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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi folks,

I was inspired by Guido's awesome work http://forums.celicasupra.com/showthread.php?t=51489&highlight=digital+dash
to do a little mod of my own...

He's been making some great carbon fiber parts for our cars, kudos Guido!!

Admittedly, I am no carbon fiber expert, I just really like the look and wanted to do something different, so here is my experiment...

How did you go about making it?
We start with the normal digital dash:



No need to remove the dash out of my '82, since I had a spare from an '84 (with the ECT/engine check lights).

After pulling the cover off the digital dash and separating the plate, I considered my options:



I thought about the one Guido made, which has a very professional look, but constructing the plastic laminate probably requires specialized equipment.

I figured, what about an overlay? Carbon fiber was my first choice, since it retains much of the original look, but with more modern style.

Reverse-glow was also a conderation (possibly the next project...)

Anyway, I sourced out a supplier on eBay and purchased some carbon fiber vinyl stock. It is sold by the meter and come with adhesive backing, essentially automotive decal material.

After trying with an exacto-knife, it became apparent to me that I needed to have this stuff machine-cut, since the material is quite dense and the details difficult to cut, and with one slip, I'd mess it up and the material is fairly costly.

So, I consulted Steve at Custom Edge Vinyl , a local shop dealing exclusively with vinyl cutouts, like signs, stickers, etc. He was kind enough to spend time with me to digitally vectorize and modify the original dash template scan using state-of-the-art software.

I decided to use cutouts rather than print directly on the material, since ink doesn't absorb into the vinyl and smears, nor would the gauge be able to light up at night, since the cf material is opaque:



I thought about using an illuminescent paper overlay for the lettering, but some of the letters are small and shapes loose their detail in the cutting process. Plus, I wanted to keep the font original.

It took several attempts to line up the cutout overlay on the original dash template. We tried different types/grades of carbon fiber vinyl. The type which worked best is a standard grade:



The overlay was mounted on the original dash template on the instrument cluster:



The bold hatched carbon fiber design works best, especially under low light, since the instrument cluster is in a plastic dust cover surrounded by the dash hood:



After close inspection, I still have a few minor touch-ups to do manually. :whatever:

The carbon fiber vinyl won't fade and will stick indefinitely, since it is not exposed to the elements and it can be easily removed back to stock.

Anyone who had tried to snap a few shots of their instrument cluster knows the difficulty involved, due to reflected light from the plastic dust cover. These pictures don't really do justice to the end result, but I believe the desired look was attained.

I think it will look great installed! :cool:
 

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updated !i like that nice job..
 

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Good job. Cant wait to see it plugged in and lit up.
 

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very nice !!!! carbon addict love this!!!

thank's for the kind word too but your job is nicely done..
i was thinking myself to doing this in real carbon but i was scary it was too opaque for let the lights go through

curious to see this install with lights
 

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thanks alot '82supra (aka Greg) the carbon fiber overlay was a fun project and i hope it works out well for you. as everyone else is saying i can;t wait to see the end result and the gauges lit up.
No project is too big or too small for us to work on at www.customedgevinyl.com or our sister company www.tko-decalz.com we have done several supra projects and will post some photos in the future in our own thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the comps... yes it was a fun project and I'm glad we were able pull it off. :thumbsup:

Of course real carbon fiber is preferable in most cases, especially in structural racing applications where weight bearing requires strength and lightness. I see alot of aftermarket cf parts for the MkIII and MKIV crowd. It's great we now have access to some for our own generation Supras. I just think cf is a 21st century material that has subtle cosmetic appeal and if not overused, doesn't appear ricey.

The digital dash lights ought to work normally, since this is simply an overlay with cutouts to expose the original background, but I am experimenting with the 194 LED's.

I have an '82 US model (sans ECT) so I simply won't peel off the ECT/Check engine cutouts. The object box also needs a little extension cut for miles rather than km.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I only had enough material leftover to make 3 cf digital dash dash overlays (like the one above).

I'll sell them $20 each shipped (Canada/US), $25 shipped (other International)

pm me if interested... :good:
 

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i was just thinking, .....clunk....clunk....clunk,
did you look if you could get the numbers ,pics and writing printed on with an ink jet or laser printer somehow instead or cut outs? :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i was just thinking, .....clunk....clunk....clunk
No worries, I'm currently producing a second generation prototype. MkII ...it's a process
did you look if you could get the numbers ,pics and writing printed on with an ink jet or laser printer somehow instead or cut outs? :thumbsup:
Yeah, I tried, the ink smears.

In order to get illumination, a template has to be translucent, cutouts was the only way, since CF is opaque.

Open to ideas...
 

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No worries, I'm currently producing a second generation prototype. MkII ...it's a process


Yeah, I tried, the ink smears.

In order to get illumination, a template has to be translucent, cutouts was the only way, since CF is opaque.

Open to ideas...
that's a bit off a prick ,the ink running.
AH-HA .... can you get little vinyl stickers made at one of those places that do custom stuff for all the white writing, maybe out of luminesant material . That would look neat and you'd only need to cut out holes for taco and guages'n'stuff. ALSO is there any globes in the back of the digital dash you could change out. I can't remember?:naughty::cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
AH-HA .... can you get little vinyl stickers made at one of those places that do custom stuff for all the white writing, maybe out of luminesant material . That would look neat and you'd only need to cut out holes for taco and guages'n'stuff. ALSO is there any globes in the back of the digital dash you could change out. I can't remember?:naughty::cool:
Good thinking :thumbsup: thanks for the input!

I originally tried illuminescent material for the lettering, but some of the letters are small and shapes loose their detail in the cutting process. It is possible, but I would have to change the font style.

Second difficulty, since the instrument cluster is enclosed and under the dash hood, the illumaterial may not gather enough light to get a good charge for night driving. I haven't actually installed one yet, since it's hot off the press...

Next set I'm going to try a thin metallic decal for the numbers & fuel/temp icons and less cutout. Then depending on your gauge you can use either (km/miles). I'll add a custom graphics package - your choice of styles.

I'm also trying different bulbs. Since metallic is reflective, that ought to help show at night without backlight.

The first prototype series are sold BTW.
 

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Nice, be sure and post a pic of it lit.
 

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good thinking on the metalic sticker, a different font wouldn't be so bad for the glow sticker. There's sure to be one that look's good, even go up a size or two should help with the blur-i-ness.
Don't burn out that pea tho !!!!! lol
Sound's like your working it hard ? lol :ptdr::mm_beer::laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There are four 194 bulbs in the digi-dash, two on top, one on each side.

Right on duck... yeah, when I get inspiration for a project, I like to see it thru, even if I gotta burn some of the midnight oil ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Continuing the CF detailing...

Temperature control, ashtray, stereo compartment, shifter console bezel:



Steering wheel, trip computer, dimmer switch etc.
Notice the digi-dash is still stock...that's because I haven't completely decided on the final design.



Here's the next prototype (MkII, lol) CF digi-dash. Here I used simple silver fonts for the rpm's:



I tried the stock look on the first run, but being an opaque overlay, cutouts were necessary.
Actually there is little need for any lettering/symbols except as window dressing, since the digital gauges are backlit and provide the necessary info.

I have experimented with coloured LED strips which when mounted inside or above the dash (like potlights) look awesome! It really brings out the 3D CF design (pics later).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I'm going to keep my original stock '82 digi-dash intact and use the '84 spare to complete the project.

I'm wondering if the swap would be a direct fit - plug & play(minus the ECT/Check Engine lights)? Also the '84 odometer is Canadian (in km's), '82 US (in miles)...anybody?

Edit: No worries, on second thought it's prob easier just to open it up and switch the template...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just an update on progress with my new cf overlay mod MkII



Under normal lighting conditions (less cutout essentially no backlight)



This with LED's on low dim. The LED strip is mounted on the outside rim of the dash housing (drilled holes)



Medium dim - LED lighting makes backlight unecessary, unlike the first prototype with cutouts



Full LED lighting (I'll either connect it to the dimmer or a separate hot feed with on/off)



I haven't installed the cf digi-dash yet, but I think it is a definite improvement over stock. I chose blue colour, figured easier on the eyes @ night.

Can't wait to see it fully operational, pics don't do the 3D effect justice.

I'm planning to choose one of the overlays, any comments?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Project complete

Done with prototypes and mock ups, time for the install:

In daylight



Connected LED strip to the dimmer for night (a little bit o' bling)



CF detailing complete (updated)



I was never completely satisfied with the first prototypes, but as they say, "that's good enough for the girl I go with..."

Many thanks to the members who helped along the way! :thumbsup:
 

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Nice job! Looks like a lot of hard work and attention to detail. Did you just lay carbon cloth and coat the center console stuff or was it a complete remake? Wondering how hard it would be to remake the WHOLE stereo surround out of CF and maybe even beveling it a few degrees towards the driver..... keep those pesky passengers from changing the tunes!! Heck even put a flared edge on it to add more gauges, controllers, and gadgets.

cheers
 
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