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Old 01-03-2018, 04:42   #1
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On no! The holes too big!

At the helm station I have an old Furuno chartplotter that is redundant and no longer works. I'm going to use the space to mount a new VHF radio. The trouble is the hole is too big for the VHF by nearly 2" all around.

What would you recommend to act as a "trim" piece to bridge the gap? I was thinking about the pebbly looking metal many marine breaker panels are made of, but can't find that on the 'net.

Any other ideas?

Thanks,
Duane
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Old 01-03-2018, 04:57   #2
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pirate Re: On no! The holes too big!

I'd look for a nice bit of wood.. something that matches your other bits topsides.
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Old 01-03-2018, 04:57   #3
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

Starboard. Cuts easily with standard wood working tools. I like to put a fancy edge on it with a router. After putting the fancy edge, I use a small torch to flame (very careful). Then I sand those edges with progressive grits up to 800. Looks fantastic when done and will last almost foreever.
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:00   #4
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

You need to be creative. First rule, if you "screw something up, screw it up evenly and no one will know the difference". I have made panels out aluminum and found textured black spray paint that gives a finish similar to what you are looking for. You can use formica, available in many finishes, possibly thin black Starboard. You usually can't do a perfect match, just find something that looks appropriate.
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:13   #5
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

My oversized hole wasn't as big as yours - 1 inch all around. (Went from a large CD player to VHF radio.) I made a nice teak frame for the radio. Worked out fine.
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:46   #6
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Starboard. Cuts easily with standard wood working tools. I like to put a fancy edge on it with a router. After putting the fancy edge, I use a small torch to flame (very careful). Then I sand those edges with progressive grits up to 800. Looks fantastic when done and will last almost foreever.
I agree. Starboard can be machined by local plastic shops, and the matte finish won't show fingerprints. Eventually, I had so many things that didn't fit that I completely replaced my "hinged" portion of the navigation station, and luckily I could find the teak ply that matched perfectly on my Alerion. Big project, but no additional pieces of ply or plastic to match hole A to item B. Laying the entire board out on construction paper and then making construction paper "electronics" made is easy to envision the resulting panel.

If you're interested, you can check out the that I made of the project here.

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Old 01-03-2018, 10:31   #7
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

I generally use sheets of ABS plastic for that purpose. Mainly because it's easy to work with and I can get it for next to nothing from the scrap barrel at TAP Plastics - they sell their scraps by the pound. And ABS seems to make a waterproof seal over fiberglass.

Here is an example of the application the OP describes - I've covered two holes left by old four-inch instruments with a piece of ABS that has four smaller instruments mounted on it. I just rounded off the corners with a router and screwed it on there. Never got around to adding sealant, but it never leaks.


Another way to use it is to frame it with something to make hinged panels. Here are some radios mounted that way. For some reason, I started out making pretty wide mahogany "frames" for these panels, on the left, but one-inch frames, on the right, seem plenty strong enough. I may go back and change the older ones, one of these days.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:44   #8
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

I guess if I were adding a new external panel now, with more leisure and wisdom, (?) I'd take a trim router and carve out a small channel 1/8" deep or so all around the back side of the panel, maybe a quarter-inch from the edge, to hold a bead of sealant. Either ABS or polyethylene (Starboard) - same principle.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:38   #9
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

Starboard any many plastic won't take paint very well. Some shops, and some online shops, will cut a piece to your spec including corners and cutouts. A local bowling and sports trophy shop can always turn out panels in plastic, engraved if you want that. If you have some basic skills with saws and files, there are also cutting boards available at the dollar store or big box store that can be an inexpensive source for panels.

The "pebbly" finish is often a textured paint, that you can buy in spray cans at auto parts stores. Look for "crinkle finish" or "vinyl top spray" or "texture finish", those are also available to some extent in the big box stores from Rustoleum and Krylon. If you spray judiciously, the paint takes on texture as it dries. So, you practice first on some scrap, even corrugated cardboard, and if you like that result, do it on your real panel AFTER that has been cut and trimmed to shape. Let dry thoroughly before installing it.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:50   #10
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

That's a good point that I hadn't considered in this application - polyethylene also can't be glued, but ABS can. You can glue it up with the ABS drain pipe glue from the hardware store, if you want to make 3-D shapes, like brackets and such.

ABS and PE sheets usually come with one side textured and one side smooth. Of course, after you cut or rout it, that bit will be smooth. The smooth side scratches easily, so I always put the textured side out.

A bit off-topic, but here's a little project I made from glued ABS scraps - approximation of an AquaSignal 40 mounting bracket, since the original can't be purchased any more. The "exploded" view just shows the smooth side, since those are the "inside" of the finished piece.


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Old 01-03-2018, 12:39   #11
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

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Starboard. Cuts easily with standard wood working tools. I like to put a fancy edge on it with a router. After putting the fancy edge, I use a small torch to flame (very careful). Then I sand those edges with progressive grits up to 800. Looks fantastic when done and will last almost foreever.
+1. Great stuff.
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Old 01-03-2018, 13:36   #12
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

If you want to make it cheap and easy, white plastic chopping boards from the Supermarket are really handy and easy to cut.
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Old 01-03-2018, 17:56   #13
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

Thanks for the thoughts everyone.

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Old 02-03-2018, 14:10   #14
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

FWIW I would recommend against starboard. In this application it will probably work, but over time it will start to sag and flex. It really doesn't have any structural strength and between the heat from the sun and its thermal expansion it will eventually break seals. I would recommend going with a thin non-strutrural fiberglass board. Its pretty cheap and will last a lot longer.
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Old 02-03-2018, 14:39   #15
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Re: On no! The holes too big!

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FWIW I would recommend against starboard. In this application it will probably work, but over time it will start to sag and flex. It really doesn't have any structural strength and between the heat from the sun and its thermal expansion it will eventually break seals. I would recommend going with a thin non-strutrural fiberglass board. Its pretty cheap and will last a lot longer.
Hmmm I have tons of things made from starboard that has not exibited the problem you describe. I've NEVER had any sagging or seen any "thermal expansion", even down here in the Caribbean (in direct sunlight). 2 years on and it looks exactly like the day I made it. Even though the gelcoat around has chalked up a bit.

Down here, its the "go to product". I have literally seen 10s-100s of items made with Starboard that have been on boats for 3-5-8-10 years. Almost all of them look like they were made yesterday (with the exception of fish stations).

Have you made anything from Starboard? Are you sure you have been using Starboard? Maybe you have been using another brand, that is made from different plastics.
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