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Old 30-08-2016, 10:14   #1
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Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

I have a couple of old, round, bulkhead-mounted instruments on my boat. One is a Signet Marine knotlog and the other a Datamarine wind instrument. They still work great, but the plastic covers that go over the rear part of the instruments inside the cabin are brittle and falling apart. I would like to replace these because they look nice and protect the wiring from rain and spray when the companionway is open.

I've included a picture of one of the old covers below. I can't seem to find anything similar online to replace it. I also called Signet Marine and asked if they sold them or knew a source, but the answer was no and no. Does anybody know where I can buy a similar cover? Any ideas for making one or some other alternative?

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Old 30-08-2016, 15:13   #2
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

these appear be pressure formed plastic. A fairly complicated process needing a mould and heated vacuum/pressure forming machine. Check out rubberised paint, liquid silicone, even epoxy paint to restore these without replacement.
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Old 30-08-2016, 16:50   #3
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

Plastic flower pots,tupperware,-check the kitchen goods section & they don't have to be round do they?
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Old 30-08-2016, 17:41   #4
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

This is a wonderful challenge. I'm with dlymn on trying to salvage the originals, or failing in that using them as molds. You say they are brittle, so you want a material that is not. Do you have space to reinforce them from the inside? Probably not where that cable comes out. I'd be inclined to try reinforcing from the inside using epoxy resin and glass cloth cut to fill the bottom and then around the inside. Messy, but I've gotten cracked plastic parts back in service that way.
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Old 30-08-2016, 17:56   #5
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

Find a buddy with a 3D printer. Non-structual applications like this work pretty well with 3D plastic.
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Old 31-08-2016, 05:54   #6
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

Watertight PVC junction boxes are available at your local big box store or online. Many sizes and depths, cheap and effective. Have a number on Solitaire for electronic interfaces on the backside of the cabin/cockpit bulkhead.

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Old 31-08-2016, 09:07   #7
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc46and2 View Post
I have a couple of old, round, bulkhead-mounted instruments on my boat. One is a Signet Marine knotlog and the other a Datamarine wind instrument. They still work great, but the plastic covers that go over the rear part of the instruments inside the cabin are brittle and falling apart. I would like to replace these because they look nice and protect the wiring from rain and spray when the companionway is open.

I've included a picture of one of the old covers below. I can't seem to find anything similar online to replace it. I also called Signet Marine and asked if they sold them or knew a source, but the answer was no and no. Does anybody know where I can buy a similar cover? Any ideas for making one or some other alternative?
In the late '70's I made a cover for our similarly mounted instruments for our (then) Cal 2-29 by using an unfinished teak dorade box from Defender. I cut down the depth of the box to just cover the instruments with wiring attached by removing a portion of the open side and then cut the closed top off about 1/2" below the inner face the top cover board so that I could add hinges on one side to make a door for access to the instrument backs. Four L-Shaped brass brackets were attached to the inside corners of the open side of the box so that it could be affixed to the bulkhead. A small 1/2 round hole was cut in the "bottom" edge of the box to one side allow the wiring to enter and a small piece of channel shaped teak trim was used to cover the wiring between the bottom side of the box and the bottom of the bulkhead. That was adhered to the bulkhead over the wiring with a few squirts from a hot glue gun once the trim had been varnished. A few coats of varnish and the box-cover looked pretty good. From what I understand, it still looks pretty good to this day.

FWIW...
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Old 31-08-2016, 09:09   #8
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

My first thought was 3" PVC from your local big box store. Build a flange and a back cover, some epoxy. I know with some care you could make it look good and do the job.
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Old 31-08-2016, 10:28   #9
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

If the covers are in reasonable shape, or you can reinforce them so they hold thier shape you can use them to make a mould. Plaster of Paris will work. Lube the mould well. Then a little glass cloth and polyester resin to line the mould and voila new covers. Paint as required. Someone else suggested using Tupperware or plastic containers, these make excellent moulds for fibreglass as well. It gives you the opportunity to add the appropriate flanges as well.

Have fun
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Old 31-08-2016, 11:28   #10
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

HI-CAPT C HERE. RE: COVERS: BEEN THERE DONE IT..ETC. ACTUALLY A GOOD EPOXY - THIN COAT INSIDE AND OUT - TIMES 2 - LET THROUGHLY DRY AND SET BETWEEN COATS - - PAINT AND WALLA - YOU HAVE A NEW REINFORCED COVER WITHOUT THE MESS OF MAKING A NEW ONE - YOU NOW HAVE A NEW ONE. THERE ARE SEVERAL EPOXYS ON THE MARKET - HARD AS NAILS IS A VIABLE OPTION - IT WORKS VERY WELL AND ADHERES AND STRENGTHENS AT THE SAME TIME. IT IS SANDABLE AND PAINTABLE. BE SURE TO MARK YOUR SCREW HOLES.
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Old 31-08-2016, 17:18   #11
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

Someone else mentioned PVC. They have a wide assortment of flanges, etc. that would look good and would be VERY strong. Here is a 5" cap.

DURA 5 in. Schedule 40 PVC Slip Cap-447-050 - The Home Depot
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Old 31-08-2016, 17:23   #12
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

Why not just use a couple of "COOL WHIP" tubs???
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Old 31-08-2016, 17:27   #13
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

I have seen motorcycle speed and tach back covers adapted for this. Cheap at a cycle salvage yard or aftermarket.
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Old 01-09-2016, 06:46   #14
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Re: Need source or ideas for rear instrument covers

Thanks everyone for the many great suggestions. Given the amount of time I want to spend on this, I think the best idea for my situation would be to reinforce the existing covers with some sort of coating.

I think some type of epoxy would be the best for strength. I guess the "right" thing to do would be to mix up some resin and hardener from West Marine, coat the covers, then paint them. However, I'm wondering if I could get away with several thick coats of epoxy spray paint, e.g. "Rust-Oleum Specialty 12 oz. Epoxy Gloss White Appliance Spray Paint". Is this going to produce similar results to a coating of 2 part epoxy? Or are these totally different "epoxies"?

Was also considering "Plasti Dip 11 oz. White General Purpose Rubber Coating Spray", but this is described as "flexible and stretchy" so maybe it's not strong enough.
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