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-   -   making new gauges for newer XJs (and anything else that runs a 4.0 after 97) (http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/making-new-gauges-newer-xjs-anything-else-runs-4-0-after-97-a-1410550/)

Azzy 08-27-2012 08:00 PM

making new gauges for newer XJs (and anything else that runs a 4.0 after 97) DONE!
 
In my thread on my gauge cluster makeover kits, there were a lot of requests to do a 97+ kit. Im going to go through the development here so the other thread isnt cluttered up.

These things have some technical challenges to overcome, mainly... they are backlit. Which means, replicating the multi-layer gauge layout that came stock, and replacing it.


Ive seen some other kits, some replace it with a lightup cluster that is indiglo, and has weird looking cutouts for all of the things like fuel and ABS. nifty, sorta, if you like the sound of the whining electronic box that powers it.

So I started with artwork. thats the easy part for me, Ive already done how many of the 89-96 clusters. Easy, relativly. takes scans of the original, lots of measurements, test fitting paper cutouts... etc. So I got to work on that, and this is what I came up with. Used a warning light cluster, because that's what I could find on ebay for less than $100 at the time. Besides, those guys need something too! (and the wife wouldn't let me pull hers)




Then it was finding the material. Thankfully, Digital Media Solutions and my man Tim over there helped in finding some injet back-lit sign film. :cool: Cool stuff, its heavy duty and is made to be in outdoor installations. Its good stuff, but may be a bit too thick for our printer (we use an HP Z3200 42" photo printer for projects at work, and I am allowed to pay for consumables and use it. Being the Director of Tech and having a cool President helps things greatly).

Material found, I made some test prints to test out some theories, and they worked. So time to find a place to get them cut at. That was the real issue... no one wanted to do it, or wanted an exorbitant amount... and then still couldn't guarantee they could cut it out on the imagery!

That's when I found this little gem, the Silouette Cameo, a home cutter designed with crafting in mind. Guess thats the way of Jeeping, find something that might work, hack it and craft it into doing what you want!.

http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-QX...0/DSC_3933.JPG
The second test cut and an assembled gauge

Making it work for what I do with these took about 12 hours of getting software and prints to come together correctly. That was my weekend... but, on a plus side, it lets us get the other kits out the door a bit quicker, only requiring assembly and a few cut touch ups before they head out the door.

Convinced my lovely wife to let me tear apart her dash to test them out, and after some tweaks in the design... here is the result of the first batch:

http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-be...0/DSC_3924.JPG
(ambient light and no tripod)

http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-I-...0/DSC_3935.JPG
End of the test cycle, just like it is sitting when the engine is off

http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-1_...0/DSC_3934.JPG
and finally, test cycle with everything lit, note the added messages for warning lights
For now, my next steps:
  1. Find a slightly thinner material, or tweak the printer to raise the heads
  2. tweak the black piece that you see above, that is where the messages for warning lights and indicators go
  3. work on the design for the lit areas and non lit areas
  4. work on the full 6 gauge cluster face, with the addressed above areas
  5. and get these in the hands of a few testers!
(Update)
Got a sample worked up for the standard version: http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-vP...gaugedemo1.JPG
(Red outline and circles are a cutline... something you would never see)

Comments and thoughts graciously accepted :cheers:

And Tada!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Azzy (Post 15296840)
Officially added to my inventory :cheers:

In the order notes let me know if you are a JF user and I will make sure that yours gets to the top of the line.

http://www.azzysdesignworks.com/#!store/cn5v

Installation instruction video
http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-eD...005XJBlack.png
http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-BG...05XJCarbon.png
http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-4D...5XJDigicam.png
http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Mz.../005XJGray.png
http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yA...006XJBlack.png
http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4e...06XJCarbon.png
http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-YZ...6XJDigicam.png
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-b.../006XJGray.png


[/B]FAQ

Q: What is diferent beween style 1 and 2?
A: Just graphics. Style 1 is based off our first and most popular sets, set 2 is a bit more of a refined cluster face.
Q:_Do I have to remove the needles?
A: Yes, in order to replace the stock gauge face, which block most of the light in the dash, the needles need to be removed. It is not an easy project, but not impossible either. See our video instructions on how to do it.
Q: Can I get a custom color or pattern?
A: Sure can. We would like to let you know that ADW will not use official licensed patterns, without permission of the original artist. An additional charge may be applied do to test printing and the time it takes to make sure all the colors work when printed. Email us for more info on this.
Q: Can I get custom text?
A: Yes, as long as it fits. Email us for more info on this.
Q: Are these just printed on paper?
A: See above, they are printed on plastic, over-laminated with a cold process to preserve color, and then fitted with layers of similar material and Mylar.
Q: Do they glow?
A: Not yet. We are working on that. However, they do catch more light than the stock gauges do, and are easier to see in low light situations.


moses21 08-27-2012 08:49 PM

those look really cool. What are the pricing going to be on them?

Azzy 08-27-2012 09:33 PM

Im going to have to figure out what it takes to make them. I am hoping just a bit more than the current ones, maybe in the $35 range. Maybe, depends on material and printing, and of course shipping. But that is my target at the moment.

AKIQPilot 08-27-2012 10:30 PM

I like it, looks very cool. I suppose after you get the later model clusters figured out you could do one for a 2001 XJ Sport. Mine has a tach and all the gauges.

$35+ is a very reasonable price IMO.

moses21 08-28-2012 05:52 AM

same here i have the one with the tach and everything else. would glady pay 35 dollars if you made one of them.

Azzy 08-28-2012 07:20 AM

The tach version is coming next. Logistically, it was easier to set these up first. And now, since the wife's XJ is sitting needing me to drop the oil pan, well, it doent matter if her dash is in or not ;)

Altimeter 08-28-2012 11:13 AM

I definitely like the idea. Put me down for one with a tach whenever you get your operation up and running.

Sent from my iPhone using JeepForum

AKIQPilot 08-28-2012 11:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Altimeter (Post 14085958)
I definitely like the idea. Put me down for one with a tach whenever you get your operation up and running.

Sent from my iPhone using JeepForum


Yep. I'm in too. Put me down for one with a tach and gauges. I may even be able to come up with a spare cluster if he needs it for the design.

moses21 08-28-2012 02:25 PM

put me down for one with a tach to! im bored at staring at the same boring thing and need a reason to do some leds in there.

Azzy 08-30-2012 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AKIQPilot (Post 14086147)
Yep. I'm in too. Put me down for one with a tach and gauges. I may even be able to come up with a spare cluster if he needs it for the design.

Ive been looking for one to purchase to get these off the ground. PM incoming.

Glavus 08-30-2012 12:26 PM

Looking forward to this

Spokes 08-30-2012 12:58 PM

could you make the background color custom per order? like i had a red XJ, red background?

Azzy 08-31-2012 05:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spokes (Post 14097389)
could you make the background color custom per order? like i had a red XJ, red background?

Possibly, but the first batch will probably just be my current color scheme, in MPH and a metric version. Red would be a hard one to do, but I would be up for the challenge.

Biggest issue would be having to change out your lighting, hard to get red lights to show up through red surfaces.

PhilipJ 09-01-2012 05:03 AM

Also interested. I currently have individual white overlays but these look much nicer.

KG8893 09-05-2012 02:14 PM

hey if i can find a gauge cluster to replace mine you can have my old one. it's got a crack in it. i would say i would ship it to you and you could send it back but i kinda need it to drive......... well drive safely :rofl:


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