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Technical How to mod gauge plastic lenses

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by scotty t, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. F0B26DC5-0B17-4F75-85B2-DA9158287C69.jpeg I want to elemenate the gas and temp gauge from this lense, it is engraved and painted from the back side. Any ideas?
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. I wonder if it can be machined? I’ve got several old ones to practice on.
  3. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    from oregon

    Have a new one lasered without words .
  4. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,056


    Black tape. It works on the check engine light on OT vehicles.

  5. How would you go about doing this?
    i already have that in my work truck, I can’t have two vehicles with that same mod.
    blowby, oldolds, Just Gary and 3 others like this.
  6. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,217


    I'd bet you can, with careful tooling..

    Take that curved lens, then mount it upside-down to an oversize backer board with perhaps silicone sealer. Now find the true center of an arc that goes right through the "temperature" and "gasoline" letters. Use that radius center point to go off of, to make a matching curved wooden "fence"... Set up a router to follow that pre-made curved "fence" so that the router can follow it with precision.

    You'd make a shallow 3/32" deep groove that sweeps across the entire face from one side to the other. Then paint in that groove with a accent color paint. It might look pretty good?

    That's all I got... :)

    harpo1313 and scotty t like this.
  7. That’s sounds doable. Thanks for the advice.
  8. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    from oregon

    I have no clue how to laser , but I have used my mill with jewelers tips adapted and written on the backside back words If you try a router use as slow speed as possible , plexi melts on the bit.
    '51 Norm and scotty t like this.
  9. Jack E/NJ
    Joined: Mar 5, 2011
    Posts: 604

    Jack E/NJ
    from NJ

    >>>I want to elemenate the gas and temp gauge from this lense, it is engraved and painted from the back side. Any ideas? >>>

    Lemme get this straight. You want this cluster to look like this? Jack E/NJ

  10. Craig Owens
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 431

    Craig Owens

    Buy a piece of 1/8" plexiglass...chose whatever color you want, cut it out to fit using your stock lens as guide, and have a pin striper or sign painter letter it up to your liking. Use the stock lens again, as a guide to spacing on the speedo numerals. First one I did was on a piece of dark gray smoked plexiglass...not such a good choice as it made it hard to see the pointers through the dark lens, but lighter colors such as yellow, orange, green etc work just fine. Clear is available, just seems too tempting to pick a color when that's an option.

    Disregard the F-bomb in the temp gauge spot. I did that years ago when I installed SW gauges in the dash and I felt the need to inject what I thought at the time was a little humor. The grand kids ask a lot of embarrassing questions.
    2-22-2012 005.JPG
  11. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,371

    from Oregon

    A carefully placed business card work to.:D
    scotty t, Jack E/NJ and '51 Norm like this.
  12. Craig Owens
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 431

    Craig Owens

    Same car, earlier version lens 12-2-11 001.jpg
    scotty t likes this.
  13. No. i want to eliminate all signs of the gauges from the lens including the E&F and the C&H. The gauges will be mounted elsewhere
  14. Harv
    Joined: Jan 16, 2008
    Posts: 97

    from Sydney

    Aussie early Holden gauges are similar - plastic lenses, engraved from the back, and then filled with paint from the back. They are stripped and repainted pretty easily. To remove the paint, try oven cleaner (the stuff that comes in a rattle can). Test the edge of the plastic first - shouldn't hurt it (it doesn't hurt Aussie gauge lenses) but best to check. You will need to be careful to keep the oven cleaner on only the TEMPERATURE and GASOLINE markings that you want to remove. Scrub the oven cleaner in with an old toothbrush. Do not use a nail, screw, dental pick or anything that will scratch the lense - you want to leave a perfectly smooth, transparent surface once the paint is gone. Flush off all the oven cleaner and dead paint with lots of water (again being careful to keep the oven cleaner off the lettering you want to keep). Repeat until all the paint is gone. Might take three goes on a bad day, most times only two goes. With the paint removed, reinstall the gauge lense. The clear letters will tend to blend in and dissappear, especially in the shadow under your instrument binnacle.

    Not perfect, but a lot simpler than making a new lense.

    You can use the same trick to recolour gauge letters to match your cars main paint colour.

    scotty t likes this.
  15. Yet another good idea, I've got spare lens's to practice on.
  16. I just talked to a buddy with a vinyl cutting machine he may be able to scan the lens and print out a decal to be applied to back side then i just need to cut a new lens. I love brain storming with the HAMBers
    56premiere likes this.
  17. 56premiere likes this.
  18. This idea of a router worked beautifully, after the router i wet sanded then polished before paint. Thanks F&J! And all others for their suggestions.

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