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Unread 10-17-2010, 01:57 PM   #1
Palmetto
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Need to cut rectangular hole in dash - suggestions?

Anybody know of a way to cut a rectangular hole in a
CJ dash without messing up the paint, and having clean lines?

I don't want to take the dash off to do it...

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Unread 10-17-2010, 02:56 PM   #2
dtcohen
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tape off the outline of your rectangle with some heavy masking tape
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Unread 10-17-2010, 03:26 PM   #3
keith460
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I use an air cut off tool at work and at home for the very thing you want to do. If you have steady hands and nerves of steel, then it's easy to make straight cuts without damage to surrounding items that may be in the way.

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Unread 10-17-2010, 03:58 PM   #4
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You could try a sheet metal nibbler.

I used to use these all the time when mounting switches and whatnot.. should work for a larger area.. just more time nibbling away...

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Unread 10-17-2010, 04:10 PM   #5
Palmetto
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Thanks for the replies!

I have a dremel that I can get a cutting wheel for, maybe that will work.

I have an aluminum dash and am inserting a 3 switch bracket to control my fan and whatever
else I come up with.. trying to get the bracket into the dash.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 04:38 PM   #6
southshore30
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How big is the hole to be? probably pretty small for a switch bracket. As someone else said use masking tape on your dash. measure out and mark w a sharpie the cutouts. use a hole saw of the same diameter as the cutout dimensions. drill one hole or two next to each other then finish the corners with a small saw. Jig saw or a small recipricating air saw that uses jig saw type blades work really well for dash cutouts. My $.02
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Unread 10-17-2010, 04:46 PM   #7
dslywalker
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You can also buy a knock out puller for sq holes.They are used by electrical panel builders.Pricey but a clean cut.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 05:34 PM   #8
BriansCJ
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I would get a pack of reinforced wheels for the dremel and tape off and take your time.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 05:52 PM   #9
gojeepin
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If it doesn't have to have perfectly "squared" corners, you can drill a hole at each corner and cut your straight line to the hole. That way your corner will be uniform and not overcut.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 07:34 PM   #10
h2ojeep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
Thanks for the replies!

I have a dremel that I can get a cutting wheel for, maybe that will work.

I have an aluminum dash and am inserting a 3 switch bracket to control my fan and whatever
else I come up with.. trying to get the bracket into the dash.
I have used my dremel with a cutting wheel for the same reason. It works good and is faster than you think. You will have to change disk often, and wear safety glasses, the disks often shatter.

I masked it off, drew my lines and used a steady hand to follow the lines with the cuttoff disk. I found it better to score the line, and make many shallow passes until you are through.
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Unread 10-18-2010, 03:41 AM   #11
keith460
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h2ojeep View Post
I found it better to score the line, and make many shallow passes until you are through.
That's the best advice when using a cutoff wheel. Make a shallow pass on your lines first instead of trying to plunge the cutting wheel through.
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Unread 10-18-2010, 05:49 AM   #12
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I appreciate all the help!

I will use my dremel.. since I have one and know how to use it.. Need to get a few cutting wheels and make sure to use safety glasses.

Thanks everybody!
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Unread 10-18-2010, 08:53 AM   #13
86JeepCJ7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
I appreciate all the help!

I will use my dremel.. since I have one and know how to use it.. Need to get a few cutting wheels and make sure to use safety glasses.

Thanks everybody!
Harbor Freight (if you have one near you) sells diamond cutting discs for dremel moto tools, last a lot longer than the reinforced dremel discs, but you will need ear protection as well
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Unread 10-18-2010, 09:05 AM   #14
Wrangler11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keith460 View Post
I use an air cut off tool at work and at home for the very thing you want to do. If you have steady hands and nerves of steel, then it's easy to make straight cuts without damage to surrounding items that may be in the way.

3" Variable Speed Air Cutter
I have the same air cut off tool, but it doesn't seem to work very well? You've been able happy with it?
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Unread 10-18-2010, 12:36 PM   #15
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What kind of compressor and size of air line are you using? Those cut-offs use a lot of air. 3/8" line is the smallest I'd ever put on an air compressor. I bought one of these ( 3 HP, 21 Gallon, 120 Volt 115 PSI Cast Iron Vertical Air Compressor ) and they had a 1/4" ball valve with the 1/4 quick-connect on it. Hooked up my 3/8 line, and my Matco impact gun couldn't even break any lug nuts loose. Removed the valve, put on a larger regulator, and now I can snap lugs off if I wanted to. Also keep it oiled - the oil helps seal the vanes to the sides of the motor, not just lube the bearings.
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