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TOM Making dash gauges

Our pal Rich Williams sent along a great tip for making gauge bezels. You’ll notice that Rick is using a hobby lathe, which many of us don’t have access to. However, don’t shy away from this technique because of that. You can perform all of these steps by chucking a piece of aluminum rod in a power drill that’s clamped to a bench (or even the jaws of a drill press) and turning the piece with a good file.

“Making dash gauges that look “right” has always been trouble. The molded dash gauges don’t always fit the decals’ sizes, and the gauges you’re modeling may be clocked per the driver’s preference.

“I just finished two AMC Matador stock cars where I tried this different approach: 

“I measured the gauges on a Slixx decal sheet and selected a piece of aluminum rod that was slightly larger than the decal. I turned the gauges on the lathe, creating a thin portion “up front” for the decal and leaving a smaller-diameter pin on the back of the new gauge. This pin fits into the dash at the gauge location.

“I drilled out the center of the gauge so the decal would sit inside the bezel [Ken: this part might be tricky if you’re not using a lathe]. After I applied the decal to the bezel, I inserted the pin into the hole in the dash, and glued if from the back with a dab of super glue.

“They turned out to be the best gauges I have ever done. The best part is, you can create any size bezel for any size gauge. By carefully enlarging the holes in the dash, you can ‘flush mount’ the gauges by using the pin as a small handle while you glue the gauge in place.”


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