Author Topic: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)  (Read 33025 times)

shaun_king

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« on: June 15, 2013, 01:20:16 pm »
I'm currently making a cockpit and thought it would be interesting to put some walk-through pic up to get
feedback from you guys.

Here is my rig. It is constructed from 3mm angle & square steel. It uses a G27 force feedback steering wheel that
is modified with a chilicoke adapter to hold a 330mm width OMP rally wheel with 90mm of dish. It's an awesome
wheel. The G27 pedals are reverse mounted and the steel frame holds an old Golf GTI seat. The stock G27 paddles
were unreachable with the new dished wheel so I had to fabricate some stainless steel paddles of my own. It's mounted
on a platform to raise the simulator to a hight that is similar to that of a real car. The steering column cantilevers
so entry in and out of the simulator is easy; legs swing in and out of the footwell without knocking on any central or
side posts like in some simulators. Check out how we use it in our university time trial simulator meetings
here: http://youtu.be/aeu1IHoQUz4






To start the design process I produced a couple of sketches to visualise the how the gauges would interact
with the rest of the frame and the cockpit dashboard that I will eventually produce from fibreglass.
The quick airbrush sketch at the bottom of the page is probably my final direction but the gauge instruments
will probably need to come towards the driver just a wee bit. They are currently placed in the zone below
the bonnet line and above the obscuration line of the steering wheel. When the glass fibre dash is made
I’ll do a bit of body-storming to see how it feels.





Simprojects parts arrive, Whoop whoop!





Looked on the internet and found that others had great success attaching Kawasaki ZX6R revcounter linear motors to
revburners. I found a pair about on the internet for £15 each from motorbike breaker yards on eBay. Attaching them
was really easy. The three connectors on the back directly correlate with the [ S1 ], [ + ] & [ - ] outputs on the
revburner.





Once all the components were safely in my grasp I measured all the parts and produced a 83 degree
crescent gap graphical design on the dials to represent the restricted mechanical movement of the linear
motors under the needles. Also the RPM & Speed are calibrated with rFactor’s 1974 F1 & Lotus 98t
simulator mods with a maximum values of 12,000RPM/200MPH. New gauge graphics will be produced for
other cars/mods.





Rough technical sketches were drafted to envisage how the gauge design would integrate with the whole assembly.





I used a software program call Alias Automotive CAD to sculpt the shape of the instrument cluster. It is regularly used
in creative artistic automotive design studios. You can output parts to lasercutters and 3D printers very easily from
this program so it is great for prototyping. The shape was made to extenuates the dog-bone curves of the gauge
graphic.





I wanted some convincing that the final instrument cluster was going to look okay so I decided that bashing out some
renders on Keyshot. was the only way to decrease the mystery factor concerning the aesthetics and assembly.
I assembled a WIP cluster with a nice bit of carbon fibre fablon... cos everything looks better with carbon fibre – LOL.
The exploded views that show Volkwagen Polo donor needles, lasercut graphical gauge & steel subframe, subtractive
milled covers, servomotors, LCD displays, spacers, nuts, bolts, and revburner PCBs to drive the tachometer and
speedometer servomotors. In terms of the finishing the prototype; it needs rear vents, a stand, and locking tabs to
keep the assemble together while burning around on the racing simulator. Also need to add a lighting channel to
illuminate the dials.







A mock gauge was produce immediately after this as I was happy that the final instrument cluster would be satisfactory.
Click the this youTube link http://youtu.be/VUs8Tr_Xqqs to see the mock running assembly.





Steel & acrylic lasercuts were fabricated from the CAD data. The steel frame black needs to be simply blacked out
with paint so it completely darkens the area behind the translucent gauge graphic. The transparent acrylic lasercut
came out well, I just needed to use a black tint vinyl or spray tint to make the transparent acrylic a dark translucent
colour that the LEDs can shine through.







The next step was to investigate different tiniting options so I could get a nice clean looking gauge fascia that would
look like the the original drawings and only shows the lit numbers and not the unlit white parts of the GI Max & SPI-D.
Also the numbers are easier to read with the tinted cover especially in the daytime when all the surfaces of the
instrument cluster are very well lit. You can see a wee bit of the white components that house the LEDs on the
symprojects PCB but the effect was very convincing. Below you can see photos of the instrument panel with and
without a tinted cover.





I conducted some tests to test whether to use tint spray or tint vinyl. The visual clarity of the GI Max & SPI-D's
LED through the vinyl is excellent, in fact it is slightly better than the spray tint TBH. The application results are
excellent too, and superior to the spray tint by several measures of low time, low effort & high visual quality.
In the photo below you can see that there are a lot of particle on the spray tint, and the spray density is much
heavier around the edges. I think lots of light coats in a completely dust free environment can solve this problem,
however it is much easier and faster to produce an evenly coloured layer of colour on the transparent acrylic
sheet if you use vinyl in an regular partially dusty environment. The application of vinyl is about 3mins (see this
3 min application video here: http://youtu.be/vGg52tzZfbU), I can do it in a very similar time; I did a work
experience job in a sign writing company when I was young so I learnt how to apply wet vinyl with ease. Overall
the VINYL WINS. I got my 'Jet Black' vinyl from this eBay shop





To get the number and line graphics onto the gauge I decided to make a custom stencil because dry transfers
would be too expensive and hand painted white artwork would look too messy and home made. I got my gauge
graphics stencil cut with a lasercutter. The application of the masking tape stencil was a careful affair to ensure that
there were no air holes or particles trapped under the monster 200mm width masking tape I bought from tapes direct.
Once the making tape was safely applied to the transparent plastic I cut the graphics into the
masking tape with the laser. The laser was set to only cut the tape and not the acrylic. See the video of the
laser-cutting here: http://youtu.be/ZCLXjhHtuFY. I had to spend a night intricately peeling the numbers and
lines away so I could spray on the graphic with white primer.





The spray job with white primer worked out well. The only problems experienced were firstly, residue from the
masking tape as predicted by research colleague, and secondly, a bit of leakage that occurred when
the masking tape bubbled slightly here and there around the edges of the letter and lines. This first problem
was easily resolved, the stick residue came off easily with white spirits. The second problem with paint leakage
was resolved with a bit of gentle scalpel scraping once the residue was cleaned off and the paint had completely
hardened. Once the black vinyl was applied and the gauge assembled with the linear motors & LEDs it all looked
satisfactory. Initially the camera picked up some blotches that my eyes could just about see them in the real
world – good camera eh. From experience I suspected that when the soapy water (that was used to make a
perfectly smooth application) dries the blotches would disappear. The vinyl window frosting in my house did the
same, and indeed his was the case. After 8 hours or so the blotches disappeared. Overall I’m happy with the look
the gauge and the way it works with the linear motors, needles, and LED mechanical components.





Here is the near finished gauge just need to dye rev counter graphic red so it looks like the original design.
Just the cases to mill out now and a wee bit of lighting to illuminate the gauge graphics. See it working here in
this youTube video http://youtu.be/Pdgwh_2ai4M





I look forward to hear your comments (negative or positive). I'll make further updates as I progress :)

« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 10:32:52 am by shaun_king »

Jadran

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 01:33:14 pm »
WOW...nice diy...congrats,inform about future updates !

H.Guedes

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 73
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 08:42:16 am »
That's a great job man.

That cluster looks awesome.

If you need help with something, just ask. we are all here to teach and learn, i guess :)

Greatings from Portugal

shaun_king

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 10:46:22 am »
Thanks very much guys  :)

The whole process is a learning curve and I'm surprised that more things haven't gone wrong in the production of it. Originally I wanted to use a vinyl mask for the gauge graphics. This is what professional use, it leaves no sticky residue and you get virtually no paint leakages around the edges of the letters if the mask is applied properly. But the lasercutter wouldn't cut it for me because it produced toxic fumes when cut. and the traditional vinyl knife cutter wouldn't cut the highly detailed features of the graphics normally they suggest 2mm thickness of line work, and some of my letters were 1mm thick.

If you have any good ideas about gauges than i'd love to hear them :)

tryxinos

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 08:43:54 am »
STUNNING!  :o its absolutely amazing man! Great job and give us more future updates  :)

shaun_king

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 09:37:46 am »
Cheers Tryxinos :)

I'm gonna do a bit more work on it over the weekend so hopefully i'll have something more to show soon.


shaun_king

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2013, 02:36:14 pm »
I spent a bit of time alias modelling by candlelight and I think that I’m kinda happy with the
final direction of the gauge covers. I’m probably remake them one more time just to iron out
some of the surfacing kinks but ultimately I think I’m at the stage where I just want to start
producing something in RP (Rapid Prototype) to see it eye to eye. Just three sets of technical
details to go – Lighting channels, screw fixing lugs and recesses & stand fixtures – then I’m
ready for some soft foam parts maybe to check aesthetics and part fitments.







« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 03:18:34 pm by shaun_king »

H.Guedes

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 73
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2013, 03:53:45 pm »
Awesome 3d work man. I'm waiting to see that in real life all that stuff ;)

Mac

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2013, 11:01:27 am »
a very nice design dude.
i know you said about building it from fibreglass, but is there any reason you don't get it 3d printed instead?

keep up the beautiful work.

shaun_king

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2013, 11:37:34 am »
Absolutely, rapid prototyping is the way forward... To give more detail, the parts are going to be coated in a Carbon Fibre Fablon, not made from carbon fibre. You know the stuff; the sticky-backed vinyl that chavs and car enthusiasts put on there car hoods to pimp out their cars. I'm gonna do the same to my covers. My covers will be some subtractively milled, I'm using subtractive milling instead of 3D printing because it is much cheaper to produce. The only cost I have is materials. I love the old milling machine, I like to use it in prototyping because you have to use similar design principles to that of injection moulding such as the use of draft angles, uni-lateral draw (i.e. the moulds come together and come apart in one direction only, so you can't design undercuts... unless your really craft about it). The advantage of doing this is that if you like a design and you want to take it further to high volume it is pre-designed for injection moulding; hence minimal changes need to me made to the CAD models to mass produce your design. In the past I have made some quite complex parts from subtractive milling. All the parts in this working control panel rendering, except the PCB boards, hydraulic struts and the screws/bolts were milled out with a 3mm fat bottomed milling bit:





« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 11:40:03 am by shaun_king »

Mac

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2013, 11:47:40 am »
ahh. your first post said about making it from fibreglass.
i run my own lathe and milling machines, welding sets and all that (welder/fabricator by trade, but i prefer the old "boilermaker" title), and i also run a 3d printer, and the printer runs more than the other machines at the moment. so if you require anything gimme a shout or pm.

anyway, its a well thought out design, and i can't wait to see your design finished.

shaun_king

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2013, 12:42:00 pm »
LOL... Okay yes now I seen what I have been burbbling on about. Yes fibreglass, but for the dashboard not gauges :)  I need to be clearer in the future.

Do you do fibre glass? The dashboard moulds have been made already. I was going to lay-up the gel coat, resin and glass myself because my PhD budget is so small. However I was thinking about outsourcing it if I could find a good price. mould is here, it is about  1.5m long:



« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 12:43:46 pm by shaun_king »

Mac

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 01:01:34 pm »
i don't i'm afraid. used to in my younger days. i'm not sure you could get it done cheaper than doing it yourself. it's not too big and it doesn't appear to have any compound curves so it shouldn't take too long.
oh, and it was me assuming the gauges and dash were the same from your airbrushed illustrations. i blame you though for lacing your posts with such delicious illustrations and piccies, it makes it too easy to miss or miss read any bits of text that separate them ;).

shaun_king

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 02:22:06 pm »
Oh well worth a try eh :) I might as well go for the DIY job as originally planned.

I'm just full of pictures, can't help it. Personally hate reading at the mo. God only knows how I'm gonna write a thesis. LOL

shaun_king

  • Approved Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: My custom gauge WIP (shaun_king)
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 06:05:00 pm »
More pictures... Yay!   ;D ;D ;D
 
I've been working a bit more on my model to pull it up to a working prototype level that efficiently uses the CNN
machining facilities that I want to use. Every bit of time a material costs cash :/ So I started to look at the
production process of the instrumental cluster. It was un-necessarily complex as an assembly so I decided to
make some changes to simplify the production process of the display instruments.

SIMPLIFY..! :D

Main changes were to combine the old steel subframe, GI-Max & SPI-D spacers with the subframe cover.
I also combined the rear cover with the spacers for the Revburners as can be seen in picture below.











Now I'm just waiting for a USB hub to arrive to see how it can be incorporated into that assembly then it
is done. Apart from the desk stand. I also added lighting channels that reflection light from the LEDs
embedded into the new 'main component frame' (named as such because everything hangs off it in the
new design). Needs a bit more work and time tweeting the renderings. The pictures below show some
updated rough renderings that reflect the new changes.











Next step is to prepare the parts for CNC milling... and to solve any problems that occur.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 01:41:46 am by shaun_king »

 

hit counter