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Custom(aluminum) consoles

3.0ranger1227

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Anyone done aluminum center consoles in their trucks? I'm going to try and build one when I swap motors, mainly to hold the shifter. What i really want to see is how you did it. I was thinking press brake to make the bends for the sides, beads for stiffness, etc. But some pictures I've seen had fairly wide bends along curves, and obviously these were not done on a brake.

I was thinking start it at the stock floor cupholders, go up to the shifter height, and then back down to disappear under the middle seat. Anyone think this won't work?
 


02RangerXLT

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I think if you did diamond plate it would look BA.
 

3.0ranger1227

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Only issue is it's heavy. I was thinking real light aluminum over a tube or angle frame.
 

gwaii

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Only issue is it's heavy. I was thinking real light aluminum over a tube or angle frame.
you don't need the frame.the type of compound curved bends you are talking about are made by forming the edges of profiled pieces and welding them together,then sanding out the welds.

check my gt12 thread,particularly the section where i made the rear wheel tubs for some ideas about custom metal forming.

in the mean time,you may have just given me some inspiration...i need to make a console for my f350,and i was going to use fiberglass.i'm thinking aluminum may just be the way to go:icon_thumby:

oh,the only specialised bit of equipment you'll need access to for this is a tig welder.everything else is pretty basic.
 

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They make aluminum diamond plate. Just my .02
 

3.0ranger1227

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They make aluminum diamond plate. Just my .02
I know. I have a stack of it at home. I may use it to accent, but i've never seen real light aluminum diamond plate.
 

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I have to make comment on Gwaii's suggestion that the only piece of specialized equipment is access to a tig welder. A certain degree of talent and experience would also be recommended.
 

gwaii

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I have to make comment on Gwaii's suggestion that the only piece of specialized equipment is access to a tig welder. A certain degree of talent and experience would also be recommended.
yes,but that is only attained by trying,and to a certain extent,looking at what other's have done to learn some skills.

to anyone thinking 'well,i can't do this because i don't have a tig' i say-do all your fitup,then take the pieces to a good welding shop.as long as everything is fitted up perfectly,the welding will be a reasonable cost.
then you can carry on with all your finish work.
 

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I'm not trying to put anyone off doing anything. I just don't want guys getting frustrated because they don't get professional results on their first try. Doing the forming and taking the parts in for welding is a good idea, especially if you can find a place that will let you watch them do it. it's amazing how much you can learn by watching the techniques of an experienced fabricator. Tig welding is a mystery to a lot of people until they've seen it done.
 

gwaii

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I'm not trying to put anyone off doing anything.
oh,i realize that perfectly,martin:icon_thumby:

sometimes a little frustration is just part of the learning curve.even now,not everything i make gets past the scrap pile.a good example of this would be the firewall for the gt.all the time,money,and material that went into the first one was just tossed in the recycling.
but that's another good point to learn-knowing when it's better to start over.
 

3.0ranger1227

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I've done some aluminum work and have the basics fairly well. I'm not expecting super levels of perfection, I just want it to be something I can say I did and be proud of. And be functional.

Also the shop i'm doing all the work at is owned/run by a good friend of mine who can weld aluminum beautifully. So that is under control
 

gwaii

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I've done some aluminum work and have the basics fairly well. I'm not expecting super levels of perfection, I just want it to be something I can say I did and be proud of. And be functional.

Also the shop i'm doing all the work at is owned/run by a good friend of mine who can weld aluminum beautifully. So that is under control
perfect:icon_thumby:

and i'm serious about doing the console on my 350 this way.i'll post the process in it's thread for anyone wanting to see hoe it's done.

thanks for the idea:icon_cheers:
 

3.0ranger1227

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I'd love to see what you do for a console. Do you think I could make it taper down to end underneath the middle seat on the bench? or is that too ambitious?
 

gwaii

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I'd love to see what you do for a console. Do you think I could make it taper down to end underneath the middle seat on the bench? or is that too ambitious?
personally,i don't like to think of anything as being 'too ambitious'.i comes down to planning,and breaking the task down to where each part is a job into itself.

there are four main stages in doing something like this:

1.concept.figure out what you want the item to be-how it will look,work,fit.do some rough sketches,look at how things(like the shifter)need to move and not interfere.you want to have a good picture in your head of just what you need to build to meet your needs.

2.design.this is where you move from the concept stage and start taking measurements.it's where you'll find out if everything in the concept stage will work or needs to be modified to suit reality.

3.engineering.this is where you figure out how the item you've designed can be made.where seams will be,how different panels will need to be laid out,what type and thickness of material you'll need.

4.fabrication.unfortunately,this is where many people want to start.without considering the three previous steps,you are guaranteed failure.if you've taken time with the first three steps,this is the easy step.there are some tricks and techniques to make the job easier and look better,this is where some experience comes in handy.i'm happy to share some of my experience to help you succeed,but if you haven't already,i'd strongly suggest going through the gt thread -it's got most of the basics covered in there,and will assist in determining what can be done.it will also give a foundation for questions you may have later.the downside....it's like 150 pages and growing dailly.

good luck:icon_welder:
 

3.0ranger1227

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Thanks man. If I could read that entire post as one page it would be easier. I've read some of it, but I will read as much as I can without going cross eyed:icon_twisted:

I will definitely be starting with cardboard though.:icon_thumby:

And if it all goes bad, I'm good with fiberglass! but i really do not want to do that.
 
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