While our project Ranger already had a console we built in a previous post, it was basic and temporary. The position of the gauges were a little awkward for the driver and the shape and finish need some improvements. So we began from scratch making a new sleeker, more driver friendly version. Utilizing less gauges and more shapely style to match the curves around the rest of the cabin.
We started by going back to the drawing board literally. After several ideas of what we wanted and didn't want and what we liked and didn't like about the first console. We came up with basic sketch of what the new one should resemble.
Once decided upon we used the old console as a template so we could match the floor with out making another cardboard cut out like in the previous post. Using 1/2 MDF and a jig saw we mocked up the rough shape of the new console. This one will only be using two gauges and no shift light, so the width could be reduced to allow the seats to sit in further making more room for the seat belts. To sink the gauges into the console, I first used a whole saw bit to drill a 45 degree angle for optimum driver line of sight. then used a piece of 1/16 thick steel to shape the pockets for them to sit in. Tip, you can use the gauge itself to form the circle in the steel so its a perfect fit. Simply start by holding the steel on to the housing and roll the metal around the gauge until you overlap the starting position. This will be a loose but close fit. You'll just need to hand roll the tightness into it from here.
We assembled the pieces using 5/8 counter sunk wood screws to allow a smooth finish.
Then cut out our rough openings with the jigsaw and applied a light but generous coat
of filler to start roughing out the shape.
Using some painters tape to cover any gaps on the inside will stop the filler from filling in unwanted areas. From here allow ample dry time, and let the sanding fun begin. Using a 60-80 grit paper will speed up the process but be careful not to take to much off MDF is easy to sand and can easily be overworked.
With the first round of sanding completed check for fitment and and any clearance issues unforeseen.
With fitment checked time to add another coat of filler if needed.
Ours only need a little coat to fill in some small areas so we got lucky.
This time use a light 100-120 grit paper so smooth everything and
start to get the final shape.