View Full Version : Door panel materials


hansoni
12-22-2006, 10:54:27 AM
What is it the pros are using for custom door panels? I could use something like 1/4" birch plywood, its strong and light, but wondering what else is out there.

K5JMP
12-22-2006, 11:30:57 AM
What is it the pros are using for custom door panels? I could use something like 1/4" birch plywood, its strong and light, but wondering what else is out there.
I have absolutely no idea. But, on occassion I do pull a rabbit out of my a$$....
I have used 1/4" luan ply saturated with West Systems epoxy to help water-proof it for various items. On my old Chris-Craft I laminated ribs using multiple strips of the ply clamped in place 'til the epoxy kicked. Was one hell of a lot cheaper than buying white oak and having to steam them so they would bend.

I have also created some pretty interesting stuff using cardboard and polyester resin to saturate it... but you gotta lay at least one layer of glass matt or cloth for any real strength. Kind of cool using cardboard though, because you can use a box-cutter and a hot glue gun for your mock-up.... then just coat the mock-up. I built an overhead console for my Blazer from cardboard. Worked out great... no pics here at office. But I do have a pic of the speedo/tach cluster I made for the '80 Vette I can post later this evening. Kids broke-in and trashed the interior of the Vette getting all the audio gear out of it. Frikkin' destroyed the gauge cluster... so I made this center cluster
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r250/k5jmp/new-33.jpg
Turned out OK... will post the others this evening... the side panels on the center console are the coated luan also....

BlownBigBlock
12-22-2006, 11:35:15 AM
www.roddoors.com has trimable door panel material.

hansoni
12-22-2006, 12:22:41 PM
Blown BB, I see they make their door panels out of abs plastic. they dont mention, but looks like its injection molded, or form moulded. I would like to start off flat and build out from there. I guess abs would be a good choice, i can get sheet stock no problem. I can also get polypro or polyethylene in sheet stock also. Thanks

K5JMP
12-22-2006, 12:38:07 PM
I would like to start off flat and build out from there. I guess abs would be a good choice, i can get sheet stock no problem. I can also get polypro or polyethylene in sheet stock also. Thanks
I was thinking the same thing with my post.... you might be surprised at what you can do with the stuff.... I still need to pull all the gear out of the over-head console and skin it with headliner material. Might do that this weekend. Good luck on your project.

77RS
12-23-2006, 12:00:09 AM
I can also get polypro or polyethylene in sheet stock also. Thanks

Just a word to the wise... i worked in injection molding from the 70's-90's. Almost NOTHING will adhere to polypropylene or polyethylene for any extended periond of time. That's why they make glue containers out of the stuff. If you're gonna use one of the 3, you better go with ABS.

hansoni
12-23-2006, 07:50:25 AM
I think I'm gonna use 1/4 birch ply. I looked at the plastic, I dont think its as stiff. Good point not being able to glue to it, I think wwod is it for me. Thanks for the input.

K5JMP
12-23-2006, 09:10:04 AM
;) Sorry for not getting these posted last night... also keep in mind this is a very rushed project. I needed to drive the car the following morning, so I didn't put a whole lot of effort into "pretty".

First make a mock-up, be it either cardboard or 1/4" ply. Get everything fitting nice and paint the entire piece with catalyzed resin like this.. for basic strength and waterproofing..
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r250/k5jmp/vette%20cluster/cluster2.jpg
Paint all surfaces as the idea is to encapsulate the item making it water-proof.
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r250/k5jmp/vette%20cluster/cluster1.jpg
Once that coat hardens completely.. trim the rough edges off and lay a layer of either cloth or matt.
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r250/k5jmp/vette%20cluster/cluster4.jpg
I know it looks messy, but it is much easier to trim if the cloth is saturated beyond the edge of where you plan to trim it...
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r250/k5jmp/vette%20cluster/cluster3.jpg
Once that layer becomes partially hardened, use a utility knife to trim all edges close to where you want them to end up.... After the peice hardened completely I used a dremel with a small sanding drum for some quick clean-up...
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r250/k5jmp/vette%20cluster/cluster6.jpg
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r250/k5jmp/vette%20cluster/cluster5.jpg
Shoot the piece with whatever pain you desire, or skin it with vinyl or cloth using spray contact cement.. I chose black "hammertone" paint by rustoleum..
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r250/k5jmp/vette%20cluster/cluster7.jpg
Definately not show quality... bu I only had about 3 hours in it... It is very easy to create custom showpieces with a little care and effort..
Good luck on the doorpanels! I can post pics of the overhead console later if you want. But this should give you a pretty good idea of the process...