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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior & interior) > Dashboard mod F3x
Steve Thomas BMW
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      06-15-2014, 07:11 AM   #1
eyedoc
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Dashboard mod F3x

Hello everybody!
When I was choosing and configuring my current car (F34), there was no doubt on model, engine, extras. But there was just one thing I barely could accept about interior. Well, exterior although important, it's not that I'm looking at it when I enjoy the ride, as while driving I'm inside. And what am I staring at all the time? (beside the road) -dashboard of course. This is that piece of the whole car I'm mostly dealing with. Instrument cluster, paddles, gearshifter, idrive controller...... And this "half of an ipad", protruding in the middle. Difficult (for me) to accept as this little, but important piece of my car is completely "out of harmony" with the rest of the interior before me. Ok, I understand: new modern trends, fashion, everyone has that, all sort arguments of this kind - but I prefer "classical" design, some form of aestethic proportion among things. Maybe I'm too old for that kind of modern fashion, but not too old for not paying attention for the design of my car. If this "half of an ipad" would be foldable - no problem. Of course I would be driving around with the screen "up" most of the time, but just that possibility to fold it down would have helped - I could fold the thing down and anjoy the otherwise well designed dashboard. Nope. It seats there for ever fixed with screws. And this nicely bend line of the dasboard cover runs there beyond the screen, for what reason? as none can see it.
What I was looking for was inline6 with 8at, rwd, in some chassi, but 5serie was a bit too heavy to be able to feel that engin/transmission combination, and the interior although without jutting "half-ipad", but not so well designed as in my old good e39.
It just had to be the 3series, so, before I ordered F34 I said to myself: I'll take this car but I have to do something with this exagerated pooched out screen. No way to move it to some other location, no way to live without it - I just try to cover it. And now it is done! Just look at those photos. Isn't it better looking now? Now the screen is a part of my car. As it should from the beginning. It took couple of evenings/nights in the garage, but it was worth it. And the pleasure of solving the problem and getting some new skills. For those of you who are suffering from ugliness of current interior design, I strongly recommend to spend some time (as I did) to diy and sculpture that piece - because now it feels soooo much nicer to drive.... With better composed and cosistent dashboard in front of you.

Well, to be exact, this is a "First Prototype" as the left hand side adjacent to the screen went out just a little bit skewed but even if this is not 100% right tailored - it makes overall impression of the screen integration much better looking.

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      06-15-2014, 09:46 AM   #2
Ali Shiralian
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Great work. I too feel as if it's supposed to go down but it doesn't. One thing I like about Audis is that theirs retracts. I mean I like the option of not looking at the screen if I don't need it. Again great job. Wonder why there hasn't been any after market casing for it yet, like the one you created.
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      06-15-2014, 10:01 AM   #3
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Hopefully 3-D printing will make mods like this much more doable/available over the next few years.
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      06-15-2014, 02:34 PM   #4
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Of course the 3D printer would make the whole process easier and cleaner!

Here follows a short description if someone would like to diy:

1. Cover the screen and surroundings with thin plastic foil, as this one used to cover food before you place it in the fridge or wrap sandwiches - just for protection.
2. Use air drying modelling clay (the kind artists use for building models, small sculptures) to build the form of the cover, placing behind the screen and filling the space between the screen and the dashboard that covers instrument cluster nearly to the shape you would like to have. This is just to "catch" dimensions and to build the negative/form you will be applying the real cover onto. Let it dry a couple of days untill it is hard enough to take it from the car (time depending on the kind of clay you use). You can use car as usual it just looks strange with white cover behind the screen.
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      06-15-2014, 02:36 PM   #5
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3. When it is dry and hard enough, carefully lift it and transfer to a tray or piece of wood outside the car. *Mine has broken into three pieces but I put them together and this worked fine. Secure the form on the tray so this holds in place. I used some small pieces and the glue gun.
4. Cover the form with a thin aluminium foil (from the kitchen) to ease separation of the cover from the form when finished.
5. Now time to apply resin mixed with hardener to build the proper cover. I used first one layer of Plastic Padding with glass fibre and the aluminium net (the set you buy for patching the holes in car's bodywork) and then several layers of Plastic Padding Flexible resin with hardener. *At this stage I was trying to place the cover in place in the car to see where it should be thicker (apply more) or thinner (file and polish).
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      06-15-2014, 02:37 PM   #6
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6. Final polishing. Until you get the form you like. First coarse (40 or 60) sanding paper or oscillating machine polishing, then 180 and 400 or 800
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      06-15-2014, 02:39 PM   #7
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7. When you are satisfied with the form, rinse with water to get rid of all dust, dry it and paint with primer and then with black PlastiDip (several short sprays from rather long distance, with 30mins intervals to get kind a coarse surface matching rest of the dashboard - its impossible to get the surface exactly as the original is, but just the little of that kind, so let the drops from the spray be quite separate and dry and then again and again so they won't be confluencing too much.
8. Wait until paint dries. Ready.
Enjoy the new harmonic look of your dashboard!


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      06-15-2014, 09:16 PM   #8
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I think the original design looks a lot more modern. You are trying to go back to the nasty e90 look here.
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      06-15-2014, 10:11 PM   #9
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Great craftsmanship and talent. I wish I were as talented/brave/patient to fabricate something like this.

But I agree with ^, I like the OEM look. To each their own
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      06-15-2014, 10:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmk11 View Post
I think the original design looks a lot more modern. You are trying to go back to the nasty e90 look here.
I like the current look as well but I respect your effort doing this.. Looks good man, great work!

I'm going to try and swap my dash for a leather one when they start becoming available. I think will soften it up.
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      07-04-2014, 06:13 PM   #11
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Stock looks better.
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      07-05-2014, 06:34 AM   #12
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Appreciate your efforts and talents but have to agree prefer the way it looks from the factory
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      07-05-2014, 07:18 PM   #13
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Gosh Y?
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      07-06-2014, 06:51 AM   #14
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You
should have gone the same configuration on the right side, it would have blended even better.
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      07-07-2014, 05:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali Shiralian View Post
Great work. I too feel as if it's supposed to go down but it doesn't. One thing I like about Audis is that theirs retracts. I mean I like the option of not looking at the screen if I don't need it. Again great job. Wonder why there hasn't been any after market casing for it yet, like the one you created.
That would just be another expensive motor to replace when it breaks. Honestly, while not entirely intuitive, I think it's best the way BMW have it. Fixed.

I had the "pop-up" motorized NAV in my C350...flimsy piece of crap. Barely used it and probably the only reason it didn't break.

OP, I see what you are trying to do and it's a good first effort. Doesn't quite fit on the left side and as such just doesn't look precise enough. As you said call this V1.0. Try again on V2.0. You'll get to the look you want...and you might even be able to sell some to others!! Not me personally, but I'm sure other members would like to have it.
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      07-11-2014, 09:31 AM   #16
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I think BMW did the best job in making the dash appear to wrap around the screen and the trim/vents cradle it from the front. Mercedes CLA as an example is truly hideous, the way it just sits there like an afterthought.

Pretty good work on the fabrication, though the gap at the driver's side of the screen housing would bug me along with knowing I had plasti-dip inside my BMW. Does it smell?
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      07-12-2014, 12:37 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4NoMore View Post
I think BMW did the best job in making the dash appear to wrap around the screen and the trim/vents cradle it from the front. Mercedes CLA as an example is truly hideous, the way it just sits there like an afterthought.

Pretty good work on the fabrication, though the gap at the driver's side of the screen housing would bug me along with knowing I had plasti-dip inside my BMW. Does it smell?
Not at all
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