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To make a long story short .... I wanted to semi-restore my aging 1855 snapper with at the very least some new paint and decals. My father has been painting for years mostly autos and motorcycles, so naturally i went to him to help with the new digs for the snapper. Eventually i realized there was no way i could put the freshly painted tins back on the tractor with this busted up dash that i had and with no luck finding new or reproduced ones i/we decided to reproduce a fiberglass version of the weak plastic original.

I wish now i had taken more pictures of the before but hindsite u no is 20/20.....

This pic is of the original dash after the broken corners have and various cracks had been repaired and the dash was sprayed with a release agent
Bottle Gadget Level Gas Musical instrument accessory

After letting the release agent dry the next step was spraying the unit with a gel coat and letting it dry as well. Picture of the dash with gel coat applied and awaiting fiberglass ...

Gadget Cable Gas Adapter Electronic device

Next on the list laying the fiberglass and resin. A total of 4 coats of glass to give the mold plenty of strength was needed. Picture of dash covered with 2 coats of fiberglass and resin.

Food Ingredient Recipe White chocolate Cheese

After applying the final glass and letting it "cook" the dash is seperated from the mold. Picture of the inside of new mold

Gas Food Font Serveware Porcelain

Final clean up and prep is still needed at this point to be ready to test the mold out. So far this process has taken about 3.5 hours and still no dash lol. This weekend looks like it is going to work for a test run on the mold. I'm looking foward to seeing what the first one looks like :rocker2:
 

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RED Wild Hogs, Horses & Deeres
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What will you do where the Gel Coat came off the mold? Will you do anything to help relieve the mold in the corners to allow the new part to come out easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The mold will be need to be waxed and sprayed with gel coat before each dash is made so the absence of the gel coat on the mold shouldn't cause any problems.

As far as the relief in the corners you asked about, I could be in for a suprize, but if the wax and gel coat do thier job there really shouldn't be a need for it. I do plan on leaving some tabs for grips to aide in poping the dash out of the mold, that can be removed aterwards. I have already done this test run on an earlier mold and although the dash had some defects the process worked fairly well.
 

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RED Wild Hogs, Horses & Deeres
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Thats great, I was just wondering. I haven't been around any glass molding processes and was wanting to know about it. Thanks
 

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Connoisseur of Rusty Junk
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Thanks! That's some very useful information cadman68! I have a friend who used to do fiberglass for a living. He said that we'd get together sometime and he'd teach me the basics. That hasn't happened yet though. Your post may be the catalyst that gets us going!
 

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Tractorholic
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Thanks for all the work on this! I think that with some work in this area, a two-piece mold could be made for the older series dash panels too. My only thought is that it would be hard to form that lip around the dash panel. I am not sure if you could create that in one mold, and may require the lip to be attached after the "body" was molded.

Good luck with the dash, and I suspect that you might just go ahead and keep making them when that one is finished! LOL
 

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Red Tractor Nut & Diesel Addict
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FirefyterEmt said:
I suspect that you might just go ahead and keep making them when that one is finished! LOL
Yes, you would sell many of them I'm sure. Long as price was within reach.
 

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olcowhand said:
yes, you would sell many of them i'm sure. Long as price was within reach.
ditto!!!!!!
 

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I am up for one :D
 

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Thanks for the comments.....I initially started this just to replace my old beat up dash but have found several folks voice thier interest in buying one if it turns out nice and is affordable. So let me ask the impending question lol.....fair price? i know about how much the materials and time i will have invested in each dash, but i'd like to get a sense of what would be an attractive price to see if it's feasible. Just to be upfront with you all I will have around $50 in materials and 3-4 hours per dash i think, after the mold is complete. I am also working with a local guy to reproduce a dash decal for it. If there is enough wanting one i could probably lower my material cost some by buying in bulk. I'm not looking to become a rich man by making these, rather just help improve our hobby and prolong the looks and life of a great little tractor.

As far as i know these should work on all 1450 1650 1655 1855 models.

firefyter - I dont have one of the older series dashes to look over but im sure with some work we could come up with a two piece mold and fuse the two pieces after the mold process if there is a need for those dashes as well.

Caseman - I owe it all to the old man (dad) :thumbs: He has been doing paint and bodywork for 40 years.
 

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RED Wild Hogs, Horses & Deeres
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Cadman, I don't know if this will help you, but when I do a project like this, I figure the cost for doing 10 pcs at a time. Then all you need to figure is whats your time worth, plus you can spread out the cost of the mold over the 1st 10 pcs.
Just thought I'd ad my 2 cents worth, Brian
 

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Red Tractor Nut & Diesel Addict
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If the pieces come out nice, I would think the price should be $125 to $150 if it was finished in black & included the decal also. Not attempting to price anyone's product though for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Not a bad idea texas.

No cowhand i would never ask you guys to price it, i am just trying to see if i would be doing it for free or not lol. It would come with a black gel-coat which is actually nothing more than color impregnated resin which should basically water proof it similar to a fiberglass boat hull, of course you can always sand it and repaint it if for some reason you wanted a different color. The decal is another story, trying to get a local guy to reproduce it and give me a price on it. Maple hunters doesnt appear to carry this decal according to thier catalog.
 

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RED Wild Hogs, Horses & Deeres
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Maybe you could get a price for decal from "olcowhand" to repro. it
 

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Tractorholic
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I think $100-$150 range would be a reasonable price (of course i am a tightwad and want it for $50). I would also suggest beefing up the areas that are prone to cracking.

I have not seen anyone make a mold and cast fiberglass before. Very interesting and my hats off to you and your Dad.
 

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I've just used fiberglass repair kits to fix minor stuff,but this what your doing is way beyond what I can do.Very interesting thats for sure.Will be nice to see what a finished one looks like. Larry
 

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Looks great! A note on the decal............a friend of mind has a striping and lettering business. With his computer, if you have a picture of the old decals.....he can scan it, make any adjustments needed thru the computer and make a copy. Just a thought if you have someone in your area that does that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Been a few weeks since i was able to work on the dash......this past weekend we layed a test dash in the mold without gel coat so its just raw fiberglass, just to see how well the mold would do. Turned out fairly good, need to work on the gauge areas and then i am going to lay one with gel coat and hopefully have a nice black final dash to use.....fingers crossed of course. I am thinking of taking the unused gauge impression completely out of the dash but still am undecided.

pic of inside mold after the glass was layed...waiting for it to cure

Automotive exterior Gas Font Tints and shades Auto part

and another of the dash in uncoated raw fiberglass....the final product will have a black gel coat

Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Wood

This was a quickie mainly to make sure everything looked good and to touch up any final areas needing attention before doing the final black dash.
 

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cadman68 said:
This was a quickie mainly to make sure everything looked good and to touch up any final areas needing attention before doing the final black dash.
What do you mean final? You got a lot of takers if you want them :poke: :D

Looks like it will definitely work. I would think if you don't plan on having a gauge then eliminating the second hole would be alright but I would have an ammeter and an hour meter.
 
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