere was able to do this especially with me there. Once it's cut I can fab the rest of the storage, piece of cake lol. The latch I bought 3 months ago just for this console is $50 on McMaster-Carr, it's nickel plated :D and I got a stainless piano hinge.
 

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This is exactly my originally plan...and still do plan on it. The problem is just getting the top cut off where I want it, but it has to be one clean cut, no bumps, no up and downs, zilch. I would feel better if a shop somewhere was able to do this especially with me there. Once it's cut I can fab the rest of the storage, piece of cake lol. The latch I bought 3 months ago just for this console is $50 on McMaster-Carr, it's nickel plated :D and I got a stainless piano hinge.
Can't you run a grease pencil cut line all around the area you want to cut off and use a cut-off wheel to make the clean cut? If there are any irregularities you can hide them by tigging a lip around the edge of both console and lid. That's how I would do it I mean, hell, you did a bang up job on the console so no reason why you couldn't make a clean cut. You obviously have steady hands or your console wouldn't have come out as nice as it did!!:yes:

Do it! I need someone to make me a console for my project and you seem to be the man for the job!! LOL!

John
 

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Great job on the console! Looks good and a storage box will make it even better. I wish i had more practice with TIG welding....
 
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