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Building a custom gauge panel

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Here's what's up; My daughter and I have been building a '69 bug for a little over two years, and now we're customizing the dashboard. We cut out the old gauge panel and in a new panel we fitted in a new speedo and tach along with smaller gauges including; fuel, oil temp, oil pressure, and volt meter. On top of that I made a slot for some dash icons like in the newer cars; high beam light, engine light, and brake fluid light. Plus the turn signal icons. I machined a pvc block as a holder for colored led's to shine through acrylic cylinders and onto the icon sheet I printed that mounts on the back of the steel panel. BUT, I can't find that black translucent sheet to put in front of the icons to camoflage them until they light up like in all the newer cars. Someone told me to use window tint, but that's just glossy, isn't it? I want it to look like the newer cars dash icons that light up when on, and dissapear to satin black when off. I looked for black vellum paper at Michael's, but they don't carry it any more. Does anyone know what that black stuff is called that is used in gauge panels, and where I can get it? For a piece about 4 inches long and a half inch wide, I really don't want to go through a junk yard and tear out a gauge panel just for this stuff. Any ideas?

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Man that sounds pretty cool. You should throw up some pics of that bug up on this thread!


My best guess would be window tint also, I don't know where you could get that stuff. Like 5% tint or something wouldnt be glossy I don't think. But it would fade over time for sure, but I think it would work!

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How about tissue paper, would that work ? Its cheap and you can add layers to get the effect you want and is not glossy and is easy to obtain and work with.

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Here's a couple of pics, even though there's not much to see yet. We did start painting the fenders last week. http://sphotos-b.xx....58_490579_n.jpg, http://sphotos-b.xx....570952934_n.jpg, http://sphotos-b.xx....117088564_n.jpg, http://sphotos-a.xx....443849364_n.jpg, http://sphotos-a.xx....324561153_n.jpg, http://sphotos-a.xx....782973050_n.jpg

Something durable is needed since the panel is exposed. I almost wonder if a thin plastic with a light bead-blasting or etching would work. Then tint the back. I'll have to experiment with some pieces. Thanks.

Edited by Archie1919

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Not sure on the material, but thats one good looking project you have going.

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Wow, hats off to ya', good looking work.

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I would tint it and then cover the tint with thin plexi


Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk 2



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For the black material why not try unprocessed film. Go buy a 35mm roll of film and open it up and cut the pieces you need from it.

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I might be able to get some thin plexi already tinted. I'll have to check.


Thin like 35mm film would be preferable, but is it still translucent after being exposed, or does it go solid black? I bet I could get a piece from Costco's film dept!


Isn't it always these little detail things that just drive ya crazy!


Thanks again!

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