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fabrication question

882 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Red06LJ
Okay.. I need the help of a gear head here.

I am fabricating a switch panel. It's going to go where the factory locker switch is located now. I'm putting a lot of effort into making sure it looks as close to factory as possible when I'm done with it.

I'm taking styrene and heating/bending it to conform to the factory shape. My idea is that it will protrude slightly out of that opening (completely replacing the factory switch/power plug/big square useless faceplate area), but match the overall outer shape. I was looking at the curved corners and originally thought they looked about the same radius as a piece of quarter-round. So, I made a template and curved the piece with the quarter-round. I was wrong. The quarter-round was too wide of a radius.

I'm trying to figure out how to determine the size of that radius so I can make a jig that will let me bend the material to match it. I really sucked in Geometry. I think that's affecting me here :)

Being that the factory panel is not square I've had no luck drawing it out.

Can anyone suggest a way to either accurately determine that radius or suggest a stock piece of wood or metal that might be close? I thought about a pencil, but I believe that's too tight.

Thanks for the suggestions. Blasted compound curves and shapes from injection molding.. So hard to re-fabricate in the garage. :)
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Cut the shape out in cardboard first, then do whatever else is needed.
RCH said:
Cut the shape out in cardboard first, then do whatever else is needed.
Yeah, that is a good idea. Clay or playdoh should work too to grab the shape.
Just a different idea but have you thought about kydex? You can shape it with a heat gun or blow torch and it holds the shape well.
Thanks! Of course.. clay molding. DUH!

I've not thought about kydex. I went to the site and looked at it. I think the product I'm using is going to work well once I get the template made. It's strong and relatively easy to work with. It also has a glueing agent that bonds the material like a weld.

I'll let you know how it goes. It's a project that's been in the works for a while, but I'm getting closer to getting it done.
look up radius gauges, you could get a cheap set for around $25
they are little steel pieces that have a radius on them, inside and outside
the sets are usally in 1/64ths and 1/32ths of an inch so you should be able to get pretty darn close
I think the clay worked. The quarter-round was REALLY close, as it turns out I just need to shave off one end of it. I've not been able to test the newly bended piece yet (hope to do that tomorrow).

The radius gauges are AWESOME! If the clay doesn't get me there I'll order a set. Heck, I might order a set anyway. Thanks so much for the ideas!
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