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Scratch Build – In Progress Bongo PC - Overcomplicating the car-PC

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by PC-Guy, 23 Mar 2009.

  1. PC-Guy

    PC-Guy Making PC's out of pieces

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    The Project

    You know how building a plain vanilla PC is dead boring these days? Well I've been fitting PC's in my cars for 10 years, since the days of inverters, character displays and DOS mp3 players; and nowadays when you can buy a car PC off the shelf I needed something a bit different to inspire me...

    My new PC needed to be mental, it needed to have electrically moved panels, multiple TFT's, internal communications and loads of fabrication.....

    I started about a year ago with a spare dashboard out of a scrapper, some spray foam, fibreglass resin and car body filler, and I'm now at the stage where I feel like it may make it into the car this year...

    The Car

    Mazda Bongo Friendee MPV (yes I know it's a stupid name, those crazee Japanese eh?)

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    The Log

    As this is a bit of an odd one, I've split the log into sections where I'll run through work so far, then I'll post as I complete something worthwhile.

    Headings

    Dashboard Structure

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    Front Panel

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    Lid

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    >Click to view<
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    Motherboard Tray

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    PSU tray

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    These were taster shots for each section, I'll show the build in more detail soon, starting with modding the dashboard to create a PC enclosure..

    Steve
     
  2. Ashaman

    Ashaman M'hael

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    :jawdrop:

    This is insane!
    The disign on the dash is really cool!

    I'm going to follow this log! 'Cause this most be the sickest carputer I've seen, ever!
     
  3. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    nice work on the dash
     
  4. PC-Guy

    PC-Guy Making PC's out of pieces

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    Dashboard buildup

    When I started this project I realised there was no way I could work on it in the car I was driving to work every day, so I started with the dash from a scrapped Bongo.

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    I propped it up in my newly-built shed :D

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    Then I started to plan how to fit a decent sized screen into this space, some people would have just put a screen in the 2 DIN space, but I wanted something larger, and I wanted to make a motorised door to cover the screen when not in use. There was also the issue of where to mount the PC itself, I'd had installs in the back of the car before and the long runs of cables in both directions always caused problems eventually, so I thought I'd go for an in-dash build.

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    I started with a piece of High Density Fibreboard into which I fitted the front bezel of a 9" touchscreen, and then I extended back from there with wood to form the surround of the PC housing, all bonded with resin and screwed from underneath, I was planning on cutting out the centre part later so needed to retain the strength.

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    I then roughed up the surrounding area with glasspaper and built some shape into the design with spray foam. I also filled a recess on top of the dash to make it easier when it came to covering the dash with alcantara later.

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    Over the next few photos you can see the shape forming..

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    These next two shots show filler being used to fill the honeycomb of holes in the foam, this was ulimately covered in fibreglass matting and resin for strength.

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    Here you can see the final shape of the top part of the 'case' coming out and you can see the base has been cut out ready for the motherboard tray.

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    Here I clamped a 2 DIN plate into place and started going mad with the foam again.. The beauty of this material is that it is easy to create 'organic' shapes and is so easy to form. Loads of tidying up needed though!

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    The shape is coming together, notice how I tried to follow the original shape of the dash as much as I could.

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    This image shows the dash filled, ready to rub down.

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    At this point I decided it needed a bit more strength, so I bonded in a piece of MDF over the front and applied more filler

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    ..smoothed it down a bit..

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    ..made some holes..

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    Fibreglassed it and rubbed it down again..

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    More detail shaping...

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    And more....

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    And then carried this on round the other 3 sides... :sigh:

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    With a few other detail bits of sanding, here's what it looked like.

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    I then cut a trim ring out of 3mm aluminium to finish the surround neatly.

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    My plan with the dash is to cover it with alcantara, which is a suede type material often used in luxury cars, and to keep it neat around the windscreen air vents I decided to make some aluminium trim pieces, so out came the scissors and cardboard..

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    The first part of the alcantara fabric is glued down using a high temperature resistant contact adhesive.

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    This side of the enclosure has quite complex curves, so I used a piece of scrap fabric as a template.

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    Then I glued down the first half of the fabric..

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    ..and when that was dry I stretched then other half into position.

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    The surround covered..

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    .. and a side view

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    Still to do..

    My next task on the dash is to finish covering the flat parts and the edges and to decide what to do with the rectangular hole on the passenger side, I was going to make a motorised flap there but as I'm not sure what to put behind it might give it a miss!

    More to follow, next post will show the build up of the lid to the 'case', and how I've overcomplicated it....

    Steve
     
  5. WakoNako

    WakoNako What's a Dremel?

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    Wow! Really interesting. Subscribed for sure
     
  6. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    did you ever think of copying the curve of the instrument panel/pod where the dials are mounted. The dash would flow much nicer...
     
  7. Xtrafresh

    Xtrafresh It never hurts to help

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    fantastic! Are you on the road that much?
     
  8. PC-Guy

    PC-Guy Making PC's out of pieces

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    I looked at doing that, but I was more concerned with it looking right with my centre console which is also custom built, so the design flows down into that instead. All will become clear later in the build :D

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Steve
     
  9. PC-Guy

    PC-Guy Making PC's out of pieces

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    A small hitch...

    When it came time to order more alcantara there was no more of that type to be found....

    So only one option really, take off all the stuff I'd fitted and start again :shock:

    At least I had some templates for re-doing the awkward bits...

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    Although this is causing me grief I have to say I prefer this fabric's colour, plus it is a little more stretchy than the other, which means I can manage with less cuts...

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    Work in progress (note the lid in the background still covered in the old material)

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    How I've left it tonight..

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    And some detail shots, I'll get on with trimming the loose ends tomorrow :D

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    More soon!

    Steve
     
  10. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    Holy... ! Niiiice!
     
  11. .Fatality.

    .Fatality. What's a Dremel?

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    wow im waching awsome !!!!
     
  12. Jenny_Y8S

    Jenny_Y8S Guest

    Ooooo I'm liking this a lot, and good to see someone else driving a big ol' van :)
     
  13. PC-Guy

    PC-Guy Making PC's out of pieces

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    I was going to do some more alcantara-ing today, but I felt like doing something mechanical instead so I decided to start finalising the lid lift mechanism.

    Because of the general ugly-ness of the linear actuator, I needed to mount it down as low as possible. I checked for clearance below the dash and found I could mount through this part..

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    Out comes my favourite tool..

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    And suddenly there is room!

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    I cut some angled steel and found some convenient shaped bits of bracketry...

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    This gave a very strong base for the actuator, dead important as it has a lot of weight to lift!

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    At the top of the actuator I fitted a piece of 8mm studding to spread to load over both sides of the 'case', as this has a bit of flex, it will also act as a 'servo saver'

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    I then found some brackets rescued from the discarded desk stand for my monitor and roughly cut some 8mm aluminium sheet to link the studding and the brackets. These will be tidied and polished later.

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    There's a video too, but my network is so damned slow tonight, I'll put it on the next update..

    Steve
     
  14. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    It keeps getting better. :thumb:
     
  15. Altron

    Altron Minimodder

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    Hey, man, you seem to be really into car electronics.

    Ever consider doing any lighting modifications? Not sure what the UK regulations are like, but there are a lot of guys stateside who do some really professional LED retrofitting into car signal and brake lamps. They use 4-chip and 5-chip LEDs, none of that off-the-shelf low-power crap.

    They'll also do headlight upgrades, mounting an enclosed assembly from another car inside of their old headlights. The really good guys have been able to design working auto-levelling and AFS (lights rotate based on steering angle and speed) systems into them.

    If your fabrication skills on this are any indication, you could find some really cool stuff to do with the rest of the car.
     
  16. PC-Guy

    PC-Guy Making PC's out of pieces

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    I only managed to get a short time in the shed today so I did some work on tidying and strengthening the motherboard tray area.

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    More when I can :rolleyes:

    Steve
     

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