Make custom dash mods (ipod dock)


[Daniel ] sent in this one, from an O’Reilly book, it’s older but the results are just stunning. The iPod dock has been done countless times, but the really interesting part is the custom dash molding technique. The cradle was mocked up with clay on the original piece, then a silicon mold was cast from the mock up. After that, the entire piece was re-created inside the mold. After some dremel work and a bit of sanding, it came out beautifully. It looks like a great way to make custom LCD/GPS dash inserts.

18 thoughts on “Make custom dash mods (ipod dock)

  1. Great work and educational too, thanks.

    For the slightly less ambitious person it would make sense to build an IPod or widget holder that mated to the existing center console or other car part instead of building a whole new center console. That would require less work to redo when they moved on from using an IPod to whatever comes next.

  2. NICE! Looks great, and not too horribly difficult…

    i agree w/ #2, though… what happens when you swap out your ipood (mis-spelled on purpose) for something newer/better? time to bust out the dremel again? nonetheless, well done, and very impressive.

  3. Uh, might you have meant silicon*e*? Molten silicon might have damaged the original plastic.

    I hate to nitpick, but this is kind of a pet peeve of mine.

  4. Very very cool. It looks like there are quite a few other useful hacks in his book that I have been looking to do, like increasing my current fm transmitter signal with some simple components. I went ahead and bought the book used on amazon for $1.81 + $3.99 for shipping. There were still 2 or 3 books left under $2 when I purchased mine. Honestly, how can you beat that price??? Thanks for the great link!

  5. A great how to and a really nice end product. IMO the craftsman’s signature should be prominent not that bleep bleeping apple.

  6. Chupa, at the start of his article he said it took $400 to $500 for materials 8-0

    which was one of the reasons I suggested just casting an add on section instead of a whole new console ( a lot less materials). You can also save big $$ by using other materials like normal resins with a bit of fiberglass instead of the $80/gallon plastic.

    If you paid careful attention to the draft angles of your clay add-on you could also dispense with the silicone stage and go directly from clay to plaster. It would take a bit more finishing work because of the mold line on the final part, but for a one off, who cares?

    I think the article is great, but the thinking do-it-yourself, cash limited hardware hacker will use it as a rich source of ideas rather than a detailed plan.

  7. It would be a lot easier and cheaper to do this by vacuum forming. You can get textured ABS and vacuum form that. Building the vacuum former is easy and cheap, and then you’d have the vacuum former for other projects.

  8. wow, shore 70D plastic as a two part mix! that’s really hard stuff… i wonder if it’s brittle

    this is gonna get interesting, i’m ordering a sample kit so i can try it out!

  9. I personally contacted this guy who created this, asking what his technique was. I was curious since I’m a car audio installer who does some custom work and am always looking at new techniques. There are literally hundreds of other ways to create a cool iPod dock or any other dock/insert/pod for any gadget (portable GPS, LCD screen, etc…). 2point5.com has vehicle specific docks and one of the founders of the company(Matt Turner) is a highly accomplished installer himself. I think his mac mini GTI was featured here at one point. Anyways, I would have used LEDs directly into the bottom of the dock rather than have to buy fiber optic cable. LEDs are cheap. Like I said, there are literally hundreds of ways to get things done… it’s just all about time and money. In that case, some of the best “hackers/modders” are car audio installers since they’re usually pressed for time to have things done and have nothing more than wood, fiberglass, bondo, wire, 12volts of DC power and some Bosch-type relays on hand.

  10. I’ve actually seen this one before, good to see it on HAD though.

    @drcrash: would you be able to vaccuum form the cradle as well, in one solid piece?

  11. srylik,

    Yes, I think you could vacuum form it. Judging from the picture, there’s a tiny bit of draft (taper) there to make it demoldable. (Even if the walls are parallel, I think you could do it; you’d just have to be a little clever.)

    You’d get some nasty thinning of the plastic toward the bottom of the wells, particularly where the side walls meet the floors of each depression. You could reinforce the vacuum formed plastic there, on the back side, with a little fiberglass. That’s easy—just smear on some epoxy mixed with short glass fiber. One of the nice things about vacuum formed stuff is that if you’re making a one-off, it’s not a big deal to selectively reinforce it with fiberglass on the back side. You don’t need a perfect mold like you do for a fiberglass part, and the fiberglassing is easy because it doesn’t have to be pretty.

  12. lol thats the funniest thing all morning! this is great, this gives me totaly new ideas for my dodge neon. I am in consideration of fiberglassing a new dashboard, and now this is a good small first project to try

  13. looks great. definitely is better than all the other ipod car holders that stick out of the dashboard looking very clumsy. just wondering if the ipod will stay in place. can’t tell if there is a way to fasten it down.

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