I'm debating a custom aluminum dash for my YJ (see separate thread about the Dakota Digital gauges). I've got a little bit of a fetish for anodized aluminum. I'm debating getting a few pieces of plate aluminum and having them black anodized. The local coating shop near me can anodize a maximum of 24 inch x 24 inch piece which means I'll have to have the aluminum in 3 sections I think. I'd then find someone with a plasma cutter to cut out the openings for my gauges, switches, etc.
Has anyone worked with anodized aluminum? If I go this route I have a few questions.
1) What grade material should I use? Based on the descriptions I've found it seems like 2024 should be enough for my application. Any reason I should go with the stronger (more expensive) stuff?
2) What thickness would be appropriate? I'm planning to cut bolt holes and then bolt the aluminum to the original YJ dash frame. If I do this I'm guessing 0.125 would be plenty thick enough?
3) What are the dimensions of the YJ dash frame? I don't have my frame available here and I'd like to order the materials before I'm up at the shop where my YJ is parked. I'm not exactly sure how much aluminum I will need.
4) How precise can a plasma cutter cut? For example, if I wanted to put in slits for my behind the dash speakers will that be a challenge?
5) What kinds of places might I call up to ask if they can cut the aluminum for me? Will they expect a CAD drawing or a simple paper template?
Thanks! Hopefully someone has done something similar.